Last season Kentucky put five first-round picks in the NBA draft last season. This year the Wildcats have three underclassmen declare early, one of which is a bit of a surprise.
Kentucky’s top rated 2010 recruiting class was unlikely to stay together for that long. Everybody knew that going in. The class began to go separate ways when Enes Kanter was ruled ineligible to play this season. Kanter’s a likely lottery pick despite not playing a single second for the Wildcats this season.
Now two more members of that heralded class have decided to go to the NBA.
Terrence Jones and Brandon Knight both declared for the draft today. The two freshmen were Kentucky’s leading scorers this season and helped the Wildcats reach the final four.
Jones, a 6-foot-9, 240-pound forward averaged 15.7 points, 8.8 rebounds and 1.9 blocks per game. Jones was named SEC Freshmen of the year this season for his efforts.
Knight, a 6-foot-3 point guard led Kentucky in scoring this season with 17.4 points per game and dishing out 4.2 assists. The freshman was named Freshman All-American after making 87 three-pointers and setting the freshman scoring record for a single season with 657 points.
In somewhat of a surprise, junior swing man DeAndre Liggins has also declared for the draft. The 6-foot-6, 210-pounder was Kentucky’s defensive stopper and showed marked improvement in three point shooting (39.1 percent) and showed the ability to be a primary ball-handler this season.
Liggins averaged 8.6 points and 4.4 rebounds per outing.
“I support the decision these three have made to take advantage of the process of putting their names in the draft,” UK men’s basketball coach John Calipari said. “They were a joy to coach this year and I would love the opportunity to continue to coach them again next season. I will always support my players in weighing their options and doing what is personally best for them and their families.”
The three had to declare for the draft by April 24th and have until May 8th to withdraw.
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