NBA Draft to Have Less Kentucky Wildcats Presence than Usual


john calipari nba draft

Typically, the NBA Draft is a commencement ceremony for Big Blue Nation, but this year’s edition will not be Kentucky Wildcats heavy. On opening night of the 2019-20 season, the University of Kentucky led the nation with 29 former players present on NBA rosters.

That same day, the University sent out a press release stating that players coached by John Calipari in Lexington have inked in total, more than $1.9 billion in NBA contracts. That’s more than the GDP of the nation of Belize, if you’re scoring at home, by the way. I guess Belize better start working on their jump shot.


You can get ready for the NBA Draft with BetQL’s computer picks, as the event will get here before you know it. The event takes place on July 29, with the Draft Lottery set for June 22. When betting on the NBA, it is usually a smart bet to bet on the team with more former UK guys on it. Kentucky is a NBA player production facility. Draft night is usually blue, as in big blue, but that just won’t be case in 2021.

Guess that’s to be expected when you’re coming off a very unexpected 9-16 season. It’s likely no Cats will be in the NBA Draft lottery this year, and that’s a rare occurrence. Most likely, we’ll only see one or two go in the first round, so let’s take a look at who they could or would be.

Isaiah Jackson, PF/C

His athleticism and length earned him an All-SEC Freshman and Defensive Team awards, as he averaged 8.4 points and 6.6 rebounds in 25 games with 18 starts.

Isaiah made unbelievable strides to put himself in a position to test the waters,” Calipari said. “He grew throughout the year and became more confident on both ends of the floor.”

He’s 6-10 1/2, 206, with a wingspan of 7-2 1/2. He’s still a long ways from reaching his potential, but he’s already a great rebounder and interior defender.

BJ Boston, SG

Made 24 starts in 25 appearances for the ‘Cats this season, averaging a team-high-tying 11.5 points per game. His 4.5 rebounds per game was the best among UK’s guards.

“It was an honor for me to play for the Big Blue Nation this season and to suit up for one of the best coaches in the country,” Boston said of his one year in Lexington.

“I want to thank Coach Cal, the staff, and my teammates for pushing me day in and day out to be the best player I could be. I’m proud of the progress I made on the court and off it this season.

He’s listed at 6-6 3/4, 185, with a wingspan of 6-11 1/2. Another one-and-done, Boston entered Kentucky rated about as blue chip as can be, but he suffered through a rough season shooting the ball.

Honestly, he doesn’t look ready to jump to the league at all just yet, but he has all the tools to develop into a true NBA baller, and no one doubts his talent. Maybe he spends some time in the G League or overseas, and then becomes a solid NBA pro over time.

Paul M. Banks runs The Sports Bank, partnered with News NowBanks, the author of “No, I Can’t Get You Free Tickets: Lessons Learned From a Life in the Sports Media Industry,” has regularly appeared in WGNSports IllustratedChicago Tribune and SB NationFollow him on Twitter and Instagram.


  1. Nice trophy!

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