Kentucky drops in preseason rankings following NBA Draft deadline

On3 imageby:Tyler Thompson06/01/23


Photo by Dr. Michael Huang | Kentucky Sports Radio

The NBA Draft withdrawal deadline has come and gone, and in turn, college basketball writers are updating their preseason rankings as rosters take shape. After Kentucky went 0-2, potentially 0-3, yesterday, losing Oscar Tshiebwe and Chris Livingston to the draft and Antonio Reeves possibly to another school, it won’t surprise you to hear that the Cats took a significant drop.

Kentucky is now No. 25 in updated rankings from Jeff Goodman, Gary Parrish, and Seth Davis. Parrish believes Reeves will return, but says it’s not 100%; Davis believes he will go elsewhere. With just seven scholarship players, five of them freshmen, all three writers express concern about Kentucky’s youth and say John Calipari needs to get to work in the transfer portal.

“If Wednesday was a good day for Purdue when the Boilermakers got back the 2023 NPOY, it was a bad day for Kentucky when the Wildcats lost the 2022 NPOY (Oscar Tshiebwe) — plus former five-star high school recruit Chris Livingston,” Gary Parrish writes. “Those developments leave UK with just one player who averaged at least 2.4 points per game last season projected to return, and even that player (Antonio Reeves) isn’t 100% on board at this moment. In other words, John Calipari has some work to do to turn the Wildcats into legitimate Final Four contenders.”

Parrish dropped Kentucky from No. 14 to No. 25. Goodman also has the Cats on the fringe of his poll, at No. 25, writing that “youth hasn’t won lately, especially in the NCAA tourney.” Seth Davis dropped the Cats from No. 11 to No. 25, succinctly summing up how bad yesterday was for next season’s roster.

“This program had such a bad day on Wednesday that even the one piece of good news wasn’t all that good. Oscar Tshiebwe and Chris Livingston both announced that they would stay in the draft as projected. Super senior guard Antonio Reeves also withdrew from the draft, but he is in the transfer portal and has not yet said where he will play next year. Reeves still could return to Lexington, but as of now, he moves into the projected departures column. That leaves John Calipari with just seven scholarship players, all of whom are freshmen and sophomores. That’s a tall order even with the nation’s No. 1 ranked recruiting class on the way.”

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Calipari addresses state of roster following NBA Draft deadline

This morning, John Calipari broke his silence on Twitter, addressing yesterday’s decisions and insisting that the staff isn’t done with the roster.

I woke up this morning thinking about our team now that the NBA deadline has passed. We support all of our players as they weigh their options and pursue their dreams and it’s my job to make sure these kids are making informed decisions. It may not be what you think or I think – but it’s informed. But that also makes it hard to move until you really know what your roster is going to be. We’ve prepared for all scenarios and now we can move forward.

There’s so much misinformation out there and most of it we can’t address publicly. Numbers being thrown around just aren’t accurate, who we are in contact with or who we are not in contact with, we don’t make it public.

We want players who want this culture, who care about winning, understand what it means to play at Kentucky – both how hard and how rewarding it is – and have the ultimate drive to win and succeed on the biggest stage, which helps everyone. We have a talented group right now which isn’t finished yet, but when it’s done we will have a talented team who will chase the ultimate goal together and make #BBN proud.

John Calipari, Twitter

That last line is all that matters. Time to back it up.

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