2014 NBA Draft: Marcus Smart Is Entering; Kentucky Isn’t Getting Gutted

  • Matt Rudnitsky

The UConn Huskies are your 2014 NCAA Men’s Basketball Tournament Champions, and Drake isn’t even mad about it.

Shabazz Napier is graduating and will go to the NBA. Aside from that, Connecticut will lose two secondary contributors in Lasan Kromah and Niels Giffey. DeAndre Daniels and Ryan Boatwright are both staying unless they’re delusional.

Everyone seems to think Kentucky is going to lose their entire team to the 2014 NBA Draft, but that’s exaggerated. Julius Randle is a guaranteed top-10 pick and most likely a top-5 pick. He spoke in the past tense so I’m going to put words in his mouth and assume he’s gone. He’s likely gone, even though he claimed to have “no clue.”

Willie Cauley-Stein is their next-biggest prospect, projected by DraftExpress as the 12th-overall pick. There’s a good chance he leaves. But he sounds confused.

“I love school. I love being at Kentucky,” said Cauley-Stein, a 7-footer who missed the Final Four with an ankle injury. “I love the fan base. I love the community. I love the people there, so why not stay until they make you leave? It just gets better as you get older.

“But there are so many different things going through my head,” Cauley-Stein said. “There’s that other thing, millions of dollars, being able to work on your game, and only your game.”

“It’s so tough to play here at Kentucky and also balance school,” Cauley-Stein said. “I have to decide what’s best for my future, best for my game, and if I’m going to be happy either way.”

Next up is James Young, projected as the 25th-overall selection by DraftExpress. He exploded in the tournament and is gone if he wants. But a late first round pick is never a lock to leave.

Aaron Harrison, Alex Poythress, Dakari Johnson and Andrew Harrison could probably all leave if they want. They wouldn’t go undrafted. But none of them would be first-round locks, and none would be expected to go in the lottery. The smart move is for them all to stay.

And yes, Kentucky has the No. 2 recruiting class for next year, according to most rankings. They’re gonna be good and annoying again.

Oh, and Marcus Smart declared. He’s a top-10 pick, maybe a top-5 pick.