It’s still very early in the offseason, but the Kentucky Wildcats’ 2021-22 roster continues to come into focus.
It looks like it will include a sophomore Lance Ware, but it’s highly unlikely it will include a sophomore Isaiah Jackson.
“We’re going through the process and the process starts with putting your name in the draft,” Jackson said. “We’re at the beginning. You can’t get this wrong. You have to get as much information as you can, process it, and pray on it. I want him to go through all the steps. We’re at the beginning. He hasn’t made his mind up go or stay and we haven’t hired an agent. We came into this thinking 2-3 years not knowing he would flourish so when people are talking lottery pick, you have to consider it.”
In addition, Ware has told Zags Blog reporter Jacob Polacheck that any transfer rumors about the freshman forward are false, as he plans on sticking around in Lexington.
So for now, Ware will be a member of the 2021-22 Wildcats, while Jackson is expected to remain in the draft.
Jackson entering the draft was a move that everyone knew was inevitable, especially later into the season. He has all the physical tools and instincts to be a great NBA player one day.
The 6-10 Jackson averaged 8.4 points per game on 54% shooting with 6.6 rebounds and 2.6 blocks while playing just 20.7 minutes per contest as a true freshman. While very impressive, his stats would look even better if he had managed to stay out of foul trouble in most of his games.
At the beginning of the season, not many mock drafts, if any, had Jackson being drafted. But as the season progressed, his talent and potential were made clear through his athleticism. He made some plays that just made you saw “wow” and now he gets a chance to do that at the next level.
The latest Mock Draft out of ESPN has Jackson all the way at 15 to the Raptors, just one pick shy of the Lottery. This one from NBC Sports published on March 8th has Jackson being picked up 20th overall to the Knicks.
As for Ware, he averaged 2.0 points on 40.6% shooting with 3.0 boards and 0.5 blocks per game. His best game was an eight-point, 10-rebound performance in Kentucky’s 75-70 loss at Missouri. Ware also grabbed 12 boards and scored four points in the double-overtime win at Mississippi State.
Calipari on Lance Ware (12 rebounds):— Kyle Tucker (@KyleTucker_ATH) January 3, 2021
“Unbelievable. I went and hugged him after and said, ‘Your fight was unbelievable.’ He’s really, really intelligent and smart. His execution on offense and defense is ON POINT. So I gave him a hug.”
Ware clearly has a lot of developing to do before he can become a consistent rotational piece, but the potential is certainly there. And if he sticks around for 3-4 years, he may eventually become an impact starter.