The new ESPN NBA mock draft for 2019 includes zero UK players in the first round. That would be a first for the Wildcats under Coach John Calipari.
ESPN’s updated 2019 draft has three Duke commitments at the very top — R.J. Barrett, Cameron Reddish and Zion Williamson, in that order — only eight one-and-done players total and zero Wildcats in the first round. Jarred Vanderbilt, who would be a sophomore next season, is the top UK player at No. 31 overall, and Nick Richards, who would also be a sophomore next season, is the only other Wildcat on the list at No. 50 overall.
UK signees Tyler Herro, Keldon Johnson and Immanuel Quickley are not on the list. Neither is uncommitted five-star post player E.J. Montgomery, the Cats’ top remaining target in the class of 2018.
It would be the first time since Calipari became head coach that UK had zero first-round draft picks. It would also be the first UK team in the Calipari era with no one-and-done players.
ESPN lead draft analyst Jonathan Givony spoke to the Herald-Leader recently about the difficulty of projecting players from the 2018 recruiting class, and the lack of depth in that class overall.
“The 2019 draft is going to be a really weird one, because a lot of analysts are saying the 2018 high school class is maybe the weakest one that they’ve seen in the last decade,” Givony told the Herald-Leader.
“After R.J. and Reddish, and then to a lesser extent, Zion, you’re really struggling to say that any of these dudes are surefire one-and-done type guys.”