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Wednesday Headlines: NBA Draft Deadline Day

The day has arrived for NBA draft decisions.

NCAA Basketball: Auburn at Kentucky Jordan Prather-USA TODAY Sports

It’s decision day for Antonio Reeves, Chris Livingston and Oscar Tshiebwe. The three former Wildcats all entered their name in the NBA Draft while maintaining eligibility to return to Kentucky for another season. They’ll each have to decide today, before 11:59 PM, if they’re staying in the draft or opting to return to Kentucky.

Usually there’s a lot of buzz surrounding the potential return of UK players. Last year, Tshiebwe’s announcement to return for a second season with the Wildcats was the biggest story in the country. But a year later, the potential return of Tshiebwe and/or either of his two teammates has been mildly talked about on a national scale.

At first, Reeves seemed like the most likely to return. While that seems unideal with how Kentucky bringing in multiple scoring guards and returning second year player Adou Thiero for next season, his veteran presence on the team and ability to go for 20+ points any given night is incredibly valuable. But there’s been recent buzz that teams could look to poach Reeves in the transfer portal if he decides to return to school and that would sting much more than watching him enter the draft.

Livingston also seemed like a no-brainer to return, but that’s becoming less-likely also. While he’s not been projected in any mock drafts as of late, Livingston is represented by Klutch Sports and their connections throughout NBA circles are unmatched. Watching Livingston work out is like watching a NBA player. He’s just built different physically and comes off as a player that can develop into a really productive pro player if given the time.

Tshiebwe, for whatever reason, has been relatively quiet. Like Livingston, he’s been working out for several NBA teams but his game simply doesn’t seem like it will transfer to the NBA well. Not being able to shoot instantly handicaps a NBA offense and you’d have to imagine that would limit Tshiebwe’s ability to receive any playing time should he be drafted or sign with a team as an undrafted free agent.

Unless something unforeseen happens and any of these three go in the first round, you’d have to think they’d make more money through NIL at Kentucky than as a second round draft pick or undrafted free agent. They’d also return to UK with an increased chance of winning a National Title or at least making a deep run. Maybe there are reasons we’re not aware of that make returning to Kentucky not a good idea for any of the three. But considering just what we know, all three could benefit greatly from another year at UK.

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Which would you prefer?


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