Kentucky Basketball: Future 1st-Round Draft Picks in Wildcats' Rotation

David DanielsSenior Writer IDecember 27, 2012

LEXINGTON, KY - DECEMBER 22:  Nerlens Noel #3 of the Ketnucky Wildcats celebrates during the game against the Marshall Thundering Herd at Rupp Arena on December 22, 2012 in Lexington, Kentucky.  (Photo by Andy Lyons/Getty Images)
Andy Lyons/Getty Images

If John Calipari was smart, he’d never leave Kentucky basketball for the NBA.


Because he already gets to coach NBA-caliber talent and do so against inferior college-caliber talent.

The Wildcats always dominate the draft, and 2013 will be no different. Here are the Calipari products that’ll hear their names called in the first round this year.


4. Willie Cauley-Stein

At 7’0”, Cauley-Stein would earn an NBA roster spot on length alone. He’s also a phenomenal athlete for a player his size. And as one can imagine, Cauley-Stein uses his great length and athleticism to terrorize opponents on the defensive end of the floor.


3. Archie Goodwin

Goodwin has emerged as the Wildcats’ go-to guy on offense as he leads the team with 16.0 points and 4.2 assists per game. Depending on how far he leads them in the NCAA Tournament, his stock could rise as high as the top 10, even though he was just ranked the No. 15 recruit in the class of 2012 by ESPN.


2. Alex Poythress

Poythress is pretty much a poor-man’s Michael Kidd-Gilchrist. He brings the defensive prowess and athleticism to the small forward position that MKG did along with the ability to finish at the rim. His stock, like Goodwin’s, will be difficult to project until the Big Dance and will depend on Kentucky bouncing back from its disappointing start.


1. Nerlens Noel

When it’s all said and done, the 6’10”, 228-pound Noel could easily be the No. 1 pick in the 2013 NBA Draft.

ESPN ranked him as the No. 1 player in the 2012 class and he’s living up to expectations as a defensive fiend, averaging 9.1 boards, 3.7 blocks and 2.7 steals per game. He’s also averaging 10.7 points a contest.

Even if Noel doesn’t go first overall, he won’t fall out of the top three.


David Daniels is a featured columnist at Bleacher Report and a syndicated writer.