Kentucky Guard Tyrese Maxey Has High NBA Draft Lottery Stock

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Like any freshman, Tyrese Maxey is going to have his ups and downs. As the leader in minutes played and second leading scorer on #9 Kentucky, the Wildcats will sometimes see their fortunes rise and fall along with Maxey. In his very first collegiate game, Maxey put himself on the national map in the Champions Classic in New York, scoring 26 points the day after his 19th birthday on then #1 Michigan State.

Averaging 13.1 points per game (just behind Nick Richards’ team leading 14) through the first eight games of the 2019-20 season, the combo guard was recently named to the Oscar Robertson Trophy (national player of the year) preseason watch list.

Kentucky has been a difficult team to figure out so far this season, but then again so has the season in general. Ask anyone who makes college basketball picks and they’ll tell you just how unpredictable this season has been during the first six weeks. Kentucky lost, at home, while ranked #1 to mid-major Evansville. Duke lost as the top ranked side to low-major Stephen F. Austin. And just tonight, Kentucky’s biggest arch-rival, Louisville, fell as the top team to unranked Texas Tech, who were sans their leading score

Upsets have been prevalent, and that happens in a game that is often decided by shooting percentages, a variable that fluctuates like a roller coaster. Maxey was a gunslinger in high school, but he’s been a bit more conservative with his shot selection since he arrived in Lexington.

The 6-3, 198 frosh is a pure scorer, not just a shooter; with long range. He can hit the pull-up jumper, the long range bombs and finish through contact.

He also brings a shooter’s mentality.

“I’m confident in myself,” he said on Saturday night after scoring 21 in a rout over Fairleigh Dickinson.

“I feel like I’m going to make the next one. Doesn’t matter if I miss or make, I put in too much work to have that type of thought process if I miss. Every time I shoot it I think it’s going to go in.”

His 21 against FDU was his best scoring output since the season opener.

“He’s getting better, but again, we need to practice,” Kentucky coach John Calipari said after the game. “We—Kahlil (Whitney) needs to practice so that we can coach him and get him to play the way he’s got to play. He did some good stuff today, but he’s still not the comfortable guy he needs to be.”

While he has great ball-handling abilities and a jump shot that translates to the next level, he’s a bit of a tweener.

He’s got the perfect build to be a pure point guard, but still needs to work a lot on the distribution part of his game.  Calipari, with his track record for developing great guards, might be the perfect mentor for him. And he seems to be yelling at him more during time outs lately.

“He’s always hard on me, and I’m grateful for it,” said Maxey.

“You know, at the time it doesn’t feel good, but he does love us all and he’s going to coach us really hard and he wants to win just like we do so I’m thankful for it.”

In taking a look at a few of the NBA mock drafts out there, you’ll see Tyrese Maxey slotted usually in the mid to late lottery. Of course, they are mock drafts, and it is extremely early for a NBA mock draft, so take it with a grain of salt.

john calipari

Tyrese Maxey mocksourcing: My NBA Draft.com #9,  NBA Draft.net #21,  NBC #9, Sporting News #12, Tankathon #8 and Yahoo! #17.

Paul M. Banks runs The Sports Bank.net, which is partnered with News Now. Banks, the author of “No,  I Can’t Get You Free Tickets: Lessons Learned From a Life in the Sports Media Industry,” regularly appears on WGN CLTV and co-hosts the “Let’s Get Weird, Sports” podcast on SB Nation

You can follow Banks, a former writer for NBC Chicago.com and Chicago Tribune.com on Twitter here and his cat on Instagram at this link.

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