You knew it was coming, but seeing it on paper it is still a startling exodus no matter the prevailing norms of college basketball in Lexington. A jaw-dropping seven Kentucky men’s basketball players are set to depart, making themselves eligible for the NBA draft. The departing players from the 38-win team of near-destiny are the ones you’d expect really: Karl-Anthony Towns, Willie Cauley-Stein, Devin Booker, Trey Lyles, Dakari Johnson, Andrew Harrison, and Aaron Harrison.
Just to crunch the numbers, that lineup is the team’s top seven scorers from last season and accounted for 85 percent of the Wildcats’ scoring along with 77 percent of its rebounds, according to ESPN.
Here’s where the players are expected to go in the draft via ESPN:
Towns and Cauley-Stein are both considered lottery picks by NBA executives. Towns is likely to go either first or second overall, along with Duke freshman Jahlil Okafor -- who also declared for the draft Thursday… Booker, a freshman shooting guard, is also considered a likely lottery pick after shooting 41 percent from beyond the arc this season… According to several NBA executives, Lyles will likely be chosen somewhere in the 15-25 range… Johnson, according to NBA guys, is projected as a fringe first-rounder… After consulting more than 10 NBA executives regarding their draft stock, the consensus was that the [Harrison] twins will both likely be selected somewhere in the second round.
If all seven are selected it would be a new NBA draft record for the most players selected from a single school. The 2012 version of the Wildcats is currently tied for the record of six players taken with UNLV and North Carolina.