You could make a long list of the talented point guards to thrive under John Calipari, and former five-star point guard De’Aaron Fox has a chance to make a name for himself as well. From Derrick Rose to Brandon Knight to John Wall — each was supremely talented in their own right, making it to the NBA after one season in the spotlight.
Fox is a dynamic point guard with great unselfishness, quickness and speed. He has the end-to-end speed like Wall, the height and defensive upside of Knight and the ability to rise at the rim and finish like Rose. At 6’3.5” with a 6’6.25” wingspan, the Texas native has excellent size and good length for a lead guard at the NBA level. His physical and athletic characteristics are undeniable.
Last summer, he dominated the Nike EYBL circuit as part of the Houston Hoops to the tune of a league-leading 6.6 assists and 2.4 steals per game while adding 19.3 points per game. In November of 2015, Fox committed to Kentucky on a live ESPNU broadcast over the likes of Kansas, Louisville and LSU, among others.
Soon after, Fox was spending time with NBA All-Star and former Kentucky point guard John Wall and trying to build the best class he could with fellow five-stars in combo forward Wenyan Gabriel and big man Sacha Killeya-Jones (which finished ranked first overall in 2016). Fox is the head man of this class and should lead the way of a talented 2016-17 bunch with Calipari in his ear the whole way.
Fox has a unique combination of defensive potential and playmaking ability. In a draft that’s point-guard-heavy at the top, Fox might be the fastest and quickest of them all. He’s excellent at avoiding picks, uses his quick hands to be a nuisance to opposing guards, and has a high IQ on that end of the floor. Fox has a lot of natural ability, so perhaps it isn’t surprising what goals he’s set for this upcoming season.
“My goal is to win a national championship, and I feel like it’s not far-fetched,” Fox told Jason Marcum of ASeaOfBlue.com. “I feel like we have every piece to do it. … I feel like we can win a SEC championship, take all that momentum and try to win a national championship – try to bring No. 9 to Kentucky.”
Fox will pair alongside fellow five-star shooting guard Malik Monk to form one of the best backcourts in the nation. Three other five-star recruits join this class in Killeya-Jones, Gabriel and big man Bam Adebayo. Of course, Kentucky also returns former five-star combo guard Isaiah Briscoe, stretch forward Derek Willis and 7-footer Isaac Humphries — so there’s a lot for Calipari to work with.
What are Fox’s strengths as an NBA prospect? Fox has good court vision and tries to involve his teammates offensively. The lefty is explosive at the rim, has a decent pull-up jump shot and has a good touch with either hand while finishing around the basket. Defensively he has a high upside with the potential to be a lockdown defender of opposing point guards with his lateral quickness, speed and intensity.
As for weaknesses, it will be important for Fox to focus on improving his slight, 170-pound frame which should help him both defensively and while finishing at the rim at the NBA level. Offensively, Fox needs to gain more consistency from all ranges of the floor to maximize his potential on that end of the floor. He only made 75-of-266 (28 percent) for 3 over 76 games logged by DraftExpress, so there’s plenty of room for growth.
Overall, there’s a lot to like with Fox with some glaring concerns. His ideal physical and athletic characteristics make him a promising point guard prospect, but his slight frame brings some concern. If he can have a productive freshman season while showing an improved offensive repertoire, expect Fox to be a top-ten pick in the 2017 draft.