The Kentucky Wildcats had a tough season last year, but they’re still expected to have multiple players enter the NBA next season. The two names projected to be called on the July 29 draft are center Isaiah Jackson and guard Brandon “BJ” Boston Jr.
Jackson is being mocked to teams at the end of the first round. In the most recent ESPN mock draft, written by ESPN’s Jonathan Givony, Jackson is taken 24th overall by the Houston Rockets.
This would be an interesting selection for the Rockets, who signed big man Christian Wood to a massive contract last offseason. That said, here’s what Givony wrote on the 6-foot-10 center.
“This is a little bit of a slide from previous projections for Jackson, whose lack of bulk, propensity for fouling and unpolished game could cause playoff teams to look more towards more ready-made contributors. The Rockets are in an early stage of their rebuilding process and can afford to swing for the fences for a prospect like Jackson, one of the most explosive players in the draft and an elite shot-blocker who dropped strong glimpses of offensive potential, which gives him significant upside,” Givony wrote.
Jackson played well in Lexington, averaging 8.4 points and 6.6 rebounds per game.
He hit 54% of his shots from the field yet didn’t develop a three-point shot while in college. The upside as a high-level defender and an efficient scorer is there and is the reasoning behind him being a projected first-round pick.
Jackson is a raw prospect but so is BJ Boston. Boston, per Givony’s mock, could go at No. 36. That means he’d be selected by the Oklahoma City Thunder and then join former Wildcats star Shai Gilgeous-Alexander.
With Keion Brooks returning to Kentucky, there isn’t any other Wildcat expecting to hear their name called.
That said, while Jackson feels solidified as a late first-round pick, Boston’s stock has been rising, and he could go in the late first round or within the first few picks of the second round.
Overall, Oklahoma State’s Cade Cunningham is the clear top prospect with Jalen Green or Evan Mobley likely going back-to-back at No. 2 and No. 3.
Here’s a look of what the top 10 picks look like.
1. Detroit Pistons - Cade Cunningham
2. Houston Rockets - Jalen Green
3. Cleveland Cavaliers - Evan Mobley
4. Toronto Raptors - Jalen Suggs
5. Orlando Magic - Scottie Barnes
6. Oklahoma City Thunder - James Bouknight
7. Golden State Warriors (from Minnesota) - Jonathan Kuminga
8. Orlando Magic (from Chicago) - Moses Moody
9. Sacramento Kings - Franz Wagner
10. New Orleans Pelicans - Josh Giddey