From UK Athletics
UK is tied for the most representatives at annual pre-draft workouts
CHICAGO – Leading up to what looks to be another Wildcat-centric NBA Draft, four Kentucky men’s basketball players – Bam Adebayo, Isaiah Briscoe, Hamidou Diallo and De’Aaron Fox – are set to participate in the annual NBA Draft Combine in Chicago next week. All four players were on the official 67-man attendee list that the NBA released Friday.
UK is tied for the most players schedule to participate in the annual combine. The Wildcats make up nearly six percent of the total participants.
Freshman guard Malik Monk was invited to the NBA Draft Combine but opted not to participate.
The NBA Combine, which will take place May 9-14 at the Quest Center in Chicago, is a multi-day showcase where some of the world’s best draft-eligible players will participate in physical measurements, interviews, drills, medical and athletic testing, and scrimmages in front of NBA personnel. NBA coaches, general managers and scouts will be on hand to assess individual players in preparation for the annual NBA Draft, to be held June 22 at the Barclays Center in Brooklyn, New York.
Athletes attend by invitation only from the NBA based on the feedback and requests from the 30 NBA teams. Some of Kentucky’s most recent departures have participated in the NBA Combine and gone on to successful NBA Draft nights and promising professional careers.
Of the four Wildcats who are expected to participate in next week’s combine, three – Adebayo, Briscoe and Fox – have either signed with an agent or announced their intentions to sign with an agent, which would effectively end their careers at Kentucky.
Under NCAA rules, underclassmen can “test the waters” by declaring for the NBA Draft, participating in the NBA Combine and working out for individual teams. Players have until 10 days after the conclusion of the NBA Combine to retain their college eligibility so long as they don’t hire an agent. Diallo, who has declared for the NBA Draft but has not hired an agent, is the only Wildcat who is participating in the NBA Combine who falls under that criterion.
ESPN2 will televise parts of the NBA Combine on May 11 and May 12 from 3 to 7 p.m.
For the year, Adebayo averaged 13.0 points and a team-best 8.0 rebounds per game. He also led the team in blocks per game (1.5) and double-doubles (eight), including five double-doubles over his final 11 games. He was a member of the All-Southeastern Conference Second Team and was also named to the All-SEC Tournament Team during his successful freshman campaign.
Playing in a guard-heavy lineup, Adebayo provided UK with its most consistent inside presence. His .599 field-goal percentage was the best among players attempting at least 100 shots for the season, and his 101 dunks on the year are more than any other Kentucky player under John Calipari. Anthony Davis had 92 during the 2011-12 season.
Briscoe was one of the constants during UK’s league title and NCAA Tournament runs over the last two seasons. The Newark, New Jersey native, started 69 of the 70 games he played in and averaged 10.9 points, 5.4 rebounds and 3.7 assists during his two-year college career.
As one of the few returning players from a season ago, Briscoe’s leadership was instrumental in bringing together one of the youngest teams in the country and leading it to the top of the polls in November. Briscoe went on to average career highs in points (12.1), rebounds (5.4) and assists (4.2) in 2016-17, the only player in the SEC to average at least those numbers in all three categories. Briscoe scored in double figures in 23 of the 36 games he played in this season, scored 20 or more points in six games, and led the team in assists in 15 games.
Diallo enrolled at Kentucky in January after graduating from Putnam Science Academy in Connecticut in May. A top-10 prospect in the 2017 class before reclassifying, Diallo practiced with the team and was eligible to play in games, but he opted not to play this season in order to adapt to college competition, develop his game and focus on his academics.
Once Diallo caught up during the midseason transition process, the 6-foot-5 guard from Queens, New York, became a key player in practice down the stretch as the Wildcats won the SEC regular-season and tournament championships before advancing to the Elite Eight of the NCAA Tournament.
Faced with the unenviable task of replacing 2016 Bob Cousy Point Guard of the Year award winner Tyler Ulis, Fox filled his shoes admirably this season and made his mark as one of the nation’s fastest and craftiest players. He averaged 16.7 points, 4.6 assists, 4.0 rebounds and 1.5 steals, one of only four freshmen in the country to average at least those numbers in all four categories. Markelle Fultz (Washington), Dennis Smith Jr. (NC State) and Michael Weathers (Miami, Ohio) were the others.
A four-time SEC Freshman of the Week selection, Fox was named the most valuable player of the 2017 SEC Tournament after leading the Wildcats to their third consecutive title. In addition to All-SEC First Team honors by the Associated Press and the league’s coaches, Fox was named a third-team All-American by USA Today and CBS Sports.
Since Calipari joined the Wildcat program for the 2009-10 season, UK has produced 28 NBA Draft picks over seven seasons, more than double any other school. Included in the 28 are 21 first-round selections, three No. 1 overall picks, 11 top-10 selections and 14 lottery picks.
Of the 18 players in the Calipari era who declared for the NBA Draft after one season at Kentucky, all 18 were drafted in the first round.