By LARRY VAUGHT
Former Kentucky All-American has one common concern when it comes to Tyrese Maxey, Immanuel Quickley and Ashton Hagans and the NBA.
“The only thing I really do not like with Hagans and Quickley is that they are both on the small side,” said Walker, a former NBA player. “A few years ago you could get away being a 6-2 point guard in the NBA but now.
“They have gravitated in the NBA to where point guards are 6-5 and shooting guards are 6-6 or 6-7. Both Hagans and Quickley will be a little bit too small for lot of pro teams. It is a very weak draft, though, and that could help them.
“Maxey has great potential. I am little concerned his size as well but he is a good athlete for that size. Not as good as John Wall or Eric Bledsoe, but he he has heart and tenacity that compensate for size.”
So does Walker think Quickley and Hagans should be returning to UK rather than staying in the draft?
“Timing is the key with guys like Quickley and Hagans. You take a risk of getting injured if you do come back,” Walker said. “Quickley was SEC Player of the Year. I know we would all love to have him back if he had thought it was too much of a risk to to go to the NBA. But his stock might never be higher.”
What about Hagans? He became turnover prone the second half of the season and even was apparently suspended for UK’s final regular-season game at Florida. Not to mention he did not improve his outside shot as he had hoped he would last season.
“Ashton played lot of minutes and got beat up physically and whey you do that you get tired mentally,” Walker said. “A lot of mistakes come when you are not 100 percent physically and then you get tired mentally.”
Walker also wondered if part of Hagans’ issues came when he might have worried too much about mock drafts and his future.
“You want to help your team win but you are also eager to show pro scouts you can do this and maybe he started pressing too hard late in the season,” Walker said. “My advice to Ashton would be to get back to being that great defensive player you were last year and early this year.
“When he played that way he might have been the best guard in college basketball. When he gets steals and forces turnovers he gets easier baskets and that helped with his confidence. When he was forced to take half-court open shots he would lose confidence. He has to be able to get past that but he can be such a disruptive defensive force that somebody in the league will be willing to take that I think.”