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NBA executive weighs in on Kentucky’s top prospects

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Boston and Jackson are still first-rounders, but Clarke is a major question mark.

NCAA Basketball: Kentucky at Louisville Louisville Courier-Journal-USA TODAY Sports

The Kentucky Wildcats currently sit at their worst record in almost 100 years, and are on the brink of just their third losing season in about nine decades, the last one taking place when Eddie Sutton was head coach in Lexington.

Despite the horrid play on the court, Kentucky seemed to have one of the most talented rosters, top-to-bottom, in the entire country before the season started. They were the only program in the country to land two top-10 recruits in the class of 2020 via BJ Boston and Terrence Clarke.

So that begs that question; where do these players stand in terms of leaving and getting drafted, or returning to Kentucky for next season?

Kentucky Sports Radio’s Aaron Torres did a deep dive on this question and talked to an NBA executive on Kentucky’s pro prospects.

Here’s what was said on BJ Boston, arguably Kentucky’s most likely pro prospect:

NCAA Basketball: Kentucky at Auburn John Reed-USA TODAY Sports

“He takes bad shots, but he’s made those tough shots in the past,” the exec said.

“As crazy as it sounds, he’s still a legitimate NBA prospect for 2021, and not just an NBA Draft prospect, but a first round guy,” the exec said. “One, because he’s just so talented. And two, the value in guys in his mold and three, there’s a lacking depth once you get past the top seven or eight guys in this class.”

“If you’re picking No. 18, 20, 21, it means you’re a playoff contending team,” the exec said. “So you add a BJ Boston to a playoff contender who can be a little more patient with him, and hope that in year two, year three, year four, he can be really good.”

While Boston’s stock has drastically fallen since the beginning of the season, this NBA executive believes that Boston is still a first-rounder no matter what. So don’t expect him to be in Lexington for another season.

Here is what was said of Terrence Clarke, Kentucky’s biggest question mark small forward who has missed the past six games:

NCAA Basketball: Kentucky at Louisville Louisville Courier-Journal-USA TODAY Sports

“Is that a legitimate injury, or is there something more to it?” the exec wondered. “And he already didn’t start off on solid footing because of some shaky intel. And you have potentially those same issues popping up at Kentucky. Now, if it is a serious ankle injury [that’s a different conversation].”

“When he returns, how does he look?” the exec said. “And how he looks is definitely going either enhance or hurt his draft standing, as a lottery potential guy, or someone who might fall out of the first round.”

Clarke is clearly Kentucky’s biggest question mark and is not currently projected as a first-round draft pick.

Here is part of what was said of Isaiah Jackson, who is Kentucky’s second projected first-rounder:

NCAA Basketball: Kentucky at Auburn John Reed-USA TODAY Sports

“He’s been up and down,” the exec said. “He’s the guy who drew all the rave reviews in the lead-up to the season. And he had two or three games this year where he looks like a potential Top 10 draft pick, and other games where he looks like he needs to go back to college for another two or three years.”=

It should be noted that in Sports Illustrated’s newest mock draft, BJ Boston was projected to be drafted 18th overall by the Houston Rockets, which could be a good play-style for him to fit into.

Isaiah Jackson was the only other Wildcat in the first round of the mock, going 25th overall to the 76ers.