Tyrese Maxey is now one of five Kentucky players who will enter the NBA Draft and one of eight players from last season’s team who won’t be back for another year.
Naturally, the idea of a top program like Kentucky only returning one key player from the year before raises some concern from within the fanbase, but Maxey says Big Blue Nation has nothing to worry about.
During a Q&A on his Instagram story where he asked his followers how their quarantine life is going, someone responded, “Fine, but Kentucky lost you, Hagans, Quickley and Richards. Good luck in the NBA.”
Maxey responded to that with this video:
Tyrese knows #BBN @bboston_ @terrenceclarke_ @babydev5 @IJackson22 @TyreseMaxey pic.twitter.com/8U42OArGwu— Big Blue Nation (@BigBlue9ation) April 14, 2020
“Don’t worry about us. Y’all got some killers coming in!” said Maxey.
There’s two sides to this. To start, Maxey isn't wrong. Kentucky currently has the No. 1 ranked recruiting class in the country that includes two players that are projected within the top-10 in their class across major recruiting services. Brandon “BJ” Boston and Terrence Clarke, both five-star recruits, lead a six-man class that includes a pair of two other five-stars in Devin Askew and Isaiah Jackson, as well as a pair of four-stars in Lance Ware and Cam’Ron Fletcher. As far as what’s coming in, Kentucky has nothing to worry about.
The other side to this, though, is can they replace all the production that’s been lost from last season?
After EJ Montgomery’s announcement to enter the NBA Draft, the Wildcats have now lost more than 85% of their scoring, rebounding, assists and minutes from last year’s team. The only contributor from last season who is set to return is Keion Brooks Jr. Even based on what Kentucky is used to going through each offseason, this looks to be a massive overhaul. These freshman are special, and maybe even more so if Calipari can pull off the unlikely miracle of snagging Greg Brown or some grad transfers, but they will be asked to produce a ton for a team now void of experienced college players in John Calipari’s system.
Maxey is spot on because this freshman class is elite, and when combined with Brooks and Creighton grad-transfer Javion Mintz, you can see the pieces slowly start to come together. It’s by no means a full puzzle, though, and the Wildcats will a need commitment from at least one of Matt Haarms, Jacob Toppin or Brown in order to add much needed depth to the frontcourt and solidify the roster.