Hall of Fame sportswriter Dick “Hoops” Weiss believes Rob Dillingham could be a future NBA All-Star.


New York Daily News columnist Dick Weiss, who is in the National Sportswriters Hall of Fame, likes the talent on coach John Calipari’s team but he really likes freshman guard Rob Dillingham.

“He is the one college player in this NBA draft class most likely to make an (NBA) All-Star Game in the future,” Weiss said.

That was before ESPN updated its NBA draft rankings last week and elevated Dillingham to No 3 on its draft board with freshman teammate Reed Sheppard listed at No. 5 by ESPN draft analysts Jonathan Givony and Jeremy Woo.

“Dillingham is a bit of a polarizing prospect among NBA teams, but it’s hard to argue with the sheer star power he offers in a draft severely lacking in that category,” Givony wrote. “He has been just as aggressive and effective against high-level SEC competition, coming up huge down the stretch of several games for Kentucky despite continuing to come off the bench and being on somewhat of a short leash at times.”

Givony did add that some teams have questions about Dillingham’s size and how that might impact what kind of NBA player he will be.

Givony said NBA scouts also have concerns over Sheppard’s size and how that could impact his defense and ability to finish plays in the NBA. However, Givony pointed out that Glen Rice is the only first-round draft pick in the last 35 years that has shot better than 50 percent from 3-point range with at least four attempts per game like Sheppard is doing.

“Despite still coming off the bench, Sheppard has proved impossible to keep off the floor for Kentucky in SEC play, where he already has had several signature moments in cementing his case as the best freshman in college basketball,” Givony said before Sheppard’s 27-point explosion at Tennessee Saturday.

Other UK players in the latest ESPN draft rankings are D.J. Wagner (34), Justin Edwards (43), Ugonna Onyenso (51), Zvonimir Ivisic (60), Antonio Reeves (67), Tre Mitchell (71) and Aaron Bradshaw (72).

There will be only 58 picks in this year’s draft.

Adou Thiero, Jordan Burks and Joey Hart are the only UK scholarship players not rated among ESPN’s top 100 NBA draft prospects.

Kentucky coach John Calipari made it clear on his weekly radio show last week that he expects major roster turnover again for next season.

“This has been a fun walk. I’ve told everybody from day one, enjoy this,” Calipari said. “Don’t let anybody steal your joy and give you doubts. ‘What about this? What about that?’ Don’t let them, why? Enjoy these young people because at the end of the year, they’ll be gone.

“We’ll have another group. So enjoy this group and what they’ve become, what they are for each other, what they are for our fans.”

Givony already has Thiero at No. 27 overall in this 2025 NBA Draft.

“It’s all there for him. He’s gotten so much better,” Calipari said about Thiero. “He’s not even what he was a year ago and what he is now. And I still think he’s going to be 6-9. He’s probably 6-7, maybe a little bit bigger now. By the time next year rolls around, he’ll be 6-9.”