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2 Wildcats rising in new ESPN mock draft

UK will almost certainly have multiple players drafted from its backcourt in 2020.

Maxey Jason Marcum - Sea of Blue

As the college hoops season rolls on, two Kentucky Wildcats continue to boost their NBA Draft stock.

It’s becoming evident that Tyrese Maxey will be the highest Wildcat drafted this year, assuming he declares for the 2020 draft. He’s coming off his most complete performance of the season with 17 points on 7/15 shooting, eight rebounds, seven assists and four blocks in a win at Georgia. He’s been projected as a lottery pick for virtually the entire season, but now, he’s creeping up into top-five pick territory.

The latest mock draft from ESPN’s Jonathan Givony has Maxey all the way up to the sixth overall pick to the Washington Wizards. He’s ahead of big names like Cole Anthony, Jaden McDaniels, James Wiseman and RJ Hampton.

The only other Wildcat in this projection is fellow guard Ashton Hagans, who goes 29th to the Los Angeles Lakers. Hagans is having a great sophomore season as one of the best two-way guards in America, and his shooting has improved significantly from his promising freshman campaign.

Saying all of this, it’s unfortunate that Nick Richards is not part of this 60-pick projection. He’s finally playing at a high level and looks like someone who should be in the conversation for a first-round pick, but everyone clearly isn’t sold on him, yet.

Immanuel Quickley is also putting himself in position to hear his name called at some point in the draft if he keeps up his recent play, as he’s averaging 18.7 ppg over his last three contests.

Outside of those four, it’s hard to see anyone else emerging as a draft prospect at this stage, but never say never.

Here’s a look at what the lottery of this mock draft looks like:

1. Cavaliers - Anthony Edwards

2. Hawks - James Wiseman

3. Warriors - LaMelo Ball

4. Knicks - Tyrese Haliburton

5. Hornets - Deni Avdija

6. Wizards - Tyrese Maxey

7. Bulls - Cole Anthony

8. Suns - RJ Hampton

9. Celtics (via MEM) - Nico Mannion

10. Timberwolves - Isaac Okoro

11. Pelicans - Killian Hayes

12. Kings - Jaden McDaniels

13. Pistons - Precious Achiuwa

14. Trail Blazers - Obi Toppin