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Break up the ‘Cats (again): 7 UK players leaving for the NBA draft

There’s no surprise here. Coach John Calipari has made an art form of the one-and-done college player — it’s not his fault, he’s just better than anyone at playing by these rules — and today, UK announced their top seven(!) players are making themselves available for the NBA draft.

Karl-Anthony Towns, who could No. 1 overall; Devin Booker, Trey Lyles, the Harrison twins, Dakari Johnson and Willie Cauley-Stein are all leaving. Towns is a strong rim protector who can defend the low post, but needs work on his offense. Kentucky will lose even more height with 7’0″ junior Cauley-Stein and 7’0″ sophomore Johnson also declaring. And UK will need to replenish elsewhere, as sophomore guards Andrew and Aaron Harrison — the Harrison twins — two freshman forwards, Trey Lyles and Devin Booker are also bolting. Kentucky got a little creative with how it went about declaring as well:

Alex Poythress is still deciding if he wants to leave Kentucky for the pros. He is still recovering from a torn ACL

That’s one hell of a team, and most programs would collapse with that type of talent exodus. But not UK. The Wildcats have already signed three of the top 50 prospects for next season. And with a bevy of undeclared top prospects, UK could still land more players to fill in the gaps.

Here’s how the newly declared NBA prospects stack up on Chad Ford’s Big Board:

And if you were wary of freshmen declaring too early maybe you want to consider this:

Ray Marcano About the author:
Ray grew up in the Bronx, New York, so no surprise --- he's a lifelong New York Yankee fan. He's suffered through the last 40 years of bad New York hoops (he's a Knicks fan) and gets occasional giggles from the Rangers (NHL finals last year!).  In addition to his ...Read more
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