ESPN’s Chad Ford: 3 Cats, maybe 4 in NBA lottery

 Posted by at 2:56 PM on January 2, 2013
Jan 022013

It could be one-and-done for all four of Kentucky’s freshmen. analyst Chad Ford was asked about the NBA Draft possibilities for Nerlens Noel, Archie Goodwin, Alex Poythress and Willie Cauley-Stein in Wednesday’s chat.

Here’s the exchange:

Question: Where do Kentucky’s 4 talented frosh project in the latest draft? All lottery picks? Any chance any will return?

Chad Ford: Noel, Poythress & Goodwin are locks for the lottery. Cauley-Stein could sneak in there too. Given the stellar incoming class for Kentucky, not sure any of them stay, though I could make the argument that all of them REALLY need another year under Calipari to max out their potential.

Ford currently has Noel (1st), Poythress (7th) and Goodwin (10th) all in his top 10. Those three Cats are also lottery picks in the most recent mocks from DraftExpress, and CBS Sports.

Cauley-Stein is rated 24th by Ford, but the 7-footer’s unique size and skill set could lead a team to take a chance on him earlier in the draft. (The “lottery” includes the first 14 picks).

Calling Noel, Goodwin and Poythress “locks” for the lottery is telling of the draft-on-potential nature of the NBA. All three have had their struggles — and Poythress’ play continues to perplex Calipari and UK fans — but there’s seemingly no level of inconsistency that can keep them out of the lottery in what is considered a weak draft year.

If Cauley-Stein joins those three in the draft, it will be the first time that an entire UK recruiting class leaves after one season. Jon Hood (2010); Terrence Jones, Doron Lamb and Stacey Poole (2011); and Kyle Wiltjer (2012) all returned after their freshman seasons.

It would also mean the possibility of an all-freshman starting lineup at UK in 2013-14.

Humor this hypothetical lineup (uncommitted players in italics):

PG: Andrew Harrison
SG: Aaron Harrison
SF: James Young or Andrew Wiggins
PF: Marcus Lee or Julius Randle or Aaron Gordon
C: Dakari Johnson

It’s not that far-fetched. Cauley-Stein’s departure would make UK the clear favorite for Johnson (if the Cats aren’t already the favorite). And if all four leave early, it would probably increase UK’s chances of landing more than one of their four targets for 2013.

With Ryan Harrow almost sure to come off the bench behind the Harrisons, Kyle Wiltjer is the only upperclassman with a realistic chance to start on next season’s squad (assuming there are no immediately eligible transfers a la Julius Mays).

A new “Fab Five” at UK? How does that sound?

I recommend checking out Chad Ford’s entire chat over at He has more commentary on Noel and Goodwin, as well as questions about ex-Cats DeMarcus Cousins and John Wall. READ THE WHOLE THING HERE


  13 Responses to “ESPN’s Chad Ford: 3 Cats, maybe 4 in NBA lottery”

  1. Most draft classes will be relatively weak until the NBA requires a 2-year college/other stay. None of them are ready to play in the NBA. WCS could potentially be a top 5 or 10 pick with another year at Kentucky. He was just playing wide receiver in Kansas a year ago. A summer of conditioning, work with Payne, and natural maturity, this kid could be legitimate. We’ll see. WCS could go just because the other three decide to go. 2013-14 could be a legendary year with the guys we have committed, WCS, Wiltjer, Dakari Johnson is a lock. Randle and Gordon seem to be focused elsewhere. Wiggins is a wildcard. FSU has a great shot with him.

    The kids we have on the team this year still have the talent to go to the Final 4. Our seed will be quite low, but, it’s what we’ll earn. Keep trending up and we’ll see where the chips fall.

  2. there is NO way that poythress goodwin and noel are lottery picks in the draft. i’m a die hard UK fan but what have any of them done this year to prove that they are lottery picks how can poythress be number 7 in the draft if he was number 8 in the 2012 class. we are not a elite team this year no matter what anybody says we lost to baylor and noter dame. we are not a finial four team.

  3. Kentucky will be a good team before march madness cauleystein and nerlens will step it up and jjust dominate let me say something though there freshman cut them some slack..

  4. That’s what its all about isn’t it? Not in the top 25 but tickle to death. Right Cal?

  5. Yes we are tickled. We just won a NC and will win a few more soon!!!!!!!!UK is college basketball so get over it.

  6. UK has turned into an NBA developmental league school. Period! These kids don’t want an education, they just ship em in and ship em out.

  7. Whatever makes you feel better Dante. As UK fans we can hardly tolerate our coach recruiting the best of the best and encouraging them to pursue millions after a year of college because the NBA says we think you’re good enough to pay you. All while going to final fours and winning a championship. Dang, I hate this philosophy. I’m sure where ever your loyalty lies a much better system is in place.

    And yes, our kids don’t appreciate an education. I’m sure Brandon Knight didn’t value it and I can’t explain why Anthony Davis and MKG are coming back for summer school. But hey, if that makes you feel better Dante….

  8. Im a huge UK fan and have been since 1973, but I am getting tired quickey of the one and done mentality. These players have no idea of the history of UK basketball or do they care. They play for the back of the jersey not the KENTUCKY on the front.

  9. Letcher Co., where did you learn to read minds? I’ve been a fan as long or longer than you. Do the recruits have to take a course in ancient UK history? Its roundball, for crying out loud. All they have to do is play hard and behave and the KENTUCKY on the front gets everything it needs and/or deserves. If you can’t handle elite status, don’t blame the kids. Go root for Georgetown or Transy or Centre if you need to cuddle up for four years.

  10. What has Cal accomplished with his one-and-dones? Do we want to go back to the era of Tubby and Billy, where post-season play meant a first- or second-round loss in the NCAA or the NIT? Neither one of Cal’s immediate predecessors would have hung that eighth banner no matter how long their recruits stayed in Lexington.

  11. @Ben. I understand that you are a diehard UK fan and so am I but it seems as if you are a lost. You have to understand that last years team was a once in a million team. This year all the freshmen that we have, they have to learn how to play and that’s why I’m glad that the season doesn’t end in December. Look at how they played in the Louisville, they looked as if they have improved a lot. My point is, just wait til March, there are a lot of teams that will not want to see us then. In March is when you will know who should go to the pros or who should stay. It’s just too soon to tell. We’ll be a beast in March.

  12. @Donte. Who needs an education when they will be making millions?

  13. Sam Walton was said to not have finnished high school. Would it have been better for him to get an education and be a middle manager at a bank the rest of his life….. Duuuuhhhhhh

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