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ESPN mock draft dubs Rob Dillingham and Reed Sheppard as lottery picks

Kentucky’s top options off the bench could make a splash at the next level.

Reed Sheppard Dylan Ballard - A Sea Of Blue

The Kentucky Wildcats have two freshmen who have emerged as lottery picks in NBA Mock Drafts.

No, wildly enough, I am not talking about Justin Edwards and DJ Wagner, two players who were among the top-10 prospects in the Class of 2023.

Did you think we were going to mention Aaron Bradshaw, the 7-foot center who could develop a 3-point jumper and dominate in the NBA?

Nope.

The two players who have surged up the draft boards are Reed Sheppard and Rob Dillingham, mainly due to their elite playmaking, smart decision-making abilities, and consistency.

In a recent ESPN mock draft, those two were the lone lottery picks from Kentucky, while Wagner was the only other first-round selection. Edwards and Bradshaw were both second-round picks in this latest projection.

Dillingham was the top name off the board for the Cats, going No. 7 to the Chicago Bulls, while Sheppard would check in at No. 12 to the San Antonio Spurs.

Here’s a brief write-up on Sheppard.

“Sheppard has been a revelation for Kentucky, bringing outstanding shot-making, passing, feel, defensive instincts and confidence,” ESPN’s Jonathan Givony said of Sheppard. Sheppard’s consistency has been unmatched as he’s shooting 56% from the field, 53.6% from deep and 87.1% from the free-throw line.

That praise for Kentucky’s stars went even higher when Givony spoke on Dillingham.

“Few players in this class can handle and pass as exquisitely as Dillingham, a jet with the ball who gets anywhere he wants and has equally wowed NBA scouts with his shot-making prowess,” he noted.

That said, the future is bright for all five of the potential players that could hear their name called. Don’t be surprised if others like Antonio Reeves and Tre Mitchell hear their names start to be mentioned as well.