Since many have asked in recent days, here’s a closer look at the UK basketball team’s scholarship situation for next season:
Each school is allowed 13 athletic scholarships per season. UK is playing with only 12 scholarship players this season due to the summer departure of Kyle Wiltjer. Two of the current scholarship players are seniors (Jon Hood and Jarrod Polson), so those scholarships will open up going into next season.
That means there are currently 10 underclassmen on scholarship, in addition to the four players who have signed with Kentucky for next season — making a total of 14 scholarship players for 2014-15. That’s one over the limit if no current underclassmen go pro, which is highly unlikely.
The most recent mock drafts project Julius Randle, James Young and Willie Cauley-Stein as first-round picks in this year’s draft, and all three players are widely expected to leave UK after this season. If that happens, it would leave the Cats with 11 scholarship players and two available scholarships going into next season.
If just one of those players leaves, UK will be right at the 13-player scholarship allotment. If two leave, the Cats would have one open scholarship for next season.
Freshmen Andrew and Aaron Harrison, Dakari Johnson and sophomore Alex Poythress are also still being mentioned by various sources as possible NBA Draft picks following this season.
Here’s a full list of possible scholarship players for 2014-15:
1. Willie Cauley-Stein (junior) — Expected to be a first-round pick
2. Alex Poythress (junior) — Possible NBA Draft pick
3. Julius Randle (sophomore) — Expected to be a first-round pick
4. James Young (sophomore) — Expected to be a first-round pick
5. Andrew Harrison (sophomore) — Possible NBA Draft pick
6. Aaron Harrison (sophomore) — Possible NBA Draft pick
7. Dakari Johnson (sophomore) — Possible NBA Draft pick
8. Marcus Lee (sophomore) — Expected to return
9. Derek Willis (sophomore) — Expected to return
10. Dominique Hawkins (sophomore) — Expected to return
11. Karl Towns (freshman)
12. Trey Lyles (freshman)
13. Devin Booker (freshman)
14. Tyler Ulis (freshman)