The Kentucky Wildcats have the No. 1 overall recruiting class for the upcoming 2023-24 season.
That class was headlined by Justin Edwards, who was the highest-ranked player in Kentucky’s class as he came in at No. 3 overall, according to 247 Sports.
Edwards got off to a slow start during the Cats’ trip to Canada but led them in the gold medal game against Canada with 23 points, seven rebounds, two assists, and two blocks.
“Still, I’d expect Edwards to have an enormous impact. He’ll be Kentucky’s best player this year, ahead of highly rated recruits such as D.J. Wagner, Robert Dillingham, Aaron Bradshaw and others. That bore itself out during the team’s trip to Canada for the GLOBL JAM event, where Edwards was the team’s best player in the final and averaged 14 points, seven rebounds, two assists and two blocks during the event. Most importantly: Edwards was very confident taking 3s, even though he only made 30 percent of them. I buy him being a bit more polished than some of these other guys, capable of playing well on both ends of the floor at an important position of value (a combo three/four) and especially able to drive toward the rim.”
As for the rest of the 2023-24 roster, only DJ Wagner joins Edwards in the first round, as Vecenie has him projected as the No. 22 overall pick.
“The problems for Wagner are threefold. First, he’s merely a good athlete, not a great one. He’s crafty with the ball, but doesn’t have lightning quickness or explosiveness. Second, he’s a scoring guard at 6-foot-2, not a point guard. He needs to significantly improve his passing ability and make more plays for his teammates. The third is his shooting. Over the last two summers on the EYBL circuit, as well as more than 17 additional Synergy-tracked games for Camden High School and with USA Basketball, he has made just 54 of his 213 3-point attempts, a paltry 25 percent. It’s really hard to make it in the NBA as a 6-foot-3 scoring two guard without immense athleticism or a proficient 3-point shot.”
The only other Kentucky player in Vecenie’s Mock Draft is Aaron Bradshaw, who he has projected as a second-round pick going No. 38 overall.
However, he notes in the introduction that he slid Bradshaw down due to his recent foot surgery, stating, “I always worry about bigs with foot injuries.”
You can check out the entire 2024 Mock Draft from The Athletic here.