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Kentucky Wildcats top seven scorers heading to NBA draft

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The Kentucky Wildcats will lose their top seven scorers — Karl-Anthony Towns, Willie Cauley-Stein, Devin Booker, Trey Lyles, Dakari Johnson, Andrew Harrison and Aaron Harrison — to the NBA draft from the team that won 38 straight games before losing in the national semifinals.

Towns and Cauley-Stein are both considered lottery picks by NBA executives. Towns is likely to go either first or second overall, along with Duke freshman Jahlil Okafor – who has yet to officially declare for the draft.



Booker, a freshman shooting guard, is also considered a likely lottery pick after shooting 41 percent from beyond the arc this season.

Lyles, a skilled 6-foot-9 forward, averaged 8.7 points and 5.2 rebounds in 23 minutes per game. According to several NBA executives, Lyles will likely be chosen somewhere in the 15-25 range. The 6-foot-11 Johnson is also leaving despite averaging just 6.4 points and 4.6 boards in 16.3 minutes per contest as a sophomore this past season. Johnson, according to NBA guys, is projected as a fringe first-rounder.

Andrew and Aaron Harrison, who arrived at Kentucky as McDonald’s All Americans and projected one-and-dones, have decided to leave after their sophomore campaigns. Aaron led the team in scoring at 11 points per game while Andrew averaged 9.3 points and led the team in assists. After consulting more than 10 NBA executives regarding their draft stock, the consensus was that the twins will both likely be selected somewhere in the second round.

The NBA draft is June 25.

The losses account for 85 percent of Kentucky’s scoring from this past season and 77 percent of its rebounding.

The loss of seven players leaves Kentucky with freshman point guard Tyler Ulis and athletic forward Marcus Lee. Veteran forward Alex Poythress is still weighing his options, according to coach John Calipari, after suffering a season-ending torn ACL after just eight games into the season. Ulis should step into the starting role, but Lee’s role is up in the air with another strong recruiting class coming into Lexington.

Kentucky coach John Calipari and his staff already have commitments from three top-50 players in the ESPN 100 rankings: skilled big man Skal Labissiere (ranked No. 3), point guard Isaiah Briscoe (No. 13) and wing Charles Matthews (No. 42).

The Wildcats are also still in the mix for several remaining top prospects who have yet to make their decision — including scoring guard Malik Newman (No. 4), big man Cheick Diallo (No. 11) and smooth wing Brandon Ingram (No. 12) Seven of the top players in the Class of 2015 have yet to make their decisions.

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