3 Kentucky NBA Draft prospects who can rise or fall in the SEC Tournament

Reed Sheppard and Rob Dillingham weren't the two highest-rated recruits in Kentucky's 2023 freshman class, but after one season coming off the bench, the backcourt duo will cement themselves as NBA lottery picks in the SEC Tournament.
Kentucky Wildcats guards Rob Dillingham (0) and Reed Sheppard (15)
Kentucky Wildcats guards Rob Dillingham (0) and Reed Sheppard (15) / Jordan Prather-USA TODAY Sports
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While the Champions Classic was the low-point for Edwards, it was the moment that Rob Dillingham burst onto the scene. It was reminiscent of Tyrese Maxey’s coming out party against Michigan State in 2019, as Dillingham carved up No. 1 Kansas for 18 points in just 16 minutes off the bench. 

D.J. Wagner, who has since held onto his spot in the starting lineup for reasons other than his performance on the court, went 1-12 from the field in that matchup and Dillingham was undeniably the more dynamic playmaker. That’s held true all season with Dillingham averaging 15.0 points in just 22.9 minutes and shooting 44.5% from three. 

Dillingham has shot up mock drafts throughout the year, and the biggest question mark remaining is on the defensive end of the floor. If Kentucky can hold opposing backcourts at bay throughout the SEC Tournament, then Dillingham could jump front a late-lottery-pick, to a top-five selection this summer. Plus, with a weak draft class, even if he’s a turnstile like he’s been most of the year, Dillingham’s stock won’t fall much, if at all.