Antonio Reeves would benefit by returning to Kentucky Wildcats

Mandatory Credit: Bob Donnan-USA TODAY Sports
Mandatory Credit: Bob Donnan-USA TODAY Sports /

Kentucky Wildcats senior guard Antonio Reeves entered his name in the NBA Draft process on Tuesday.

Reeves transferred to Kentucky after filling up the stat sheet at Illinois State for three seasons. His first year in Lexington had more ups than downs, especially in the scoring department, where he finished second only to Oscar Tshiebwe with 14.4 points per game.

NBA scouts took notice and Reeves has a chance to become the latest Wildcats’ star to make a name for himself in the NBA. He posted to Instagram explaining his decision.

Of course, the most important thing to note is how Reeves is merely “testing the waters.” By not signing with an agent, it leaves the door open for Reeves to return to the Kentucky Wildcats with one year of eligibility remaining.

Currently, Reeves isn’t listed in any of the major NBA Mock Drafts by ESPN, Bleacher Report, or Yahoo Sports. He also isn’t listed in the top 72 of the NBA Draft big board.

Reeves is listed 91st on the big board.

While Reeves’ draft stock is low at this point in time, a good showing at the NBA Draft Combine from May 16-18 could bump up his name.

If Reeves stays in the draft, a few things could help him. A 6-foot-4 frame is standard for an NBA guard. He also shot it at 39.8% from three this season with the Kentucky Wildcats. Positional height and three-point shooting are two very important categories for NBA Draft prospects.

With that being said, right now, staying at Kentucky seems like the better choice. On3 lists Reeves’ NIL valuation at about $32,000, which is in the top 200 in college basketball. By staying an extra year, Reeves would more than likely earn more NIL money. If he stays in the NBA Draft, an NBA contract isn’t a guarantee based on current draft projections.

Reeves’ stock also wouldn’t hurt by staying in college basketball for one more season. The 2022-23 SEC 6th Man of the Year is already 22 years old, which is on the older side when talking about NBA prospects. The difference between being 22 and 23 doesn’t matter too much in the long run in terms of the draft. Whether he does go to the NBA this June or next, Reeves will still be thought of as an older rookie who can come in and make an impact, rather than a prospect with untapped potential.

However, there is the potential that Reeves’ stock could skyrocket with an even better graduate season with the Kentucky Wildcats. Sahvir Wheeler is in the transfer portal, Carson Wallace will likely be a first-round pick, and a draft decision is looming for Tshiebwe. Depending on what he decides on, Reeves could legitimately be the number-one option next season.

If Antonio Reeves decides to stay in the NBA Draft, it would be an amazing decision for him and his family. Despite only spending a year at Kentucky, he proved his worth as a scorer on the highest level in college basketball. However, staying with the Kentucky Wildcats for one more season could prove to be even more beneficial.