Despite not being projected in any mock draft, the buzz that Montgomery will go pro has been growing ever since his father spoke out against coming back for a junior season.
”Just because he did other things to help his team win, and didn’t get to showcase his (offense), doesn’t mean he can’t do it,” Efrem Montgomery told Jerry Tipton of the Lexington Herald-Leader. “Why come back and waste a whole other year when you can already do those things anyway?”
With a decision seemingly imminent, Kyle Tucker of The Athletic says the vibe is Montgomery is likely to become the fifth Wildcat to turn pro.
Ashton Hagans, Tyrese Maxey, Immanuel Quickley and Nick Richards have all made it official. Vibe I’m getting is EJ Montgomery increasingly likely to join them soon.— Kyle Tucker (@KyleTucker_ATH) April 14, 2020
That’d be all five starters gone. Plus the sixth man. And 8 of 9 contributors.
Getting Matt Haarms is a must.
Kentucky head coach John Calipari may have already let the news slip in a webinar arranged by the National Association of Basketball Coaches on Monday. There, Calipari said he was only getting two players back for next season, presumably Keion Brooks Jr. and Dontaie Allen.
“I have two returning players from last year’s team . . . ,” said Calipari via the Herald-Leader. “We’re going to be a totally different team playing a totally different way.”
It would be brutal for Kentucky to lose so much from a season in which it didn’t even get to play in the postseason, but that’s just how it goes here now. It’s understandable to see why guys like Immanuel Quickley, Ashton Hagans, Tyrese Maxey and Nick Richards are going pro, but also losing guys like Johnny Juzang and Kahlil Whitney to transfer while Montgomery is likely to end up overseas or in the G-League is a tough pill to swallow.
Of course, Calipari has the No. 1 recruiting class coming in, a quality grad transfer guard in Davion Mintz, and potentially a grad transfer big in Matt Haarms. But with so much roster turnover in what may be a severely limited offseason due to COVID-19, we’ll probably going to see a lot of growing pains early on next season, perhaps more than most Calipari teams.