Nick Richards will return next season.
Dillon Pulliam will not.
Wenyen Gabriel is not sure about the future.
Kentucky’s fluid roster for the next basketball season saw those updates on Tuesday.
Richards, who played fewer than 10 minutes in nine of UK’s final 10 games, has decided to return for his sophomore season, according to CBS Sports’ Jon Rothstein, who cited multiple sources.
UK said it had no update on Richards to announce.
That wasn’t the case for Pulliam, a fourth-year junior walk-on who will complete his bachelor’s degree in computer engineering and computer science in May. UK said that Pulliam will pursue a master’s degree in electrical and computer engineering at Carnegie Mellon in Pittsburgh this fall.
Meanwhile, Gabriel is weighing whether to join teammates Kevin Knox, Shai Gilgeous-Alexander and PJ Washington in entering this year’s NBA Draft.
“The reason to think about it is if he’s going to get drafted high enough,” older brother Komot Gabriel said. “If that’s not the case, you’re looking for something that’s guaranteed. And if that’s not the case, then he doesn’t want to risk that.”
If projected as a first-round pick, Gabriel would probably enter the draft, his brother said. If not projected as a first-round pick, he would return to UK. A decision is likely by the middle of next week, Komot Gabriel said.
In mock drafts updated this week, neither NBADraft.net, SI.com nor ESPN projected Gabriel as being taken in either the first or second rounds.
ESPN analyst Jay Bilas said he did not see Gabriel nor Richards as viable candidates for early entry into an NBA Draft.
“I always associate early entry with being able to be either a lottery pick or a first-round pick or able to make an impact,” Bilas said “And I see those two being more rotation players” in the NBA.
Gabriel, a 6-foot-9 sophomore, became an instant iconic player when he shot 7-for-7 from three-point range in a victory over Alabama in the Southeastern Conference Tournament semifinals.
When asked how such a performance might impact Gabriel’s NBA stock, Bilas said, “You’d rather have that on your résumé than not. I think it’s more a total body of work.”
NBA scouts see Gabriel as a high-energy player who can defend and rebound first and foremost, Bilas said.
“He’s not going to be a player that is drawing double teams,” Bilas said.
Former Kentucky All-American Kenny Walker said that both Richards and Gabriel could benefit from another college season.
After pointing out that Richards was a relative newcomer to basketball, Walker said, “He’s still raw and green. . . . But he’s got one thing you can’t teach: He’s a big old boy at 7 feet (actually listed at 6-11).”
Richards averaged 5.1 points and 4.4 rebounds this past season. Gabriel averaged 6.8 points and 5.4 rebounds.
Meanwhile, Pulliam, a native of Cynthiana, has a 4.0 grade-point average.
“As a kid, I always dreamed of playing basketball in college,” he said in a news release. “Having the chance to do that at UK has been life changing and has made these years some of the best of my life. The friendships and memories I’ve made are something I will carry with me forever, and they have made all the hard work worth it.”
UK Coach John Calipari said being a native of Pittsburgh made him fully aware of what acceptance to a prestigious school like Carnegie Mellon means.
“I’m just as happy for Dillon as I am for our other guys who go on to pursue their genius in other areas, whether it be in the NBA or the business world,” Calipari said in a news release. “My guess is Dillon will be in the middle of a program to put people on Mars before it’s all said and done. Proud of him.”