There is more uncertainty than usual surrounding the departure or return of several of Kentucky’s basketball players. As we move within days of the NBA Draft declaration date, several players are still up in the air as to whether they’ll stay at Kentucky, transfer to another school, or enter the NBA Draft.
Among those is Sacha Killeya-Jones, the McDonald’s All-American who saw no playing time for the final two months of the season, and scored just 40 points all year.
Despite the lack of playing time, Killeya-Jones doesn’t plan to transfer, according to SEC Country.
One sources tells us the staff is not concerned about a transfer and, in fact, Killeya-Jones made major strides in practice over the final month of the season. While some assumed he’d checked out, this 5-star forward was working on his game behind the scenes.
Kyle Tucker reports that if Killeya-Jones stays in it for the long haul, as he apparently plans to, he’ll have a significant role next year if he keeps progressing.
Keeping a MCDAA to go along with all of the other MCDAA’s coming in would be huge, especially if Killeya-Jones is continuing to improve. He showed a lot of promise early last season, enough to think he can be a major factor next season after another offseason to develop and bulk up.
As for the others, Wenyen Gabriel also fully intends to come back, according to SEC Country. With the struggles he had late in the year, he doesn’t have much of a draft stock, so realistically his only other option would be to transfer. The Cats will be overloaded at forward next year if Gabriel returns, but like Killeya-Jones, he could carve out a nice role for himself as a sophomore.
Hamidou Diallo is likely to stay as well, as the expected 1 1⁄2 and done is reportedly going to make sure he gets that full season in. Diallo didn’t play at all for the Cats after joining them this past season, as was the plan. He’s eligible for the 2017 draft, but he’d have a better shot at lottery status if he waits for 2018, plus it’ll give him a real chance to help his game. This one isn’t a guarantee, but Kentucky is reportedly confident he’ll return.
As for Bam Adebayo, there’s not much confidence he’ll stay. The 6’10” big man entered his name in the draft, but did not sign an agent, giving him the option to return. Despite that, it seems all but official that he won’t be back.
One source close to the program told SEC Country this week he is surprised Adebayo hasn’t made it official, hired an agent and cashed in on the autograph-tour money the other departing Wildcats are enjoying.
Can’t blame him. He showed what a presence he can be over the last 10 games or so, dominating the glass and the paint. He’ll get his money, but now the recruitment of Mohamed Bamba becomes that much more crucial.