ESPN updated its prospect rankings for the 2020 NBA Draft this week, and three Kentucky Wildcats are within the draft range for next year.
The new ESPN Top 100 placed freshman guard Tyrese Maxey at No. 8, freshman forward Kahlil Whitney at No. 17 (just outside the lottery), and sophomore guard Ashton Hagans at No. 59 overall. There are 60 total picks in the NBA Draft.
If those three players departed after this season — joining grad transfer Nate Sestina, who will be out of eligibility — that would leave six scholarship players to possibly return to Kentucky for next season. As UK fans have seen in the past, however, it won’t be that simple. Transfers and early entries regardless of draft stock have become common within UK’s program.
Neither sophomore forward EJ Montgomery nor junior center Nick Richards are ranked in the new ESPN Top 100, though both have been mentioned as pro possibilities after this season. If they weren’t drafted, the G League and overseas leagues would be possibilities. Montgomery has played just 14 minutes this season due to injury.
Sophomore guard Immanuel Quickley, one of Kentucky’s best players in the early going, turns 21 years old in June and has also been mentioned as a possible pro after this season, despite not being ranked in ESPN’s Top 100.
Kentucky’s other scholarship players are freshman forwards Keion Brooks and Dontaie Allen, and freshman guard Johnny Juzang. The Cats have six commitments from the class of 2020 that will be eligible to play in the 2020-21 season, and all six are considered top-50 national recruits.