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No Kentucky Wildcats in 1st round of ESPN 2019 NBA Mock Draft

This actually may be good news for Kentucky keeping more guys for multiple seasons.

NCAA Basketball: Kentucky at West Virginia Ben Queen-USA TODAY Sports

The 2019 NBA Draft is a long way away, but ESPN decided to release an early 2019 mock draft, and there are no Kentucky Wildcats in the first round, an absolute rarity in the John Calipari era.

Jarred Vanderbilt is projected to go 31st overall, just one pick shy of being a first rounder, and Nick Richards falls further down to 50th overall.

Assuming those two stay for a sophomore year, I have a hard time believing they are second-round picks, due to the immense potential they possess. Vanderbilt has all the tools to be a great player with a unique skill set for his size. If he can work on his jump shot, he has the potential to be a highly-coveted player.

Richards also has interesting appeal for his potential as he gets stronger and works on his offensive skill set.

Those two are players that definitely need a sophomore year, and guys that I think have the potential to make the biggest leaps in a second year.

Interestingly, none of Kentucky’s incoming recruits are mentioned in the mock draft. Keldon Johnson seems like a player that should be a first-rounder, but apparently Jonathan Givony at ESPN doesn’t seem to think he has distinguished himself as such yet.

It’s worth noting that draft experts thought the same of Kevin Knox before his freshman season began. It quickly began evident he was going to be a high first-round pick and likely one and done, so perhaps the same will happen for Johnson next year.

Hopefully, Vanderbilt and Richards are back in Kentucky blue next year and give themselves an opportunity to become first-round picks.