Kentucky's Tyrese Maxey Declares for 2020 NBA Draft

Megan ArmstrongSenior Analyst IIApril 6, 2020

Kentucky's Tyrese Maxey (3) plays during the second half of an NCAA college basketball game against Vanderbilt in Lexington, Ky., Wednesday, Jan 29, 2020. Kentucky won 71-62. (AP Photo/James Crisp)
James Crisp/Associated Press

Former 5-star point guard Tyrese Maxey will leave Kentucky to enter the 2020 NBA draft, he confirmed to ESPN's Malika Andrews

Maxey played just one season at Kentucky. The Garland, Texas, native averaged 14.0 points, 4.3 rebounds and 3.2 assists in 34.5 minutes across 31 games (28 starts) for the 25-6 Wildcats in 2019-20. The college basketball season was cut short by the coronavirus pandemic, with the NCAA announcing the cancellation of the men's and women's Division I NCAA tournaments on March 12.

Maxey had to split his time on the floor with Immanuel Quickley and Ashton Hagans. Quickley was the team's leading scorer at 16.1 points per game, and Hagans was the leading distributor with 6.4 assists per game.

Hagans announced Sunday he's moving on to the NBA:

It was Maxey who led the Wildcats back from a 14-point deficit to beat Vanderbilt 78-64 on Feb. 11, however, and head coach John Calipari saw Maxey's 25 points, four rebounds, two steals and two blocks as a pivotal step in his overall growth.

"The best thing that happened is for the first time this year, Tyrese Maxey played with a toughness to win, vs. just playing basketball," Calipari told reporters. "Now you have to understand I've been all over this and all over him and not settling. That was a good sign."

Calipari added: "Another thing he did, he had six deflections in the second half with 10 minutes to go. Where's that guy been? He told on himself. You mean you can play that way? 'Yeah, but it’s really hard. Can I just get more shots?' Trying to get these guys to do what the hardest thing is has been the challenge this year."

Bleacher Report's Jonathan Wasserman projected Maxey to go 12th overall to the New Orleans Pelicans in his Feb. 7 mock draft: 

"He's become a more likely option in the late lottery for a team that values his shot-making versatility, secondary playmaking and defensive toughness, even if he lacks the size (6'3", 198 lbs) and athleticism to dominate in any one area.

[...]

"And from Devin Booker to Tyler Herro, there have been recent Kentucky guards who've been able to flash more in NBA space."

Maxey could become the 15th Wildcat to go in the first round since 2015.

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