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Where the Wildcats stand in new NBA Draft rankings

One Wildcat took a major dip that should make it easier for him to return to UK.

Drew Brown - Sea of Blue

Now that the season has come to an end, the BBN will now begin to speculate on who will be headed to the NBA Draft and who will be returning for another year in the blue and white.

Everyone has their own ideas of who will leave and own opinions on who should stay, but where are our top players projected to go in the upcoming draft?

ESPN updated their NBA Draft rankings, and three Kentucky Wildcats found themselves in the top 20.

PJ Washington was the Kentucky player on the board at 15th overall.

“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”

PJ improved a lot on the boards and on the defensive end, as well as his shooting ability, so he is definitely one of the top 15 players in the country.

Tyler Herro was the next Cat on the list, as he is projected to go 17th overall.

“Herro continues to climb draft boards as scouts are intrigued by his dynamic shooting stroke, feel for the game and defensive energy at 6-foot-5. It’s not out of the question that Herro has a rise similar to that of Jerome Robinson or Kevin Huerter

We all knew coming into the year that Herro could shoot even though he struggled with that at times. However, I don’t think anyone expected him to be the defensive presence that he was.

Herro’s improvement on that end of the floor from the Bahamas to the end of the season is one of the more impressive things from this season. His work ethic and Coach Cal’s ability to develop players in a short amount of time deserves a lot of credit.

Keldon Johnson is the final player from Kentucky inside the top 20, and he is projected to go 19th overall.

Johnson saw his draft stock fall all season long with his inconsistent play, and he never hit the level so many people expected to see this season. He will still get drafted in the first round should he decide to leave, as teams will see his potential and believe that they can develop him into a very solid player in the league.

Ashton Hagans was the final player from Kentucky to make the top 100 list, and he came in at 61 overall. It’s a big drop from being 41st in the last rankings.

Hagans had worked his way up into the 30s in the projections halfway through the season when he was UK’s best player during that stretch.

However, the end of the season was a tough stretch for Hagans, as his play dwindled down the stretch and it was capped off with one of his worst performance in the Elite Eight matchup with Auburn.

I do believe that Hagans wants to be a one and done, but I don’t see any scenario where he gets drafted high enough to even get one guaranteed year on his contract. He would benefit greatly from coming back for a sophomore season to work on his inconsistent shooting, improve defensively, and work on his decision making.

Here is a look at the top 20 prospects:

1 Zion Williamson

2 Ja Morant

3 RJ Barrett

4 Darius Garland

5 Jarrett Culver

6 De’Andre Hunter

7 Cam Reddish

8 Sekou Doumbouya

9 Jaxson Hayes

10 Coby White

11 Romeo Langford

12 Brandon Clarke

13 Bol Bol

14 Kevin Porter

15 PJ Washington

16 Nassir Little

17 Tyler Herro

18 Rui Hachimura

19 Keldon Johnson

20 Talen Horton-Tucker

You can look at the entire top 100 list here.