Two Wildcats listed in ESPN's latest 2023 NBA mock draft

On3 imageby:Jack Pilgrim12/27/22

It could be a quiet draft night for the Kentucky basketball program in 2023, with only one Wildcat projected to come off the board in the first round and two seen as draft selections overall. Emerging as a clear lottery selection and top-tier freshman in college basketball, Cason Wallace sits inside the top 10 at No. 9 overall in ESPN’s latest mock draft. From there, it’s a long wait for the next Wildcat, with Oscar Tshiebwe projected as the No. 54 pick at the end of the second round.

No other Kentucky player is included on the list, leaving Sahvir Wheeler, Antonio Reeves, Jacob Toppin, Chris Livingston, CJ Fredrick, Lance Ware, Daimion Collins, Ugonna Onyenso and Adou Thiero on the outside looking in. All nine players will have at least one year of eligibility remaining in 2023-24.

With Kentucky signing five freshmen in 2023 — four five-stars and one four-star — some tough decisions will have to be made regarding current scholarship pieces one way or another. Will we have more surprise pro decisions or some attrition via the transfer portal? Could a few other pieces work their way into draft contention by year’s end as the rotation is solidified? Either way, it’s going to be a busy offseason for the UK basketball program.

Until then, check out ESPN’s updated first-round mock draft, headlined by a consensus top-three in Victor Wembanyama, Scoot Henderson and Amen Thompson:

  1. Victor Wembanyama (Metropolitans 92) – Detroit Pistons
  2. Scoot Henderson (G League Ignite) – Houston Rockets
  3. Amen Thompson (Overtime Elite) – San Antonio Spurs
  4. Nick Smith Jr. (Arkansas) – Charlotte Hornets
  5. Ausar Thompson (Overtime Elite) – Oklahoma City Thunder
  6. Cam Whitmore (Villanova) – Orlando Magic
  7. Brandon Miller (Alabama) – Washington Wizards
  8. Jarace Walker (Houston) – New Orleans Pelicans
  9. Cason Wallace (Kentucky) – Orlando Magic
  10. Jett Howard (Michigan) – Indiana Pacers
  11. Keyonte George (Baylor) – Utah Jazz
  12. Anthony Black (Arkansas) – Toronto Raptors
  13. Kel’el Ware (Oregon) – Golden State Warriors
  14. Kyle Filipowski (Duke) – LA Clippers
  15. G.G. Jackson II (South Carolina) – Miami Heat
  16. Dillon Mitchell (Texas) – Atlanta Hawks
  17. Gradey Dick (Kansas) – Portland Trail Blazers
  18. Rayan Rupert (New Zealand Breakers) – Sacramento Kings
  19. Dariq Whitehead (Duke) – Utah Jazz
  20. Terquavion Smith (NC State) – New York Knicks
  21. James Nnaji (Barcelona) – Los Angeles Lakers
  22. Dereck Lively II (Duke) – New York Knicks
  23. Taylor Hendricks (UCF) – Charlotte Hornets
  24. Brice Sensabaugh (Ohio State) – Brooklyn Nets
  25. Sidy Cissoko (G League Ignite) – Phoenix Suns
  26. Leonard Miller (G League Ignite) – Memphis Grizzlies
  27. Maxwell Lewis (Pepperdine) – Utah Jazz
  28. Nikola Durisic (Mega MIS) – Houston Rockets
  29. Jaime Jaquez Jr. (UCLA) – Indiana Pacers
  30. Coleman Hawkins (Illinois) – Indiana Pacers

What do you think, #BBN? How do you see the offseason shaking out as of today?

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