As expected, UK has just announced that James Young will forgo his sophomore season and →
Cats in the NBA
Former Kentucky Players in the NBA
The NBA Playoffs begin this weekend, and eight former Cats will participate. Here’s this weekend’s schedule (all times Eastern):
SATURDAY, APRIL 19
12:30 p.m., ESPN: (6) Brooklyn Nets (Marquis Teague) vs. (3) Toronto Raptors (Patrick Patterson, Chuck Hayes)
3:30 p.m., ABC: (6) Golden State Warriors vs. (3) Los Angeles Clippers
7 p.m., ESPN: (8) Atlanta Hawks vs. (1) Indiana Pacers
9:30 p.m., ESPN: (7) Memphis Grizzlies (Tayshaun Prince) vs. (2) Oklahoma City Thunder
SUNDAY, APRIL 20
1:00 p.m., TNT: (8) Dallas Mavericks vs. (1) San Antonio Spurs
3:30 p.m., ABC: (2) Miami Heat vs. (7) Charlotte Bobcats (Michael Kidd-Gilchrist)
7 p.m., TNT, CSNC: (5) Washington Wizards (John Wall) vs. (4) Chicago Bulls (Nazr Mohammed)
9:30 p.m., TNT: (5) Portland Trail Blazers vs. (4) Houston Rockets (Terrence Jones)
Will you be watching?
By Mrs. Tyler Thompson on ©10:15 am
New NBA commissioner Adam Silver has said ending the one-and-done rule is a priority this summer, and there are several possible solutions on the table, including extending the age limit so that players would have to stay in school two years, which John Calipari endorses.
According to The Sporting News’ Sean Deveney, another proposal that is currently making the rounds is extending the age limit to three years in college while also expanding the D-League with higher salaries so that players who want to come to the league immediately have a proper training ground, and be able to make a decent living. So, go to college for three years or straight to the D-League.
The sources said that, in order to pave the way for raising the age limit, the league would be willing to expand salaries in the D-League, giving each team a salary cap and allowing executives with each team to sign players as they wish. Not only would that allow D-League teams to sign good young players, it would allow NBA clubs to size up young executives and player evaluators.
Deveney says the problem is the NBA Players’ Association hasn’t been able to find an executive director to work with Adam Silver on the matter. Once they do, Deveney notes, finding a solution to the one-and-done problem will be a priority.
pic by Getty Images
The NBA Playoffs are just beginning on Saturday and I am actually excited. There are a number of solid matchups and this year we will see more UK guys in the playoffs than in recent years, including the first appearances by guys like John Wall, Michael Kidd-Gilchrist and Patrick Patterson. But next year, Anthony Davis and Darius Miller are headed to Louisville for a preseason game that you probably would like to see. The Pelicans are playing the Heat in the Yum Center and the chance to see Davis, Miller and Lebron is certainly worth your time. Tickets actually GO ON SALE TOMORROW as part of a pre-sale code that is for basketball fans in the area. You can buy tickets tomorrow at the link below, using the code “NBAYUM” from 10 am to 10 pm. The seating chart is below the link and the best tickets are available now. So go ahead and get them and go see Lebron, Anthony and the boys and bring some blue to the Yum Center:
By Mrs. Tyler Thompson on ©6:00 pm
Rajon Rondo sat out last night’s game against the Washington Wizards with a strained hamstring, but he did find an unique way to honor the victims of the Boston Marathon bombing. To honor the one-year anniversary of the bombing, Rondo wore a custom pair of shoes printed with the date and “Boston Strong” embroidered on the tongue, and the victims’ initials printed on the body of the shoe. He said he’ll donate the kicks to One Fund, a charity designed to help the victims.
Good on ya, Rajon.
One of the things Cal prides himself and the program on is the number of players who leave early, but return to finish their degrees. Although he didn’t play under Cal, Jodie Meeks is one of those players. According to Lakers beat reporter Mike Trudell, Meeks is on track to graduate from UK in May after working towards his degree during offseasons.
Meeks is now a free agent, but told Trudell he hopes he’ll be back in LA next season: ”I’m not sure. I want to be back. I loved playing here. We’ll see how the draft and free agency goes.” Meeks was one of the few bright spots for the Lakers this season, averaging a career-best 15.6 points per game, almost double his average last season.
Keep making us proud, Jodie.
By Mrs. Tyler Thompson on ©10:50 am
While the rest of us were watching Twitter for the latest updates on the players’ decisions, Archie Goodwin made them eat they feet in Sacramento, scoring 29 points in the Suns’ 104-99 win over the Kings. It was a career-high for Archie, who started the second half and scored 12 of those 29 points in the fourth quarter. The highlight? This ridiculous dunk:
Side note: Drew Franklin, currently on his California adventure, was in the stands. Does this make Drew Archie’s good luck charm?
We now take a break from the Calipari media tour for an afternoon laugh. Athletes have to deal with trolls on Twitter everyday, and most of the time, they ignore them. Former Cat Eric Bledsoe couldn’t resist yesterday, delivering one of the funnier and classic comebacks to a fan who called him the worst player in the NBA:
— Eric Bledsoe (@EBled2) April 15, 2014
Bonus points to that guy for using the correct “you’re,” though.
By Mrs. Tyler Thompson on ©2:30 pm
One last funny bit from Cal’s appearance on KSR this morning (which you can listen to here), then we’ll move on. When asked about Rex Chapman’s tweet about the Lakers, Cal said that the team didn’t hear about it until after the game, at which point, he wondered why Rex would do that. Cal said he went up to Anthony Davis, who was with the team in the back, and joked that the only way he’d go to LA is if Davis came with him:
“The second thing I said to Anthony Davis, he was in the back, I said ‘the stuff with the Lakers isn’t true,’ and then I looked at him and said ‘unless you’ll come with me, maybe I would go.’ But I was only teasing, and he knew I was teasing.”
Haha, hilarious, Cal…now, can we please get the one-and-done rule changed??
As KSR’s own Connor Link reported earlier, some of our NBA Cats had themselves quite the night on Friday evening. Out of the bunch, Eric Bledsoe had the brightest when he dropped 30 points, 11 rebounds, 9 assists, and 3 steals on the league leading San Antonio Spurs. Luckily, some video of Bledsoe’s performance has finally surfaced and you can see the highlights for yourself.
I miss this guy.
Happy 20th birthday to one of our favorite Cats, Nerlens Noel. While Nerlens had hoped to make his NBA debut this season, it looks like the 76ers are in no rush to get him on the court, especially with only a handful of games left in the season. However, Nerlens told reporters on Tuesday that his knee is back to 100%, and he’s added three inches to his vertical leap, an astounding feat after tearing his ACL last year. He added that he’s “very encouraged” by the progress he’s made this week, and is trying to be patient with his return:
“I am very encouraged,” Noel said. “Through the past year since I had my injury, I have pushed myself through thick and thin and I’ve had some struggles and I’ve just stayed with it.
To honor Noel, I came up with my 10 favorite Nerlens moments:
10. Dancing with the campers at Cal’s Pro Camp
Nerlens came back to campus in July to help out with Cal’s pro camps, and because he’s Nerlens, couldn’t help but cut up with the campers.
9. His suit at the Draft
Nerlens told UK fans he’d have a surprise for them at the draft, and once his name was called, he opened his suit jacket to reveal his jersey sewn inside the lining. What an awesome way to honor the Cats.
8. The time he put his you-know-whats on that poor Auburn kid’s head
7. When he did it again vs. Alabama
6. The hair
With most of us thinking he was headed to Georgetown, Nerlens shocked the BBN by committing to Kentucky in a way only Nerlens could: by shaving the school’s logo into his hair.
5. The Nerlens Noel Christmas Carol
Nerlens didn’t make this, but it’s still awesome.
4. All of those good deeds
If I listed all of Nerlens Noel’s good deeds individually, this would look even more like one of those ridiculous BuzzFeed articles. So, for brevity’s sake, I’ll round most of them up here. Whereas most kids his age like to spend their free time playing video games, chasing girls, or buying shoes, Nerlens goes to nursing homes, children’s hospitals, homeless shelters, etc. to give back to the community. What 20-year-old kid does that??
3. His 12 blocks against Ole Miss
Nerlens set a single-game record for blocks with 12 against Ole Miss. He finished third in the UK record book for the most blocked shots in a season with 105, behind Anthony Davis and Willie Cauley-Stein. Remember, he only played 24 games.
2. His recreation of Anthony Davis’ commercial
While in town for the UK/Florida game, Nerlens made a detour from Rupp and recreated Anthony Davis’ Kids Foot Locker commercial with some area kids. Love.
1. When he took 7-year-old Kelly Melton to the Derby
I’ve already mentioned how often Nerlens gives back to the community, and the most touching of these moments for me was when he took 7-year-old Kelly Melton to the Kentucky Derby. Melton is diagnosed with leukemia, and got the red carpet treatment at the Derby thanks to Nerlens. Even thinking about it makes me tear up.
Happy birthday, Nerlens. They don’t make many like you.
I’m sure I’ve forgotten some, so add your favorite Nerlens moment in the comments section.
Even though the Dallas Mavericks were out of town last weekend, the Cats visited their locker room and posed in front of Dirk Nowitzki’s locker. Dirk is a self-proclaimed UK fan who says that had he gone to college, he would have gone to Kentucky, and had he been in town, he said he would have been at UK’s games cheering for the Cats.
Well, it turns out the team left him a present. Check out this picture John Calipari posted of Dirk wearing his very own “Succeed and Proceed” t-shirt:
As someone who loves Dirk, this made me go…
Before he won our hearts and a national championship at the University of Kentucky, Michael Kidd-Gilchrist played high school basketball in New Jersey with NBA star Kyrie Irving and UMass guard Derrick Gordon, who became the first openly gay player in Division I men’s college basketball yesterday.
Prior to MKG’s Wednesday night contest against the Wizards, he released this statement regarding Gordon’s announcement through the Bobcats organization:
“Derrick was a great teammate and is an even better friend. I admire his courage and willingness to share his story. Just as we supported each other on the court, I am proud to support him now. He is a basketball player, a teammate and a friend, and that’s all that matters.” [source]
Kidd-Gilchrist and Gordon described each other as “best friends” and “brothers” prior to their meeting in the 2012 NCAA Tournament in Louisville, when Kentucky defeated Western Kentucky, Gordon’s former school. After that game, Gordon said he would be pulling for the Wildcats to bring the title back to Lexington in the tournament. Now he’s playing under Derrick Kellogg, a former Calipari point guard and Memphis assistant.
Current Kentucky center Dakari Johnson also played with Gordon and Kidd-Gilchrist at St. Patrick.
With lingering back pain and only four games left in the season, the New Orleans Pelicans decided it’s best to sit Anthony Davis for the remainder of the season.
Davis finishes his sophomore NBA year with averages of 20.8 points per game (16th in the NBA), 10 rebounds per game (10th), and 2.82 blocks per game (best in the NBA).
He currently ranks 12th in the league in double-doubles with 36 in 67 games played, and he has the fourth best Player Efficiency Ranking at 26.59, behind only Kevin Durant, LeBron James and Kevin Love.
The NBA is officially on notice in Year 3.
Best friends and KSR favorites DeMarcus Cousins and John Wall had huge nights in the NBA last night. Out west, DeMarcus set a new Sacramento single season record for double-doubles after recording his 51st in Portland, a 30-point, 12-rebound outing in a 100-99 loss. He surpassed 2000-01 Chris Webber for the Kings’ new high mark.
And in Washington, Wall recorded his third career triple-double with 14 points, 12 rebounds and 11 assists in a loss to MKG’s Charlotte Bobcats. Wall’s big night came one day after a report that he is still an option at point guard for Team USA. Jerry Colangelo told Yahoo, “[Wall] is still on my radar.”