This past month has been quite a roller coaster for Wildcats fans to say the least. From the close victories in the first 4 rounds of the NCAA Tournament, to the heartbreaking loss in the National Championship game to UCONN. But wait the roller coaster isn’t over? No, because every season the Wildcat fans have to deal with the anticipation that builds as the deadline to declare for the NBA approaches after each season.
Kentucky fans were in a very happy place to begin the week as center Willie Cauley-Stein decided to stay for his junior season. This was huge for the Wildcats as they were never the same without Willie on the court defensively and he brings a whole new type of energy to the team. But unfortunately today the news broke out that freshman guard James Young has decided to take his talents to the NBA where he is projected in most mock drafts as a lottery pick.
While the James Young news isn’t shocking, it still hurts to see a guy like him go. Young will most likely be joined by fellow freshman Julius Randle in the draft which most expected all season. But with Randle, the Harrison twins, Dakari and Poythress still waiting and contemplating their decisions it is a good sign for the Wildcat faithful.
With the depth that Kentucky has coming in as well as staying in the front court it seems that Dakari Johnson would have more motive to go to the draft. This is something that would have never crossed anyone’s mind before Cauley-Stein went down in the tournament and Dakari stepped up tremendously. That paired with Willie’s decision to stay and add that this years draft class does not have that many true centers, Johnson’s stock is rising and it looks like he could be a lock in the first round. Randle seems to be a lock top 5 pick so I see him leaving, and Poythress needs another year to showcase his talent so he can be a lock first rounder instead of an iffy one. Now for the Harrison twins, them staying is something that John Calipari knows he desperately needs as the Wildcat backcourt would be extremely thin next year if they left. With only incoming freshman Tyler Ulis, Devin Booker and Dominique Hawkins being true guards on the roster. If that happens, which we should all hope it doesn’t, we might even see Alex Poythress play some 2 guard and our defense would have to be mostly zone so our guards could stay fresh. So now we wait and see what comes of this, the clock is ticking.