2020 NBA Draft: Kentucky’s Tyrese Maxey, a projected lottery pick, declares for draft

Kentucky freshman Tyrese Maxey became the second Wildcats player in the last 24 hours to declare for the 2020 NBA Draft on Monday, joining fellow sophomore backcourt mate Ashton Hagans. Maxey played in 31 games for the Wildcats this season and made 28 starts while playing a team-high 34.5 minutes per game.

“My dream has always been to play in the NBA and I know I’m prepared for this because I’m Wildcat made,” Maxey said. “I got to play for a Hall of Famer, be pushed every day by the best coaches in the country, compete alongside great teammates and work with a support staff that is the gold standard – just like Coach Cal promised.”

Maxey is eligible to return to college and can test the NBA Draft waters but intends to forfeit his remaining collegiate eligibility.

“There was no player I was harder on this year than Tyrese, and there’s a reason for that,” Kentucky coach coach John Calipari said. “One, he’s a great kid with a confidence in his ability that does not waver. Two, he has a potential that he has only begun to realize. And three, Tyrese needed to be challenged to take that next step.”

Maxey averaged 14.0 points, 4.3 rebounds and 3.2 assists per game as UK’s do-it-all combo guard this season. His biggest game may have been his first, when he scored 26 points in his debut and helped take down No. 1 Michigan State in the season-opener. He also scored 27 points to lead Kentucky to an overtime win over rival Louisville.

“Tyrese made that leap this season,” Calipari said. “He met every challenge and became one of the best guards in the country. Not only was it his dream to play at Kentucky, he wanted to be coached. He’s going to do great in that league because there’s nothing he can’t do. He can handle the ball, he can shoot, he’s got great athleticism and he really defended as the season went on.”

Maxey ranks as the No. 10 overall player on my Top 75 Big Board and the No. 2 prospect at his position for the 2020 Draft.

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