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Cats in the NBA

Former Kentucky Players in the NBA

Previewing Tonight’s NBA Action

Milwaukee @ Chicago; 6 p.m. on ESPN

Via CBSChicago

Of player taken in the 1998 NBA Draft only four remain on an NBA roster: Dirk Nowitzki, Vince Carter, Paul Peirce, and Nazr Mohammed. That’s not a bad list to be  part of for Kentucky’s 17 year vet. Still, this looks like this playoff run could be Nazr’s last. The veteran has been used seldom this season as he provides some backup minutes for Joakim Noah and Pau Gasol.

His team today will take on the Milwaukee Bucks who are in the playoffs in-part to Brandon Knight winning a bunch of games before the trade deadline. The Bucks are young and fun to watch but ever since they dealt BK I haven’t kept up with them at all. Chicago won the season series 3-1 and with Derrick Rose finally back in the playoffs I don’t see them losing this series. Bulls in 6.

Dallas @ Houston

Last year the Rockets dropped their opening two games of their playoff series at home to the TrailBlazers and were never able to recover. This year the law firm of Harden, Howard, and Jones are going to make sure that doesn’t happen against their in-state rivals from Dallas. After missing much of the year with various injuries Terrence Jones has played well when healthy. He’s averaging 11.7 points, 6.7 rebounds, and 2 blocks on a team that doesn’t need him to do a whole lot. After being dominated by LaMarcus Aldridge last season, I think Jones has a breakout series this year.

For Rajon Rondo and the Mavs it’s one last chance to figure things out. Dallas had the association’s best offense before Rondo was acquired and since then have had chemistry issues putting the pieces in place. He’s back in the playoffs for the first time since 2012 so maybe that will inspire the all-star point guard to bring back the stellar play he displayed back in those Celtics runs. Now a break for Dirk rapping.

Houston won the regular season 3-1 and I think they take a tough series in 7 games.

Which former Cats will you be pulling for?


Julius Randle almost beat Kobe Bryant but not really

Julius Randle almost beat Kobe Bryant but not really

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During his appearance on SportsNation today on ESPN, Julius Randle told the story of the day Kobe Bryant called him over for a game of one-on-one. Randle had said he could beat Kobe on Lakers media day and Kobe was ready for the young rook to back that talk up on the court.

Randle told Michelle Beadle, Corey Maggette and Marcellus Wiley that he went up 7-3 on Kobe in a game to 21. Then Kobe became Kobe and won the game, 21-7.

So what happened to that 7-3 lead?

“He started fouling,” Randle explained.

Later in the show, Julius broke the record on the boxing machine. Remind me to stay away from his bad side.

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The Pelicans are really excited to be in the playoffs

The Pelicans are really excited to be in the playoffs

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Following last night’s must-win game against San Antonio, Anthony Davis and his Pelican teammates celebrated their playoff birth in the locker room the way any team going to the playoffs for the first time since 2011 would. They danced. ESPN obtained the video and the excitement is real, y’all.

Once A.D. arrived back at home, he was greeted by a “The Hood Is Proud Of You” sign above his front door:

Screen Shot 2015-04-16 at 9.49.24 PM

The party continued from there with several friends and family members celebrating in his home.

Beat Golden State.


Latest SI Mock Draft has four UK players in the lottery

© Dale Zanine

© Dale Zanine

Most of the major mock drafts out there only have Karl Towns and Willie Cauley-Stein going in the lottery, but Sports Illustrated’s Chris Mannix thinks FOUR Cats will go in the first fourteen picks. Because the New York Knicks can’t do anything right, including “tanking for Towns,” they’re no longer the favorites to win the first pick, so Mannix has the Minnesota Timberwolves taking Karl first. Here’s where Mannix has the rest of the Cats going:

1. Minnesota Timberwolves: Karl Towns
11. Utah Jazz: Willie Cauley-Stein
13. Phoenix Suns: Trey Lyles
14. Oklahoma City Thunder: Devin Booker

(Mannix doesn’t have projections for the second round)

Mock drafts are especially useless before the draft lottery (May 20), but if Trey Lyles does end up going to the Suns, that would make it four Cats on the same roster (Brandon Knight, who sounds optimistic about returning to Phoenix; Eric Bledsoe, who has a max deal; and Archie Goodwin). That means we all have to buy Suns gear, right?

[SI]


Devin Booker’s Nursing Home Visit’s Wednesday Night News and Views

Devin Booker’s Nursing Home Visit’s Wednesday Night News and Views

@AlexRisen

It can’t be said enough… These guys really are unlike any we’ve seen in Lexington. Devin Booker, who should be busy getting ready for this summer’s NBA draft, spent an hour at Cambridge Nursing Home today to hang out and take pictures with the residents. Do you think UK put him up to that? No. Of course not. The season’s over. Booker’s gone. No need to force PR. It was simply Devin Booker, who should be busy getting ready for this summer’s NBA draft, hanging out with the residents and staff at Cambridge Nursing Home. These guys, man. They’re something special. I’ve seen it since the feet-washing in the Bahamas last fall and they continue to amaze me with their kindness and involvement around the community. You were 19 once. Did you hang out in a nursing home? No. And you weren’t worth millions. What a special group of young men we’re sending off to the NBA to get rich. Be proud, BBN. Be very, very proud.

Now let’s do this News and Views thing…

 

Spring football is over.

It happened so fast! Believe it or not, spring football at Kentucky already happened; it’s over. The Cats practiced one final time on Wednesday before putting the balls away until the fall. Maybe it’s because there was no spring game, or because Wisconsin, but spring practice flew by when fans weren’t really paying attention. And that’s unfortunate because it was a very good spring for the Cats, undoubtedly the best in a long, long time.

For a recap of the spring, why don’t you scroll down for my 10 Things We Learned From Spring Football posted earlier tonight. If you don’t want to do that, just know that Mark Stoops sees a huge difference between the conclusion of his first spring and his third at UK.

There is a new name on Coach Cal’s recruiting board.

And he has a KSR connection.

There is now mutual interest between Vincennes University’s Mychal Mulder and the staff at UK. Kentucky reached out to the JuCo shooting guard a few weeks ago and a scholarship offer may follow in the near future. If it does, Mulder’s entire mindset could change. He had narrowed his recruitment down to Wichita State, Creighton and Indiana, but this new interest from Kentucky has his full attention.

Mulder is an outstanding three-point shooter and a First Team All-American in the JuCo ranks. He shot over 46 percent from downtown this past season, averaging almost 16 points per game.

As for that KSR connection, his head coach is Todd Franklin. I spend every Thanksgiving and Christmas with Todd Franklin. We’ve known each other for, oh, my entire life.

But back to the stuff you care about, Mulder is really good. And Rick Pitino really wants him and we always enjoy taking one from Rick.

It was Dakari Johnson’s turn to be on KSR radio.

Dakari was at Pazzo’s for Wednesday morning’s remote broadcast and the only thing I remember from his interview is he admitted to singing Beyonce in the shower. He said lots of other good stuff but that’s what stood out to me. You’ll have to listen for yourself to catch the rest:

I think he said something about wanting to go back to Brooklyn to play for the Nets, too.

Sam Malone launched a sports marking company.

It didn’t take long for Sam to capitalize on his career with Kentucky. You can say he “gets it.” Earlier today, Sam announced the launch of Won Every Game LLC, his first business venture:

I have always dreamt of owning my own company and within 10 days of my college career ending, I have fulfilled that dream. I’ve started my own global sports marketing company, Won Every Game Productions LLC.

Already, I have agreed to terms with Philadelphia 76er Nerlens Noel and his management firm Decus. Next week, Nerlens and I will travel to the Philippines for business meetings, clinics, and media events. In addition to the partnership with Nerlens, I’ve had discussions with a number of prospective clients.

My thanks go out to all of the fans that supported me for the past four years, my teammates, my friends, Coach Cal, and the Gatton College of Business.

Your move, B-Long. Appreciation Sports is calling your name.

Willie Cauley-Stein will throw out the first pitch at the Legends game tomorrow night.

Kentucky’s 25th consensus All-American will take the mound prior to the Lexington Legends’ home opener Thursday night at 7:05 pm at Whitaker Bank Ballpark. He will also sign autographs in the concourse from 5:45-6:45 pm before he heads out for the first pitch around 6:50ish.

Dollar beers, too. (That takes me back.)

Any soccer fans out there?

USA vs. Mexico, anyone? Just me?

Well alright. Moving on…

Anthony Davis is going to the playoffs!

31 and 13 for A.D. to lead the Pelicans past the Spurs in the season finale and into the playoffs. May I remind you, he is only 22 years old and the team had 21 wins the year he was drafted.

MVP trophy in the next three years. Write it down.

The entire internet has seen Drew Barker get sucker punched.

I mean’s it’s EVERYWHERE.

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If I were sitting around with my friends and not writing to a couple hundred thousand people, there is a word I would use to describe Patrick Graffree and his punch. I’ll let you imagine what that word is; a lot of you probably called him the same thing when you saw it.

Eastern Kentucky has to kick him off the team, without question. I’m shocked he got off with the law. That is a blatant assault. There’s no fight there. It is the definition of assault and both he and Barker are very lucky Barker wasn’t hurt worse.

Also, it’s a little disappointing to see Barker’s teammates’ reaction, or lack thereof. They were clearly outnumbered but how about a little more help than casually walking over and picking up Drew’s hat. Your boy just got knocked out. Do something. If that were BTI getting blindsided with a punch by a massive dude, I wouldn’t have hesitated before rolling up my sleeves and sprinting out the door to wait for the area to clear out. Then I would’ve tiptoed back in with big sunglasses and a fake mustache to see if he is okay.

I will co-host tomorrow’s show with Ryan Lemond. 

Matt’s gone for the week and he left the KSR airwaves in our hands. It’s been a while since I’ve been on the morning show so I’m really looking forward to it, although I have no idea what we’ll talk about. Maybe I should be doing, like, show prep or something. Nahhhhhh….


Anthony Davis really wants to make the playoffs

Needing a win tonight to clinch the last spot in the playoffs, Anthony Davis is doing his part for the Pelicans against the Spurs in the season finale. It’s halftime in New Orleans and Davis has 16 points and five rebounds as the Pels lead San Antonio, 63-47.

The Spurs are playing for the 2nd seed in the West, so it’s not like they’re rolling over for anyone. It’s a competitive contest with a lot on the line.

Think Davis wants to play more basketball this season?


Two great Nerlens Noel articles for your post-dinner reading

Nerlens Noel is having a hell of a season, and is considered one of the frontrunners for Rookie of the Year. He’s averaging 9.9 points, 8.1 rebounds, 1.9 blocks, and 1.8 steals per game and even though he’s sitting out right now with an ankle sprain, he’s very, very close to averaging 2 blocks and 1.5 steals per game, a rookie record set by David Robinson in 1989-1990 and a mark met only by fellow Cat Anthony Davis this year.

There are two great articles about Nerlens making the rounds today. Let’s start with NBA.com’s Scott Howard-Cooper, who puts Nerlens atop his final Rookie of the Year rankings:

1. Nerlens Noel, Philadelphia 76ers (Last week: 1)

A very quiet end to the season — missing the last two-plus games and possibly the finale because of a sprained ankle — does nothing to temper the success story. Going from sitting out all 2013-14 while recovering from surgery on the left knee to zero games out because of the knee, and averaging 30.8 minutes, would have been accomplishment enough. But Noel, though laboring on offense, also played at a very high level on defense. He did so sometimes at power forward and sometimes as an undersized center (230 pounds) and mostly as a 20-year-old, before having another birthday last Friday. Now imagine Noel when he has more muscle and more experience.

[NBA.com]

The second piece comes from Bleacher Report, who sat down with Noel last week in Philly. Noel opened up to Bleacher Report’s Jared Zwerling about his journey since entering the league, which included revamping his jump shot:

Even before my rookie season, starting in 2013, I worked closely with Brett to completely rebuild my shot. He didn’t even want me to bring my guide hand over until January of last season. The early focus was one-handed shots with a tight elbow setup just to keep the technique. Before then, I would shoot with a release from the side of my head and the ball would rotate sideways. In fact, at Kentucky, I hadn’t taken a jump shot the whole year. But I was able to finish at nearly 61 percent from the free-throw line this season, which was the team’s goal for me.

[Bleacher Report]

Nerlens also mentions his upcoming trip to the Philippines, which Sam Malone discussed on the radio show this morning. If we don’t get video of the Headband and the Flat Top’s adventures, I will riot.


For Anthony Davis and the Pelicans, Win and You’re In

Passing of the Torch

 

This is it. Tomorrow night the NBA season comes to an end as the contenders are separated from the pretenders and the playoffs are set. Right now Anthony Davis and the Pelicans cling to the Western Conference’s 8th seed in a close race with the Oklahoma City Thunder. All they have to do is win to get in.

Standing in their way? Just a little team called the San Antonio Spurs, the defending champs, on their home court. The Pelicans are 2-1 so far against the Spurs with all three games coming down to the wire, (Nov 8th @SA – W 100-99, Dec 26 – W 97-90, Dec 31 @ SA - L 95-93 OT)  and San Antonio needs a victory to lock up the 2-seed. Tomorrow’s game should be a battle for the ages and a chance for Ant to prove he’s already among the game’s elite.

Davis has had an absolute monster year with a league leading Player Efficiency Rating (PER) of 31.06. If that’s where he finishes it will be good for 11th place all time, right alongside some guys named Wilt Chamberlin, Michael Jordan, and Lebron James who hold the current 10 best. Anthony Davis is about to own the NBA for the next decade and if he can get the Pelicans back in the playoffs it will be way ahead of schedule.

How close is the race for the 8th spot in the West? Well, New Orleans only holds the tie-breaker over OKC thanks to Anthony Davis’ buzzer beater in early February. Every game matters.

Get em AD.


Randall Cobb hung out with John Wall this weekend

Randall Cobb hung out with John Wall this weekend

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While the rest of us were getting used to life without basketball, two of our favorite former Cats met up over the weekend. While in town to train during the offseason, Randall Cobb took some time to see John Wall and the Wizards play last night, and afterwards, did an interview with Monumental Network in which he discussed their friendship.

“I’ve gotta come check out my guy John Wall. I’ve been training here in town and try to make it over to the Wizards games when I can. I was happy to see them get the win tonight,” Randall said. “I feel like he’s a little brother to me, watching him grow and seeing the player he’s become since he left college and the way he’s turned the Wizards around in the first few years has been amazing.”

Also, in case you were wondering, Randall’s favorite candy is Starbursts. Pinks, never yellows. Oh wait, that’s just me.

Autoplay is the devil, so check out the interview for yourself by clicking here.


I know he doesn't play there anymore, but how did we ever miss this picture?

A Story on Enes Kanter’s Success with OKC

I know he doesn't play there anymore, but how did we ever miss this picture?

I know he doesn’t play there anymore, but how did we ever miss this picture?

Enes Kanter has a bad habit of getting the short end of the stick. First it was the NCAA’s stupid rules, then it was playing in Salt Lake City.

A trade deadline move by the Oklahoma City Thunder has put a new pep in his step, averaging 18.3 points, 11 points and 1.1 assists, all career highs.

The Oklahoman chronicled Kanter’s story from the beginning, providing interesting insight to the incident that made him ineligible at Kentucky and what he’s had to do to overcome the obstacle.

These days, Kanter looks like the happiest guy in Oklahoma City. Even as his injury-plagued team finishes up a disappointing season, Kanter can’t stop smiling.

He towel-waves from the bench after Mitch McGary jumpers in mop-up time. He mauls Anthony Morrow in celebration after a three against the hapless Kings. He searches out Russell Westbrook high-fives like a kid chasing Halloween candy. Kanter scores a lot and smiles more.

“There was a resurrection,” Kanter’s good friend Mevlüt Hilmi Çinar says of his arrival in OKC. “He came back to life.”

You know who else came back to life?  The Undertaker.

NewsOK: Enes Kanter’s twisted, complicated, controversial path finally leads him to a basketball home in OKC


Former Cats In The NBA Have 1 Week To Make the Playoffs

The NBA playoffs will begin next Sunday which means former Cats have just 3 games left to make or move up in the playoff race. Which former guys are in and which are out? Here’s your full summary as of today:

Eastern Conference

The Raptors hold the East’s 3 seed…for now.

(3) Toronto Raptors: Chuck Hayes and Patrick Patterson are currently taking on Miami in a must win game for the Heat. Toronto can’t afford to drop any games either as they hold the 3 seed via a tie breaker with Chicago.

(4) Chicago Bulls: Nazr Mohammed hasn’t seen much action this season but the grizzled vet will still get a ring if Chicago finds some way to shock the world. The Bulls could still take the 3 seed from Toronto if they win games over Philly, Brooklyn, and Atlanta.

(5) Washington Wizards: John Wall has been getting some rest lately as Washington gets ready to make a deep playoff run. Last year the Wizards took on the Bulls as the 5 seed and won the series 4-1. It’s looking like they are counting on doing more of the same this season. The Wizards have games remaining against Atlanta, Indy, and Cleveland and can’t finish worse than 5th. More rest for Wall and Company seems imminent.

(7) Boston Celtics: James Young scored 17 points earlier this week in a Game 1 overtime loss to Ft. Wayne. Meanwhile on the main roster, his Celtic teammates are in a 4 team race for the final two seeds.

Eliminated

(11) Charlotte Hornets: Michael Kidd-Gilchrist

The Hornets were eliminated this week following a loss

(12) Detroit Pistons: Jodie Meeks and Tayshaun Prince

(14) Philadelphia 76ers: Nerlens Noel

Western Conference

Will AD lead his team to the promised land?

(6) Houston Rockets: Terrence Jones and the Rockets were in the 2 spot earlier this week but a loss by just one point to the Spurs dropped them all the way to 6th. Houston still has games remaining against the Pelicans, Hornets, and Jazz. With two of those teams eliminated the Rocket could easily go 3-0 and climb the rungs of the Western Conference.

(7) Dallas Mavericks: Rajon Rondo and his team locked up the 7th seed with  a win over the Denver Nuggets last night. With three now meaningless games to go you can bet Big D will rest Dirk, Rondo, Chandler and more in order to get ready for the 2 seed. The Mavs are loaded with a veteran roster so don’t be shocked if they come together in the playoffs and take their opening series to 7 games.

(8) New Orleans Pelicans: Anthony Davis’ team currently clings to the 8th seed in the playoffs via a tiebreaker with the Thunder. Unfortunately, New Orleans must play Houston and San Antonio in their final three games while OKC has a much easier road. Ant may have to take his team to 3 wins if they are going to slide into the playoffs this season.

In Contention

(9) Oklahoma City Thunder: Enes Kanter

Eliminated

(10) Phoenix Suns: Eric Bledsoe, Brandon Knight, Archie Goodwin

-BK enters restricted free agency this off season. Will he find himself on a fourth NBA team when next season begins?

(13) Sacramento Kings: DeMarcus Cousins

-Will DeMarcus be playing in Sacramento when next season begins? The All-Star could command quite a ransom before the NBA draft this June.

(14) LA Lakers: Julius Randle

-Last month Randle was cleared for non-contact activities. I can’t wait to see him return next season.

 

Go NBA Cats.


Today’s must-read: ESPN.com’s piece on Rajon Rondo

Today’s must-read: ESPN.com’s piece on Rajon Rondo

rondo-espn

Before Kentucky sends seven new players to the NBA here in a moment, take second to read about one Wildcat that’s already proven himself in the NBA, but has an extremely bad temper.

ESPN.com has an excellent feature on Rajon Rondo, the Mavs’ star point guard who can’t seem to get along with anyone. It is called “Good At Math, Bad At People” and it begins with Kevin Garnett telling the story of how Doc Rivers once ordered him to physically remove Rondo from the Celtics locker room:

Rivers, fed up, gives Garnett an order: “I want Rondo out.” Garnett obliges. “He kicked the door off the hinges,” Garnett says. “I’ll never forget: I had to pick him up and carry him out because it was going like that, and the locker room was suuuper tense. Just super tense.” As he’s hauling the 6-foot-1, 186-pound point guard, the 6-11 Garnett barks, “Get outside, man, shit,” physically carrying Rondo outside the room, then the building.

The author, Baxter Holmes, begins telling the story of Rondo from there, beginning with his childhood in Louisville. Holmes then brings us to today, where Rondo is butting heads with his new coach and teammates in Dallas.

Definitely give it a read when you can.

[ESPN.com]


Andrew Harrison and Frank Kaminsky will share an agent

Getty Images

Plot twist!

Andrew Harrison will sign with the same agent as Frank Kaminsky, according to our own Matt Jones. That agent is Kevin Bradbury of BDA Sports Management.

BDA also represents Rajon Rondo, Joakim Noah, Klay Thompson, Rajon Rondo, Mike Conley Jr., Goran Dragic and Andrew Wiggins, among many others. Bradbury’s clients include Jordan Hill, Amir Johnson and Patrick Beverley.


NBA Cats in the Playoff Hunt

With just under six games remaining in the NBA season the playoff field is nearly set. Former Cats all over the association are jockeying to get their teams in or to move up in the standings and grab home court. Which former Cats have a chance to make a run for the Larry O’Brien trophy? Here’s your list of Cats who could be playing on into the summer:

Eastern Conference

Patrick Patterson & Chuck Hayes, Nazr Mohammed, and John Wall will all have their teams in the playoffs but the question remains who will have home court? Mohammed and the Bulls currently hold the 3rd spot followed by the Raptors (1 game back) then the Wizards (2 games out of 3rd). Chicago only has 2 games remaining against teams likely to make the playoffs and Derek Rose could be back tomorrow night. The Wizards have 4 games remaining against teams that are in the playoff race and Toronto will play all teams on the fringe. It’s going to be a photo finish for the 2 remaining home court seeds in the East.

Michael Kidd-Gilchrist has some work to do if the Hornets are going to slide in and steal the 8th seed. Charlotte is currently 1.5 games out of 8th place and will battle Broklyn, Boston, Indiana, and Miami for the final two spots. James Young of the Celtics was sent back to the D-League last month where his Maine Red Claws landed the top seed in the developmental playoffs. Could he get a call back to the main roster if the Cs make it into the dance?

Lots of former Cats in the east have plenty at stake as the regular season winds to a close. However, it’s hard to see any of the teams besting the Cavs or Hawks in a 7 game series.

Western Conference

Terrence Jones returned last week after a partially collapsed lung left him sidelined and helped lead the Rockets to three straight wins. The Rockets cling to the 2 seed but the Grizzles and Clippers are right behind. If H-town could hold on Jones’ team has a legitimate chance to win the West and vie for an NBA championship.

Rajon Rondo and the Mavs continue their skid, losing 6 of their last 10, and sliding into the 7th seed in the West. With a 4 game lead over 8th place, Dallas should be safe to stay in but it’s not looking like they have the chemistry to make any noise in the playoffs.

Enes Kanter and Anthony Davis are in battle for the final seed in the Western Conference. The Thunder are currently holding the 8 seed but the Pelicans are just half a game behind them. New Orleans has the tougher schedule remaining while OKC may be folding it up since Durant won’t be returning this season. Oklahoma City is currently getting destroyed by the Spurs and New Orleans is down against Golden State. This looks like one chase that will end as a photo finish.

Which former Cat will you be following as the NBA playoffs get underway?


Gotta be an April Fools’ joke, right??

@Sixers

The Philadelphia 76ers just posted this picture of a flattop-less Nerlens Noel on Twitter. Obviously an April Fools’ joke, but at least it’s a creative one.