ESPN NBA Draft analyst Chad Ford had another chat session Wednesday, and several UK-related questions were asked.
Question: Wow… RMU over Kentucky. Does this force some of the Kentucky guys to stay another year? They didn’t get to have a post season run to boost their draft stock.
Ford: Here’s the dilemma. EVERYONE knows that Willie Cauley-Stein, Alex Poythress and Archie Goodwin aren’t ready for the NBA. Scouts, John Calipari and even the kids themselves. They should go back to school. The problem is two fold. One, this is a weak draft and all three are likely first rounders anyway. Two, with such a gifted incoming recruiting class coming in, there’s a chance that Poythress and Goodwin especially might have to come off the bench next year. That alone won’t hurt their draft stock (remember Dion Waiters was a Top 5 pick and he didn’t start a game for Syracuse) but if they don’t show real improvement, they could fall off the map. Not sure what they’ll end up doing. Not totally sure that Calipari even wants them back. Usually players take the money and run … but not sure that will be the case this year.
Question: Last minute julius randle prediction?
Ford: Kentucky! LOL. He just announced he’s going to UK. An amazing recruiting class just got better. This complicates things for Poythress especially.
Question: If Andrew Wiggins ends up at Kentucky, do you invision them losing any games next year?
Ford: If they land Wiggins, they’ll have the greatest collection of college talent every assembled in the history of the game. Undefeated wouldn’t be out of the question … especially if they have guys like Poythress & Goodwin coming off the bench.
Question: Chad, Who if any of your current likely lottery picks could you see returning to school (if any)?
Ford: Marcus Smart is not a lock to declare for the draft I’m told. Ditto for Otto Porter and Cody Zeller. Gary Harris is leaning toward returning to Michigan State for his sophomore year. The Kentucky kids (Cauley-Stein, Poythress, Goodwin) could all return.
Question: How much does a player having a lot of heart and a high motor help his draft stock? I’m thinking someone like Noah who was extremely raw coming into the NBA, not to mention a goofball, but had those characteristics? Do teams look for that?
Ford: It’s huge, especially when it’s combined with athletic ability. Work ethic and the ability to play hard is a big, big deal in the NBA. It’s why guys like Nerlens Noel & Marcus Smart.
Question: From an NBA talent just how good is kentucky’s incoming class?
Ford: Was just thinking about this. It’s possible (if all of the freshman besides Noel return) that UK could have seven first rounders in 2014. Eight if Wiggins joins the team. That’s just crazy. And … I think five or even six of them could be lottery picks.