LEXINGTON, Ky. — Among Kentucky’s four underclassmen seriously considering a jump to the 2017 NBA Draft, sophomore guard Isaiah Briscoe had the toughest decision of all.
He wanted to go last year, declaring for the draft, working out for a few teams and ultimately realizing he needed to go back to school and work on his game. He announced Thursday that he would declare again and hire an agent, but it is once again a real question whether the NBA wants him.
Thank you Kentucky for an amazing 2 years..With that being said I've decided to enter the 2017 NBA Draft and will be signing with an agent. pic.twitter.com/8gDAsbofIH
— Slim Bz (@ZayBriscoe) April 6, 2017
“It was a dream to play in front of BBN and an honor to wear K-E-N-T-U-C-K-Y across my chest,” Briscoe said in a release from Kentucky Athletics. “I’m ready for the next step and can’t wait to begin the next journey.”
Briscoe, a 6-foot-3 former McDonald’s All-American, averaged 12.1 points, 5.4 rebounds and 4.2 assists this season. His 3-point and free-throw numbers still weren’t good — 28.8 and 63.5 percent — but they were a big improvement from his freshman season (13.5 and 46 percent).
He has produced 763 points, 376 rebounds, 259 assists and 65 steals in two seasons at Kentucky and even recorded just the third triple-double in program history: 19 points, 11 assists and 10 rebounds at Ole Miss on Dec. 29.
Still, Draft Express ranks Briscoe the 86th-best prospect in the 2017 draft, while ESPN has him 105th. There are only 60 picks in the two-round NBA Draft on June 22.
Not one of Calipari’s 21 one-and-dones, as he’d planned, and maybe not even a draft pick at all, Briscoe might instead have to follow the path of Kentucky alums Aaron Harrison and Alex Poythress, both former McDonald’s All-Americans who went undrafted but ultimately earned NBA contracts.
The NBA Combine is May 9-14 in Chicago, and players who do not hire an agent will have 10 days following that event (May 24) to decide whether to stay in the draft or return to school.