All the picks are in for 2013, so it’s only natural to look ahead and project next year’s NBA Draft.
It could end up being John Calipari’s best draft night yet.
ESPN analyst Chad Ford released his “Big Board” for 2014 on Friday and seven Wildcats were included among the top 26 players. In other words, that’s a possibility of a record seven first-round picks in one draft.
Ford has Julius Randle in the No. 2 spot — right behind Kansas forward Andrew Wiggins. Other UK players mentioned were Andrew Harrison (5th), Willie Cauley-Stein (12th), Alex Poythress (20th), James Young (24th), Dakari Johnson (25th) and Aaron Harrison (26th).
The ESPN analyst also had Marcus Lee as the No. 71 prospect, though few expect the California native to go pro after just one season at Kentucky.
In an accompanying piece on ESPN.com, Ford relayed a conversation he had with an NBA scout regarding Randle: “In a normal, non-Wiggins year, he would easily be the No. 1 pick,” the scout said.
That’s a thought shared by many.
CBS Sports writer Gary Parrish posted his 2014 mock lottery late Thursday night and he also had Randle in the No. 2 position — behind Wiggins. Parrish had three more UK players going in the first 14 picks: Cauley-Stein (6th), Andrew Harrison (7th) and Aaron Harrison (13th).
DraftExpress.com updated its 2014 mock draft earlier this week and had Randle at No. 2. That website had five UK players in the first round: Andrew Harrison (6th), Cauley-Stein (15th), Aaron Harrison (24th) and Poythress (26th).
It’s obviously unclear how many UK players will opt to go pro following next season. What is clear is the Cats have a lot of prospective first-round draft picks.
John Calipari has seen 13 of his players drafted in the first round since coming to UK four years ago (including 11 one-and-dones). Those numbers will only grow in 2014.