Five Kentucky players declare for NBA, maybe all first rounders

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How did Kentucky not win a national title again?

Everybody knew that the Wildcats were loaded with talent, something that became evident when five Kentucky players declared for the NBA draft. And all five may well go in the first round.

A couple were no brianers. Point guard John Wall is likely going to be the top pick and has a game NBA scouts think could be a better version of Derrick Rose. DeMarcus Cousins likely goes in the top five, and the center earned that with the best PER in the nation, he dominated on the glass and was a force on the boards.

The other three are:

Patrick Patterson, the junior who almost went pro last year but came back to be part of this  team He’s a talented power forward who developed a nice (and new) midrange game this season that will serve him well this year. He likely goes in the late lottery.

Daniel Orton, another center, did not see a lot of court time and averaged 3 points and 3 rebounds per game. Kentucky fans thought they had him for another year, but when pressed into service Orton was the best defensive big man the Wildcats had. Scouts like his game, and he likely goes in the late first round.

Eric Bledsoe was maybe the biggest surprise. He’s a freshman point guard who saw limited minutes behind Wall. Bledsoe is an amazing athlete, but on a deep Kentucky team was mostly just a role-playing shooter. At 6’1″ he has to be a point guard at the next level, but he rarely played that role at Kentucky and teams are going to want to see a lot more of him in workouts before making a decision. Nobody is sure where Bledsoe falls on the scale, from lottery to second rounder.

That, by the way, is a lot of talent to replace at once.