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Led by Fox, four UK players look to make an impression in this week’s NBA Combine


By Keith Taylor
KyForward Senior Sports Writer

Four Kentucky men’s basketball players will be participating in the NBA Combine that begins Tuesday and runs through May 14 at the Quest Center in Chicago.

De’Aaron Fox, Isaiah Briscoe, Bam Abedayo and Hamidou Diallo were listed among 67 players invited to attend the six-day event. Malik Monk was invited, but opted against participating in the combine. Fox, Briscoe and Adebayo have already hired an agent, while Diallo is leaving the door open for a possible return depending on his final evaluation following the combine. Diallo has until May 24 to decide whether to return to college or stay in the draft.

De’Aaron Fox will compete in the NBA Combine that begins Tuesday and runs through May 14 in Chicago. Fox is a projected Top 10 draft pick in next month’s NBA Draft (Bill Thiry Photo)

The players will participate in a variety of evaluations during the showcase as NBA scouts and personnel will conduct physical measurements, interviews, drills, and participate in several scrimmages ahead of the NBA Draft set for June 22 at the Barclays Center in Brooklyn.

Fox is projected by draftexpress.com to be a No. 5 pick in the draft, a spot held down by the Orlando Magic. Monk (New York Knicks) is No. 7, followed by Adebayo (Atlanta Hawks) at No. 31. Diallo (Boston Celtics) is projected to got in the second round at No. 36.

During Kentucky coach John Calipari’s eight-year tenure at Kentucky, a total to 28 players have been chosen in the draft, including 21 first-round picks, three have been No. 1 and 11 were Top 10 selections in the yearly draft. Calipari also has produced 14 lottery picks during his tenure at Kentucky.

Future options

During a post on his website on coach cal.com earlier this week, Calipari cautioned against a possible scenario that would allow young players to make the jump straight from high school to the NBA, with the stipulation this players begin their professional career in the D-League.

Read More at Keith's Blog

Read More at Keith’s Blog: Out of the Blue

“We must guard against devaluing education, especially in this one-and-done era,” Calipari said. “There could be as many as 9,000 or 10,000 kids thinking in those terms. They’re not mature enough to make a decision that will affect the rest of their lives when they’re 14 or 15. When you were that age would you have been able to make the right decision — one that would affect the rest of your life?”

Calipari said the NBA isn’t “like minor league baseball.”

“They’ll have a year or two to prove themselves and that will be it,” he said. “If they don’t make it to the NBA, what are they left with? I’ll add another caveat: What kids are we talking about here? These are urban kids, poor kids, many with single parents, many of whom are minorities. Without that education and that lifelong curiosity for learning, their path and chance at the American Dream is almost nil.”

Calipari said purpose for the D-League is for older players in the league who are looking for another chance to succeed at the next level.

“The D-League would be better served to prepare those older players already in the league and give those guys second and third chances to breakthrough or have success, which is what they do now,” he said. “But don’t allow high school kids to forego an education when they’re at an age where they’re not ready to make those decisions.”

Big Apple bound?

Kentucky and Monmouth are reportedly working on a deal to play each other next season at Madison Square Garden in New York.

The two teams could meet on Dec. 9 in a first-ever matchup. The Hawks finished 27-7 lat season and won the Metro Atlantic Athletic Conference regular-season title. Monmouth lost to Ole Miss in the NIT.

Kentucky will play Kansas in the champions Classic in Chicago, UCLA in the CBS Sports Classic in New Orleans, along with Harvard and Louisville next season.

Keith Taylor is a senior sports writer for KyForward, where he primarily covers University of Kentucky sports. Reach him at keith.taylor@kyforward.com or @keithtaylor21 on Twitter


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