Kentucky's James Young made it official on Thursday. The freshman wing will be leaving the Wildcats…
With a memorable 2013-14 season in the books, Kentucky fans have already begun counting down the days until their Wildcats return to the hardwood. That wait will be even more intriguing given the uncertainty of what the UK roster will look like next season. Several players could be facing a decision regarding their basketball future in the days to come. Most analysts expect freshman forward Julius Randle, who led the Wildcats in scoring and rebounding this season, to be a top five pick in the lottery portion of this year's NBA Draft. Beyond Randle and a pair of seniors in Jarrod Polson and Jon Hood, however, a lot of question marks remain. Kentucky coach John Calipari said he'll begin the process of meeting with the players and their families sometime soon. "I'll sit down with each young man individually, probably have their family either with us or on a speaker phone, and get them information and say, ‘If I can help you with anything, let me know. Tell me what you want to do, what do I need to do to help you?'" the UK boss said following UK's loss to UConn in the national championship game. Calipari has been tagged, often derisively, with the "one and done" label, but he says he largely stays out of the players' decision-making process. "I just get them information, so we'll see," he said. "I have no idea because I haven't talked to them, and none of us have talked about that. We were playing to win the national championship. "But now that the season's over, it is about the players. It's no longer about the program. It's no longer about the team. It's about each individual player on this team now. They sacrificed. They surrendered to each other now, for our team and our program and our school. Season's over. Now it's about them. And we'll sit down with each of them and they will make decisions for themselves." ESPN's Chad Ford currently projects Randle as the fifth-rated prospect in this year's draft. Freshman swingman James Young and sophomore center Willie Cauley-Stein are 16th and 18th, respectively. Freshman guards Andrew Harrison and Aaron Harrison are 33rd and 35th, respectively. Freshman center Dakari Johnson is at No. 61. Website NBADraft.net currently has Randle going No. 5 to the Utah Jazz, Young No. 21 to the Memphis Grizzlies and Cauley-Stein No. 29 to the Oklahoma City Thunder. They are the only Cats projected in the first round, which features 30 picks. Only players selected in the first round receive guaranteed contracts. Another factor the UK players will have to consider is the NBA's collectively-bargained rookie pay scale, which locks in a contract value to draft position for first-round picks. Players are guaranteed a contract for two years and have an option for a third. The difference between the No. 10 pick and the No. 30 pick, for example, is approximately $6.1 million and $2.9 million. The UK roster currently has 10 scholarship players with elgibility remaining. Eight are freshmen: Randle, Young, Johnson, the Harrison twins, Marcus Lee, Dominique Hawkins and Derek Willis. Two are sophomores: Cauley-Stein and Alex Poythress. The Wildcats have four players signed in the Class of 2014: Tyler Ulis, Karl Towns Jr., Devin Booker and Trey Lyles. The NCAA allows 13 scholarship players per season, meaning at least one current player would have to depart to be in compliance.
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