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ESPN's updated 2023 NBA mock draft includes just two Kentucky Wildcats

Article written by:On3 imageZack Geoghegan


On3 image
Photo by Dr. Michael Huang | Kentucky Sports Radio

Roughly one month into the 2022-23 college basketball season, the nation’s top talents are beginning to separate themselves from the rest. For Kentucky freshman guard Cason Wallace, he’s been exactly as advertised out of high school as an elite defensive prospect with a budding offensive skillet. The rest of the Wildcats, however, don’t appear to have done enough through the schedule’s early stages to boost their NBA Draft stock.

On Wednesday morning, ESPN’s Jonathan Givony updated his 2023 NBA mock draft. After four Wildcats were projected to get selected in ESPN’s previous mock draft from early October, only two Kentucky players were listed this time around as we enter the beginning of December.

Cason Wallace remains a projected lottery pick, coming off the board at No. 9 overall to the Indiana Pacers. He’s been solid all-around for Kentucky as the secondary ball handler alongside point guard Sahvir Wheeler and has yet to fall out of the first 14-pick range in these mocks. The only other ‘Cat listed in ESPN’s updated mock is reigning national player of the year Oscar Tshiebwe, who also landed on the Pacers (via the Miami Heat) with the 46th overall pick.

On the season, Wallace is leading UK in minutes played with 31.4 per contest while putting up averages of 10.6 points, 3.6 rebounds, 4.6 assists, and 2.9 steals to go along with 51.8 percent shooting from the floor. Meanwhile, Tshiebwe continues to dominate the glass despite coming off an injury that forced him to miss a couple of games to begin the season. The 6-foot-9 big man is averaging 14.4 points and 13.4 rebounds per outing on 56.4 percent overall shooting.

The two Wildcats removed from the updated mock were freshman wing Chris Livingston and sophomore forward Daimion Collins. Livingston was projected as a late first-round pick by ESPN during the preseason with Collins going in the second round, but both have fallen out of the two-round draft entirely. Livingston and Collins are averaging under 15.0 minutes per game apiece this season.

Back in the middle of November, ESPN unveiled its Top 100 prospects database for the 2023 NBA Draft, which gave slightly different results from the outlet’s most recent mock draft. Six total Wildcats were included on the Top 100 list, but I would wager only Wallace and Tshiebwe would still be around the same rank as of right now.

11. Cason Wallace (PG)
41. Oscar Tshiebwe (C)
42. Chris Livingston (SF)
53. Daimion Collins (PF)
61. Ugonna Onyenso (C)
74. Jacob Toppin (PF)

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