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Kentucky Wildcats Basketball: What They’re Saying, NBA Draft Edition

Members of the media weigh in on the results of Thursday night’s NBA Draft.

NBA: Draft
De'Aaron Fox (Kentucky) hugs Kentucky Wildcats head coach John Calipari after being introduced as the number five overall pick to the Sacramento Kings
Brad Penner-USA TODAY Sports

Another NBA Draft in the books, another exciting night for John Calipari and the Kentucky Wildcats. Here’s a look at what they’re saying...

The first Wildcat to hear his name called was De’Aaron Fox as the fifth overall selection for the Sacramento Kings, joining Kentucky alums Willie Cauley-Stein and Skal Labissiere. According to several national media types, Fox’s ceiling in the NBA is very high.

I think we’re always happy as a fan base to see newly drafted Wildcats join other former Wildcats, no matter the franchise. Fox will likely start in Sacramento, which is a pretty big deal for a 19-year-old.

Greenie’s not always the best with predictions, but I could see this one happening.


If he’s that good, then maybe the Kings won’t end up as bad as these analysts are saying in a couple years. Give it time.

The Ringer’s Kevin O’Connor said Fox makes perfect sense for the Kings:

Fox makes sense for the Kings for basketball reasons. His arrival marks stability in a position of weakness for the franchise. Aside from a brief, up-and-down romance with Isaiah Thomas, the Kings haven’t had a point guard to run the team since Bibby. Fox is an elite prospect due to his feisty defense, silky handle, and IQ. He can stop and start quickly, changing tempos to manipulate defenders however he pleases. He’s only 19, advanced beyond his years as a point guard. Plus, he can do stuff like this:

Fox isn’t quite the leaper that former Wildcat John Wall was, but he’s just about as quick dribbling in a straight line or changing directions. Watch him put Lonzo Ball through the spin cycle:

The highlights are fun. Fox is going to create endless open shots for Buddy Hield. Divac suggested he would’ve drafted Fox with the first pick, but he wasn’t just talking about Fox’s skill set, he was talking Fox himself. Fox and Hield are talented young players on the court, but besides that, they bust their asses in the gym, aspire to be as great as they can be, and play the game with enthusiasm. Player psychology matters, and the Kings are finally taking that aspect of team building seriously.

Divac could’ve and should’ve gotten more for Boogie the night he was dealt, but in the end, the Kings will have a Hield-Fox backcourt with a ton of potential, one that could shine on the court and in the locker room.

With the 11th pick, the Hornets took Malik Monk, who will join former Wildcat Michael Kidd-Gilchrist in Charlotte.

Already generating storylines.

Glad to see Hornet fans excited.

I was kinda surprised that no two guards had ever gone in the same lottery under Cal.

The buzz in “Buzz City” was that Hornets fans seemed pretty pleased with getting Monk at 11. Many thought he would end up in New York with the Knicks in the eight-slot.

ESPN’s Paul Sabin says Monk has the potential to be the “steal of the draft” -

Malik Monk, SG, 6-3, 185, Kentucky (age on draft day: 19)

Chad Ford Big Board rank: 7

ESPN Analytics draft model rank: 3

Our data has shown guards to be more difficult to project than big men at the next level, as some guards are able to transfer their shooting to the NBA while others possess shooting flaws that aren't exposed until they play against bigger and faster defenses in the NBA. That said, the model gives Monk just a 25 percent chance of being a bust, which is the second-smallest figure in this draft for a guard after Lonzo Ball. Compared to the other top-60 players on Ford's Big Board, Monk is unique because he lacks any glaring weaknesses statistically, but the only statistic in which he really stands out is his having a low turnover percentage.

Ford has the Philadelphia 76ers taking Monk at No. 3 in his latest mock draft, and our model agrees that he is one of the three best players in the draft.

With the 14th pick in the Draft, the Miami Heat selected Bam Adebayo, marking the third Wildcat to be taken in the lottery.

Don’t you wish you could be in Cal’s shoes for just five minutes of an NBA Draft night?

Bam’s stock rose rapidly in the weeks leading up to the draft, and showing his shooting range in his workouts certainly contributed to his lottery selection.

More on Bam from Pat Riley via the Miami Herald:

“It’s a wow factor. He’s not 7-1 like [Hassan Whiteside], but he plays like him at 6-9. He’s an above the rim player for real while other guys try to play above the rim. His speed, quickness, ability. We put him in situations to guard perimeter guys. We felt the need to get an athletic big. He’s a gamer. He’s hungry. He’s as clean as a whistle.

“He played 30 minutes a game, shot about 60 percent. He’s a very efficient player around the basket. Doesn’t need the ball. What [Calipari] said to me was, he was a great teammate, a wonderful teammate to have. When we talked to him, he had a level of maturity about him, a quietness about him that we really liked. I saw him play two or three times and a number of film sessions. There were three or four or five guys in the mix. He was actually ahead of the 14th pick” [on our draft board]. We feel he’s going to be a special player.”

Here’s a look at other former Cats who will get a shot with NBA teams in the summer league:

I feel like Isaac’s size is going to get him a shot to play in the league at some point. Will it be with John Wall in the Wizards? Will it be in the upcoming season? Time will tell.

We all know Briscoe will have to improve his shooting in order to make it in the league, but also work on taking high percentage shots. His athleticism has never been a question.

I think Willis is probably a long shot to make it, but I’m rooting for him. Best of luck to all our former Cats in their future careers!