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NBC thinks Kentucky Wildcats lose 4 players to NBA Draft, projects an interesting starting lineup

This lineup is very interesting to say the least.

NCAA Basketball: Alabama at Kentucky Mark Zerof-USA TODAY Sports

The Kentucky Wildcats’ roster for next season is still a work in progress.

Depending on who stays and leaves for the NBA Draft, UK could enter next season ranked as high as No. 1 in the top 25, or they may not even be in the top five.

If guys like Kevin Knox and Shai Gilgeous-Alexander return, UK will have a great case for the No. 1 spot. But if they leave along with guys like Hamidou Diallo and Jarred Vanderbilt, then it’s a lot harder to project where UK will rank in the preseason polls.

At NBC Sports, they actually think Knox, Shai, Diallo and Vanderbilt all leave for the NBA Draft. However, UK still has enough returning talent to come in at No. 3 in this ranking, trailing only Kansas and Villanova.


Who’s gone: Kevin Knox*, Shai Gilgeous-Alexander*, Hamidou Diallo*, Jarred Vanderbilt*

Who do they add: Immanuel Quickley, Keldon Johnson, Tyler Herro

Projected starting lineup: Immanuel Quickly, Tyler Herro, Keldon Johnson, Wenyen Gabriel*, P.J. Washington*

As always, there are so many moving parts with this Kentucky team’s roster and who will end up leaving school. Everyone from Kentucky is going to declare, and at this point, I’m going to set the over-under for the number of players that leave at four: Knox, Gilgeous-Alexander, Diallo and Vanderbilt. We’ll see how that all plays out, but regardless of what happens, I think the combination of incoming backcourt talent and the remaining front court veterans is going to be a fun combination for Kentucky fans to watch.

That starting lineup is a very interesting guess. Tyler Herro and Immanuel Quickley are both very talented players, but are they really good enough to start over a sophomore Quade Green?

Also, Wenyen Gabriel has shown he could play on the wing, so perhaps he could start there, then have PJ Washington at the 4 along with Nick Richards at the 5. As bad as Richards was at times as a freshman, he still has a world of untapped potential that John Calipari hopes to harness this offseason.