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Five former Cats potential invites to NBA Combine — but not EJ Montgomery

Kahlil Whitney was just 1-for-4 from the field at South Carolina. (Vicky Graff Photo)

By KEITH TAYLOR, Kentucky Today

LEXINGTON — A list of potential invites to the NBA Combine has been compiled and it includes five former Kentucky players.

Ashton Hagans, Tyrese Maxey, Immanuel Quickley, Nick Richards and former Wildcat Kahlil Whitney made the list. EJ Montgomery didn’t make the cut of 60-70 top invites to the Combine, which has been postponed until next month, although a date has yet officially been set for the combine.

The date for withdrawal is Aug. 3 and the NBA Draft is now set for Oct. 16.

The Wildcats finished with a 25-6 record last season and won the Southeastern Conference regular-season title. Kentucky compiled a 15-3 mark in the SEC. Quickley was named SEC Player of the Year.

“My hope is this becomes one of the favorite teams in at least my era here, that this team becomes that,” Kentucky coach John Calipari said. “And the individual stories were incredible. From Nick (Richards) to Immanuel (Quickley) to Tyrese (Maxey) to Ashton (Hagans) to EJ (Montgomery), how he’s improved, to Keion (Brooks Jr.).”

Calipari enjoyed watching Quickley blossom into one of the team’s top players last year.

“I think, again, (he is)  one of the great kids that I’ve ever coached,” he said. “One of the most grounded young men that I’ve ever coached.”

The NBA is set to resume its season Thursday in Orlando, Florida. Overall, 17 former Kentucky players are part of 22 teams playing in Walt Disney World in Florida.

Enes Kanter (Boston Celtics), Michael Kidd-Gilchrist (Dallas Mavericks), Jamal Murray (Denver Nuggets), Patrick Patterson (L.A. Clippers), Anthony Davis (L.A. Lakers), Rajon Rondo (Lakers, injured), Tyler Herro (Miami Heat), Bam Adebayo (Miami Heat), Eric Bledsoe (Milwaukee Bucks), Hamidou Diallo, Shai Gilgeous-Alexander and Nerlens Noel (Oklahoma City Thunder), Devin Booker (Phoenix Suns), Kenyan Gabriel (Portland Trail Blazers), De’Aaron Fox (Sacramento Kings) and Keldon Johnson and Trey Lyles (injured, San Antonio Spurs) will compete in Orlando.

ATHLETES RETURNING

More student athletes are returning to the University of Kentucky.

A total of 60 student-athletes mostly from men’s soccer, swimming and diving have returned to campus since July 8 and five of those tests positive for COVID-19. Three tested positive for past infection through antibody tests and two tested positive for the coronavirus.

The school’s 25 staff members tested and one was positive and was required to quarantine and adhere to CDC guidelines.

The women’s basketball team currently is in the process of returning to campus and will undergo several tests before voluntary workouts begin.

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Keith Taylor is sports editor for Kentucky Today. Reach him at keith.taylor@kentuckytoday.com or twitter @keithtaylor21.

6 comments

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  1. EJ needs to withdraw from the draft and come back to KY for at least one more year. Forget your pride EJ, this is about your livelihood now. If anyone needs a degree to fall back on, it’s you. Play 2 more years at KY and possibly play your way into being a first round pick who will get a guaranteed contract. If that doesn’t work for you, you will have a degree to keep opportunities in play outside of basketball.
    Kahlil, you probably think you will get a G league deal but it won’t be a $500,000 deal. It will more likely be a $15,000 short term contract that often leads to a ticket home. Go back to school for an education. You can probably get a scholarship to play at a mid major like Xavier or Dayton if you drop the G league plan. You are a long shot for a pro career here, Europe or Asia…maybe. Having a degree is the best insurance you can get for the future.

    1. I think he already has an agent

  2. There are only so many spots on an NBA roster. They pick the best of the best each year, which in essence, pushes other so called talented guys off the roster. A rare few can play their way into the the league going the G league route like Dakari Johnson did. IMO, Dakari never got a fair shake at UK. neither did Bam, but they were true NBA talents. Other bigs noticed how they were under utilized here and take their talents elsewhere, but I digress. EJ and Kahlil were not even average college talents. They have absolutely no shot at a career in the NBA. Its too bad that agents aren’t regulated to keep them from promising kids things that will never happen. If an agent signs a kid and he doesn’t get on an NBA roster, that agent should have to pay for those kids to go back and finish their degrees.

  3. I’ve learned to never say never. Some previous Cats I thought would never make the league have managed to do so. Just took time

  4. 33 you are putting too much negative perspective on our players when they make a choice for themselves to enter the draft to get a chance. Like Larry V said it may take time and hard work. EJ has hire a agent he can”t withdraw his name regardless and in my two cents word I think EJ will make some noise in the NBA.

  5. 79, I would expect that from you. I am not being negative about our players, just being real about two in particular…EJ and Kahlil. There is is a world of difference between them and Hamidou. Hami was eratic but did have games that showed his NBA potential. He made the G league work for himself. EJ and Kahlil are betting their futures on the longest of long shots. What happens when the bet doesn’t pay off? I doubt that either will finish their degrees, then what? The point I am trying to make is this, wearing a KY uniform in no way guarantees a NBA career. There is nothing wrong with playing 4 years, getting a degree, and then giving the NBA a shot. If the NBA doesn’t happen, you still have a degree to build a future with. Forgive me for caring about what their lives will be like without basketball.

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