All eligible Kentucky players to declare for 2016 NBA Draft

John Calipari sure does have a flair for the dramatic.

In a series of Twitter messages Wednesday afternoon, Calipari announced that all Kentucky players eligible for the NBA Draft will declare and test the waters without signing an agent.

Basically, that means every player on the Kentucky roster outside of Isaac Humphries and Tai Wynyard — each of whom are ineligible for the draft due to age — will declare for the draft and test the waters.

The relevant players among that group are Jamal Murray (currently No. 4 on the CBS Sports NBA Draft big board), Skal Labissiere (No. 14), Tyler Ulis (No. 15), Isaiah Briscoe (No. 96), and Marcus Lee (No. 139).

The other players who will declare are Derek Willis, Dominique Hawkins, Charles Matthews, Mychal Mulder, EJ Floreal and Jonny David. Of this group, Matthews has the best chance to develop into an NBA player due to his athleticism, but his stock around the league is not nearly high enough to expect to be selected.

Given their respective stock around the NBA, it would be a surprise to see any of Ulis, Murray or Labissiere return. It would also be a surprise to see any of Lee, Willis, Hawkins, Matthews, Mulder, Floreal or David stay in the draft. That leaves Briscoe as the one with the difficult decision.

Briscoe had a bit of a down year in his freshman season, as he was forced to play out of position next to Murray and Ulis. Realistically, Briscoe is a point guard but he was forced into the 3 position. During the season, he became a much better defensive player, but never actually got to show if his offensive skill is ready for the next level. Given that his shooting ability is seen as a substantial negative at the moment, that question may not be answered by draft night. Also, it’s worth noting that Kentucky has two guards coming in next season in DeAaron Fox and Malik Monk that project to similarly play over him, making his decision all the more difficult.

Just as big a part of the story here though is Calipari making waves again by having everyone declare. Yes, he has made a bit of a mockery of the system by having players like David and Floreal insert their names. But here’s the thing: He has a point. There’s no reason for kids like them to not insert their names.

More than anything though, it’s a nice recruiting tool that Calipari can point to in order to tell players he has their best interests at heart. Calipari has struck again in the recruiting wars, and it was a relatively simple solution.

Everyone in this photo outside of John Calipari will declare for the 2016 draft. (USATSI)
Everyone in this photo outside of John Calipari will declare for the 2016 draft. (USATSI)


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