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Cats in the NBA

Former Kentucky Players in the NBA

New Nike ad further proves Kentucky is taking over the NBA

New Nike ad further proves Kentucky is taking over the NBA

Nike has a new ad to promote its new line of NBA jerseys and three former Kentucky Wildcats make cameos.

It’s clear we’ve reached a time in the NBA where it is impossible to do any kind of advertising without the inclusion of at least one former Wildcat. And that’s awesome.

I must say: those new Nike Connect jerseys look pretty cool, if you’re a wearer of NBA jerseys.


Mark Zerof-USA TODAY Sports

Knox, Washington, Vanderbilt projected first-rounders… in 2019

Mark Zerof-USA TODAY Sports

It should come as no surprise that Jonathan Givony (now at ESPN) believes Kevin Knox, P.J. Washington and Jarred Vanderbilt will be first round picks in the NBA draft. But what is surprising is that Givony predicts the three Kentucky Wildcats will be first round picks in the 2019 draft.

That would mean all three will return for their sophomore seasons, which is pretty hard to imagine.

The three freshmen are five of the Kentucky Wildcats listed in the first round of Givony’s new 2019 mock draft. The others are Immanuel Quickley, projected sixth overall to the Pacers; and Sacha Killeya-Jones, projected 28th overall to the Rockets.

Knox is at No. 12 to the Hornets; Washington at No. 16 to the Thunder; and Vanderbilt at No. 18 to the Celtics.

Other notables names in the mock up:

1. R.J. Barrett
2. Zion Williamson
8. Quentin Grimes
9. Romeo Langford
19. Brian Bowen

See the entire unrealistic mock draft, with explanations, here.


Karl-Anthony Towns proud to have done “the right thing” at UK

Karl-Anthony Towns proud to have done “the right thing” at UK

Karl-Anthony Towns is the second former Kentucky Wildcat to comment on the bombshell that was dropped on college basketball this week, and how Kentucky is one of the schools that does it the right way, when we’re learning others do not.

Towns told ESPN:

“It’s something that people kind of felt, but we didn’t know how big it truly was. I would be sitting here lying to you if I said it was surprising and shocking. I don’t think it’s surprising or shocking. The number of people involved is shocking. That’s the biggest thing. I’m very, very fortunate to have had a very good time in college and be with a great school and doing the right thing.”

Towns’ response to the scandal came shortly after John Wall said, “If you are only going to school for one year, there’s no point in doing all the extra stuff.”

Read Wall’s entire comment here.


John Wall Responds to College Basketball Corruption Scandal

Big Blue History

The FBI revealed the dark side of college basketball recruiting.  You’ve heard takes from many different perspectives on the matter, now hear from a former No. 1 recruit who played at Kentucky.

John Wall shared his experience with CSN Mid Atlantic:

“If you are the No. 1 guy or the top guy, you’re going to have guys come at you. But you have to be smart about it. If you are only going to school for one year, there’s no point in doing all the extra stuff. If you don’t have any money and have been poor your whole life, another eight months won’t hurt,” Wall said.

“I was trusting no one. Listen, I grew up without a dad since the age of nine. It was my mom working three or four jobs to support our family. If she could provide from me then, then she could provide for me when I was 17 or 18 years old for a few months. You know what I mean? You couldn’t do nothing for me then. I’d been poor my whole life. Eight months? What is that money going to do for me? I was fine with it.”

Before his eighth NBA season, the former Kentucky point guard signed a four-year $170 million contract extension.  Including endorsements, I think it’s safe to say he’ll make a half billion dollars during his professional career.  Eight more months was worth the wait.

[CSN Mid Atlantic]


LOOK: Former Kentucky players on NBA Media Day

@Timberwolves

Today is Media Day for most NBA teams, and as a result, Twitter has been flooded with pictures of former Cats going through interviews and photoshoots. Here’s a roundup of the best moments:

New Orleans Pelicans: Anthony Davis, DeMarcus Cousins, Rajon Rondo, Darius Miller (not pictured)

@pelicansNBA

Washington Wizards: John Wall and Jodie Meeks

@WashWizards

Minnesota Timberwolves: Karl Towns

@Timberwolves

Indiana Pacers: Alex Poythress

(more…)


Photo by Quinn Foster | UK Athletics

John Wall: Tom Brady and Aaron Rodgers must speak out on national anthem debate

Photo by Quinn Foster | UK Athletics

Today is Media Day in the NBA, and after yesterday’s national anthem protests across the NFL, it was only a matter of time before a former Kentucky player was asked to share their thoughts. Fresh off his UK Athletics Hall of Fame induction, John Wall told CSN Mid-Atlantic that until the NFL’s major stars like Tom Brady and Aaron Rodgers step up and speak out, nothing will change.

“You have guys like Tom Brady, Aaron Rodgers — love those guys, very talented — but until those guys come out and speak, I don’t think the NFL is going to make any adjustments,”  Wall said.

Yesterday, hundreds of NFL players kneeled during the national anthem following President Donald Trump’s remarks on Friday that players who do so should be fired. Wall used Chris Paul, Dwayne Wade, Carmelo Anthony, and LeBron James’ comments during the Donald Sterling controversy in 2014 as an example of how franchise players like Brady and Rodgers can address the situation.

“When we were dealing with our stuff with Donald Sterling, people were saying, well, if LeBron and those guys don’t come out, if Kobe doesn’t come out and say something, there’s never going to be a stand taken. When those guys came out and started talking, what happened? He was fired. The stand stood.”

“Until those guys in the NFL come out and stand up for [Colin] Kaepernick and stand for those guys — he can say the little things like, he should have been in and he’s a great player, he beat us in his hometown — but you have to go out there and express your feelings. Until they do that, I don’t think anything is going to change.”


DeAndre Liggins traded to Atlanta, waived immediately

We have some disappointing news for one of our beloved NBA Cats…

DeAndre Liggins has been traded from the Los Angeles Clippers to the Atlanta Hawks, and will be waived immediately.

The former Wildcat was released by the Cavaliers this past year, and picked up off waivers by the Dallas Mavericks. The Mavs traded him to Houston this offseason, where he was immediately traded again to Los Angeles.

After this news, Liggins is now looking for a new home.

Best of luck to him in getting picked up as soon as possible.


DeMarcus Cousins donates $253,000 to refurbish basketball court in Mobile, AL

@RobbyBakerTV

On Saturday afternoon, DeMarcus Cousins made a $253,000 donation to refurbish a basketball court in his hometown of Mobile, Alabama.

The court at Figures Park is located right down the street from Cousins’ high school, an area where the former Kentucky star spent the majority of his time growing up.

“Growing up, that’s all we did was play basketball,” Cousins told William Guillory of NOLA.com. “These courts kept a lot of kids out of trouble and they brought a lot of the people in the community together. We’re going to refurbish it and give it a little makeover and I think the people here will really appreciate it.”

Cousins held a block party to announce the donation, featuring free food, activities for kids, and a music performance by Rick Ross.

Anthony Davis, John Wall, and Eric Bledsoe also joined the former Wildcat at the block party.

Here’s a video of Cousins at the announcement:

But remember, the media says Cousins is a terrible person and a locker room cancer, so it must be true, right?

Keep being you, Boogie. The BBN is proud of you.


UK Basketball Recruiting Rewind: Brandon Knight

It’s time for another Recruiting Rewind. Want more? Reminisce with me as we look back on the recruitments of John Wall, Terrence Jones, Nerlens Noel, and Karl-Anthony Towns.


Let’s try to forget about the Florida game, shall we? I’m already tired of thinking about it.

Remember how Coach Cal just picked up his first 5 star recruit of the 2018 class in Immanuel Quickley? He’s a versatile, athletic point guard who can make plays for himself or his teammates. Well, that got me thinking about another player that Quickley has drawn some comparisons to: Brandon Knight.

Their high school builds are very similar: both 6’3″, with Knight being slightly heavier at 185 pounds versus 180 for Quickley. Both are natural born playmakers. And I’d personally be A-OK with Brandon Knight 2.0 leading our 2018-2019 squad. Lest we forget, Brandon Knight was a stud.

The Recruitment

Knight was the number 5 overall recruit in the 2010 class, the second ranked point guard behind one Kyrie Irving. Knight was also named the 2009 and 2010 Gatorade National Boys Basketball Player of the Year, only the third player to receive the honor in back to back years. The first two? Greg Oden (doesn’t bode well) and LeBron James (much better).

Also, do you remember his dreads? I kinda wish he would’ve rocked the AI look once he became a Cat.

Interest came from all over the country, but Knight’s final list would be comprised of UCONN, Florida, Syracuse, Kansas, and Kentucky.

The Commitment

Knight would become the centerpiece of UK’s 2010 class, bolstered by the likes of fellow top 10 recruits Terrence Jones and Mr. What-if Enes Kanter, along with deeper cuts like Doron Lamb, and deepest cuts like Stacey Poole.

Not quite as flashy a class as Cal’s 2009 lineup, but they would go on to click just as well, and at just the right moments.

The Performance

Knight averaged 17.3 points per game, along with 4.2 assists and 4 rebounds. He was just a generally efficient player, playing about 36 minutes per game with a field goal percentage of 42.3 and making roughly 80 percent of his free throws.

But playing efficiently didn’t preclude him from making big shots.

I’m rooting for Immanuel to make a moment like this.

@JayWinkKSR


Enes Kanter Involved in Landmark NBA Trade

@Enes_Kanter

Former Kentucky Wildcat Enes Kanter will no longer call Oklahoma City home.

Woj dropped a bomb on college football Saturday.  After years of speculation, Carmelo Anthony is finally leaving New York City.  The Knicks have traded Carmelo to Oklahoma City for Kanter, Doug McDermott and a second round draft pick.

It will be hilarious to see Melo and Westbrook fight over the ball, but it’s sad to see Kanter leave his stache bro, Steven Adams.


WATCH: Acceptance speeches for UK Athletics Hall of Fame inductees

WATCH: Acceptance speeches for UK Athletics Hall of Fame inductees

Day 1 of one of the biggest weekends in recent memory for UK Athletics started with the induction of the Class of 2017 into the University of Kentucky Athletics Hall of Fame. Most of you know that the two stars of the major sports, John Wall and Randall Cobb, are being inducted, but they are joined by baseball’s Collin Cowgill, broadcaster Ralph Hacker, cross country and track runner Sherry Hoover, and volleyball’s Sarah Rumely.

These six athletes made a mark on UK Athletics that will never be forgotten. Check out their acceptance speeches from tonight’s induction ceremony, thanks to the crew over at Kentucky Wildcats TV. Make sure you bring your tissues for when John Wall thanks his mom for being his mom and everything she did for him growing up.

Congratulations to all six of the newest members of the University of Kentucky Athletics Hall of Fame. This is an honor well earned, and we thank you for the impact you had on this university.

@BrettBibbinsKSR


LOOK: John Wall is back on campus

LOOK: John Wall is back on campus

@KentuckyWBB

Ladies and gentlemen, John Wall is back on campus.

Tonight, Wall will be inducted into the UK Athletics Hall of Fame alongside Randall Cobb, Collin Cowgill, Ralph Hacker, Sherry Hoover Bordner, and Sarah Rumely. After arriving in Lexington about an hour ago, Wall is already making the rounds at the Joe Craft Center, where he posed with the UK Hoops team:

And the volleyball team:

And Sandy Bell:

Here he is posing with a banner, presumably at his hotel:

Stay tuned for more Wall sightings. No sign of Cobb yet.


Rajon Rondo is already impressing teammates in New Orleans

Rajon Rondo started his career in Boston, where he developed into one of the best point guards in the NBA.

After being traded to the Mavericks in 2015, the former Wildcat star has played for Sacramento and Chicago, losing his notoriety as one of the league’s best in the process.

Rondo signed with the New Orleans this offseason on a one-year, $3.3 million deal, but people aren’t sure what to make of it.

With Jrue Holiday signed on as the premier guard, what role will Rondo have? Will injuries slow him down like they have in the past? How much does the former Cat have left in the tank?

According to Jim Eichenhofer of NBA.com, the seasoned vet hasn’t lost his touch in the slightest.

“Everybody was listening to him and getting in the right spots,” marveled Pelicans rookie wing Jalen Jones, a two-way contract signee. “That’s what you have to have at point guard, because if no one is listening to you, the team is all over the place.”

Veteran guard and former Celtic teammate E’Twaun Moore said Rondo gave him the tools and guidance to thrive in the NBA.

“From being around him, even though it was only one year, I learned a lot,” said Moore, who also gleaned pointers from Celtics veterans Kevin Garnett, Paul Pierce and Ray Allen. “It helped me throughout my career, going to other teams. Maybe if I had been in a different situation as a rookie, I might not have picked up as much as I did. It definitely helped me to stay in the NBA. I don’t know if I’d still be here.

Even former Kentucky star Darius Miller has noticed how much Rondo’s veteran leadership has helped not only his game, but the entire team.

He pays attention to every little detail,” Miller said. “It’s crazy. I think that will be huge for the team, just his leadership. His experience is incredible – he’s played with some of the greatest guys, Hall of Famers, won a championship (in 2008, as a second-year pro). Him spreading that knowledge, teaching everybody and showing people how to play, what to do, where to be, is going to be huge.”

I don’t know about you all, but I’m all for a starting lineup of Rondo, Holiday, Miller, Anthony Davis, and DeMarcus Cousins.


Nine Kentucky players listed on ESPN’s NBA Top 100

AP Photo/Alex Brandon

Earlier this week, Sports Illustrated unveiled their top 100 NBA players going into the 2017-18 season. To no one’s surprise, former Kentucky stars absolutely dominated the list with nine total players.

In fact, of the players that actually went to college on the list, over 10% of them attended UK.

That’s just bonkers.

Today, ESPN released their top 100 players in the league, and yet again, the BBN is represented extremely well.

Here’s the list and ESPN’s analysis of each player below:

6. Anthony Davis

Stats & Info: Davis just finished his fifth season and was named first-team All-NBA for the second time. He’s the 37th player in NBA history with multiple first-team All-NBA selections within his first five seasons, but the only one not to have won a single playoff game over those first five seasons.

12. Karl-Anthony Towns

Stats & Info: Towns was named the most likely first-time All-Star by our Summer Forecast panel in August. He averaged over 25 points and 12 rebounds last season, becoming only the second player to put up those numbers and not make the All-Star team (Kareem Abdul-Jabbar was the first to do so in 1977-78).

15. John Wall

Stats & Info: Wall’s struggles against Boston in the conference semifinals exposed somewhat of a limitation when it comes to executing in the half court. In fact, Wall ranked lower than every other player in our top 50 in points per play in the half court last season.

17. DeMarcus Cousins

Stats & Info: The idea of having either Cousins or Anthony Davis on the floor at all times for the Pelicans might be enticing on paper, even if it didn’t work last season. When Cousins was on the floor without Davis, the Pelicans were outscored by 12.6 points per 100 possessions. Swap Davis for Cousins and the Pelicans outscored teams by 8.8 points per 100 possessions, a net swing of over 21 points. Though his talent is undeniable, Cousins still has not shown the ability to translate that talent into team success.

37. Eric Bledsoe

  • Suns | PG | @EBled2
  • Last year’s rank: 43
  • 2017-18 projected RPM: 2.63

Stats & Info: In four seasons in Phoenix, Bledsoe has averaged more than 18 points, six assists and four rebounds, making him one of nine players to reach those marks over that span. Bledsoe is the only one of that group who has not made an All-Star team. He’s coming off a season in which he set career highs in PPG, RPG, APG, player efficiency rating and usage rate while also posting the lowest turnover rate of his career.

60. Devin Booker

  • Suns | SG | @DevinBook
  • Last year’s rank: 46
  • 2017-18 projected RPM: -1.6

Stats & Info: Only four players in NBA history — LeBron James, Kevin Durant, Shaquille O’Neal and Kyrie Irving — averaged more points as a 20-year-old than Booker did last season as he pumped in 22.1 points per game. Despite the historic scoring for a player his age, Booker actually slipped 14 spots in our rankings. If you’re wondering why, defense is a good place to start. Booker ranked near the bottom among shooting guards in Defensive Real Plus-Minuslast season.

71. Michael Kidd-Gilchrist

  • Hornets | SF | @MKG14
  • Last year’s rank: 60
  • 2017-18 projected RPM: 2.26

Stats & Info: After appearing in just 50 percent of Charlotte’s games over the previous three seasons, Kidd-Gilchrist was finally able to stay healthy in 2016-17 as he played in a team-high 81 games. An elite wing defender, Kidd-Gilchrist was one of just seven non-bigs to rank inside the top 30 in Defensive Real Plus-Minus last season.

76. Patrick Patterson

  • Thunder | PF | @pdpatt
  • Last year’s rank: 121
  • 2017-18 projected RPM: 2.62

Stats & Info: Though Patterson’s move to Oklahoma City received significantly less ink than Paul George’s (and rightfully so), it’s one that could pay huge dividends, as Patterson provides much needed spacing in the frontcourt. He made 94 3s last season in Toronto, 90 more than OKC’s second-half starter Taj Gibson has in his career. Thunder starting power forwards combined to rank 22nd in made 3s and 25th in 3-point FG percentage last season.

91. Nerlens Noel

  • Mavericks | C | @NerlensNoel3
  • Last year’s rank: 126
  • 2017-18 projected RPM: -0.03

Stats & Info: It’s a big season for Noel, who will be playing on a one-year, qualifying offer after failing to secure a long-term deal as a restricted free agent this offseason. Noel is dripping with defensive potential, as he was the only player to average three steals and two blocks per 100 possessions last season. In fact, the only players his size over the past 30 years to do that while playing at least 1,000 minutes are Hakeem Olajuwon and David Robinson.


Even with nine Wildcats on the list, guys like Rajon Rondo, Enes Kanter, and Julius Randle also make extremely compelling arguments. Regardless, this list is just incredible.

In a few years, we can pencil in guys like Malik Monk, De’Aaron Fox, Jamal Murray, Bam Adebayo, Kevin Knox, etc., to make the list, on top of whatever recruiting/in-game talent surprises we have in store.

Could we see 25% of this list represent Kentucky in the near future?

My guess is absolutely.


Former Wildcats dominate SI.com’s Top 100 NBA Players

Former Wildcats dominate SI.com’s Top 100 NBA Players

Here’s a fun stat for your Thursday afternoon: More than 10 percent of the players who went to college in SI.com’s NBA Top 100 Players went to the University of Kentucky.

SI.com wrapped up its rankings today with the top 10 players of the league, which included Anthony Davis at No. 8. Davis is the top-ranked player among the nine Wildcats that made the website’s top 100 for the upcoming season.

Here’s the full list of Cats in SI.com’s Top 100:

8. Anthony Davis
13. John Wall
14. Karl-Anthony Towns
23. DeMarcus Cousins
38. Eric Bledsoe
64. Devin Booker
86. Nerlens Noel
94. Julius Randle
98. Patrick Patterson

Duke and Kansas each had three, which should be part of Calipari’s recruiting pitch these days.