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Skal Labissiere

 (Brad Penner)
(Brad Penner)

NEW YORK -- As the first round began to fade Thursday night at the NBA Draft, Kentucky big man Skal Labissiere remained in the Green Room at Barclays Center.

Time will tell whether or not Labissiere, who struggled in his one season in Lexington, made a mistake by leaving school early, but for now, the Haitian-born forward is a millionaire.

Once projected as the No. 1 overall pick by DraftExpress, Labissiere was selected 28th overall by the Phoenix Suns, who will send him to the Sacramento Kings. He was one of two Kentucky players to be selected in the first round after classmate and Canadian sensation Jamal Murray was chosen seventh overall by the Denver Nuggets.

Tags: Jamal Murray, Kentucky, Skal Labissiere, Tyler Ulis
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McDonalds High School All-American guard Malik Monk dunks during the McDonalds All-American Powerade Jamfest at the Chicago Theatre. (Brian Spurlock)
McDonalds High School All-American guard Malik Monk dunks during the McDonalds All-American Powerade Jamfest at the Chicago Theatre. (Brian Spurlock)

NEW YORK - John Calipari may have his best recruiting class ever next season, what with a whopping five five-star recruits.

The question now begs, who will be the best of that group? Skal Labissiere believes he has the answer.

"Malik Monk was one of my teammates (on the Nike EYBL circuit with the Arkansas Wings), and I think he can be the best player on that team," Labissiere said Wednesday afternoon at NBA Draft Media Day at the Grand Hyatt New York. "He's a high-flyer, he can really shoot the basketball. He's athletic, he has hang-time in the air and he's very competitive. He's a winner.

Tags: Kentucky, Skal Labissiere, Josh Newman
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CHICAGO -- Kentucky coach John Calipari believes Marcus Lee will remain in the NBA Draft, but is uncertain about Isaiah Briscoe.

"Marcus really wants to do this, and my guess is that he'll keep his name in the draft because this is what he wants to do," Calipari told reporters Wednesday. "And I just told him to go up there [to the NBA Draft Combine] and do your thing and show the athletic player that you are. But he's also worked out. We've had those guys work out with teams before the combine so two or three teams could evaluate them, talk to them, and Marcus went to the combine."

The 6-foot-10 Lee is projected as the No. 29 junior by DraftExpress.com and is one of four Kentucky guys here at the NBA Draft Combine, along with Jamal Murray, Skal Labissiere and Tyler Ulis.

Tags: Isaiah Briscoe, Jamal Murray, Kentucky, Skal Labissiere, Adam Zagoria
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Kentucky Wildcats forward Skal Labissiere (1) drives to the basket against Stony Brook Seawolves forward Jameel Warney (20) during the first half in the first round of the 2016 NCAA Tournament at Wells Fargo Arena. (Jeffrey Becker)
Kentucky Wildcats forward Skal Labissiere (1) drives to the basket against Stony Brook Seawolves forward Jameel Warney (20) during the first half in the first round of the 2016 NCAA Tournament at Wells Fargo Arena. (Jeffrey Becker)

Kentucky freshman forward Skal Labissiere has declared for the 2016 NBA Draft, he announced on Tuesday. Labissiere plans to sign with an agent, thus effectively ending his careeer at Kentucky.

"I want to thank my family, my coaches, teammates and most importantly I want to thank God for the opportunity that he gave me to represent and play for the University of Kentucky," Labissiere said on Tuesday. "I also want to thank the fans for their support through everything this season. I am excited to announce that I am entering the 2016 NBA Draft."

Labissiere played in all 36 games this season, starting 18 of them. The 6-foot-11, 225-pound forward averaged 6.6 points, 3.1 rebounds, and 1.6 blocks in his only season at Kentucky. Labissiere won SEC Freshman of the Week twice, earning the honor in both the first and last weeks of the regular season. 

Tags: Kentucky, Matt Citak, NBA Draft, Skal Labissiere
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After briefly tumbling out of the lottery, Kentucky freshman big man Skal Labissiere is now back up to No. 10 on the latest Draft Express Mock Draft for 2016 released Saturday.

The Haitian Sensation is averaging 6.8 points and 3.2 rebounds but is coming off back-to-back solid performances, including an 18-point, 9-rebound, 6-block outing in Saturday's win over projected No. 1 pick Ben Simmons and LSU and an 11-point, 8-rebound outing on Tuesday against Florida.

"Labissiere did a great job protecting rim, knocking down jumpers and playing with better toughness and confidence than we've seen all season," Jonathan Givony of DraftExpress.com Tweeted.

Tags: Skal Labissiere, Adam Zagoria
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Skal Labissiere, once the projected No. 1 pick in the NBA Draft according to DraftExpress.com, has now tumbled out of the lottery.

The 7-foot Kentucky freshman fell to No. 19 on the latest Mock Draft for 2016 released late Monday.

The Haitian Sensation is averaging 6.2 points and 2.8 rebounds and has fallen behind Marcus Lee and Isaac Humphries in head coach John Calipari's big man rotation. He hasn't scored in double-figures in his last nine games and amassed 1 rebound and no points in 8 minutes in Saturday's loss to Vanderbilt.

Tags: NBA Draft, Skal Labissiere, Adam Zagoria
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There was a time, not that long ago, when heralded freshmen Skal Labissiere, Stephen Zimmerman, Cheick Diallo, Malik Newman and Isaiah Briscoe were all projected as lottery picks by DraftExpress.com.

The 7-foot Labissiere was No. 1 -- ahead of Ben Simmons -- entering this college basketball season but has fallen ever since and the Kentucky freshman is now No. 14 on the latest Mock Draft for 2016 released Tuesday.

The 7-foot Zimmerman was a lottery pick at No. 14 in December, but the UNLV freshman now ranks at No. 21.

Tags: Ben Simmons, Kentucky, Kris Dunn, NBA Draft, Skal Labissiere, Adam Zagoria
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Maryland freshman Diamond Stone is now No. 9 on the latest DraftExpress.com Mock Draft. (Brad Penner / USA Today)
Maryland freshman Diamond Stone is now No. 9 on the latest DraftExpress.com Mock Draft. (Brad Penner / USA Today)

Diamond Stone and Buddy Hield continued to see their draft stock rise in the latest DraftExpress.com Mock Draft for 2016, while Kentucky freshman big man Skal Labissiere continued to see his drop.

The 6-foot-10 Stone, a Maryland freshman, is up to No. 9 from 10 on the mock draft, while the 6-4 Hield, an Oklahoma senior who is the favorite for National Player of the Year honors, is up to No. 11 from 17.

Kentucky's Skal Labissiere is now at No. 10 after he was previously at 6. The site had the Haitian sensation at No. 1 in May and at No. 3 in December.

Tags: Ben Simmons, Kentucky, Kris Dunn, NBA Draft, Skal Labissiere, Adam Zagoria
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It is a measure of where the national conversation is on Kentucky freshman Skal Labissiere that Dick Vitale said on an ESPN broadcast Saturday evening that Labissiere should "absolutely" return to campus for his sophomore season.

Vitale made the comments during the final seconds of Kentucky's 76-57 blowout of Vanderbilt, a game in which the 7-foot Haitian sensation played just 4 minutes and failed to register a single point, rebound or assist. Kentucky coach John Calipari told reporters that it wasn't the game for Labissiere to play because of Vanderbilt's style.

Apparently, it was the game for Derek Willis, who started, played 30 minutes and notched 7 points and 9 rebounds.

Tags: Kentucky, NBA Draft, Skal Labissiere, Adam Zagoria
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Dec 9, 2015; Lexington, KY, USA; Kentucky Wildcats forward Skal Labissiere (1) shoots the ball against Eastern Kentucky Colonels forward Nick Mayo (10) in the first half at Rupp Arena. Mandatory Credit: Mark Zerof-USA TODAY Sports (Mark Zerof)
Dec 9, 2015; Lexington, KY, USA; Kentucky Wildcats forward Skal Labissiere (1) shoots the ball against Eastern Kentucky Colonels forward Nick Mayo (10) in the first half at Rupp Arena. Mandatory Credit: Mark Zerof-USA TODAY Sports (Mark Zerof)

This has been a very trying season for highly-touted Kentucky freshman big man Skal Labissiere, but is the 6-foot-11 Haitian beginning to turn a corner?

Wildcats head coach John Calipari believes that may be the case, even if Labissiere's numbers don't completely support that notion.

"Getting Skal, he's slowly coming back to where he can give us minutes," Calipari said Monday morning on the SEC coaches teleconference. "He had a couple of blocks, some opportunities, he dunked some balls. He has a presence, but we got to see what are the max. minutes he can go right now because I don't want to throw him to the wolves like we did early, it just didn't work.

Tags: Kentucky, NBA Draft, Skal Labissiere, Josh Newman
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Kentucky head coach John Calipari is in favor of new rules allowing early-entry candidates more time to get feedback on their NBA Draft decisions. (David J. Phillip/AP)
Kentucky head coach John Calipari is in favor of new rules allowing early-entry candidates more time to get feedback on their NBA Draft decisions. (David J. Phillip/AP)

Count John Calipari and several NBA personnel among those who like the new rules giving underclassmen more time before making a decision on the NBA Draft.

Beginning this year, the NCAA moved back the NBA Early Entry Eligibility Deadline until 10 days after the end of the NBA Combine. This year the Combine runs May 11-15, so the new deadline falls on May 25.

Under the old system, the deadline would have come at midnight on April 24, well before the Combine. The Combine has hosted 48 and 36 players the last two year's respectively.

Tags: Jamal Murray, Kentucky, NBA Draft, Skal Labissiere
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John Calipari has coached a few No. 1 overall draft picks in his day, from Derrick Rose to John Wall to Anthony Davis.

Now he has joined the near-unanimous chorus of folks who say that LSU freshman Ben Simmons looks like the No. 1 pick in 2016.

"Well it's early, but yes," he said Monday on the SEC conference call.

Tags: Ben Simmons, Kentucky, Skal Labissiere
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Ben Simmons and LSU scored a critical victory over Kentucky on Tuesday night that they hope will help their bid for an NCAA Tournament berth. (Derick E. Hingle / USA Today)
Ben Simmons and LSU scored a critical victory over Kentucky on Tuesday night that they hope will help their bid for an NCAA Tournament berth. (Derick E. Hingle / USA Today)

If the NCAA Tournament started today, Ben Simmons and LSU would not be participating.

When ESPN's Joe Lunardi put out his bracket this week, there were five SEC teams in the mix and the Tigers weren't one of them.

But of course the NCAA Tournament doesn't begin for another two months, and Simmons and LSU still have plenty of time to state their case.

Tags: Ben Simmons, Jamal Murray, Kentucky, LSU, Skal Labissiere
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Providence guard Kris Dunn remains a projected Top-5 Draft pick according to DraftExpress.com. Credit: Mark L. Baer-USA TODAY Sports (Mark L. Baer)
Providence guard Kris Dunn remains a projected Top-5 Draft pick according to DraftExpress.com. Credit: Mark L. Baer-USA TODAY Sports (Mark L. Baer)

The top five picks remained the same in the latest DraftExpress.com Mock Draft for 2016, but there was some slight shuffling in picks 6-10.

LSU's Ben Simmons remains at No. 1, followed by Duke's Brandon Ingram, Maccabi Tel Aviv's Dragan Bender, Providence's Kris Dunn and Kentucky's Skal Labissiere.

Picks 6-10 now feature Cal's Jaylen Brown, Marquette's Henry Ellenson, Utah's Jacob Poeltl, Kentucky's Jamal Murray and Cal's Ivan Rabb. Murray moved down two spots to No. 9.

Tags: Ben Simmons, Jamal Murray, Kris Dunn, NBA Draft, Skal Labissiere
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The list of NBA players under 6-feet tall to be drafted and then enjoy success is few and far between.

Isaiah Thomas, the Mr. Irrelevant of the 2011 NBA Draft because he was taken by the Sacramento Kings with the 60th and final pick, is now thriving with the Boston Celtics. The 5-foot-9 Thomas is averaging 20.9 points, 6.8 assists and 2.8 rebounds.

Kentucky sophomore point guard Tyler Ulis could turn out to be the next player under 6-feet to enjoy some NBA success. The 5-9 Ulis is currently projected at No. 43 by DraftExpress.com, and at least one scout who watched Ulis help Kentucky beat Louisville on Saturday believes the diminutive floor general will get drafted.

Tags: Jamal Murray, Kentucky, NBA Draft, Skal Labissiere, Adam Zagoria
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Kentucky Wildcats forward Skal Labissiere. (Mark Zerof-USA TODAY Sports)
Kentucky Wildcats forward Skal Labissiere. (Mark Zerof-USA TODAY Sports)

In the wake of his consistent poor play against college competition, Skal Labissiere's draft stock continues to drop.

In its latest mock draft released Monday morning, DraftExpress.com shifted the 6-foot-11 Labissiere to No. 5 in the 2016 Draft from No. 3. The site initially had Labissiere as the projected No. 1 pick before moving him down to No. 3 earlier this month.

LSU freshman forward Ben Simmons remains No. 1, followed by Duke small forward Brandon Ingram at No. 2, European big man Dragan Bender at No. 3 and Providence point guard Kris Dunn at No. 4.

Tags: Kentucky, Kris Dunn, NBA Draft, Skal Labissiere
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Kentucky Wildcats forward Skal Labissiere. (Mark Zerof-USA TODAY Sports)
Kentucky Wildcats forward Skal Labissiere. (Mark Zerof-USA TODAY Sports)

NEW YORK -- Karl-Anthony Towns  isn't worried about Skal Labissiere.

One year after Towns was the heralded Kentucky big man projected as a top-3 pick in the NBA Draft, Labissiere has now taken over that mantle.

Yet Labissiere has struggled thusfar, most recently failing to notch a single point, rebound or assist before fouling out of Saturday's 72-58 win over Bobby Hurley-coached Arizona State. For the season, the 6-foot-11 Haitian sensation is averaging 10.6 points and 3.5 rebounds.

Tags: Karl-Anthony Towns, Kentucky, Skal Labissiere, Adam Zagoria
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Kentucky beat Arizona State, 72-58, on Saturday as Jamal Murray scored 12 of his 17 points in the second half.

But the main takeaway from the game may have been the play of freshman big man Skal Labissiere, who did not register a single point, rebound or assist and fouled out after 13 minutes of play against the Bobby Hurley-coached Sun Devils.

A year ago, Karl-Anthony Towns fouled out with 3 points against Hurley's Buffalo team in a game Buffalo led at the half before Kentucky prevailed 71-52.

Tags: Kentucky, Skal Labissiere, Adam Zagoria
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It is still only early December, but Kentucky big man Skal Labissiere has fallen from the No. 1 spot on the DraftExpress.com Mock Draft for 2016.

Jonathan Givony of DraftExpress.com had kept the 7-foot Haitian at No. 1 -- ahead of LSU superstar frosh Ben Simmons -- until Friday morning when he dropped Labissiere to No. 3.

Simmons is the new No. 1, followed by Duke forward Brandon Ingram at No. 2. Ingram's stock has been rising after he struggled early.

Tags: Ben Simmons, Kentucky, NBA Draft, Skal Labissiere, Adam Zagoria
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