LEXINGTON, Ky. — Now that freshmen De’Aaron Fox, Malik Monk and Bam Adebayo have declared for the 2017 NBA Draft, that brings John Calipari’s total to a staggering 21 one-and-dones in eight seasons at Kentucky. (Assuming Adebayo, who has not hired an agent, stays in the draft.)
So that got us thinking here at SEC Country: How do those 21 guys stack up against each other? And how would we even go about ranking them? Since what matters most to Big Blue Nation is how players perform in college, we went with that.
You’ll notice that every one-and-done under Calipari has been picked in the first round of the NBA draft — a dozen of them by lottery teams — and many are already stars or trending in that direction. But we didn’t take that into consideration. Here now, a ranking of the Wildcats’ one-and-dones based on their contributions in a Kentucky uniform.
21. Enes Kanter
Was allowed to practice but ruled ineligible to play for Kentucky during the 2010-11 season. Picked No. 3 overall in the NBA draft.
20. Daniel Orton
Averaged 3.4 points and 3.3 rebounds for John Calipari’s first Kentucky team that lost in the 2010 Elite Eight. Orton was a Billy Gillispie recruit. Picked No. 29 overall in the NBA draft
19. Skal Labissiere
Averaged 6.6 points, 3.1 rebounds and 1.6 blocks per game for a Kentucky team that went 27-9 and lost in the 2016 NCAA Tournament’s second round. Picked No. 28 overall in the NBA draft.
18. Trey Lyles
Averaged 8.7 points, 5.2 rebounds and 1.1 assists for a Kentucky team that went 38-1 and lost in the 2015 Final Four. Picked No. 12 overall in the NBA draft.
17. Archie Goodwin
Averaged 14.1 points, 4.6 rebounds and 2.7 assists for a Kentucky team that lost in the first round of the 2013 NIT. Picked No. 29 overall in the NBA draft.
16. Devin Booker
SEC Sixth Man of the Year in 2015. Averaged 10.0 points, 2.0 rebounds and 1.1 assists for a Kentucky team that went 38-1 and lost in the Final Four. Picked No. 13 overall in the NBA draft.
15. Eric Bledsoe
Averaged 11.3 points, 3.1 rebounds, 2.9 assists and 1.4 steals alongside John Wall on the Kentucky team that went 35-3 and lost in the 2010 Elite Eight. Picked No. 18 overall in the NBA draft.
14. Bam Adebayo
Averaged 13.0 points, 8.0 rebounds and 1.5 blocks for a Kentucky team that went 32-6 and won the 2017 SEC regular-season and tournament titles. Set Calipari-era dunks record with 101.
13. James Young
Averaged 14.3 points, 4.3 rebounds and 1.7 assists for the Kentucky team that reached the 2014 NCAA title game. Picked No. 17 overall in the NBA draft.
12. Marquis Teague
Averaged 10.0 points, 4.9 assists, 2.5 rebounds as the starting point guard for Kentucky’s 2012 national championship team. Picked No. 29 overall in the NBA draft.
11. Nerlens Noel
SEC Defensive Player of the Year in 2013. Averaged 10.5 points, 9.5 rebounds, 4.4 blocks in 24 games for Kentucky before tearing his left knee ACL. Picked No. 6 overall in the NBA draft.
10. Julius Randle
SEC Rookie of the Year and third-team All-American (AP, NABC) in 2014. Averaged 15.0 points and 10.4 rebounds for a Kentucky team that went 29-11 and lost in the 2014 NCAA title game. Fans remember Aaron Harrison’s series of clutch 3-pointers from that run, but Randle averaged 16 and 12 in UK’s first four NCAA Tournament games. He owns the school’s freshman rebounding record and is sixth on the freshman scoring list. Picked No. 7 overall in the NBA draft.
9. Jamal Murray
All-SEC and AP All-American in 2016. Averaged 20 points, 5.2 rebounds and 2.2 assists for a Kentucky team that went 27-9, shared the SEC regular-season title, won the SEC Tournament and lost in the second round of the 2016 NCAA Tournament. Owns the UK freshman record and is second in school history (all classes) with 113 made 3-pointers. He smashed Brandon Knight’s freshman scoring record, only to see Malik Monk surpass him this season. Picked No. 7 overall in the NBA draft.
8. De’Aaron Fox
All-SEC and SEC Tournament MVP in 2017. Averaged 16.7 points, 4.6 assists and 4.0 rebounds for a Kentucky team that won SEC regular-season and tournament titles, went 32-6 and reached the Elite Eight. Fox had 39 points against UCLA and star Lonzo Ball in the Sweet 16. When healthy — he dealt with ankle and knee injuries and the flu in the middle of the season — Fox often looked like the best point guard in the country. He produced the third-most assists (165), fourth-most steals (53) and fifth-most points (601) of any freshman in Kentucky history.
7. Malik Monk
SEC Player of the Year and Freshman of the Year, consensus second-team All-American in 2017. Averaged 19.8 points, 2.5 rebounds and 2.2 assists for the Wildcats, who lost on a buzzer-beater against North Carolina in the Elite Eight. Monk hit the tying 3-pointer in that game with 7.2 seconds to go — after scoring 47 and hitting the game-winning 3-pointer against the Tar Heels in December. He set the UK freshman scoring record and is third in school history with 104 made 3-pointers in a season.
6. Michael Kidd-Gilchrist
All-SEC and consensus second-team All-American in 2012. Averaged 11.9 points and 7.4 rebounds for the Wildcats, who went 38-2 and won a national title. Kidd-Gilchrist was UK’s energy source and if not for teammate Anthony Davis, he might’ve been considered the best defender in college basketball. Picked No. 2 overall in the NBA draft, right after Davis, making them the first teammates to go 1-2. Kidd-Gilchrist has started 274 games as a pro.
5. Karl-Anthony Towns
SEC Freshman of the Year and consensus second-team All-American in 2015. Averaged 10.3 points, 6.7 rebounds and 2.3 blocks in 21.1 minutes per game as part of a platoon system that helped Kentucky remain undefeated until a Final Four loss to Wisconsin. After a quiet start to his lone season, Towns dominated down the stretch, including 25 points, 5 rebounds, 4 assists, 2 steals and a block against Notre Dame in the Elite Eight. Picked No. 1 overall in the NBA draft and won Rookie of the Year in 2016.
4. Brandon Knight
All-SEC pick in 2011, when he averaged 17.3 points, 4.2 assists and 4.0 rebounds and led Kentucky to a 29-8 record, SEC Tournament title and an unlikely appearance in the Final Four. He hit two game-winners in the NCAA Tournament, including the dagger to take out No. 1 seed Ohio State in the Sweet 16. Knight broke John Wall’s UK freshman scoring record, only to see Murray and Monk surpass his mark. Knight also broke Rex Chapman’s UK freshman record for made 3-pointers, only to see Murray and Monk eclipse that, too. Picked No. 8 overall in the NBA draft.
3. DeMarcus Cousins
SEC Rookie of the Year and consensus second-team All-American in 2010. Averaged 15.1 points and 9.8 rebounds, teaming with John Wall to lead Kentucky to a 35-3 record and SEC regular-season and tournament titles in Calipari’s first season. “Boogie” and Wall made the Wildcats cool again and started the parade of one-and-dones to Lexington. Cousins set the UK freshman record for rebounds, which was soon surpassed by Anthony Davis and Randle. Picked No. 5 overall in the NBA draft and is a three-time All-Star.
2. John Wall
SEC Player of the Year and consensus first-team All-American in 2010. Averaged 16.6 points, 6.5 assists and 4.3 rebounds, led Kentucky to a 35-3 record, No. 1 ranking and the Elite Eight in Calipari’s first season. He left with UK’s freshman scoring record, which has since been eclipsed by Knight, Murray and Monk. Wall also set the single-season school record for assists, which Tyler Ulis broke last season. Picked No. 1 overall in the NBA draft and is a four-time All-Star.
1. Anthony Davis
National Player of the Year, Freshman of the Year, Defensive Player of the Year and Final Four Most Outstanding Player in 2012. He set an NCAA freshman record for blocked shots, averaged 14.2 points, 10.4 rebounds and 4.7 blocks, led Kentucky to a 38-2 record and the program’s eighth national championship (Calipari’s first). Picked No. 1 overall in the NBA draft and is a four-time All-Star.