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Tyrese Maxey makes huge jump on Sporting News NBA Draft board; 3 Wildcats in top 50

Maxey has increased his stock in a big way already this season.

NCAA Basketball: Kentucky at Georgia Dale Zanine-USA TODAY Sports

Tyrese Maxey entered this season as a potential lottery pick. He was solidly in the first round, but in the mid-teens on most mock drafts.

But with his play on the biggest of stages this season, he has slowly worked his way up the draft boards. In fact, Chris Stone of Sporting News now lists Maxey as the No. 4 overall prospects for the 2020 draft.

“Kentucky’s Tyrese Maxey is someone who has moved from the back half of lottery toward the top five on this board in large part because he’s shown he can score at a high rate, carry a team offensively and succeed defending at the point of attack,” stone wrote. “Critics will point to Maxey’s poor 3-point percentage this season, but it would be a mistake to discount him for that reason. The 19-year-old has a history of success from behind the arc, is shooting 80.3 percent from the foul line and clearly has the confidence of his coaching staff behind him — he’s taking 5.2 3s per 40 minutes. Don’t let the small sample size fool you into thinking Maxey will grade out as a poor shooter.”

On some boards, Maxey was not even the top prospect on the Kentucky team headed into the season. Kahlil Whitney came to Lexington has a highly touted recruit and was widely believed to be a one-and-done player. And while that still may be the case, Sporting News now lists him at No. 30 on the big board. My guess is that Whitney would leave for the NBA if guaranteed a position in the first round of the draft. However, he certainly has not met expectations as of yet.

Ashton Hagans is the heart and soul of the Wildcats this season. He has been great in most aspects of his game this season, he has improved his shooting, and he may be the best perimeter defender in the nation. However, his stock is not rising as quickly as Maxey’s. According to Sporting News, Hagans should be an early second round selection and they list him at No. 49 overall.

I would not be surprised to see Nick Richards work his way onto this list in the next few weeks. The combination of size and agility that he brings to the table is something that all NBA teams are looking for, as long as he continues to build on his offensive skill set.

Read Stone’s entire big board over on Sporting News here. What do you think about where the Wildcats landed (or did not land) on his list?

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