Since John Calipari became the head coach of the Kentucky Wildcats, he has been putting players in the NBA in bunches.
Sam Vecenie of The Athletic is one of the best draft analysts in the country as he is constantly speaking with league executives about the upcoming draft.
In his latest mock draft, Vecenie has three Wildcats getting picked in the draft.
Tyrese Maxey is the first Cat taken and the only one taken in the first round as he has him going No. 17 overall to the Boston Celtics.
“Everything about Maxey’s game screams Celtics to me,” said Vecenie. “He’s a tough kid with a terrific, powerful frame that looks like that of a free safety at 6-foot-3 with a 6-foot-6 wingspan. He also has a real personality to him and is thought to be a great kid and a tremendous worker. More than the non-basketball stuff, though, Maxey is a real threat as an on-ball scoring guard with great craft. He finishes well at the basket, has a terrific floater game, and does a great job getting downhill to get into the paint.”
2019-2020 SEC Player of the Year Immanuel Quickley is projected to be selected No. 49 overall heading to the Philadelphia 76ers, a team that desperately needs outside shooting.
“This is the easiest fit in the world,” said Vecenie. “Quickley is one of the elite shooters of this draft class, having hit 42.8 percent of his 3s and over 92 percent from the line. The 76ers desperately need shooters, and ones who can knock them down off of the movement.”
Nick Richards made an incredible jump from his sophomore to junior season and is the third and final Cat projected to get drafted according to Vecenie. Richards is projected to go No. 59 overall and be joining Quickley in Philly with the Sixers.
“Richards was first team All-SEC this season and took significant steps toward turning himself back into a draftable prospect after two years of looking lost on the court at Kentucky,” said Vecenie. “He averaged 14 points, 7.8 rebounds and 2.1 blocks per game, plus has terrific measurements at a legit 7-foot with a 7-4 wingspan. Teams also strongly believe in his ability to shoot the ball from the midrange consistently at some point. His stroke is pure, and the ball comes out of his hand clean. … The 76ers could stand to take a flyer on a long-term backup to Joel Embiid.”
Kentucky’s other two draft eligible players Ashton Hagans and EJ Montgomery are not expected to hear their names on draft night as well as Kahlil Whitney who decided to leave the Kentucky program mid-season.
Despite none of them being expected to get drafted, we should still expect all three to sign a Summer League deal somewhere and have a chance to show what they can do and potentially play themselves into an NBA contract.
You can check out the full mock draft from Vecenie here.