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Cats in the NBA
Former Kentucky Players in the NBA
By Nick Roush on ©August 19th, 2017 @ 5:32pm
The rosters for the UK Legends Game were set yesterday on Kentucky Sports Radio. The list of names is impressive, but that’s just the undercard.
NBA rules prohibit UK from announcing who will play in the main event, but thanks to Twitter and a few sources, we’ve got a good picture of who will playing Friday night. Trey Lyles, Darius Miller and Eric Bledsoe will play in the Alumni Charity Game. All three said on Twitter they’re excited to return to Rupp. Here’s who we know will be joining them:
- Derek Anderson
- Keith Bogans
- Rex Chapman
- Joe Crawford
- Tony Delk
- Jamaal Magloire
- Antoine Walker
- Terrence Jones
The game will not be televised. The only place you can see it is in the Rup Arena stands. Tickets start at just $5 and you can buy them here.
It’s time for another Recruiting Rewind, and this time, we look back on one of the more convoluted recruitments of Coach Cal’s tenure at UK: Terrence Jones.
Most college commitments are pretty cut and dry. The kid sets a date, decides a few days before, then announces it to the world with complete certainty. The saga that Terrence Jones went through, however, was pretty much everything but cut and dry.
In a class topped off by Jared Sullinger, Harrison Barnes, and one flat-earther Kyrie Irving, it would’ve been easy to dismiss a lot of players outside the top 5 of the 2010 recruiting rankings.
But T-Jones did his best to stand out.
At the high school level, Jones was athletic enough to dominate at pretty much every position on the court. His skillset was worthy of a player with the right to choose between Kansas, Oklahoma, Oregon, UCLA, Washington and Kentucky.
By commitment time, the race would pretty much come down to UK, with Cal about to have 5 players drafted in the 1st round, or Washington, where Jones could stay close to home and join his high school teammate Terrence Ross.
Ah, a twist!
I’ve personally never seen a commit less confident in their own choice. The Seattle Times’ Percy Allen knew Jones wasn’t exactly euphoric after his decision:
The news conference is over, but the drama may just be starting.
Almost everyone has left the Jefferson High gymnasium, however, Terrence Jones is huddled with his parents in the corner of the gymnasium and folks are keeping their distance. Seems like a major pow-wow.
I spoke to Jones and I can tell this recruiting stuff hasn’t been fun for him. On what is supposed to be a joyous occasion, he sighed heavily and said he was happy that it was over.
Unlike Terrence Ross, who was decked out in Husky purple and said he made his choice a month ago, Jones didn’t know where he was going until the moment he picked the UW hat.
From there, Jones was still in talks with Coach Cal, and based on an interview Calipari did with Seattle’s 95.5 The Fan, Terrence immediately regretted choosing the Huskies:
Well, we thought that he was coming with us and when he said ‘Washington’ we were like ‘what just happened?’ That was the first thing. Then he called about an hour later and said ‘Cal, I made a mistake. I don’t know what I was doing.’ That is when the thing went like ‘You what?’ So we talked to him and said that we are going to do whatever you want. I am holding your scholarship.”
It’s a good thing Cal left the door open, as Jones would flip the script and commit to the Wildcats just 3 weeks later.
Jones’ freshman year at UK saw him average 15.7 points and 8.8 boards per game. He was named the SEC Rookie of the Year, and was a 1st Team All-SEC selection in 2011.
His sophomore year saw his statistical performance drop, averaging only 12.3 points and 7.2 rebounds per game. Of course, with the additions of AD and MKG, Terrence no longer had to be the only dominant forward on the floor at times for Kentucky.
Jones’ and Doron Lambs’ decisions to stay at Kentucky for their sophomore seasons bolstered the maturity of the 2012 squad. Many fans cite this maturity as the missing link in Calipari’s teams since then.
Of course, we know what their leadership did for this team.
By Mrs. Tyler Thompson on ©August 18th, 2017 @ 5:00pm
Former Kentucky players are beginning to arrive in Lexington for next weekend’s Alumni Game, and many are expected to do autograph signings while in town. Dakari Johnson and Dominique Hawkins will get things started with a signing tomorrow from 11 a.m. to noon at All Sports in Fayette Mall:
On Thursday, Keith Bogans will also be at All Sports at Fayette Mall from 6 – 7:30 p.m. to sign autographs and hang out with fans:
If one of you doesn’t take this picture for Bogans to sign, you’re not doing it right:
By Mrs. Tyler Thompson on ©August 18th, 2017 @ 11:33am
With all of the talk about taking down Confederate statues and a white nationalist group potentially planning a rally in Lexington the same weekend as the UK Alumni Game, it was only a matter of time before a former Kentucky player was asked about it. TMZ caught up with DeMarcus Cousins this morning, and he made it clear — in language I can’t repeat on this site — that he believes the statues should come down:
“Hell yeah,” Boogie said. “Take all those ************* down. Take them all down.”
He also shares some thoughts on Trump. (LANGUAGE NSFW)
Well, there you go.
We’ve always known John Wall to be a star, but in the past few years, he has separated himself as one of the top point guards in the NBA.
After signing a $207 million extension with the Wizards last month, the former Wildcat is getting paid like one, as well.
Most people know him for his ridiculous speed and scoring ability, but his knack for finding open teammates is second to none.
As you can see in the video below, Wall’s court vision is jaw-dropping:
Could you pass the #JohnWallChallenge?
(I’m going to vote no.)
By Drew Franklin on ©August 16th, 2017 @ 3:00pm
Karl-Anthony Towns is all grown up and reaching peak superstardom, which is why he had to wade through paparazzi madness in Los Angeles recently.
The invasive staff over at TMZ caught Towns leaving a trendy L.A. restaurant to ask him about 2K ratings and Minnesota’s Christmas Day game later this year.
Towns was as polite as one can be in that situation, but he didn’t have a lot to say as he climbed into a vehicle. However, he did say he and his fellow Timberwolves are going to “have some fun” this season.
Tayshaun Prince’s playing days appear to be over, but that doesn’t mean he is leaving the NBA.
The Memphis Grizzlies are reportedly eyeing Prince for a front office gig, per the Memphis Commercial Appeal. The plan is to hire Prince as a special assistant to general manager Chris Wallace.
Prince played for the Grizzlies from January 2013 to January 2015. He last suited up for the Minnesota Timberwolves in 2015-16 and spent all of last season as a free agent.
While we’re on the subject of Tayshaun Prince, remember that time he hit five three-pointers against North Carolina?
Looks like that Goonies reunion with Willie Cauley-Stein brought Kyle Wiltjer some good luck. Wiltjer signed a one-year deal with the Toronto Raptors today, and will compete for a final roster spot at training camp in September.
Last year, Wiltjer signed with the Houston Rockets as an undrafted rookie and spent most of his time in the D-League with the Rio Grande Valley Vipers, averaging 20.5 points (including 37.9% shooting) and 6.4 rebounds per game. He and fellow former Cat DeAndre Liggins were sent to the Los Angeles Clippers in the Chris Paul deal, but the Clippers parted ways with Wiltjer last month. Now, he’ll battle Kennedy Meeks and Alfonzo McKinnie for one of the final two roster spots at the Raptors’ training camp.
Good luck, Kyle. Hopefully you and Willie can team up for a Goonies Christmas Special when the Sacramento Kings host the Raptors in December.
By Jack Pilgrim on ©August 14th, 2017 @ 10:00pm
BallIsLife.com has been rooming with John Wall this summer, filming a documentary on the former Kentucky star’s ridiculous offseason training regimen.
(The term “offseason” is certainly used loosely here.)
BallIsLife caught up with some of the trainers, Washington team personnel, and Wall himself on how he prepares for the NBA season.
See what it’s like to be John Wall for a summer in part one of the documentary:
Basketball, cardio, boxing, repeat.
Could you keep up with Wall’s schedule?
By Mrs. Tyler Thompson on ©August 14th, 2017 @ 3:05pm
Congratulations to Derek Willis, who was one of 16 players invited to Team USA’s training camp for the FIBA AmeriCup 2017 tournament, as announced by USA Basketball this afternoon.
Willis will attend training camp at the University of Houston August 17-24 in hopes of making the 12-man roster for the AmeriCup, which will take place August 28-30 in Montevideo, Uruguay. Earlier this summer, Willis signed a one-year deal with the Detroit Pistons, who intend on making him an affiliate player with their D-League team in Grand Rapids.
Former NBA head coach Jeff Van Gundy will serve as head coach of Team USA alongside assistant coaches Ty Ellis and Mo McHone. The training camp roster is made up of mostly D-League players:
Don’t worry; this will have zero impact on Willis’ deal with the Pistons since training camp doesn’t begin until late September. If anything, it’s a huge opportunity for Derek to work on his game against fellow pros and represent his country. The final roster should be announced sometime before August 24. From there, the AmeriCup squad will head to Uruguay to begin preliminary play.
You got this, Derek.
With his new four-year $170 million contract extension in place, John Wall is now wholly focused on next season, spending the past week in Miami to train with the best of the best. Over the weekend, Wall worked out with LeBron James and Rob McClanaghan, one of the best skill trainers in the NBA:
A post shared by Rob McClanaghan (@robmac24) on
Coincidentally, earlier in the week, Wall played pickup against Kyrie Irving, who has famously requested to be traded from the Cavaliers because he’s (reportedly) tired of being in LeBron’s shadow. Wall had no problem pulling up and nailing this three in Irving’s face:
— Hoop District (@HoopDistrictDC) August 11, 2017
This dunk’s not bad either (language NSFW):
Kelly Oubre Jr. (along with Darius Johnson-Odom) working out with John Wall in Miami 👀
— Hoop District (@HoopDistrictDC) August 13, 2017
Who will Wall work out with next?
By Eli Mitchell on ©August 13th, 2017 @ 9:00pm
Former Kentucky and current Suns guard Eric Bledsoe continues to give back to his hometown. For the third consecutive year The Eric Bledsoe Foundation held a backpack giveaway in Birmingham at Regions Field, more than 1,000 backpacks filled with school supplies were given out to kids from the area.
This is more than just a giveaway though, Bledsoe dedicated his entire weekend to the kids as he hopes to make an impact on as many of them as he can.
Bledsoe told the WBRC, “I grew up here, I can’t say that enough. I know what it takes and I know how hard it can be.”
The event continues today as the third annual Eric Bledsoe Foundation Celebrity Basketball Game begins at 4 PM at Lawson State Community College in Birmingham. Alabama native and former Kentucky great DeMarcus Cousins will play alongside Bledsoe in the game. Nets guard K.J. Daniels is also playing in the game.
“I’m just trying to get these kids off the streets and come have fun with me for a weekend.”
All proceeds from the event benefit The Eric Bledsoe Foundation.
The former Kentucky big man and current New Orleans Pelican turns 27 years old today. The only proper way to celebrate, to boogie.
DeMarcus Cousins is entering his eighth season in the NBA after being selected 5th overall in the 2010 NBA Draft by the Sacramento Kings. Cousins spent six and half seasons with the Kings before being traded to the Pelicans halfway through last season.
Before his time in the NBA, Cousins had many memorable moments at Kentucky. Here are my favorite two:
Leave your favorite Boogie moments in the comment sections and make sure to wish him a happy birthday @boogiecousins.
By Kindsey Bernhard on ©August 13th, 2017 @ 11:00am
Jamal Murray just finished his rookie season for the Denver Nuggets. Murray had a solid first season in the NBA averaging 9.9 points, 2.6 rebounds and 2.1 rebounds per game.
Despite his great first year in Denver, Murray’s name came up in a potential trade for Jimmy Butler and still for Kyrie Irving.
For NBA veterans, the rumors are part of the job, but for rookies they can be scary. Murray told Donnovan Bennet of Sportsnet Canada that the rumors threw him off.
It’s different knowing I could be in Cleveland right now. I could be in Minnesota. I could be anywhere in a couple days. It’s kind of nerve wracking because you don’t know what’s going on and there are so many rumours. I just have to stay ready and prepared for any opportunity.
Murray said that nobody texted him about the rumors, which made him feel good.
With the rumors behind him, Murray is looking forward to being fully-healthy this upcoming season.
I’m excited to be healthy. I think that’s the biggest thing. Last year wasn’t the best in terms of my health. This year it’s going to be a lot of fun just to be able to move and do what I do like I used to without any pain.
Murray had surgery on his core muscles this off-season, which were ripping apart.
I got that fixed so now I can get out of bed properly and sit up and all that. It definitely limited what I could do throughout the season but now I’m good. I’m definitely happy I’ve had the summer to rest and take care of that.
With the addition of Trey Lyles, I know a lot more Big Blue Nation fans will be tuning in to Nuggets games this NBA season.
By Maggie Davis on ©August 11th, 2017 @ 7:30pm
Earlier this afternoon, NBA TV’s Lang Whitaker tweeted the video from his interview with former UK players De’Aaron Fox, Bam Adebayo and Malik Monk. At the beginning of the interview, Whitaker mentions he’s got “a bunch of Wildcats” with him, to which Monk replies: “Kentucky takeover… that’s what we call it.” When asked if that should be the official hashtag for the interview, Fox says it “might as well be.”
Throughout the rest of the interview, the reporter covers the basics: the incredible amount of former Calipari players who have been drafted, their improvements from college and the cities in which the guys will be playing next year.
One of the funnier moments comes when Bam discusses how he has improved “everything” in the past year. When Monk and Fox begin to laugh, Bam replies: “They’re laughing at me because I started out terrible.”
“Yeah, he was horrible,” Monk joked. “He had no post moves, he couldn’t shoot a jumper, I don’t know what he could do.”
Watch the whole video for yourself below:
— NBA TV (@NBATV) August 11, 2017