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2018 NBA Mock Draft: Kentucky Wildcats Abound In Early Projections

Expect another big draft class for the Cats next year.

NCAA Basketball: NCAA Tournament-Indianapolis Practice Brian Spurlock-USA TODAY Sports

The 2017 NBA Draft is in the rear-view, which means it’s time for the draft analysts to obsess over a draft that’s a full year away.

As expected, there are plenty of Kentucky Wildcats in these early 2018 mock drafts. has four Wildcats going in the lottery.

10. Jarred Vanderbilt, New Orleans Pelicans

11. Nick Richards, Charlotte Hornets

13. Hamidou Diallo, Denver Nuggets

14. Kevin Knox, Miami Heat

There’s not an extremely high pick in there, but four picks in the lottery would be extremely remarkable nonetheless.

Draft Express has just two Cats being picked in the first round.

14. Hamidou Diallo

22. Nick Richards.

With the class Cal is bringing in, I’d be shocked if these are the only two Wildcats going in the first round next year. I’d also be shocked if 14 is the highest any of them are picked. But DX certainly knows what they’re doing, so I’ll hold off criticism for now.

CBS Sports has four Wildcats in the first round, two of them in the lottery.

11. Hamidou Diallo, Philadelphia 76ers

13. Kevin Knox, Dallas Mavericks

19. Nick Richards, Memphis Grizzlies

22. Jarred Vanderbilt, Houston Rockets

Kentucky makes up four of the eight SEC players that Gary Parrish has being drafted in the first round.

CBS’ Reid Forgrave also did a mock, with three Cats in the first round.

7. Kevin Knox, Philadelphia 76ers

11. Hamidou Diallo, Phoenix Suns

13. Nick Richards, Milwaukee Bucks

On Knox:

The son of a former NFL player, Knox is incredibly built for a 17-year-old, and a very versatile player on both ends.

On Diallo:

Diallo isn't a complete player yet, though he made huge strides after enrolling at Kentucky a semester early. As a runner and a jumper, Diallo is tops in this draft. Has the potential to be an elite perimeter player.

On Richards:

We'll see if Richards can develop more offensive skills and defensive feel, but his physical profile and athletic explosiveness means his upside is big.

Bleacher Report has just two Cats in the first round.

12. Hamidou Diallo

24. Nick Richards

So early on, it’s clear that Diallo’s decision to stay at Kentucky is already doing him favors when it comes to his draft stock. And Richards is one of the most highly-touted bigs with the potential to be in next year’s draft.

Let’s hope these Cats only build on their draft stock during a successful season.