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Kentucky Basketball: Which player in the NBA Draft does UK need back the most?

Of the guys without an agent, which would make the biggest impact on next year’s team?

NCAA Basketball: Kentucky Media Day Mark Zerof-USA TODAY Sports

The NBA Draft Combine is taking place in Chicago this week, and dozens of guys have tough decisions to make about their futures. The deadline to remove your name from the draft and return to college is May 30th, so crunch time is approaching for many NBA hopefuls.

What will the next two weeks bring for the Kentucky players that are still eligible to return? PJ Washington, Wenyen Gabriel, and Jarred Vanderbilt have just under two weeks to decide whether to pursue playing professionally right now or to return to school.

PJ Washington is the only of the three participating in the Combine this week. While his measurables were not impressive, he did perform well in the 5-on-5 scrimmage, scoring 14 points and pulling down 13 rebounds in 19 minutes.

During a media appearance after the scrimmage, Washington was pretty clear that his decision will be definitively based on his feedback from NBA executives. If he is likely to be a first round selection, he will go. If that is not the case, he plans to come back.

Jarred Vanderbilt’s decision will be based on injury, as he has been riddled with ankle/foot problems for the last few years. He is not participating in the Combine and will not be able to showcase his full skill set in private workouts.

Vanderbilt has the choice of taking a chance on getting selected late in the 2nd round and earning his spot on a roster or returning to school and risking further injury destroying any chance he has of being drafted. That is not really a win-win scenario.

Wenyen Gabriel’s decision is mostly based on money. He needs to support his family, and the sooner, the better. If he can make good money overseas or get a legitimate shot at a summer league or camp invitation, he is likely gone. He will most certainly not be drafted, so his private workouts with teams are really to gauge if he could be draftable in a year or two.

So the best question is: which player does Kentucky need to return the most?

Would Wenyen’s experience and shooting fit the best into next year’s roster?

Could a sophomore Washington become an absolute monster?

Or does a healthy Vanderbilt meet a need that nobody else on the current roster can fill?


Which player does Kentucky basketball need the most next season?

This poll is closed

  • 41%
    PJ Washington
    (458 votes)
  • 47%
    Jarred Vanderbilt
    (531 votes)
  • 10%
    Wenyen Gabriel
    (119 votes)
1108 votes total Vote Now