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Where the Wildcats stand in new ESPN draft rankings

Plus some notes on EJ Montgomery and Nick Richards.

NCAA Basketball: Utah at Kentucky Mark Zerof-USA TODAY Sports

The NBA Draft withdrawal deadline is Wednesday, and several Kentucky Wildcats still have decisions to make.

Nick Richards and EJ Montgomery are still testing the NBA waters and may not announce a final decision until Wednesday, which has become normal for Wildcats considering a jump to the pros.

Unfortunately for both players, they have no real NBA buzz right now, and that’s evident in ESPN’s latest NBA Draft rankings. Neither Montgomery nor Richards are among the top 100 prospects in this ranking, which is done by draft expert Jonathan Giovanny.

If you follow the draft, you’d know Giovanny is one of, if not the best in the business when it not only comes to mock drafts, but also intel he gets from NBA personnel.

Giovanny wrote about some of the biggest draft decisions yet to be made, and he offered this on Montgomery:

The former top-10 recruit hasn’t gained much traction in the pre-draft process, not being invited to either combine in Chicago, and it would likely be helpful to return to Kentucky for his sophomore season and possibly beyond.

Giovanny’s assessment of Richards was essentially the same:

Like Montgomery, Richards did not receive an invite to either Chicago combine and likely will need to return to Kentucky to try to resurrect his stock enough to hear his name called in the draft next year or in 2021.

It’s pretty evident that both need to return to school for at least one more year, but perhaps they’re just ready to be done with school and play pro ball, whether it’s the NBA, G-League or overseas.

As for the Wildcats locked into the draft, PJ Washington is the highest-ranked player at 16th overall, followed by Tyler Herro (19) and Keldon Johnson (20).

And for what it’s worth, Kerry Blackshear Jr. is also not in this ranking, though he still appears likely to remain in the draft. Seeing Montgomery and Blackshear stay in the draft would be brutal news for Kentucky.

Here is a look at the top 30 prospects in this ranking:

  1. Zion Williamson
  2. Ja Morant
  3. RJ Barrett
  4. Darius Garland
  5. De’Andre Hunter
  6. Jarrett Culver
  7. Cam Reddish
  8. Coby White
  9. Sekou Doumbouya
  10. Nassir Little
  11. Jaxson Hayes
  12. Rui Hachimura
  13. Brandon Clarke
  14. Romeo Langford
  15. Bol Bol
  16. PJ Washington
  17. Goga Bitadze
  18. Kevin Porter
  19. Tyler Herro
  20. Keldon Johnson
  21. Cameron Johnson
  22. Nickeil Alexander-Walker
  23. Mfiondu Kabengele
  24. KZ Okpala
  25. Ty Jerome
  26. Talen Horton-Tucker
  27. Luguentz Dort
  28. Matisse Thybulle
  29. Darius Bazley
  30. Luka Samanic