By LARRY VAUGHT
As coach John Calipari continues to try and add another player to his 2019-20 roster, he also still doesn’t know what might happen to two of his current players.
Freshman EJ Montgomery and sophomore Nick Richards have both put their name into the NBA draft and have until May 29th to remove their name if they want to return to Kentucky for another season.
ESPN analyst Mike Schmitz was part of the coverage crew at last week’s NBA Combine and closely evaluates prospects and their draft chances. He was even at the McDonald’s All-American Game this year to begin evaluating future draft prospects.
During a recent national teleconference, he shared his thoughts about each player?
“For E.J., it’s kind of finding his identity. He can do a lot of different things,” Schmitz said. “He’s unique because he’s 6-10 and he can step out a little bit on the perimeter.
“Obviously, he’s still 19 years old. So, getting tougher, finding his identity, and just kind of figuring out how he fits into all this because he doesn’t really have an elite skill right now.”
What about Richards, who is a year older but has yet to hit the potential that Calipari continues to insist he has?
“I think, for Nick, it’s always been about playing with a consistent motor. He has the tools, and he has the physical gifts, but being able to hang his hat on being an athletic shot blocker, lob catcher, staying out of foul trouble, thinking the game at a higher level. I think those things are all important for him,” Schmitz said.
Neither UK player is listed as a first-round pick and only one mock draft I’ve seen has Montgomery even listed in the second round. However, one or both could still opt to take his chances and start pursuing a professional career but I just don’t see it.