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Five Former Wildcats Made ESPN's Top 25 Under 25 Rankings

That headline you just read above is no shock to anyone honestly, because there is no other school in college basketball that gets their players more prepared for the NBA than Kentucky. Yeah, you could make the case for Duke being right there in the conversation, and while that has some validity to it, Kentucky is still killing them in terms of volume through the last 13 years so they still have some coaching up to do if they really want to be on UK's level in that world.

With that being said, these ranking were put out by three employees of ESPN. NBA Front Office Insider, Bobby Marks, NBA Writer, Kevin Pelton, and NBA Draft reporter/DraftExpress contributor, Mike Schmitz, so it's safe to say that I think these guy know what they're talking about when it comes to this stuff.

Five Wildcats made the cut, which is the most of any other program. Let's see where thank ranked at.

No. 8, Bam Adebayo, Miami Heat

(Image via Heat Nation)

Coming in first on the list is Bam Adebayo, starting center for the Miami Heat and former 14th overall pick in the 2017 NBA Draft. He is just days off from being snubbed for Defensive Player of the Year to Marcus Smart, but has been a building piece of the Heat his entire time in Florida.

No. 10, Shai Gilgeous-Alexander, Oklahoma City Thunder

(Image via SixerSense)

Shai is second on this list after cementing himself as one of the leagues youngest stars after getting drafted to Los Angeles. He led an awful roster to a playoff run, and was later dealt in a blockbuster trade involving Paul George, sending him the Oklahoma City. He is now just the third face of the franchise, falling in line of Kevin Durant and Russell Westbrook. His name holds a lot of weight and the OKC Thunder are building a roster full of future draft picks to suit his game.

No. 20, Tyler Herro, Miami Heat

(Image via Miami Heat)

Joining Bam Adebayo in Miami just two seasons later, Tyler Herro - or as many call him "Boy Wonder" - really had his breakout during the NBA bubble as he dominantly helped lead the Heat to the Finals, alongside Bam and Jimmy Butler. Going to the Finals as a rookie is pretty impressive if you ask me, but since then, he has never really hit that height again. His role got pushed back to a non-starter, but he was named finalist for Sixth Man of the Year this season, so you can't say he isn't making the best of his situation. He's still a key role in the teams offense, and him making this list is completely understandable.

No. 22, De'Aaron Fox, Sacramento Kings

(Image via Sports Illustrated)

De'Aaron Fox rightfully deserves to be on this list because he is one of the leagues best players, but unfortunately, he just has never had the right pieces around him in Sacramento so he's not done much outside of individual statistics and awards. He's got all the talent in the world, but it's very hard to carry a team by yourself. He signed a major extension with the organization a few summers ago, so until they bring him some help, I think he's just going to stay sitting comfortably, running up his bank account.

No. 24, Tyrese Maxey, Philadelphia 76ers

(Image via USA Today Sports)

In Tyrese Maxey's second season in Philly, he's made quite the name for himself as the third member of a trio being built between himself, James Harden and Joel Embiid. Right now they are running through the first round of the NBA Playoffs, with Maxey coming off a career-high 38 points in Game 1, and 23 points in Game 2. Through the first two, he's combined for 61 points on 22-32 (69%) shooting, and 8-14 (57%) from the three-point line.

As you know, Kentucky essentially IS the league so little moments like these always seem rewarding. The five guys are only beginning what will end up being amazing careers. Tune in if you haven't already.


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