By JOSH NEWMAN & ADAM ZAGORIA
To the surprise of no one, there will be a mass exodus at the University of Kentucky.
Freshmen Devin Booker, Trey Lyles and Karl-Anthony Towns, sophomores Aaron Harrison, Andrew Harrison and Dakari Johnson, and junior center 7-footer Willie Cauley-Stein all declared their intentions to enter the 2015 NBA Draft on Thursday afternoon in a press conference held at the Joe Craft Center on the Lexington, Ky. campus.
We reported a week ago that seven Kentucky players “are gone” to the NBA.
“It’s about each individual up here making a decision – not based on what’s right for this university, not based on what’s right for me and our staff – but what’s right for them and their families,” UK head coach John Calipari said at Thursday’s press conference.
“The way this works, I meet with each player after the last game, and truly it’s the morning after the last game. I ask, ‘Do you want me to explore your options?’ They all said yes. A few said no. We gather the information. We talk to about 20 NBA teams, maybe more. We let the parents talk directly to the NBA so there’s no confusion. We have about a five-minute meeting – maybe. I’m not convincing them to stay and I’m not pushing anybody out the door. This is their choice.”
The whopping seven Wildcats leaving outdoes the six who left in 2012 in the wake of the program’s most-recent national championship. That year, all six were drafted, including four in the first round. Freshman sensation Anthony Davis was the No. 1 overall pick, while classmate Michael Kidd-Gilchrist went No. 2.
“It’s the start of something big for all of us,” Cauley-Stein said. “We think it’s the time to go.”
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By JOSH NEWMAN
NEW YORK – Elton Brand went to Duke, so you’ll have to excuse him for being a little biased, especially this week given the Blue Devils won their fifth national championship on Monday evening.
In the wake of the title, Jahlil Okafor, Justise Winslow and Tyus Jones have decisions to make on their futures. Okafor is a projected top-2 pick in June’s NBA Draft and when the topic comes up, yes, Brand is a bit of a homer there, too.
“He’s definitely gonna be one of those top three picks for sure,” Brand told SNY.tv Wednesday evening after his Atlanta Hawks defeated the Nets, 114-111 at Barclays Center. “I follow it, I watch the other guys and I don’t want to go full nepotism, but I would take him No. 1.”
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Below is a fluid list of Early Entrant candidates for the 2015 NBA Draft based on various sources, interviews and media reports.
The NBA’s Early Entry eligibility deadline is April 26. The NBA will release its official list of Early Entry Draft after that.
If you have tips on other players,
Tweet them to me here: To read more of this story, click here
As evidence of how much is stock is soaring, Ohio State freshman guard D’Angelo Russell is now projected as the No. 2 pick in the NBA Draft by DraftExpess.com.
The 6-foot-5 freshman sensation trails only consensus No. 1 pick Jahlil Okafor of Duke.
Emmanuel Mudiay, playing in China, is No. 3, followed by Kentucky big man Karl-Anthony Towns at No. 4 and Arizona freshman wing Stanley Johnson at No. 5.
Kentucky’s Willie Cauley-Stein is No. 6 and 7-footer Kristaps Porzingis of Latvia is No. 7.
Minnesota, Philadelphia and the Knicks are jockeying for the NBA’s worst record. To read more of this story, click here
Emmanuel Mudiay could “pull an Exum” and just not play competitive basketball until the 2015 NBA Draft, one league source told SNY.tv Friday.
“Sources close to him say that he is going to pull a Dante Exum,” the source said. “That is more logical than coming back to play in the D-League.”
After not playing competitively last season, the 6-foot-6 Exum ended up as the No. 5 pick of the Utah Jazz in the 2014 Draft. There was an aura of mystique around the Australian guard precisely because he hadn’t played competitively, which prevented scouts and analysts from picking apart his game. He’s currently averaging 4.5 points and 2.2 assists for the Jazz. To read more of this story, click here
The NBA season has begun.
Tank you very much.
Yes, it’s never too early to break out the Tanking Mottos for teams like the Philadelphia 76ers, the Los Angeles Lakers and maybe even the Knicks, who got drilled by the Chicago Bulls in their season opener last night by 24 points.
FiveThirtyEight.com projects the Sixers to have the NBA’s worst record at 20-62. But have you seen their roster? Twenty wins might be optimistic.
After that, FiveThirtyEight projects Kobe and the Lakers will win 24 games — and that was before Julius Randle broke his leg in the season-opener.
The site then has Utah (28 wins), Milwaukee (29), Sacramento (29), the Knicks (31), Boston (32) and Orlando (32) bringing up the rear. To read more of this story, click here
Jonathan Givony and his colleagues at DraftExpress.com are busily cranking out videos and scouting reports on prospects for the 2015 NBA Draft.
As we look ahead to the upcoming college basketball season, and to next June’s draft, a couple of things stand out.
First, Kentucky, as we all know, is just loaded.
Givony produced videos on 10 SEC players “considered serious first-round prospects in our view,” and seven of them are from Kentucky: Karl-Anthony Towns, Willie Cauley-Stein, Dakari Johnson, Andrew and Aaron Harrison, Alex Poythress and Marcus Lee.
The three other SEC players?
Florida’s Chris Walker, Arkansas’ Bobby Portis and LSU’s Jarell Martin.
“It says more about the overall strength of Kentucky,” Givony told SNY.tv. “We did videos on 10 guys but seven of them are on Kentucky.” To read more of this story, click here