I can’t continue again: Wildcats 5 star player announce his departure after Calipari exist

2024 NBA Draft: Kentucky standout Rob Dillingham becomes pro after impressing in his first season with the Wildcats.

Kentucky player Rob Dillingham, who was named SEC Sixth Man of the Year as a freshman, will enter the NBA Draft in 2024, according to ESPN. The 6-foot-2 guard energized the Wildcats off the bench, helping UK finish with the nation’s second-highest scoring offense at 89 points per game.

Though Dillingham still has a long way to go defensively, the Hickory, North Carolina native showed flashes of NBA-caliber scoring ability early and frequently at UK. Dillingham and fellow freshman guard Reed Sheppard provided offensive firepower from outside the starting lineup, averaging 15.2 points in just 23.3 minutes per game and dishing out 3.9 assists per game.

Dillingham, a 44.4% 3-point shooter in his one collegiate season, is a long-range threat with the agility and ball-handling skills to break down defenders off the dribble and locate his shots inside the arc. Dillingham scored in double digits in 27 of 32 games for the Wildcats, including eight 20-point performances, and outperformed some of his own teammates in NBA Draft forecasts.

“It doesn’t matter what pick I am, if I get picked 60th,” Dillingham told ESPN. “I want to join a team that believes in me and can help me develop, and I want to build with them to improve myself. I just want to help my team win, and they can also improve me.

Robert Dillingham’s NBA Draft prospects
Given Dillingham’s offensive potential and the relatively poor top of the 2024 NBA Draft class, he will have a chance to move up the board. Dillingham is ranked first in CBS Sports’ 2024 NBA Draft Prospect Rankings and second in Kyle Boone’s most recent mock draft.

“Despite coming off the bench the majority of the season for Kentucky, Dillingham flashed shades of Kyrie Irving with his twitchy ability and brilliant ball-handling skills,” Boone said in his article. “He can take over games when he’s hot and has the athletic pop to grow into a potent two-way player.”

Dillingham’s main challenge will be defense early in his career, unless he gains strength. However, as a natural scorer with a wide range of offensive skills, Dillingham has the potential to develop into an All-Star guard.

Impact on Kentucky
Even if Calipari had stayed at Kentucky for the 2024-25 season, the chances of bringing Dillingham back were very nonexistent. With the opportunity to be one of the first players taken in the NBA Draft, Dillingham is making the wise and long-awaited choice to become pro. As the transfer site and draft entice the majority of the program’s 2023-24 roster away, whomever replaces Calipari will almost certainly have to start again. Kentucky’s highly acclaimed recruiting class is likewise on the verge of collapsing, implying that the following squad will be primarily made up of transfers.

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