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James Young will enter the NBA Draft


(Photo by Tom Pennington/Getty Images)

As expected, UK has just announced that James Young will forgo his sophomore season and enter the NBA Draft. From the press release, here are James’ remarks:

“My time at Kentucky has been special to me, something I’ll always treasure, but I feel that I’m ready to take the next step to the NBA,” Young said. “I’ve learned more this year, on and off the court, about life from Coach Cal and the staff and appreciate all of their guidance and support. I can’t say enough about my teammates; the journey helped us build a bond that we will always share for the rest of our lives.  I would like to thank the best fans in the country, the Big Blue Nation, and I hope you guys will continue to support me as I move on. I will always bleed blue. Succeed and Proceed!”

Coach Cal says he’s excited for James, and thankful for his effort:

“I’m excited for James and his family and the decision he’s come to,” head coach John Calipari said. “From day one, the NBA people who came to our practices in the preseason raved about him. He’s done everything we’ve asked of him all season, investing himself in his brothers for the betterment of the team, and I think we all saw the end result in the tournament and Final Four. Whatever team drafts James is not only getting a superb athlete, they are getting the ultimate teammate.”

Best of luck to James. Once a Wildcat, always a Wildcat.

Article written by Mrs. Tyler Thompson

No, I will not make you a sandwich, but you can follow me on Twitter @MrsTylerKSR or email me.

108 responses to “James Young will enter the NBA Draft”

  1. Rei

    If Young fixes his passing he’s going to be a freaky athletic player. He’s also projected to go 11th to the Nuggets. Kid’s got a bright future.

    1. Luther

      Also needs to greatly improve his D. Right now, there’s no one in the NBA he can guard…

    2. ally

      If he can improve his defense, shooting and passing, he will be a great NBA player. He is a great athlete now.

    3. Carol

      James Young has OUR support. I consider him a special athlete. He will be missed! Best of luck, James!!

  2. Cincy Cayt

    Good luck JY! Fingers crossed that the twins decide to stay…

  3. Big Mike In The Wood

    Congrats to James Young. Really enjoyed watching him as a Wildcat this season. Next time I see him on TV I hope he’s still dunking on people like the NCAA championship game.

    1. ukbradstith

      That one dunk may have sealed the deal. Honestly.

  4. JF

    Easily the most NBA ready outside Randle. Hard to turn down the money, I understand. Good luck in the league, young man, and thanks for the memories. Come back anytime.

    1. Yep

      I like it, JF.

  5. Chris

    Best of Luck to James!!

  6. Mike DL

    Loved watching Young play. Wish him nothing but the best in the league! Good luck!

  7. Brandon

    “Once a Wildcat, always a Wildcat.”

    Unless you’re Rex Chapman.

    1. WatchinginCali

      “Good Call.” – Richie Farmer

    2. WatchinginCali

      “Completely agree.” – Michael Porter

    3. Rashaad Caruth

      I forget, am I still a Wildcat or not?

    4. Rashaad Carruth

      “Always an Fo Eva.” – Rashaad Carruth

    5. Bongtothewall

      “So can I sign autographs with Cal? $10 a piece, Right?” – Antoine Walker

    6. Daniel Orton

      “Couldn’t have said it better myself.” – Daniel Orton

    7. Alex Legion

      That’s what my mom says, too.

    8. Cat Fan in Austin TX

      “Hey, any of you guys need tickets? I got the hook up” – Preston Lemaster

    9. Travis Ford


    10. Jordan

      “Don’t forget aboutcha boy” – Darnell Dodson

    11. Big Red Bear

      “Once a Wildcat, then an Ivy Leaguer. You might consider it, JY. It worked for me.” — Mark Coury

    12. Any BCG recruit

      Anybody got a pop tart?

  8. bosshog

    I knew there was no way he was coming back…….but I’m really bummed anyhow. He was by far my favorite player coming into the season and throughout the year. Super smooth, highly skilled, capable of killing you off the dribble or shooting it. He came ready to win the title that night, and if we’d had one other guy play as clutch as him we would have won. Honestly, from a basketball perspective I had a crush on him. He really would have been tremendous next year……..but that is why there won’t be a next year! I wish him all the best. If he stays focused, works hard and finds the right support, I think he can become an all-star. Thanks James!

    1. Michael F. Jox

      I was gonna say something myself, but you stole the words right out of my mouth. He was frustrating at times this yr, but good lord, you can’t watch that kid play just one game and not see the talent just oozing out of him. Best of luck to him, but something tells me, he’s really not gonna need it.

  9. TubesInColorado

    Good luck, Jimmy! Hope the Nuggies take you in the draft.

    1. Mac

      “Nuggies?” That sounds like a freaking diaper made out of chicken. I never disliked the Nuggets, but if I see that again, I’ll start.

  10. C A T S

    In that picture I love the look on Marcus Lee’s face and the guy in the black shirt sitting behind the bench. That dunk was a monster.

  11. Han

    Congrats and good luck to Young. We are officially clear on schollies, so Andrew and Aaron, Dakari and Julius, feel free to return.

    1. Ridge Runner

      –and Alex is free to return too. Just making sure he knows we aren’t leaving him out by not inviting him…

  12. Cat89

    Best of luck to you James. Thanks for all you gave to our program. While I admit I miss the days where players like James got their names hung from the rafters at Rupp – but the S&P approach is working for both the program and the players. Be smart with your money James.

  13. BigBlueBallz

    Silver Lining: One more player declaring that is projected to be drafted ahead of the twins. The more of these guys that declare, the further they are projected, bettering the odds they come back.

  14. Hayley's quadriceps

    BBN is proud of you. Good luck bro.

  15. Kyboy415

    Well…….. Shit

  16. JohnnyCat

    As a diehard UK fan…love my cats…but James Young will be a bust in NBA.
    OK, a bit harsh maybe, but I just can’t see him being a real factor in the NBA…a role player at best.
    I’d take Darius Miller over him all day long.
    He is just a terrible, terrible defender, and a really bad passer. Poor b-ball IQ.
    He seems like a really good kid, and of course, he’s a decent shooter and good athlete.
    But unless he really packs on serious muscle and develops some toughness, I stand by my prediction.

    1. jus sayin

      We said all of these things about Archie Goodwin last year and he just scored 29 points last night… and he can’t shoot like at all. His defense is not great but that is typical of freshmen they never had to guard anyone. As you guys saw their defense got much better towards the end. Star? maybe not… bust? definitely not.

    2. ShagariObrzut

      Can’t base Archie’s whole season off one game. The guy had played less than 50 combined minutes since the beginning of March. The only reason he was in because it was the last game of the season. Archie would have been much better off playing another year at UK instead of mostly sitting the bench in Phoenix.

    3. I Sayy

      Considering that he is only 18, I will gurantee that he improves at all of those things. Your opinion could not be more irrelevant.

    4. JP

      The kid is no bust. I honestly see him becoming a Ray Allen type of player.

    5. UK Greg

      Ray Allen may be a bit of a stretch, but JY could end up being the next James Harden. Not just because they have the same first name, both lefties, or that Young’s hair at one time looked like Harden’s face.

      Volume scorer, good rebounder, not a great defender or passer.

    6. Mc

      He reminds me of Michael Redd, but more athletic. Before you say Redd is a better shooter check out his stats in college. Young will get better and more consistent. I think he’ll be in the NBA for 10-15 seasons.

    7. NotFirst

      +1 for the comment about the hair to the guy above me

    8. Jughead

      He’ll be a force, has ALL of the skills.

    9. GP

      “I’d take Darius Miller over him all day long.”

      Pffft. Okay, dude.

    10. Bledsoe's Biceps

      JohnnyCat – I thing you are wrong, but what if he does end up as just a role player in the NBA? So it’s a bad thing to make 2, 3, 4, million a year, for 5-10 years? Yeah, that really sucks.

    11. Ed

      Well put. He seems like a very nice kid, but I won’t miss watching him time after time follow his man to the basket who just blew by him. And his basketball IQ is … to be kind, not very good. One of the lowest on this team. The NBA is not college basketball, so who knows, he could be great… or not.

  17. Rick's towel

    He is half the Playa that Blackshear is.

  18. I've always said...

    .. that I’ll believe the “always a Wildcat” words when they become deeds. When guys come back to the program and are always talking about the Cats in their own worlds, then I believe they’re “always a Wildcat”. To me, Wall, Cousins, Davis, MKG, Lamb, and Patterson all show it, all the time. We’ll see how this group does.

  19. OTRAIN

    good luck to you though another year hear you would be a top 5 nba pick

  20. John Calipari's Amazing One and Done Flying Circus

    Thank you Mr. Young! You were an exciting player to watch. Best of luck in the NBA!

  21. Stoops troops

    We’ll miss you, but best of luck James.

  22. Amy Chaney

    Good luck JY!! You were always my favorite!!!🏀🏀

  23. Judi Cole

    Best of luck, James! Wish you were coming back, but know that moving on is in your best interest. All of BBN supports you and welcomes you back anytime. Now go show them that talent you’re blessed with!

  24. Cat fan

    Good luck to him, I think he could be like Paul Pierce after a couple of years in the league. Hope he ends up on the Bulls, Tom Thibodeau could help make him a better defender.

  25. rick

    In my opinion the best player on the team and thanks to Andrew he got to show case that in the trnt. Good luck and i will be pulling for you in the nba along with all the wildcats.

  26. lazyboy

    Good Luck James.

  27. Kyle steele

    I saw this coming as soon as he dunked on the entire state of Connecticut…when his feet left the ground on that dunk I knew he was going to the NBA…I don’t suppose anybody would like to bribe him with tattoos of him??

  28. Hole Kogan

    Suck, cede, then Proceed

    1. Troy

      Yeah, I don’t like that either.
      -Play then pay
      -Fail then bail
      -One and done
      -Won and done.

      We could play this game all day.

  29. Rob

    Go get em Jimmy buckets.

  30. Kyle Steele

    I knew this was coming as soon as he dunked on the state of Connecticut

  31. js2

    Hole Kogan is a hole.

  32. Howard Miller

    Love ya man. Good choice and good luck, BBN will always remember you because you are one of us for life.

  33. Fake Kyle Steele

    I knew this was coming as soon as he dunked on the state of Connecticut

    1. Really Fake Kyle Steel

      I knew this was coming as soon as he dunked on the state of Connecticut


    One year of decent or good play at the college level doesn’t mean you are all of a sudden ready to play with Lebron James. There, I said what you are all thinking deep down inside. Not blaming these kids, but the system itself. It is so messed up and I don’t know how it got to this point. All that being said, of course, we wish him all the best. Go Cats.

    1. amirite

      tell those kids to get off your lawn. and worry about obama’s birth certificate

    2. GP

      How long did it take for your AARP card to come in the mail?

    3. catheaven

      So what I was thinking. Of course, we wish James the absolute best. I feel blessed to have had him as a Wildcat. But he’s not ready. System is flawed. It’s one thing to dunk on 18-20 year olds. Quite another to bang around with Lebron, Kolby, etc. . . . A lot of talent leaves too early only to be forgotten by the world in the D league or in and out of it. I’m so sad that another boy has been bedazzled and had his youth taken from him to enter a man’s world he isn’t prepared to live in. It’s criminal.

    4. Huh? Oh, its catheaven again........

      ^ Who the hell is ‘Kolby’? If you don’t even know one of the greatest to ever play the game name is, then please stop posting about how you feel about the “system” and how its flawed. You really have no idea what you’re talking about.

      Could the system be improved? Of course. But to think James Young is essentially ruining his career by going early, well, that’s just premature and ridiculous.

    5. JP

      With that logic I’m assuming you’re saying that Anthony Davis shouldn’t have left after one year and wasn’t ready for the NBA?

  35. amirite

    Thanks Jimmy Youngblood for single-handedly keeping us in so many games in the first half throughout the year. and for that disgusting dunk on the entire state of connecticut.

  36. Bluetide

    That dunk you gave us your last game as a Cat was one of the most disgusting things I’ve ever seen. They’re still rebuilding in Storrs from the shockwaves of that blatant posterization. You WILL be missed, and I WILL be cheering you in the NBA! Great year you gave us man!

  37. The Loco Pollo

    Good luck, Jimmy Buckets!

  38. AaronJ

    I wish nothing but the best for you, hope you come back and visit!

  39. JRod

    I cnt stand ppl talking about “he should of stayed” “he could be a better player” bla bla bla! You that say this are just ignorant to an extent! This is a BUSINESS decision not a BASKETBALL decision. If your boss comes in and says you can get a promotion and make a ton of money but it’s going to be difficult until you learn the ropes, or you can stay in your current position and we will try to teach you the position that may not be available later…which do you take? Come on guys use common sense! Take the money and practice against professionals every day and now you’re a professional which means all you do is basketball….how can a college kid get better than a pro?? college kid goes to class etc and practice…a pro only does ball!

    1. JRod

      Good Luck James! You had an excellent year and we’re looking forward to a great career for you….don’t forget BBN!

    2. Jughead

      Can you please spell complete words? And, try some damn punctuation.

    3. Wow

      Hes not quick enough to succeed in the NBA, great college player but will be average in the NBA. I would have done the same thing if i was James, and its a guaranteed 5million+ but still….

    4. JRod

      @jughead If you didn’t notice this isn’t a term paper or busniess proposal…msg board! if it bothers you enough get a petition started and i’m sure Matt and Drew would love to see it…………(there’s punctuation for you)

      @wow he is very young 18/19…he will get stronger and quicker but an avg NBA player is still very successful…

    5. raccoon

      The choice to enter the NBA has a lot more to do with whether you are making the best financial decision than whether you will be able to develop.

      Because of the uncertainty of your status after the rookie contract, you want to max it out by being drafted as high as possible. So coming back so that you are definitely going to be in the first round, or to get from the mid-late 1st to lottery makes sense. Coming back because you are not yet a perfect player doesn’t. Young probably only marginally improves his draft stock with another year in college. And he risks injury or possibly just having a bad year.

      And it isn’t like you stop developing once you get to the NBA. Look at Rondo. Look at TJ.

    6. Jughead

      @JRod the nimrod: the first step of battling illiteracy is not being proud of it.

  40. kybb

    Best of luck to JIMMY BASKETBALL

  41. Marty Montgomery

    While I’ll miss seeing him play for UK I wish him the best. and while some may think that if you don’t come back to UK after leaving you’re not still a wildcat. that’s wrong. The only one I would question about always being a wildcat would be Rex Chapman however, as we all do he has his right to say what he did. bad timing? sure…. stated wrong? likely. big deal? not really Ca’s going to do what he’s going to do. Likely that will be retiring after he’s done with UK but still if he had decided to go to the NBA again. so be it. Would we have liked it? no because there’s no other coach similar to him in anyway that would take the job. any similar either are close to retiring as well, or have great jobs already. Mind you they’re not head coach of UK, but have great jobs. Also some would not be accepted here as coaches, no matter what they’d do. As far as James Young. I wish him the best of luck, and hope he and some of the others send some money back so they can donate to help getting Rupp remodeled.

  42. Bob

    James is an great player he needs to work on ball control and passing . I honestly think he would have went an 3/4 in the draft and up his payday had he stayed 1 more year . It’s hard to think what this team would be next year if they all returned and with the new players signed . Coach Cal would have two teams he could play or mix and match . I’m not sure if anyone recalls coach Cal’s statement at the start of the season this team reminded him of the Wall team. As the Wall team lost due to poor free throw shooting so did these Cats ! The NBA will develope J.Y. into an solid player . However he should back out and let coach Cal. develope him one more year and possible an Title . Much bigger pay check and less pressure .

  43. Bluetide

    Love the look on Marcus Lee’s face! Hadnt noticed that before. His face pretty much sums up what all of us were thinking about that dunk.

  44. Dude

    It’s obvious the players don’t even write their own statements anymore.
    Best of luck to Young

    1. Really

      Link or pic please.

  45. raccoon

    Best of luck to James, I thought this was probably the best move for him. Wish him the best!

    And here is to hoping that over summers and/or after the NBA that he can become a UK grad one day too!

    Go Cats!

    1. Hater

      Wait. You can have a job, and go to college too? So you’re telling me a one-and-done, can still get a degree? My mind just exploded.

    2. raccoon

      Haha, yeah it’s pretty amazing!

  46. RICK

    You guys that think this kid can’t make it in the nba are full of it.Will be great in the nba.

  47. RealCatsFan

    Wow, not only is he dunking the ball, but he appears to be jamming his other hand clear through his defender’s chest! Bet he pulled his heart out and ate it after the play. 🙂 No wonder he’s going pro.

    Good luck James. We will miss you, but hope to see you doing great things at the next level.

  48. 9-asty

    Remember at the beginning of the season when everyone was listing their starting lineups and Young was mostly considered a solid contributor off the bench? It’s been fun watching him exceed his expectations and help lead this team. Hopefully we can watch his silky smooth style in the NBA for many years to come. Best of luck James.

  49. Mark

    Best of luck James Young and it was a pleasure to watch you play for the BBN for a year. Thank you for keeping us in so many games. Good Luck in all you do and please come back anytime and visit. You are always going to be a great Wild Cat in my book.

  50. Donnie

    I love how everyone on here is wishing JY luck like he is really on here reading this! Dude is about to get paid and he is probably not coming back to Lexington anytime soon. I enjoyed him too but with this system we will be going thru this every year.

    1. Blue Biscuit

      Donnie, I know you’ll find this hard to believe, but you are wrong about something. James Young will come back as soon as he can so he can be the “Y” at halftime!

  51. J-Dub421

    Young will do well in the NBA, he can score at will in a variety of ways from multiple places on the floor. He also has good size and is crazy athletic. Best of Luck James! We’ll miss you. Maybe come visit for an alumni game?

  52. Mark Liptak

    Tremendously talented kid. Great athletic ability. In time he should do well at the next level. Wish him the best.

  53. BlueArcher

    Succeed and proceed is not better, as it indicates anyone that stays has failed.

    1. catdaddyd

      You can succeed with getting an education and then proceed to a career as well.

  54. Doug Shows

    He could not guard my grandmother and she has been dead for 10 years!

  55. David

    between MKG’s thunderous dunk vs Portland and JY in the final vs UConn…two of my favorite dunks of all-time…

  56. Bill

    Thank you James, for a memorable year! Best of luck at the next level, we were proud to call you a Wildcat!

  57. katdaddy

    Good Luck James Young!

  58. Myrick

    JY will do just fine in the league. I’m glad I was at the last 4 games. And seen that monster dunk on uconn. He really stepped his game up in the tournament. . BBN for life.

  59. So long

    I won’t miss him. Probably the laziest player to wear the jersey. With both Harrison’s close second and third. But that’s where college basketball is now. Size and raw talent trump teams that actually execute and play well. Even though we benefit from it it’s still sad. The fact that they pretty much got schooled by the experienced team seems justified. Watching lazy, low bball IQ players turn it on for 7 minutes per half and still win isn’t fun for me. Wanna fix college basketball? Get rid of the one and done. Let them go pro right away if they are ready. Young wont do anything for several years until he learns how to hustle. He could’ve skipped his freshman year and learned it faster playing year-round with top players and top conditioning. Instead of wasting time in worthless classes. The D league >college if your destination is the NBA.