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Basketball analyst predicts BJ Boston, Keion Brooks to return next season

Brooks’ potential return was called “the single most important decision on the roster.”

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Keion Brooks Jr. UK Athletics

From the moment that BJ Boston committed to the Kentucky Wildcats, everyone saw him as a top NBA Draft pick and a guarantee to be another one-and-one under John Calipari, regardless of how to season went.

However, the Cats sit with one regular-season game remaining, and their only chance on making the NCAA Tournament rests on a run to win the SEC Tournament.

On top of that, Boston’s freshman season has been disappointing and filled with inconsistent shooting for the 6-foot-7 guard as he is averaging 11.6 points per game on 35.2% shooting and is shooting 27% from three. In fact, his shooting struggles are historically low at Kentucky.

Boston has seen his draft stock plummet from top-five range all the way to now being projected late first round. Some NBA Mock Drafts even have him slipping into the second round.

When you consider all that Boston has missed out on, with coronavirus limiting what colleges can do, and the fact that he would lose millions on his rookie contract by falling so low in the projections, could he decide to come back for a sophomore season?

According to Sam Vecenie of The Athletic, Boston is no longer a guarantee to be leaving Lexington after one season.

“This is one of the decisions that could go either way,” Vecenie said. “Boston is in a fascinating spot. … (He) has been a lot better over the last month. It seems like he’s gotten over the freshman wall of understanding just how hard college basketball is and how engaged you have to be at all times in order to make an impact. Sometimes it takes teenagers a couple of months to figure out how tough the jump in competition is.”

He continued, “I believe there is upside for Boston if he returns to school, especially given the growth and the willingness to fight he has shown over the last month. If he comes back, he’s the guy for the Wildcats on the perimeter. If he does what he’s supposed to do, averages 18 to 20 points per game, and does so while shooting and showing an ability to play through contact, he’s right back to being a lottery pick.”

Vecenie also made a prediction on what Boston would decide to do and he predicts that Boston will be back for a second season in Lexington.

In that same article, The Athletic reporter and Kentucky beat writer Kyle Tucker gave his take on Boston and predicted the freshman guard to go pro.

No one expected Kentucky to struggle this season, and no one expected there was any shot of Boston returning. Now there could be a legit chance he is back next season.

Another key stay-or-go decision will be sophomore forward Keion Brooks. Though a mysterious calf injury led to him not playing until January, Brooks has still made a big jump from his freshman season. In 14 games, he’s reached double figures in 10 of them, including a 16-point outing on 8/14 shooting in Tuesday’s loss at Ole Miss.

While there hasn’t been much NBA buzz with Brooks, the safe assumption for Kentucky fans to make is that he’ll the the latest two-and-through player at Kentucky, even though there’s a real chance he wouldn’t be drafted this year.

Saying this, both Tucker and Vecenie predicted Brooks to return for his junior season. Tucker went as far as to call Brooks’ possible return “the single most important decision on the roster.”

Aside from Boston and Brooks, Vecenie and Tucker highlighted five other players with professional decisions to make including Terrence Clarke, Isaiah Jackson, Olivier Sarr, and Davion Mintz.

You can check out what they had to say about those players here.