The Wildcats lost their bid for perfection in a Final Four loss to Wisconsin last Saturday. On Thursday, seven Kentucky players with eligibility still remaining — four of which are freshmen — declared their intent to enter the 2015 NBA draft.
Yes, seven players. On a 16-man roster.
Willie Cauley-Stein, Karl-Anthony Towns, Devin Booker, Dakari Johnson, Trey Lyles, Aaron Harrison and Andrew Harrison can make NBA history if they’re all taken at some point in the draft. They’d break their own school’s record, as six Kentucky players — led by star forward Anthony Davis — were selected in the 2012 draft.
This Wildcats squad certainly has the talent to put seven players in the NBA. Cauley-Stein and Towns were First- and Second-Team All-Americans, respectively, and, along with Lyles and the Harrison twins, formed a starting five that steamrolled to a 31-0 regular season record. Johnson is a 7-foot, 255-pound sophomore who provided key depth in Kentucky’s front court, while Booker averaged 10 points per game coming off the bench.
Head coach John Calipari noted he could have sent eight players to the draft if forward Alex Poythress hadn’t gotten hurt early in the season.
Calipari will have his work cut out for him recruiting next year’s draft class, as he’s losing 85 percent of this year’s scoring production, 77 percent of the team’s rebounding production and 69.6 percent of its assists, according to USA TODAY.
If history is any indication, though, Cal and the Wildcats will be just fine.
Thumbnail photo via Brian Spurlock/USA TODAY Sports Images
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