Cats in the NBA
Former Kentucky Players in the NBA
By Drew Franklin on ©February 22nd, 2018 @ 11:00am
Kevin Hart has a new web series called “Cold As Balls” in which he interviews star athletes in a cold tub. Nerlens Noel is one of his first guests, and though I had some doubts going into it, I found it to be absolutely hilarious.
If you need a little more convincing before you spend eight minutes watching a YouTube video with Kevin Hart, just know it has a lot of talk about the University of Kentucky and Noel’s personal life. Noel also calls DeMarcus Cousins an asshole, so you get that too.
Maybe they caught me in a good mood and I laughed more than I should have, but this is one of the funniest videos I’ve seen online in a long time.
By Jack Pilgrim on ©February 21st, 2018 @ 8:00pm
This weekend, former Wildcat Rajon Rondo took over 300 students in Louisville out to go see the new Black Panther movie.
Rondo, a Louisville native, did this kind gesture as part of his”Assisting Youth Foundation,” where he bought the movie ticket, popcorn, and a drink for each individual.
The price of admission for the kids? An essay on the historical events, people, or places in Black History to celebrate Black History Month.
“He congratulated us all for coming, read through some of our papers, shook all of our hands, and took pictures with all the kids,” said MJ Romaine, a Central High School student.
“I was happy to put a smile on kid’s faces,” said Rondo. “I didn’t grow up in a two-person household, and a lot of these kids don’t. I can relate to some of these kids in those ways. There are some nights you’re on your own and you don’t know who is there or who’s willing to help you.
“(Rondo) is not doing this to gain notoriety,” Rondo’s high school basketball coach, Doug Bibby, said. “He’s doing this because he cares for the community.”
Non-profit groups Nerd Louisville and Wibby’s Foundation have decided to follow in Rondo’s footsteps, and are combining to send nearly 200 students from West Louisville to a Black Panther screening in the coming weeks.
Check out the entire package from WDRB, featuring more from the former Kentucky point guard:
By Drew Franklin on ©February 21st, 2018 @ 11:45am
Derek Willis got some good news on Tuesday when he was informed he has been named to USA Basketball’s 12-man World Cup Qualifying Squad.
Willis was a late addition to the roster, so he will have some catching up to do when he joins the team, which has already practiced for five days, in California today.
“I’m glad to be going,” said Willis, who tried out for the team in August. “I think it shows I’ve improved this year and that it’s been seen and they want me on the team. I’m excited about it.”
Team USA is made up of some of the top G-League players and is coached by Jeff Van Gundy. Its next game in the World Cup qualifying process is only two days away, when it hosts Cuba in Santa Cruz on Friday; followed by a Feb. 26 game against Puerto Rico, also in Santa Cruz.
Aaron Harrison is also on the team.
While in Fayetteville during the All-Star break, Malik Monk crashed his car early Sunday morning near the Arkansas baseball stadium. Thankfully, he’s fine, but was cited on charges of careless driving and no proof of insurance. According to the Arkansas Democrat-Gazette, the crash happened around 5:45 a.m.:
A witness told authorities that he heard a loud noise and then “saw that a vehicle had hit the gates” to the park, which sits just southeast of Baum Stadium.
According to a copy of field notes signed by Monk and released Sunday night by police, the Lepanto native wrote he “looked down for a second” when he “just hit a bump.”
Monk was the only person in the car and was wearing his seatbelt. The Charlotte Hornets rookie’s numbers have dropped significantly since the start of the season. In the month of February, he’s averaging only 2.7 points in 4.7 minutes per game. In an interview with the Charlotte Observer, Hornets head coach Steve Clifford said he needs Malik to be able to play both point guard and shooting guard, which he’s struggled with in recent games. Hopefully he can find his niche (and get some insurance) moving forward.
De’Aaron Fox joins the latest episode of the Aaron Torres Sports podcast, to discuss his rookie season in the NBA and what he misses most about Kentucky. But first, Aaron is joined by his buddy, Louisville-area radio host Nick Coffey, where they break down the weekend that was in college basketball.
You can easily listen on the KSR App, available on iTunes and Google Play. Streaming online is simple through Pod Paradise. You can also get it directly to your phone by subscribing to the Aaron Torres Sports Podcast feed on iTunes or via Android’s Podcast Addict app.
NOTE: Sponsor the Aaron Torres Sports Podcast for a special price if you sign up by March 15th. Email firstname.lastname@example.org to learn more.
By Mrs. Tyler Thompson on ©February 19th, 2018 @ 6:15pm
John Wall is coming back to Kentucky. For the summer at least.
During the NBA All-Star festivities this weekend, Wall revealed that he’s returning to Lexington this summer to work on his college degree, fulfilling a promise he made to his father, who passed away when he was eight.
“I’m going back to school this summer to get my business degree,” Wall said, via the Washington Post. “That’s what I’m focusing on. I promised my dad that.”
Wall was unable to play in last night’s All-Star Game due to his recent knee surgery, but represented the Wizards and his family in style, honoring his father with a necklace featuring a childhood picture of the two:
Saw a few people tweeting about the necklace that John Wall is wearing tonight. It’s a photo of him and his father. (tweet on the right is from 2013) pic.twitter.com/JtZa2RsDVB
— Danny (@recordsANDradio) February 19, 2018
If you missed it a few weeks ago, Wall penned a letter to his father that will bring tears to your eyes. Even without any of his basketball accomplishments, I know he’s making his dad proud.
Kentucky’s excellent All-Star weekend concluded last night with former Wildcats taking center stage at the Staples Center.
A record-tying four players from the same school were selected to play in the All-Star Game. Even though injuries kept John Wall and DeMarcus Cousins off the court, Anthony Davis made sure Cousins could shine. This is what happened when Boogie found out Davis was going to wear his jersey.
Boogie is a national treasure pic.twitter.com/iiE4rADSwb
— #Mickstape (@MickstapeShow) February 19, 2018
The 2017 All-Star Game MVP did not go for 50. In just 17 minutes Davis had 12 points and 2 rebounds.
Appearing in his first All-Star Game, Karl-Anthony Towns knocked down his first three shots of the game. He finished his debut with a 17-point, 10-rebound double-double.
— Timberwolves (@Timberwolves) February 19, 2018
Devin Booker did not hang around to watch Sunday night’s game. After taking the Three-Point Shootout Title, he flew back to Phoenix and posed for one of the coolest photos in the history of photography.
ASW #3… Told my Phoenix family I would be taking this home with me. Time to lock back in and finish the season up. ?? pic.twitter.com/888lJJCdc6
— Devin Booker (@DevinBook) February 18, 2018
Kentucky was everywhere All-Star Weekend, even in commercials. There’s still a long way to go before Calipari sees half the roster filled with former players. This weekend proved it may not be impossible, and solidified UK’s spot as the NBA’s preeminent college basketball program.
Hear from Coach Cal
The Kentucky head basketball coach will not be at the podium to preview Arkansas, he’s passing off those duties to an assistant, but we’ll let you know what he says on this morning’s SEC teleconference and on tonight’s call-in show.
Calipari spent his Sunday evening celebrating. He was not celebrating the Alabama win, rather his daughter Erin’s birthday.
Lots of Spring Sports Winners
— The UK baseball team went 4-0 in Spartanburg, South Carolina, Kentucky’s first 4-0 start to the season since 2012. You can see them at The Cliff this Wednesday vs. Xavier.
— The UK Softball team also went 4-0 this weekend. Two of the wins were run-rule victories. Against North Dakota State, Autumn Humes threw a no-hitter in her first career start to lead UK to a 2-0 victory.
— Technically women’s basketball is a winter sport, but I’ll take this opportunity to tell you Matthew Mitchell’s team lost to No. 8 South Carolina 81-63, despite Maci Morris’ career-high 35 point performance.
— Swimming and Diving wrapped up their season at the SEC Tournament. The women finished fourth, the men placed ninth and the Cats took home three individual conference titles. Read more here.
College Basketball on TV
|6:00||Duke at Florida St. (WBB)||ESPN2|
|7:00||Miami at Notre Dame||ESPN|
|7:00||Maryland at Northwestern||FS1|
|7:00||Howard at NC Central||ESPNU|
|8:00||Texas at Baylor (WBB)||ESPN2|
|9:00||#23 Oklahoma at #13 Kansas||ESPN|
|9:00||Minnesota at Wisconsin||FS1|
By Jack Pilgrim on ©February 18th, 2018 @ 10:00pm
DeMarcus Cousins may not be able to play in the All-Star Game after suffering a torn Achilles, but his teammate made sure to include him in the action.
At tipoff, Anthony Davis wore Cousins’ jersey, and kept it on for the entire first half.
— Def Pen Hoops (@DefPenHoops) February 19, 2018
And it didn’t take long for him to make some highlight plays in Boogie’s honor.
— The Havoc (@hoophavoc) February 19, 2018
According to CLNS Media’s Clevis Murray, Davis planned on wearing the jersey all along, but was told he wasn’t allowed to.
Anthony Davis says he planned on wearing DeMarcus Cousins' jersey during All-Star practice but was told he couldn't.
— Clevis Murray (@ClevisMurray) February 17, 2018
#LaFamilia don’t follow no stinkin’ rules.
Nothing beats the BBN.
By Jack Pilgrim on ©February 18th, 2018 @ 8:00pm
If you’ve ever wanted to know what it’s like to have superstar basketball abilities and a multi-million dollar unibrow, your time may be coming.
Former Wildcat and NBA All-Star Anthony Davis recently demoed a new virtual reality technology presented by Verizon, featuring an outer camera to virtually build the world around you. For Davis, the basketball court he was standing on was created in his headset, and he was able to shoot free throws and jumpers completely in virtual reality.
So why would anyone want to virtually be in the place they are physically in already?
The new technology allows for a fan experience unlike anything we’ve ever seen.
Fans will eventually be able to “join the court” with NBA stars and participate in the same drills and games as their idols. Just by putting on a headset, you will be able to talk to and interact with individuals you likely would have never had the opportunity to. With countless former Kentucky stars blossoming into young NBA studs, the Big Blue Nation has a lot to look forward to.
And according to SB Nation’s Paul Flanner, it’s right around the corner.
The headset is made by Verizon and offers a glimpse into the world of 5G technology, which is still in the development stage. 5G is the future and it will be here sooner rather than later. The company says it will begin offering residential service in Sacramento by the latter half of the year.
Verizon says that 5G will be 100 times faster than 4G, which addresses one of the key issues in virtual reality technology: latency. That’s a measure of how quickly information is processed and presented back to you.
In Davis’ eyes, this technology is a game changer for the sports world.
“I saw everything that I would see with my real eyes,” Davis said. “Lot of crazy, crazy things going on in this world. Everything was showing up in real time, so that was pretty dope.”
Former Gator and current Washington Wizard Bradley Beal also tried out the technology, saying it reminded him of something you’d see in RoboCop.
“When you first put them on, it’s a black screen. Then all of a sudden the camera turns on and it’s not your eyesight; it’s the cameraman. It’s kind of weird to experience, but the signal is so fast it’s like your eyes are actually working. I kind of felt like RoboCop,” said Beal.
Before long, you’ll be able to meet your former Wildcat idols in a way fans were only able to dream of until Verizon made it a reality.
In other news, Davis spent yesterday afternoon at the Food Bank in Los Angeles giving back to the community. Here’s a quick clip he shared from his experience:
— Anthony Davis (@AntDavis23) February 16, 2018
On Valentine’s Day, the former Wildcat big man unleashed his inner Dr. Phil and gave relationship advice as the “Master of Rejection.”
Take a look:
— Anthony Davis (@AntDavis23) February 14, 2018
The Brow stays busy.
Saturday night is the best part of the NBA All-Star weekend and this year was no different.
Devin Booker Wins NBA Three-Point Contest
Devin Booker won his first (of many) NBA 3-point contest on Saturday night. Booker scored an all-time record of 28 points in the final round.
— 2018 NBA All-Star (@NBAAllStar) February 18, 2018
The Anthony Davis Signature Shoe is Coming
This is long overdue.
— New Orleans Pelicans (@PelicansNBA) February 17, 2018
Donovan Mitchell Won the NBA Dunk Contest
Former Louisville Cardinal Donovan Mitchell won the NBA dunk contest.
“Wait till we see that one in Slow Mo!”
— NBA (@NBA) February 18, 2018
“Half man, half amazing!”
Is that Donovan Mitchell or Vince Carter?
— NBA (@NBA) February 18, 2018
The Bluegrass State dominates NBA All-Star Saturday. What’s new?
Joel Embiid Tried to Cheat in NBA Skills Challenge
Embiid tried to cheat in the NBA skills challenge, but ended up being knocked out by Chicago Bulls’ Lauri Markkanen.
Cheaters never prosper.
— Barstool Sports (@barstoolsports) February 18, 2018
UK Hoops and Kentucky Baseball are both in action today
The Kentuck women’s basketball team takes on the No. 8 ranked South Carolina in Columbia. You can see the game at 3:00 pm ET on the SEC Network.
Kentucky Baseball finished their road trip in Spartanburg at 11:00 am ET against the University of Evansville.
Mood all day after snapping 4-game losing streak
mood every Monday Wednesday Friday pic.twitter.com/9zyGJAHOp3
— Pardon My Take (@PardonMyTake) February 18, 2018
Have a great Sunday, BBN!
By Nick Roush on ©February 17th, 2018 @ 9:43pm
Devin Booker made Three-Point Shootout history en route to his first Three-Point Shootout title.
The former Kentucky Wildcat knocked off Klay Thompson and Tobias Harris in the Championship Round of the Three-Point Shootout with a record score of 28 to become the NBA’s top marksman. He knocked down 20 out of 25 attempts in the final round for the record-breaking score that Thompson could not touch.
Here was Devin Booker’s amazing run making 20-25 threes in the 3 Point Contest Championship pic.twitter.com/jid94dd7Zj
— Matt Jones (@KySportsRadio) February 18, 2018
His First Round score of 19 wasn’t too bad either.
— NBA (@NBA) February 18, 2018
It was only a matter of time before Booker ascended to the top of the Three-Point Shooting world. This title will be the first of many for the sharpshooting Wildcat.
By Jack Pilgrim on ©February 16th, 2018 @ 10:22pm
The BBNBA steals the show again.
To kick off NBA All-Star Weekend, UK got their own commercial to show off all of the former Cats in the NBA from their time suiting up in blue and white.
All 26 of them.
Check out this incredible Kentucky commercial:
— Tod Lanter (@tod_lanterIII) February 17, 2018
Jamal Murray and De’Aaron Fox are currently competing in the Rising Stars Game, Devin Booker will participate in the 3-Point Contest tomorrow night, and Karl-Anthony Towns and Anthony Davis will play in the All-Star Game on Sunday.
If DeMarcus Cousins and John Wall didn’t get injured a few weeks ago, they would also be representing the BBN on Sunday.
Doesn’t get much better than that.
By Jack Pilgrim on ©February 16th, 2018 @ 10:00pm
Isaiah Briscoe wasn’t seen as a dominant scorer at the college level, but he changed that narrative tonight.
In the Estonia/Latvia All-Star Game, the former Kentucky point guard dropped 50 points and took home MVP honors.
Here he was holding the trophy:
— NJ Basketball (@NJHoopRecruit) February 16, 2018
He averaged 12 points, five rebounds, and four assists his sophomore year at Kentucky, but has upped his game for BC Kalev-Cramo in Estonia this season.
He’s currently averaging 18 points, four assists, and four rebounds in just 26 minutes per contest.
The end goal for Briscoe is to end up back in the NBA, so hopefully he uses this performance to build toward that goal.
Solid work, Zay!
As we approach the NBA All-Star break, everyone now has time to reflect on the wonderment that has been the 2017-18 season. Over 50 games into the regular season, there have been more accomplishments from former Kentucky players than one would have imagined 10 years ago. With multiple All-Stars and even more future ones, the Big Blue Nation runs deep in the best professional basketball league in the world.
But what hasn’t been covered as much is the non-NBAers. The guys who have worked just as hard to compete in the business of pro hoops. The NBA’s G League is loaded with hidden talent that can find its way to the top and there are several Kentucky players trying to fulfill their dreams. The G League may be a stage below the NBA, but the development of the players within it should not go unnoticed. James Young played incredibly well in the G League earlier this season, good enough for the Philadelphia 76ers to call him up to run with the big boys where he currently plays. There are six active former Kentucky players in the G League, here’s how they’ve been performing going into their own All-Star weekend.
Aaron Harrison (Reno Bighorns – Sacramento Kings affiliate)
2017-18 averages: 17.3 points/4.4 rebounds/1.7 assists in 32 games played.
Shooting splits (FG%/3PT%/FT%): 41.7/38.9/83.9
Harrison has been selected to participate in the G League International Challenge, an All-Star type event for the G League where their best players will take on the Mexico National Team on Sunday before the actual NBA All-Star game. He’s not the only former Wildcat to make the team, either, as you will learn shortly.
Harrison is among the best shooters in the G League this season. His 38.9 three-point percentage ranks 12th among players who attempt at least six threes per game. He’s recorded multiple 30-point games and is well-deserving of being selected for the International Challenge.
Terrence Jones (Santa Cruz Warriors – Golden State Warriors affiliate)
2017-18 averages: 19.9 points/7.1 rebounds/4.5 assists in 13 games played.
Shooting splits: 55.3/35.1/48.5
Terrence Jones is the other Wildcat who will join Harrison in the G League International Challenge. Jones has been on a tear since he joined the Santa Cruz Warriors in the middle of December following his release from the Qingdao DoubleStar Eagles in China. He’s quickly become a force to be reckoned with. His 28.0 usage rate ranks 11th in the league and is high for someone of his position and play style. He’s a workhorse down low and is deceptively quick off the dribble. He was nearly signed to a deal with the New Orleans Pelicans earlier in 2018, however, it quickly fell apart. Jones still has plenty to look forward to and at 26 years old, there’s time for him to make a return to the NBA.
Mychal Mulder (Windy City Bulls – Chicago Bulls affiliate)
2017-18 averages: 8.8 points/4.6 rebounds/1.6 assists in 36 games played.
Shooting splits: 39.6/31.0/78.0
Mulder hasn’t been spectacular in the G League, but he has been solid. His stats aren’t great, however, he averages 31.6 minutes per game (39th overall), which means he’s helping his team in a way they deem fit. He’s an above-average rebounder for a guard but he definitely needs to improve on his jump shot, which was his calling card at Kentucky. He’s the least impressive of these six and still trying to find his way, but he is being given the opportunity to improve.
Derek Willis (Grand Rapids Drive – Detroit Pistons affiliate)
2017-18 averages: 11.9 points/6.6 rebounds/0.8 assists in 33 games played.
Shooting splits: 45.8/34.8/81.6
Perhaps the most surprising Kentucky prospect to sign with an NBA team under Coach Calipari is Derek Willis. Willis was never a star at Kentucky – he was hardly a starter – but he has one thing going for him that can get anyone a job in the NBA. He can shoot the hell out of the ball. After being signed by the Detroit Pistons and assigned to their G League team, Willis was given the chance to showcase his sharpshooting skills. He’s definitely a “tweener”, as in he’s too small to play the five or even the four in some cases and too big to guard opposing threes. Luckily, when he can shoot nearly 35 percent from three on 4.8 attempts per game, he’ll always have a home playing basketball somewhere.
Marquis Teague (Memphis Hustle – Memphis Grizzlies affiliate)
2017-18 averages:16.3 points/3.4 rebounds/5.7 assists in 38 games played.
Shooting splits: 44.4/43.6/77.5
Teague could be considered a G League “All-Star snub” with the year he’s having in Memphis. Only five times has he scored under 10 points and 12 times has he scored over 20 as the Hustle’s most consistent player. Teague ranks 18th in the league in assists per game and has become a much more reliable outside threat than he was at Kentucky. An interesting note, 78.6 percent of Teague’s field goal makes come unassisted, meaning he’s creating the majority of his own offense and has been surprisingly efficient in doing so.
Archie Goodwin (Northern Arizona Suns – Phoenix Suns affiliate)
2017-18 averages: 18.8 points/5.8 rebounds/2.6 assists in 20 games played.
Shooting splits: 50.6/34.3/69.6
Archie Goodwin is still the rim-attacking bulldog he was at Kentucky. Goodwin was at his best when driving towards the bucket and not much has changed since he left Kentucky. He’s attempted the second most free throws in the G League, although converting on less than 70 percent of those opportunities. 29.3 percent of Goodwin’s points come from free throws – 11th highest in the league – and it could be much higher if he converted at a more consistent level. Even still, Goodwin has shown promise and it wouldn’t surprise me if he made another run in the NBA. He averages the 22nd most points per game and 23rd most steals per game among the league leaders.
Kentucky may be taking over the NBA, but its basketball influence is beginning to make its mark in every league possible.
Follow me on Twitter: @ZackGeoghegan
It was the match up of two former Kentucky big men in the Los Angeles Lakers at Minnesota Timberwolves game last night. For the Timberwolves, Karl-Anthony Towns struggled scoring the ball, finishing with just 10 points on 2 of 9 shooting, but he made up for it by pulling down 19 rebounds, dishing out four assists, and blocking two shots. Julius Randle had a better game offensively for the Lakers, as he had 23 points to go along with nine rebounds, two assists, two steals, and a block. The Timberwolves picked up the W over the Lakers by the score of 119-111.
For Towns, last night was his 51st double-double of the season, which ties Kevin Love for the most ever before the All-Star break.
Karl-Anthony Towns recorded his 51st double-double of the season tonight.
Per @EliasSports, that ties Kevin Love (2010-11) for the most before the All-Star break in NBA history.
All three players with 50 double-doubles before the break played for a team based in Minnesota. pic.twitter.com/M72yiMoE2U
— ESPN Stats & Info (@ESPNStatsInfo) February 16, 2018
|Karl-Anthony Towns||119-111 win over Lakers||10||2-9 (0-2)||19||4||0||2||3||+7||32|
|Julius Randle||119-111 loss to Timberwolves||23||8-15 (0-1)||9||2||2||1||3||-17||31|
|Eric Bledsoe||134-123 loss to Nuggets||27||9-14 (3-6)||3||8||5||0||3||-1||37|
|Jamal Murray||134-123 win over Bucks||26||9-12 (5-7)||5||5||3||0||2||+18||36|
|Trey Lyles||134-123 win over Bucks||12||5-10 (2-4)||0||0||1||2||0||+1||17|
"The backboard is your friend." – @KarlTowns (probably)
— NBA on TNT (@NBAonTNT) February 16, 2018
— Los Angeles Lakers (@Lakers) February 16, 2018
Bledsoe dropped 27 points, adding 8 assists and 5 steals in tonight's matchup against the Nuggets. pic.twitter.com/cZaZtLndoJ
— Milwaukee Bucks (@Bucks) February 16, 2018
— Denver Nuggets (@nuggets) February 16, 2018
Trey cares not for the herd by the bucket. pic.twitter.com/hwcOlpur50
— Denver Nuggets (@nuggets) February 16, 2018
- Rising Stars Game, World (Jamal Murray) vs USA (De’Aaron Fox), 9pm ET on TNT