However, in the 2023 draft, the team only saw two players selected, guard Cason Wallace at No. 10 to the Oklahoma City Thunder, and forward Chris Livingston at No. 58 to the Milwaukee Bucks.
Wallace was the team’s only first-round pick. Former National Player of the Year center Oscar Tshiebwe, who went pro following his senior season at Kentucky, also could’ve been taken but didn’t crack the 58 picks.
With the best recruiting class in the country set to join Kentucky this upcoming season, the 2024 NBA Draft is bound to have more promise for the Cats. Three Wildcats, all 5-star recruits, are expected to be first-round picks, per SB Nation’s 2024 Mock Draft via Ricky O’Donnell.
DJ Wagner goes at No. 5, Justin Edwards at No. 7, and Aaron Bradshaw at No. 28.
Edwards, Bradshaw, and Wagner respectively rank No. 3, No. 4, and No. 6 in 247 Sports recruiting rankings. The only 5-star Cats recruit not included in the top-30 picks is Robert Dillingham, who is listed as the nation’s 3rd-best point guard and 16th-best player in the Class of 2023.
That said, G-League Ignite guard Matas Buzelis is set to go No. 1 with Bronny James, the son of LeBron James, sitting 13th in the draft. James’ USC teammate Isaiah Collier is set to go 3rd overall.
In addition, here is what Ricky O’Donnell had to say about Wagner and Edwards.
DJ Wagner, G, Kentucky: Talented all-around scoring guard who was considered the top player in the class from the start of his prep career as the son of Dajuan Wagner and grandson of Milt Wagner. Fearless driver with good touch around the basket who can get to the free throw line. He’s made improvement as a three-point shooter, but that’s still a question mark moving forward. At 6’3, he probably doesn’t have the size or shooting to get in the mix for No. 1, but his scoring punch will still be valuable.
Justin Edwards, G/F, Kentucky: Smooth lefty with a pretty mid-range pull-up and shooting range out to three. Some of his defensive tape is a bit spotty. Teams will want to see him develop as a passer, and prove he can get to the foul line. Reportedly a strong rebounder who can score in the open floor. He has obvious NBA tools if he shoots on enough volume from three and improves his attentiveness defensively.
Kentucky will also have 4-star recruit Reed Sheppard joining them this upcoming season, so coupling the four 5-star recruits with Sheppard, and the Cats are expected to be one of the best teams in the nation.