This is certainly not what I was expecting. UK just announced that Marcus Lee will →
Cats in the NBA
Former Kentucky Players in the NBA
Patrick Patterson, much like everyone else on the planet, is a little tired of LeBron James’ constant whining when calls don’t go his way. Patterson mocked James after James cried to a referee after throwing the ball away late in the first half.
P-Patt is averaging eight points and six rebounds in the Eastern Conference Finals. The Raptors and Cavs will tee it back up Wednesday night in Game 5.
We know DeMarcus Cousins isn’t this guy who is completely uncoachable and ruins teams. We saw what he did at Kentucky, where he fit in with other stars in John Wall and Eric Bledsoe and still talks fondly of Calipari.
Since his time in Sacramento however, we’ve heard the reports. You can’t get through to him. He can never be THE guy, he’s a headache. Well, now with Draymond Green’s kick heard below the world, everyone is chiming in on the type of player Green really is. A Sacramento media member tweeted out the following:
Obsessed with winning and losing your mind when things don’t go your way? In Sacramento you’re a cancer. In Oakland you’re heart and soul.
Boogie responded and it was glorious:
— DeMarcus Cousins (@boogiecousins) May 23, 2016
By Mrs. Tyler Thompson on ©May 23rd, 2016 @ 4:00pm
Kentucky’s churned out some pretty impressive players over the past ten years, which is why it wasn’t surprising to see three NBA Cats make CBS Sports’ list of the Top 20 Recent NBA Draft Picks. Sam Vecenie ranked the most impressive players in the draft (at the time of the draft) since the early-entry rules were adjusted in 2006, and John Wall, Karl Towns, and Anthony Davis all made the top ten at #7, #4, and #3, respectively.
“Like Rose above him, Wall was highly regarded due to his explosive athletic ability and length,” Vecenie writes. “There was no player in amateur basketball who could keep Wall out of the paint, and that quickness translated to the defensive end, where Wall was a ball-hawk and one-man transition opportunity waiting to happen.”
Meanwhile, Vecenie writes that Towns is “everything that the NBA was looking for in terms of a modern big man,” and that “the sky is the limit” for him heading forward. What about Davis?
“Simply put, his presence changed the game on both ends of the floor unlike any other recent player in college hoops,” Vecenie writes of Davis. “There was very little about Davis that wasn’t perfect at the time, and he’s largely lived up to that billing in the NBA despite a spate of injuries that has occasionally affected his play.”
Here’s the top ten:
1. C Greg Oden (2007, Ohio State)
2. SF/PF Kevin Durant (2007, Texas)
3. PF/C Anthony Davis (2012, Kentucky)
4. C Karl-Anthony Towns (2015, Kentucky)
5. PG Derrick Rose (2008, Memphis)
6. SG/SF Andrew Wiggins (2014, Kansas)
7. PG John Wall (2010, Kentucky)
8. PF Blake Griffin (2009, Oklahoma)
9. SF/PF Michael Beasley (2008, Kansas State)
10. SF/PF Jabari Parker (2014, Duke)
Vecenie includes Ben Simmons at #11. To read his reasoning, head on over to CBS Sports.
By Kory Henry on ©May 22nd, 2016 @ 11:00pm
There’s probably not a better story surrounding the recent NBA Draft Lottery than this one. As the Phoenix Suns’ representative for the lottery, Devin Booker knew the perfect person to accompany him to the event in New York City. He invited his best friend Jenna.
Jenna and her family have been Suns season ticket holders since 2010, but since last year, she really enjoys going just to see Booker. Here is a piece from David Gardner, of Sports Illustrated, about this heart-warming story:
It didn’t take long for Devin to notice Jenna, and it wasn’t just because she watched every warmup and shrieked for each uncontested jumper he sank. Jenna reminded him of someone. Devin says he’s always formed fast and easy friendships with people with special needs. When he was in middle school, his group of friends included a boy named Caleb who had Down syndrome. They didn’t share a classroom, but Devin made sure they shared lunch on most days, and Caleb became one of the biggest fans of the Grandville Middle School Bulldogs, for whom Devin was a star. Only years later would Devin realize how meaningful that first friendship would be.
Devin’s younger half-sister, Mya, has microdeletion syndrome, a genetic chromosomal disorder. In this heart-warming article by SI, we find out more about Booker’s relationship with his little sister, and how that has impacted him and his interactions with others of special needs. We all know the great man that Devin Booker has become, and it goes far beyond the basketball court.
I’ve witnessed in person how Devin will go out of his way to brighten a family’s day. This young man continues to accomplish amazing things on and off the court. The video below of Devin and Jenna in New York is a must-see feel-good moment.
And then there were three. Three wins remain to decide the Western Conference champion as Game Three tips off tonight with the series locked up 1-1. Oklahoma City shocked the NBA by taking game one with a fourth quarter comeback. Game Two was a return to form for the Warriors as they buried the Thunder with a barrage from beyond the arc. What will game three hold? Pure entertainment:
The Warriors played in Oklahoma just once during the regular season and what went down was probably the NBA game of the year. The two teams traded jabs for four quarters and overtime when Steph Curry decided to pull up from half court and end it. It was a game that made fans hope to see the two teams meet at some point in the playoffs to face off in a seven game series. Well we got our wish.
For the former Cats in the game, Enes Kanter and Nazr Mohammed, game 3 is a mixed story. Nazr Mohammed, the semi-retired veteran, has yet to log any time in the series and against the small line-ups of the Warriors that likely will not change. For Enes, the istan-bull has made the most of his limited minutes against the Warriors. When Golden State gets into their offensive rhythm it can be hard to play someone as big and immobile as Enes. But if he can defend and rebound as he did in Game 1 the Thunder turn their weaknesses into an advantage. I just hope they win so Kanter can continue to roast Skip Bayless.
Sorry my man 😂😂 pic.twitter.com/yQ4dSaBwCu
— Enes Kanter (@Enes_Kanter) May 17, 2016
Game Three tips off at 8 p.m. on TNT.
By Kory Henry on ©May 22nd, 2016 @ 12:30pm
Last night, the Toronto Raptors finally handed the Cleveland Cavaliers their first loss this post-season, 99-84. They did so with help from former wildcat Patrick Patterson, who scored 10 points and grabbed 6 rebounds.
The Raptors were led in scoring by star shooting guard DeMar DeRozan, who put up 32 points. Alongside Patterson was teammate Bismack Biyombo, who set a new Toronto playoff record with 26 total rebounds. For the playoffs, Pat-Pat is averaging just under 8 points per game and over 4 rebounds per game. He continues to be a key role player for Toronto as they hope to even the series tomorrow.
Keeping up with former Cats in the NBA, Enes Kanter and the Thunder take on the Warriors tonight in Game 3. That series is currently tied 1-1, with tonight’s game tipping-off at 8:00 p.m. ET on TNT. For the playoffs, Kanter is averaging 10.9 PPG and 6.8 RPG.
Good luck to our former players as the playoffs continue!
By Mrs. Tyler Thompson on ©May 20th, 2016 @ 7:00pm
Looking for something to make for dinner tonight? Take a page from Karl Towns’ playbook and try shredded pork with caramelized mashed plantains, a Dominican-inspired dish Karl recently made with Jill Merkel, EXOS dietitian for the Mayo Clinic Sports Medicine department. Merkel came up with the recipe based off Karl’s Dominican roots (his favorite foods are arroz con pollo — chicken and rice — and tostones — fried plantain slices), but kept his needs as a professional athlete in mind (aka it’s healthy).
It’s Karl, so it shouldn’t be surprising, but he looks pretty at home not only in the kitchen, but in front of the camera. America, meet your new NBA media darling.
By Nick Roush on ©May 19th, 2016 @ 9:00pm
Before he was a First Team All-Rookie NBA selection, Devin Booker was representing his team at Tuesday’s NBA Draft Lottery in New York City. To make the most of the event, Booker brought along his friend, Jenna Warren.
The 16-year old with Down syndrome has become his biggest fan in his first year of play. Even though they haven’t known each other long, Jenna and Booker have become great friends. Before the festivities began, the duo did some sight-seeing round town. Take a look…
By Mrs. Tyler Thompson on ©May 19th, 2016 @ 4:45pm
With all the Bolden drama over, it’s time to turn our sights to the NBA, where Kentucky continues to prove it’s not only the most successful college program at putting kids in the league, but those kids are often times the most successful. Karl Towns, Devin Booker, and Willie Cauley-Stein all made the NBA All-Rookie Teams this afternoon, with Karl and Devin named to the First Team and Willie the Second:
2015-16 NBA ALL-ROOKIE FIRST TEAM
Player | Team | First place votes (2 pts) | Second place votes (1 pt) | Total
Karl-Anthony Towns | Minnesota Timberwolves | 130 | — | 260
Kristaps Porzingis | New York Knicks | 130 | — | 260
Devin Booker | Phoenix Suns | 103 | 25 | 231
Nikola Jokic | Denver Nuggets | 73 | 40 | 186
Jahlil Okafor | Philadelphia 76ers | 71 | 44 | 186
2015-16 NBA ALL-ROOKIE SECOND TEAM
Player | Team | First place votes (2 pts) | Second place votes (1 pt) | Total
Justise Winslow | Miami Heat | 44 | 63 | 151
D’Angelo Russell | Los Angeles Lakers | 25 | 92 | 142
Emmanuel Mudiay | Denver Nuggets | 35 | 70 | 140
Myles Turner | Indiana Pacers | 28 | 83 | 139
Willie Cauley-Stein | Sacramento Kings | 2 | 46 | 50
Trey Lyles also received 26 second-place votes and was just three players shy of making it on the Second Team.
Congrats, boys. Keep making us proud.
Looking for a good omen for today’s big announcement? On this day seven years ago, John Wall committed to Kentucky in front of his friends and family at Word of God Christian Academy:
Wall’s reasons for picking Kentucky over Duke, Miami, and Florida seem especially fitting this morning.
“My relationship with Coach Cal. From the beginning, he told me this was going to be a tough process, it wasn’t going to be easy,” Wall said. “Coach Cal told me that I want to go to a school where teams can compete for the National Championship and also, I want to go to a school that could help me become a great student.”
Looking back, Wall is one of the most influential recruits to ever come through the program. His commitment helped Calipari bring Kentucky back to national prominence and immediately infused the program and fan base with an energy we hadn’t seen in years. After years of mediocrity, Kentucky basketball was cool again, and in 2010, Wall was the number one pick in the NBA Draft, paving the way for dozens of draft picks for years to come.
Hear that, Marques?
By Mrs. Tyler Thompson on ©May 18th, 2016 @ 4:30pm
Want to help some former Cats that make giving back to their communities a priority? John Wall and Anthony Davis are both finalists for the NBA Cares Community Assist Award and online voting ends today.
Here are a few videos showcasing the work Wall and Davis have done in their communities:
Vote on Twitter, Facebook, or Instagram using both #NBACommunity Assist and the player’s name (i.e.: #AnthonyDavis or #JohnWall).
Get to it!
Now that the draft order is set, you can finally start taking all of these mock drafts seriously. There will be plenty out there, but the two I like to roll with are from Jonathan Givony of Draft Express and Chad Ford of ESPN. Without any movement in the lottery, it didn’t take them long to hit “Publish.”
6. Jamal Murray to the Pelicans
8. Skal Labissiere to the Kings
Sacramento has a glaring hole at the power forward position, and will likely give a long look at the highly skilled Labissiere, who looks like the perfect type of player to plug in alongside DeMarcus Cousins in terms of his style of play. He also has the added benefit of being able to play alongside Willie Cauley-Stein in other lineups, which is exactly the type of versatility the Kings could use in their frontcourt. While Skal, or any other player in this draft for that matter, won’t solve many of the myriad of issues the team has, he could be a nice building block for the team moving forward.
20. Tyler Ulis to the Pacers
Ulis will be close to the state of Kentucky, Skal will be playing with two other UK centers and Jamal Murray will be balling with Davis — three things I can get behind.
3. Jamal Murray to Boston
If it’s not traded, I think the pick will be between Murray, Kris Dunn and Buddy Hield. The Celtics really like Dunn, and he might eventually be better than the point guards they already have, but Murray’s shooting ability and versatility might make him a more valuable player (or trade chip) for the Celtics.
11. Skal Labissiere to the Orlando Magic
15. Tyler Ulis to the Nuggets
The Nuggets drafted a point guard last year in Emmanuel Mudiay, but he’s really more of a combo guard and could use some help.
Ulis may be the best pure passing PG in the draft. He’s little, but should be a great complement to Mudiay, even allowing him to swing over to the 2 at times.
Ford’s doesn’t feature as many fun UK matchups, but Murray could be the type of player to put the Celtics over the hump as one of the best teams in the Eastern Conference.
By Nick Roush on ©May 17th, 2016 @ 9:00pm
Willie Cauley-Stein joined Devin Booker and Karl-Anthony Towns as one of three Wildcat Rookies to represent their teams at the 2016 NBA Draft Lottery. Add Jamal Murray and Skal Labissiere to the mix and there were five former Cats in New York City for the event.
It was an exciting time for all involved…except Willie Cauley-Stein.
Jamal Murray appeared to be blushing in pre-lottery pictures. The Big KAT was his usual perfect self. And Willie. Well, let’s just say Willie might have forgotten he was on camera. It wasn’t just the loose tie, it was this:
Willie chillin at the lottery pic.twitter.com/oe1V0TiZUq
— Matt Jones (@KySportsRadio) May 18, 2016
If nothing else, you can always count on Willie to be Willie.
Nerlens Noel will be joined by either Ben Simmons or Brandon Ingram for the 2016-17 season. This lottery was an uneventful one, without any changes in the draft order. A look at where the teams will choose in the June 23rd draft…
1. Philadelphia 76ers
2. L.A. Lakers
3. Boston Celtics
4. Phoenix Suns
5. Minnesota Timberwolves
6. New Orleans Pelicans
7. Denver Nuggets
8. Sacramento Kings
9. Toronto Raptors
10. Milwaukee Bucks
11. Orlando Magic
12. Utah Jazz
13. Phoenix Suns
15. Denver (via Houston)
16. Boston (via Dallas)
19. Denver (via Portland)
24. Philadelphia (via Miami, via Cleveland)
25. L.A. Clippers
26. Philadelphia (via Oklahoma City, via Denver and Cleveland)
28. Phoenix (via Cleveland, via Boston)
29. San Antonio
30. Golden State.
The Best Case Scenario for the BBN: Jamal Murray is selected either 5th or 6th to join Towns or Davis, and Tyler Ulis goes home to Chicago with the 14th pick.
Before the order is determined in the 2016 NBA Draft, former Wildcats are getting together beneath the bright lights of New York City. The Rookie of the Year, Karl-Anthony Towns, is making sure that all of the new guys feel right at home. Maybe Jamal Murray might make his new home in Minnesota?
He also caught up with Skal Labissiere.
Skal brought along his swag, but somebody should have told him Wildcats wear blue suede shoes, not red.
Willie Cauley-Stein doesn’t have a bow tie for this draft event, but surprise, surprise, he has a new haircut.
Devin Booker is there with his special “good luck charm.”
Karl also brought along something special. Tonight he’ll be wearing the wedding band of the late Flip Saunders. Even though he never played a game for Flip, he still has the plan Saunders set aside for his Rookie season saved on his cell phone.
The lottery begins at 8:00 on ESPN. Stay tuned to KSR for coverage throughout the night.