In the heat of people wondering who will stay for another year on this Kentucky team and who will go, ESPN released their best available draft prospects, and four Kentucky Wildcats are listed.
The highest rated draft prospect is Keldon Johnson, who is the 12th overall prospect and the 4th-ranked small forward, behind Cam Reddish, Romeo Langford (who is somehow a small forward), and Nassir Little.
Keldon is probably the most NBA ready prospect on this Wildcats squad when he plays at his full potential.
Strengths- Has good physical tools for an NBA wing.- Aggressive, versatile player on both ends of the floor. Powerful attacking in a straight line or in the open floor. Capable outside shooter. - Highly competitive rebounder and defender. Plays with toughness, intensity and confidence, and he has a good feel for the game.
Improvement areas- Not yet a dynamic shooter at this stage, especially pulling up off the dribble or on the move. Has improved, but he’s still very streaky (30 percent from 3; 73 percent on free throws). - Powerful, but not an especially explosive athlete creating in the half court. - Struggled with his conditioning earlier in his career.
Right behind Keldon is PJ Washington, who has rocketed up the draft boards with his fantastic conference play. The big issue that PJ needed to work on in his sophomore season was his three-point shot, and boy has he ever worked on it.
Washington is hitting 45% of his outside shots and is averaging 15 points a game. Washington is the 13th overall prospect and the 4th ranked power forward behind Zion Williamson, De’Andre Hunter, and Sekou Doumbouya from Guinea.
Washington compares physically to Rudy Gay, Jerami Grant, and Kawhi Leonard. Taking into account his athletic testing results brings up the name Noah Vonleh as his top comp.
Washington has enviable physical tools and will almost certainly hear his name called in the first round if he can find a way to use his tremendous measurements to better perform defensively and on the glass, which didn’t happen consistently enough as a freshman.
Tyler Herro comes in as the 27th ranked prospect, which could be good or bad for Kentucky fans. Herro may not care where he is drafted, as long as he is a first round pick. Or he could see himself like PJ Washington and want to come back for another year and play himself into the lottery.
Herro is the 6th rated shooting guard prospect behind RJ Barrett (who is somehow a shooting guard), Jarrett Culver, Nickeil Alexander-Walker, Kevin Porter, and Coby White (who is somehow not listed as a point guard).
Ashton Hagans is the final Kentucky prospect on the list, and he comes in as the 40th ranked prospect overall. If Hagans is indeed a second round pick, it could be good news for Kentucky fans as it would give him reason to come back and play himself into the first round.
Hagans has all the tools, but lacks a viable jump shot as of right now. And if you’re going to be a point guard in the NBA, you need to be able to consistently hit the outside shot. Hagans is the 5th ranked point guard prospect behind Ja Morant, Darius Garland, Tre Jones, and Ayo Dosunmu.
Do you agree with these draft rankings for the current Cats?
You can check out the entire list here.