Kentucky might have suffered an embarrassing loss to Robert Morris in the first round of the NIT Tuesday night, but there was some good news, as freshmen Alex Poythress, Archie Goodwin, and Willie Cauley-Stein all indicated they were likely returning to Kentucky rather than entering the upcoming NBA draft.
After John Calipari recruits such as Derrick Rose, John Wall, DeMarcus Cousins, Anthony Davis, and Michael Kidd-Gilchrist all turned one season in college into top 5 draft selections, it was widely assumed Poythress, Goodwin, and Cauley-Stein had good chances of being one-and-done as well. But after Tuesday night's loss -- a team expected to make the NCAA Tournament losing to a No. 8 seed in the NIT, featuring a rare NIT court-storming -- all three said they "weren't ready" for the NBA, per Kentucky.com:
Then Goodwin added, "There's no reason any of our guys should really leave. We should come back next year . . . and just try to do better."
Alex Poythress echoed Goodwin's assessment. "I don't think I'm ready," he said.
"No," (Cauley-Stein) said. "Nobody's ready for it. I don't think anybody's ready for it mentality-wise, body-wise, athletic-wise."
Draft Express projects Goodwin and Poythress as top-20 picks in the upcoming NBA Draft, but currently includes Cauley-Stein as a top-10 pick in the 2014 NBA Draft. Fellow freshman Nerlens Noel, who tore his ACL in February, is still expected to enter the NBA draft.
If Goodwin, Poythress, and Cauley-Stein are actually all back next season, John Calipari's squad will be absolutely terrifying: he has incoming recruits ranked in the top 10 of all five positions, according to ESPN, including the Harrison twins Andrew and Aaron, considered the No. 1 point guard and shooting guard in the nation, and Dakari Johnson, considered the nation's top center.
All that said, it is tough to imagine a scenario where, fresh off a first-round NIT loss, the three freshmen confidently stated they expected to go leave Kentucky and go pro. Regardless, it's noteworthy that they're considering -- perhaps favoring -- a return to Lexington.