Big Blue Notes: NBA’s exodus begins for Wildcats

Eric Howard is a Calvert City native who lives in Lexington and is a committed UK Wildcat fan. His column 'Big Blue Notes' appears regularly in The Lake News.

Eric Howard is a Calvert City native who lives in Lexington and is a committed UK Wildcat fan. His column ‘Big Blue Notes’ appears regularly in The Lake News.

Several Wildcats departing Lexington
With John Calipari at the helm, a new season means a new team. This will especially be the case for the 2017-18 version of the Wildcats. John Calipari expects to see as many as eight players move on to the professional ranks from this past season’s team.

As of April 10th, six players are leaving the program for certain. Seniors Derek Willis, Dominique Hawkins, and Mychal Mulder have all graduated. Hawkins and Mulder are expected to play internationally while Willis will try to earn an NBA roster spot.

De’Aaron Fox, Malik Monk, and Isaiah Briscoe have announced they will be leaving school early and entering the NBA draft. All three will hire an agent forgo their remaining collegiate eligibility. Fox and Monk are projected to be taken in the lottery portion of the draft. Briscoe isn’t expected to be selected in either round of the draft and will likely opt to play overseas.

Perhaps the biggest surprise of the draft announcements thus far has come from Bam Adebayo. As expected, the 6-foot-10 freshman announced his intentions to enter the NBA draft. However, Adebayo caught many by surprise by deciding not to hire an agent; thus, leaving the option open to return for his sophomore season in Lexington.

Isaac Humphries has also hinted at a possible early departure from the Lexington. The rising junior is considering returning home to Australia to play professionally. With so many big bodies on next season’s roster, it’s likely Humphries and/or another current Wildcat post player decides to go elsewhere.

Looking Forward: Wildcats Arriving
With so much turnover on Kentucky’s roster, the 2017-18 squad will likely be the youngest team in the nation next season and the youngest ever for John Calipari at Kentucky. The Wildcats currently have signed six new players to suit-up for the Big Blue next season including Quade Green (PG), Hamidou Diallo (SG), Jarred Vanderbilt (PF), Nick Richards (C), and Shai Gilgeous-Alexander (PG).

Most around the program expect the Wildcats to add two or three more to the mix to complete next year’s roster. John Calipari continues to pursue Mohamed Bamba and Kevin Knox and is also actively pursuing another shooting guard. Kentucky has offered Jemarl Baker, a four-star sharpshooter from Los Angeles. Baker was originally committed to Cal before Cuonzo Martin left to take the Missouri job. Calipari has also offered Cameron Johnson, a graduate transfer from Pittsburgh. Johnson would be able to play immediately with two years of eligibility remaining.

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