Josh Harrellson wasn’t surprised when former teammates Brandon Knight, Terrence Jones and DeAndre Liggins declared for the NBA Draft last week.
“They’re all very talented players,” he said Thursday during a stop of the “Jorts Tour” at Strode Station Elementary School in Winchester. “I think all deserve a chance to at least showcase what they’ve got. Maybe some teams will be interested in them, but who knows? I know they’re not hiring an agent, so they might come back.”
Harrellson expects Knight to be one of the top picks in the draft and thinks Enes Kanter will be selected early in the first round. If it were up to Harrellson, he would put Knight and Kanter at the top of his draft list.
“I would probably go with Enes first,” he said. “If I needed a point guard and a forward, I would go with Brandon and Terrence.”
“I think Enes is a tremendous player,” he said. “He’s very big and very strong and I think he has a chance of doing big things in the NBA. He has a great work ethic and God has blessed him size, talent and skill that a lot of people don’t have. He’s really working hard to make himself better and I think that is going to carry him far at the next level.”
Harrellson credits Kanter for his development last season.
“He had a big part in what I did (last season),” he said. “He made me better every day I went against him in practice. I’m looking forward to playing against him again in Chicago. He will be up there and that’s where I will be (training).”
Harrellson is making draft preparations of his own and has been squeezing in workouts in between studying for final exams. Once the semester ends, Harrellson will be training for the draft in New Jersey and Chicago next month.
Harrellson wants to build on his senior season at Kentucky and sees the next level as “an opportunity to do things” that he “loves.”
“I just want a chance,” he said. “I know if I make it there (to the NBA), I think I’ve got enough work ethic and enough heart to make the team and stay on the team, just by working hard and competing for my spot.”
Since Kentucky’s loss to Connecticut in the Final Four earlier this month, Harrellson has been touring communities and various schools in an effort to encourage students and show his appreciation to fans of all ages across the state.
“Just seeing the smiles on their faces and just going out and having a good time — it warms my heart,” he said. “As time goes on, you develop a love for (Big Blue Nation) and right now, I’m just trying to give back all the love they gave to me.”