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Cats in the NBA

Former Kentucky Players in the NBA

Derek Willis joins USA Basketball World Cup Qualifying Team

Derek Willis joins USA Basketball World Cup Qualifying Team

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.

Malik Monk crashes car in Arkansas, is okay

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.

[Arkansas Online]

The Aaron Torres Sports Podcast E22: De’Aaron Fox

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.

— The latest from the FBI probe into college basketball. Did Thursday’s bombshell Yahoo Sports report tell us something we didn’t already know, and how soon until we get all the details of those involved?
— The unintended consequence from the FBI investigation that no one is talking about.
— Louisville loses again on Saturday and Aaron asks: Why does everyone think they’re such a lock for the NCAA Tournament?
— The guys take a deep dive into Kentucky’s win over Alabama. They also explain how this proves that Kentucky was never in as much trouble as many prognosticators said they were.
Next up, Aaron welcomes Kings’ rookie De’Aaron Fox live from All-Star weekend in Los Angeles:
— The pair discusses De’Aaron’s rookie year in the NBA. What has been the biggest adjustment? And why does he believe it’s actually been easier than he expected?
— What does Fox miss most about UK? How did playing for John Calipari prepare him for the NBA? And what would he say to high school recruits who are thinking about coming to Kentucky?
— Finally, Fox admits that Kentucky should have won the national championship a season ago.

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 to learn more.

John Wall returning to UK this summer to work on degree

Photo by Quinn Foster | UK Athletics

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:

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.

John Wall Pens Emotional Letter to his Dad

[Washington Post]

@WashWizards, @Timberwolves and @PelicansNBA

Today on KSR: UK’s All-Stars Shine

@WashWizards, @Timberwolves and @PelicansNBA

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.

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.

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.

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

Time Game Network
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

Anthony Davis wears DeMarcus Cousins jersey in All-Star Game

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.

And it didn’t take long for him to make some highlight plays in Boogie’s honor.

According to CLNS Media’s Clevis Murray, Davis planned on wearing the jersey all along, but was told he wasn’t allowed to.

#LaFamilia don’t follow no stinkin’ rules.

Nothing beats the BBN.

Anthony Davis serves as guinea pig for groundbreaking virtual reality technology in the NBA

Photo by Jayne Kamin-Oncea/Getty Images

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.

Pretty nuts.

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:

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:

The Brow stays busy.

Today on KSR: NBA All-Star Weekend Continues


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.

The Anthony Davis Signature Shoe is Coming

This is long overdue.

Donovan Mitchell Won the NBA Dunk Contest

Former Louisville Cardinal Donovan Mitchell won the NBA dunk contest.

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.

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

Have a great Sunday, BBN!


Devin Booker Wins the 2018 NBA Three-Point Shootout


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.

His First Round score of 19 wasn’t too bad either.

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.

WATCH: Kentucky steals the spotlight with BBNBA commercial to kick off NBA All-Star Weekend

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:

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.


Isaiah Briscoe scores 50 points in Estonia/Latvia All-Star Game

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:

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!

Terrence Jones is having a productive start in the G League as he looks to return to NBA form. (Photo via Santa Cruz Warriors)

BBNBA: G-League Report

Terrence Jones is having a productive start in the G League as he looks to return to NBA form. (Photo: Courtesy of the Santa Cruz Warriors)

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

Jeffrey Becker-USA TODAY Sports

BBNBA: Towns tops Randle in Minnesota

Jeffrey Becker-USA TODAY Sports

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.



PlayerResult PointsFG (3FG)Reb.Ast.StealsBlocksTOs+/-Mins.
Karl-Anthony Towns119-111 win over Lakers102-9 (0-2)194023+732
Julius Randle119-111 loss to Timberwolves238-15 (0-1)92213-1731
Eric Bledsoe134-123 loss to Nuggets279-14 (3-6)38503-137
Jamal Murray134-123 win over Bucks269-12 (5-7)55302+1836
Trey Lyles134-123 win over Bucks125-10 (2-4)00120+117





  • Rising Stars Game, World (Jamal Murray) vs USA (De’Aaron Fox), 9pm ET on TNT


Bam Adebayo and Willie Cauley-Stein Return to Lexington

Bam is in the building!

The former Wildcat power forward has turned into a star for the Miami Heat.  What’s the first thing Adebayo did to celebrate the All-Star break?  Return to Lexington to see his old stomping grounds.  Wenyen Gabriel certainly looks happy to see his old teammate.


Adebayo entered the All-Star break on a heater (no pun intended).  In the month of February he had three double-doubles in seven games and averaged 10.1 points, 7.1 rebounds and 1.1 blockers per game.

Man, this team could sure use a big Bam in the paint…

UPDATE: Willie Cauley-Stein is in town too!


Derick E. Hingle-USA TODAY Sports

BBNBA: Anthony Davis is tearing up February

Derick E. Hingle-USA TODAY Sports

Anthony Davis is having one of the more impressive stretches of his career with these first two weeks of February. Since DeMarcus Cousins went down for the season with injury, Davis has had to redefine his role on the team. Without having another All-Star to share with, Davis has had to take over games to give the Pelicans a chance at wins. Here’s what Davis about his conversation with Boogie going into this stretch of games.

I was trying to kind of do what DeMarcus did – getting a lot of guys involved. I was playing indecisive a lot. I was thinking too much. Actually Cousins called me, he said “What are you doing? Man, you just need to go out there and be you.” Then, he told me, the coaching staff told me, the team told me. I’ve just been going out there and playing aggressive.

In the month of February, Davis has scored 38 or more points in five of the seven games, which is incredible in and of itself. His averages over the last two weeks are 32 points, 10.8 rebounds, 2.3 steals, and 1.7 blocks per game. He’s also hitting nearly 39% of his 3s during that span of time. He could play himself into the MVP conversation with continued stats like that.



PlayerResult PointsFG (3FG)Reb.Ast.StealsBlocksTOs+/-Mins.
Anthony Davis139-117 win over Lakers4215-18 (2-2)153321+2233
Darius Miller139-117 win over Lakers196-8 (4-6)34000+1331
Rajon Rondo139-117 win over Lakers42-5 (0-1)35101+98
DeAndre Liggins139-117 win over Lakers31-2 (1-1)04000+414
Julius Randle139-117 loss to Pelicans209-13 (0-0)53014-2431
Enes Kanter118-113 loss to Wizards249-15 (0-0)145010+134
Jodie Meeks118-113 win over Knicks82-2 (0-0)23100-313
Devin Booker107-97 loss to Jazz288-20 (6-14)53002-1036
Tyler Ulis107-97 loss to Jazz21-4 (0-1)02002-29
Andrew Harrison121-114 loss to Thunder2810-16 (5-5)23002-233
Patrick Patterson121-114 win over Grizzlies124-7 (3-4)31000+621
Dakari Johnson121-114 win over Grizzlies31-1 (0-1)20000-43
De'Aaron Fox100-91 loss to Rockets93-10 (1-3)23103-1726
Willie Cauley-Stein100-91 loss to Rockets126-16 (0-0)85111-1228
Michael Kidd-Gilchrist104-102 win over Magic52-7 (0-0)21100-1023
Bam Adebayo104-102 loss to 76ers30-3 (0-0)21000-1219




  • Denver Nuggets (Jamal Murray, Trey Lyles) at Milwaukee Bucks (Eric Bledsoe), 8pm ET
  • Los Angeles Lakers (Julius Randle) at Minnesota Timberwolves (Karl-Anthony Towns), 9pm ET on TNT