The Cats’ lackluster play as of late it has provided some updates in terms of player draft stock. As conference play is about to begin experts and NBA personnel are starting to form opinions about several UK players and their potential in the 2020 NBA Draft.
Eleven games into the season Kentucky has already had their fair share of peaks and valleys. Early in the season it was Tyrese Maxey and Nick Richards who looked poised to have breakout seasons but both have failed to provide much consistency from game to game. Lately, it has been Ashton Hagans who is hitting his stride and showing that he can play at an elite level.
What are the experts saying?
Sam Vecine of The Athletic has a terrific article that broke down his top ten prospects as well as provided insight about Kentucky players after the CBS Sports classic in Las Vegas.
Despite losing 71-65 to the Buckeyes, a few guys left NBA personnel with a positive impression of their game.
Obviously, Ashton Hagans has looked on another level over the last several games. He is distributing the ball with confidence and just might be attacking the rim better than he ever has in his career at Kentucky. Hagans showed out in two games in Las Vegas by dropping 30 points and dishing out 17 assists. That is helping him get into the first-round discussion for the 2020 draft.
Hagans has moved himself into the late first round, early second-round range for me. Evaluators still have significant concerns about the shot and are slightly lower, but I’d bet Hagans turns into a strong backup point guard at the next level due to the way he can change the pace and tenor of the game.
Anybody that follows college basketball understands that Tyrese Maxey is still loaded with the potential and the experts agree. Even though his shot has not been very consistent, at this point, most would still consider Maxey to still be a lottery pick, including Vecine. A big part of that is Vecine thinks Maxey will eventually become a more consistent shooter.
I think the shooting is going to come around, and when it does, he’s going to be an extremely difficult stop for college defenders. Maxey could really knock down shots late in his high school career, and his mechanics are very clean despite a low release point.
Maxey will have a chance to make a statement in another big game when the Cardinals come to town on Saturday. Louisville clearly has a inferior backcourt compared to Kentucky which could give Maxey the opportunity to go off.
As you can imagine the majority of feedback surrounding Kahlil Whitney, who came to Lexington with the idea that he would be a one-and-done, is not great.
Vecine stated that “Whitney should be unpacking his bags for a second season in Lexington. He’s got a ways to go right now.”