It appears the Kentucky Wildcats will have a big presence at the 2018 NBA Draft Combine.
Last Friday, invites to the event went out, and several Cats are expected to be part of the festivities.
Thus far, Kevin Knox is the only confirmed player heading to Chicago for the combine. However, Hamidou Diallo will also be there, and he says the rest of the draft Cats will be there with him, according to the Lexington Herald-Leader.
If true, that means Shai Gilgeous-Alexander, PJ Washington, Jarred Vanderbilt and Wenyen Gabriel were aksi invited. Shai was an obvious one, but it would be a bit surprising to see all three of Gabriel, Washington and Vanderbilt invited.
60-70 players typically are invited, so Washington should be getting in. Vanderbilt is a little more questionable, especially with potential surgery looming or having already been completed.
Gabriel would be a big surprise, as he’s not getting any real NBA interest right now. ESPN’s Jonathan Givony, one of the best in the draft business, doesn’t have Gabriel among his top 100 prospects.
If both Gabriel and Vanderbilt were invited to the combine, John Calipari had to have pulled some strings, which is nothing new. He got Marcus Lee invited to the combine as a junior in 2016. Lee was planning to go pro, even though no one had him remotely close to being a draftable prospect. And after a poor showing at the combine, reality set in, and Lee ended up returning to college, even though he ended up transferring to Cal.
Diallo, Shai and Knox have already signed with agents. Between Gabriel, Washington and Vanderbilt, I think two of them return to UK, but there’s no guarantee any of them come back.