With everything going on in the world and the excitement of the NBA bubble in Orlando, the NBA Draft has been an afterthought for many basketball fans. But in case you did not know, the draft is taking place tonight, and Kentucky fans may not like the most recent predictions.
Four Wildcats (five if you count Kahlil Whitney, which I don’t) have entered the NBA Draft, but how many of them will be selected?
Tyrese Maxey was destined for the lottery for much of the season, Immanuel Quickley won SEC Player of the Year, Ashton Hagans has a strong defensive season, junior Nick Richards was an all-conference performer, and EJ Montgomery...hit a game-winner at Florida and chose to enter the draft.
The predictions have been all over the place, but the most recent ESPN mock draft has only two Kentucky Wildcats being selected Wednesday night. Can you guess which two?
No. 16 (Houston Rockets) - Tyrese Maxey
“A new Houston front office will be picking for a franchise that rarely drafts this high in the first round, so it makes sense to employ a best-player-available strategy,” ESPN’s Jonathan Givony wrote. “A versatile combo guard such as Maxey could make a lot of sense with his ability to defend multiple positions and play pick-and-roll. He has plenty of upside to grow into if the Rockets need to go into full-blown rebuilding mode.”
No. 45 (Orlando Magic) - Immanuel Quickley
Immanuel Quickley won SEC Player of the Year in 2020 and really showed how completed his game can be. He shot extremely well, defended, and came in and performed in high pressure situations. His adventure through the draft process was highlighted well today in an interview with Big Blue Express.
So Nick Richards, Ashton Hagans, and EJ Montgomery are potentially going to go undrafted, if you believe the ESPN predictions. Richards will certainly get an opportunity somewhere, even if it is a post-draft signing. I expect Hagans to get a chance as well. But will Montgomery get an opportunity in America or be forced to play overseas? That may be the biggest question for Kentucky players heading into Wednesday’s draft.
Stay tuned to A Sea of Blue for all draft updates and signings for former Wildcats.