Photo © Mark Zerof With two straight losses and the national media circling like sharks, →
Cats in the NBA
Former Kentucky Players in the NBA
Yesterday, former UK star Patrick Patterson and his teammate, Landry Fields, visited a local Toronto middle school. They were there to help promote the MLSE Shape Up program, a program based in Toronto which encourages healthy, active lifestyles for children. This is only one of many programs and organizations Patterson promotes within the local community. Since joining the Raptors in early December by way of a trade, Patterson has made the most of his experience. He’s been known to help out local communities with other NBA Cares programs, and he continues to be rewarded. For the month of February, Patterson was named the Toronto Citizen Community MVP for his services given off the court.
— Toronto Raptors (@Raptors) February 28, 2014
With all of his help and time given to the community surrounding Toronto, its hard not to believe he’s become a fan favorite. Just check out the reactions from the kids, they love him!
— Toronto Raptors (@Raptors) March 4, 2014
It’s great to see a former Kentucky player doing great things, on & off the court. Congrats Pat Pat!
For more pictures and silly videos from Patterson’s visit yesterday, head on over to the Raptors’ page by clicking this link.
John Wall has been named Eastern Conference Player of the Week for the second time this season, the third of his career. Wall led the Zards to a 3-0 record while averaging 25 points, 10.7 assists and 2 steals while shooting 59.2% from the field.
Wall’s best performance came against the 76ers where he helped Trevor Ariza score 40 points after dishing out a career-high 16 assists. That amazing performance happened on the same night his childhood hero, Allen Iverson, had his jersey retired. Wall said after the game, “That’s the player I looked up to, more than anybody else, in my era. A role model, why I enjoyed watching basketball. I looked up to him, being a small guard. That’s who I took a lot of my game from.” Needless to say, Wall picked a good night to have a career-best performance.
You can read more about Wall’s relationship with Iverson, including the meeting the two had before Wall signed with Iverson’s shoe company, Reebok.
While the current Wildcats sometimes leave us with a sour taste in our mouths, we can always count on our NBA-Cats to do well and remind us of happier times. Last night John Wall finished with 17 points and a career high 16 assists as the Wizards won their sixth straight game, 122-103 over Philadelphia.
Wall wasn’t the only one with monster numbers, as Terrence Jones made his presence known for the Rockets, finishing with 22 points and 10 rebounds as Houston beat Detroit at home.
DeMarcus “Boogie” Cousins returned in his first game from suspension and notched yet another double-double with 21 points, 17 rebounds, three assists and three blocks as the Kings fell to the T-Wolves.
By Mrs. Tyler Thompson on ©5:00 pm
It hasn’t been a good week for DeMarcus Cousins. The NBA suspended Cousins for one game for “punching” Houston Rockets guard Patrick Beverley in the stomach and fined him $20,000 for verbally abusing an official and failing to leave the court in a timely manner following an ejection in Tuesday night’s game against the Rockets.
Cousins has since apologized for his actions, but the “punch” in question wasn’t even mentioned by the announcers during the game and went seemingly unnoticed until now. Does the “punch” warrant a 1-game suspension? You make the call:
By Mrs. Tyler Thompson on ©11:45 am
Yesterday, word spread that DeAndre Liggins was headed to Miami, and this morning, the Heat made it official, signing Liggins to a 10-day contract. Liggins is moving up from the Heat’s D-Leage affiliate, the Sioux Falls Skyforce, where he played well enough to make the D-League All-Star Team during NBA All-Star Weekend.
He’s already on the floor for his first practice, which you can see in this video posted by the Heat:
Word in Miami is DeAndre Liggins will soon sign a deal with the Heat for a run at the championship. Liggins has been with the Heat’s D-League affiliate in Sioux Falls, where he has averaged 14.5 points, 7.5 rebounds and 4.8 assists in 40 per game and was named an All-Star earlier this month. He was in Miami on Sunday and he Instagrammed a photo of his shoes (because that’s what Instagram is for) with the hashtag #HeatGang.
Liggins last saw NBA minutes as a member of the Oklahoma City Thunder last season before he was waived following an off the court incident. The former Wildcat turned down a lot of money overseas to stay in the States in hopes of one day earning another shot in the league. It appears that gamble has paid off.
I guess we better watch this UKCats8Fan video from the 2011 UK-UNC Elite Eight game to celebrate:
As Kentucky’s 19-6 season continues, I keep wanting to compare this year’s team to that of the 2010-2011 season. It’s an unfair comparison because the talent level is completely different, but it’s still a thought with each loss. The year Brandon Knight was Kentucky’s point guard, they were (1-5) in SEC road games up to this point in the season. Obviously, this year’s team has done a much better job in that category. However, Knight’s team would finish off the season with only one more loss on the road at Arkansas, and remained on a winning streak up until the heart-breaking loss in the Final Four. This year’s team has the potential to do the same, and then some more. The Twins have all the talent and potential in the world as guards, so if this team clicks like Knight’s team did, UK may potentially give Florida a run for their money. Even Coach Cal tweeted about the comparison earlier today.
Now we have things we have to correct, especially late in games, but as I told you about our 2010-11 group, I like my team.
— John Calipari (@UKCoachCalipari) February 17, 2014
Now let’s get back to Brandon Knight. He’s now in his 3rd year of playing in the NBA, but still has yet to mature into an elite point guard. Milwaukee’s coach Larry Drew seems to think that this year’s tough season has allowed Knight to find the intangibles needed at PG for the next level. After two rough seasons as a Detroit Piston, Knight now finds himself on a worse Milwaukee Bucks team. On the year, the Bucks are just 9-43, and the only team after the All-Star break to not have double-digit wins. When he was here at Kentucky, he had to learn to be more vocal on the court. We watched as he developed into a great leader, but sometime’s that leadership doesn’t completely transition into the pros.
“It’s a type of leadership where you’ve got to be positive no matter what,” Knight said. “Something that I had to grow into going into this level. I had to be stronger, that you’ve got to go in, you’ve got to seek contact … That’s something that I think I’ve shown this year and gotten better at.”
One thing that Knight continues to struggle with is consistency. He had four assists and five turnovers on Feb. 10 against Boston, but turned it around two days later, earning nine assists without a turnover against the Pelicans. Scoring hasn’t been a problem for Knight, as he put up 22 points in each of those games.
“You can’t really have a night where you’re not on your game, because you can be exposed on any night,” Knight said. “You’ve got to be able to adapt from game to game and year to year. Something in your game has to improve.”
Strangely enough, that statement can be related to this year’s Wildcats. Nonetheless, Knight’s NBA coach has seen him pickup up his game and improve as their long losing season continues. “Things that you just can’t go out there and teach him,” Drew said. “There are things that happen within the flow, and point guards have to be able to instinctively make those plays.” With every game, it seems Knight continues to grow and mature into the point guard that we once remember at UK. Leaving college and entering the pros is a tough thing to do, and sometimes, as is the case with many young guards, you have to refresh your game and adapt. It’s certainly something to think about, especially if you’re the Twins at the end of the season.
Five years into the Calipari era, we’re just starting to see Cal’s first group of Kentucky recruits come into their own in the NBA. After winning the Slam Dunk contest and playing in the All-Star Game this weekend, John Wall is having his national spotlight moment. In fact, Grantland’s Chris Ryan says Wall was the winner of All-Star weekend for not only his incredible performances, but his poise during a difficult time:
I know Irving won the MVP award, but it was hard not to think of this as Wall’s weekend. After he was snubbed (I said it) by Team USA when he didn’t get an invite to the 28-man roster of players who will compete for spots in the FIBA World Cup and the next Olympic Games, it looked as if Wall were on the outside, looking in on basketball’s elite. As if there were still some sort of “Not Ready for Prime-Time” sign hanging around his neck.
This weekend, he lit that sign on fire. No, winning the dunk contest — especially one as convoluted as this one — isn’t the kind of thing that makes a career. But it put Wall in the spotlight, and he handled it incredibly well.
Wall’s mother is currently in the hospital because of fluid build-up in her lungs, and considering how close she and her son are, Wall’s poise this weekend was just as impressive as any dunk.
Check out the rest of Ryan’s comments about Wall and his other winners and losers from All-Star Weekend by clicking the link below.
For what seems like the millionth time in a row, Anthony Davis is turning heads. Davis made the most of his ten minutes of playing time in last night’s All-Star game, scoring 10 points, and grabbing two steals and one rebound. Now, those numbers aren’t MVP-worthy, but are pretty impressive considering Davis made the game because Kobe Bryant had to pull out due to injury.
Forgive me, John Wall and DeMarcus Cousins, but Davis is well on his way to becoming the most impressive Kentucky alum in the pros. He’s raking in fans left and right, including the Mailman Karl Malone, who told reporters at the All-Star game last night that Davis made him a believer:
“I see a young man that has just flourished here, he’s embraced it, he’s worked hard,” Malone said, speaking to media during All-Star Weekend. “I get to see the Pelicans play a lot, they being on T.V and me living in Louisiana. He don’t get too excited about things, he just goes out and plays the game. He plays hard.
“I’ll be the first to admit this… when they first drafted him I wasn’t totally for sure (sold on him) because I hadn’t seen how he played with his teammates. You can truly build a great team around this young man. I love to see him play and I love the way he keeps his composure and just plays the game.”
Keep it up, AD.
For the first time in their respective careers, Anthony Davis and John Wall will take the court among the greats of the NBA in the 2014 NBA All-Star Game. The game tips off at 8pm and you can catch the action on TNT from the newly renamed “Smoothie King Center” in New Orleans. That last sentence was totally serious.
Last night’s NBA Slam Dunk Contest may have been weird in style, but watching people who are much better athletes than I do things with a basketball that I can only dream about doing to a Nerf hoop is always a good time. Minus all the hoopla, dancing, and Nick Cannon and adding some slow-mo makes the Dunk Contest highlights actually pretty cool.
FWIW: The Paul George 360 between-the-legs was the dunk of the night in my opinion