In the newest ESPN 2020 NBA Mock Draft Jaden McDaniels is projected to be the first name to come off the board.
ESPN’s Jonathan Givony has slated the 6-11 big man from Washington as the top overall pick to the Cavaliers. Fellow Kentucky target Anthony Edwards is projected to go second overall to the Bulls. James Wiseman who chose Memphis over Kentucky, is slated as the third pick to the Suns.
McDaniels is in the process of choosing where he will play his college basketball next season. His five finalists include his home state team of Washington, San Diego State, Texas, UCLA and Kentucky.
According to 247’s crystal ball projection, San Diego State holds the edge with a 40% chance to land the five-star prospect with Kentucky, Texas, and Washington all checking in at 20%. However, it’s Washington who’s believed to be the top threat to land him with Kentucky also strongly in the mix.
McDaniels is a player that John Calipari has hosted in Lexington and has visited multiple times, including in New York City following Kentucky’s matchup with Seton Hall at Madison Square Garden last season.
However, it’s a former Wildcat that may go a long way in effecting McDaniels decision. McDaniels has formed a relationship with Kentucky transfer and now Washing guard Quade Green. Green will likely try to force McDaniels’ hand but, it is unclear how much of an impact he will have.
Kentucky’s 2020 class is lacking size, with Reid Travis gone after the season and PJ Washington likely declaring for the draft landing McDaniels would be huge for Kentucky’s national championship chances in 2020.
As for Edwards, he was seen as a long shot for the Cats, but after his visit this week, they seem to have a shot at landing him. He has already named his final five, as he will choose between Kentucky, Georgia, UNC, Kansas and Florida State.
Though Florida State holds a big-time advantage, according to 247, who gives the Noles an 80% chance to land him, Kentucky always seems to have one prospect they shock the world with, such as Kevin Knox.
Outside of McDaniels and Edwards, a few other Kentucky-linked players were included in the draft.
Current Wildcats Tyler Herro and Ashton Hagans, who both still may still enter the draft following this current season, were projected as first-round picks with Herro going 18th overall to the Clippers and Hagans going 20th to the Rockets.
If this mock draft is at all accurate and Kentucky can land McDaniels and or Edwards it will be a team full of NBA potential for the Wildcats in 2020.