As expected, almost everyone involved with the rare season the Kentucky Wildcats had is declaring for the NBA, as Karl-Anthony Towns,Willie Cauley-Stein, Devin Booker, Trey Lyles, Dakari Johnson, Andrew Harrison and Aaron Harrison decided they’ve had enough of college basketball.
Following a year in which they won 38 consecutive games before losing to Wisconsin in the national semifinal, the team’s top 7 scorers are going to the NBA, as John Calipari is hoping this group sets a new record for players selected in one draft from the same school. Right now it’s a one way tie between North Carolina in 1972, UNLV in 1977 and Kentucky in 2012, although the 70’s had a lot more draft rounds.
In terms of lottery picks, Karl-Anthony Towns seems like a number one or number two overall pick along with Jahlil Okafor of Duke, another freshman who has had enough after just one season, and who can blame him? Willie Cauley-Stein is another lottery pick, while Devin Booker, a still rough-around-the-edges scorer, is also going to be on the verge of the “lottery pick” area.
Trey Lyles will probably fall anywhere between 15 and 25 in the first round while Dakari Johnson who played a very small part in all of this and some were surprised he left will be a borderline first round player. As for the Harrison twins, they’re both projected to be selected in the second round. All of these guys, freshmen or sophomores or even juniors like Cauley-Stein, were expected to be one-and-dones to begin with. Anyone Calipari recruits isn’t expected to stay for more than one year.
You don’t really have to worry about Kentucky going forward. They have Skal Labissiere, probably the number one center out of high school coming in, along with the number one point guard in Isaiah Briscoe and wingman Charles Matthews. They’re also in the mix for Malik Newman, Cheick Diallo and Brandon Ingram, all in the top 15 of the ESPN rankings. With Tyler Ulis and Marcus Lee staying for another year and probably Alex Poythress as well, it’s going to be another very talented starting lineup. Maybe not legendary like in 2012 or almost historic like this season, but we’re not going to see a major shift in SEC power.