EJ Montgomery will find himself in a precarious position during Wednesday night’s NBA Draft and beyond.
You’re not going to see his name listed on any mock drafts, and it will come as a surprise if he is one of the 60 players selected.
When Montgomery chose to forgo his junior year at Kentucky and test the professional waters, it was understood that the idea of being drafted and carving out a path in the NBA would a major uphill battle.
The honest truth is that the folks tasked with making NBA draft decisions probably feel the same way about EJ Montgomery that most Kentucky fans do.
He’s a great talent with incredible length but is not a player who has shown the type of mental tenacity that would be necessary to maximize his holistic potential.
But is there still time to change that narrative?
Sure there is.
EJ Montgomery just turned 21 years old back in September. That may seem ancient in comparison to many of the players who will be drafted on Wednesday. But it’s still absolutely young enough to consider that there’s still plenty of time for development both physically and mentally.
It can become easy to forget just how much hype surrounded Montgomery before he arrived in Lexington. In 2018, he was a McDonald’s All-American that 247 Sports ranked as a top-10 player in the entire country.
If you recall — it was Calipari going head-to-head with Coach K and Duke to capture his late-spring commitment back in 2018.
Although things never totally gelled, it was always evident that Montgomery possessed the physical tools to evolve into a special player.
The most intriguing thing about him as a prospect is without a doubt his incredible length. Standing at 6-10 inches with a seven foot wingspan it’s hard to argue the fact that he looks the part of a professional basketball player.
I had the opportunity to see Montgomery play in high school when he was a freshman at Montverde Academy in Florida. His length at 14 years old blew me away, and I fully anticipated him being a future lottery pick.
I held onto that belief until about halfway through his freshman year at Kentucky when it became clear that his feel for the game just wasn’t on par with that of a one-and-done NBA lottery pick.
Montgomery would go on to average just 4.8 points and 4.6 rebounds during his two seasons at Kentucky.
Although, he did block 69 shots in just 65 total games played, often times Montgomery appeared to lack overall defensive awareness. Clearly there were red flags with his on-court play when you consider that John Calipari only trusted him to play around 19 minutes a game during his tenure as a Wildcat.
That was a long of saying that EJ Montgomery left a lot to be desired during his college career so it’s tough to project exactly if and where he could end up as a professional.
On rare occasion, he did show a few spurts of brilliance. In December 2019, Montgomery had his best game as a Wildcat when he poured in 26 points against Fairleigh-Dickinson. It was after games like that when the coaching staff would cross their fingers that the same EJ Montgomery would show up the next game and then again the one after that.
But consistency plagued his two years at Kentucky. You just never really knew which EJ you were getting from game to game.
How does he find his way as a Pro?
EJ Montgomery is at his best when he’s impacting the game without the need to create his own offense.
Running the floor, rebounding on both ends, and playing defense are things he can do right now at a high-level.
He snagged 111 offensive rebounds in during his career at Kentucky. So focusing his game on getting extra possessions for his team would be a good place to start as a pro.
There is no doubt that EJ Montgomery is a talented athlete and he will be playing professional basketball somewhere very soon.
In terms of his Kentucky career he sure did go out with a bang.
The last shot he ever took as a Kentucky Wildcat was the game-winning tip-in on the road to against Florida.
Relive that moment and wish EJ Montgomery luck as he takes the next step in his career.
EJ Montgomery tip in to win a game that really felt unwinnable.— Things #BBN Likes (@ThingsBBNLikes) March 7, 2020