Friday night’s Sweet 16 matchup between UCLA and Kentucky
isn’t just a game between the two teams with the most national championships in college basketball history
. It’s an absolute dream for NBA scouts and draft enthusiasts alike.
It has become an annual tradition for John Calipari’s squad to be bursting at the seams with NBA talent. Since he took over at Kentucky in 2009, he has produced three No. 1 overall selections (John Wall in 2010
, Anthony Davis in 2012
and Karl-Anthony Towns in 2015
), 15 lottery picks, 21 first-rounders and 28 overall selections in the seven drafts that have followed, and this year looks to be no different. The backcourt pairing of De’Aaron Fox and Malik Monk both appear to be strong bets for the Top 10
, while Bam Adebayo is making his case as an elite prospect himself.
In what will be a truly rare occasion, though, Cal’s squad will be matched–or even out-numbered–in terms of NBA talent when it goes up against UCLA. The Bruins, of course, are led by the exhilarating Lonzo Ball, whose size, efficiency and passing have made him a near lock to go inside the Top 3, but then there’s also big men TJ Leaf and Ike Anigbogu, who both have first-round potential, while sophomore Aaron Holiday–who has two older brothers already in the NBA–is another one to watch.
Put it all together, and there will likely be at least
six future NBA players on the court in Memphis on Friday night, making it a must-watch game if you’re interested in the future of the Association. You can click through the gallery
for a breakdown of what they all bring to the table for the next level, and how they’ll stack up against each other on draft boards. (Getty)