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Cats in the NBA
Former Kentucky Players in the NBA
By Jack Pilgrim on ©September 03rd, 2017 @ 10:00pm
We’ve seen the #DriveByDunkChallenge, and now, former Wildcat Eric Bledsoe has started the “Dunk On Your Wife Challenge.”
Watch his hilarious video below:
Looks like Eric Bledsoe has started the ‘Dunk On Your Wife Challenge’
— Sports Illustrated (@SInow) September 3, 2017
Hope he had fun while it lasted, because he’ll be sleeping on the couch for the next month.
The beloved DeMarcus Cousins-Anthony Davis partnership in New Orleans may be coming to a close much faster than we realized.
According to Cavaliers insider Vern Thompson, Cousins is being discussed in a deal that would send him to Cleveland.
Cavaliers and Pelicans have discussed a deal for DeMarcus Cousins that would send Iman Shumpert & the Nets first round pick to New Orleans.
— Vern Thompson (@VernThompson) September 2, 2017
Dan Gilbert wants to keep LeBron James in Cleveland, so expect the Cavaliers to be very aggressive in pursuing another big name player.
— Vern Thompson (@VernThompson) September 3, 2017
For Cleveland, this could be an extremely risky move for the future.
They just traded Kyrie Irving away for Isaiah Thomas (UFA in 2018), and LeBron is already rumored to be interested in leaving after this season. If a core of Cousins, LeBron, Thomas, and Kevin Love doesn’t mesh this year, we could see everyone but Love leave in free agency next offseason, leaving the franchise with little to nothing going forward.
If it works, and there’s a good chance it would, we could see a team legitimately compete with the Golden State Warriors.
As for Anthony Davis in New Orleans, it would be absolutely crushing to see your star frontcourt mate get traded for a draft pick that may not develop for several years, if ever. For a guy that has been heavily involved in trade rumors as of late, specifically to Boston, could we see Davis traded in the near future, as well?
Once again, this NBA offseason has been ridiculous.
By Jack Pilgrim on ©September 01st, 2017 @ 10:00pm
Earlier this week, we told you about John Wall’s high school mixtape being named No. 1 of all time by SLAM Online, topping high school sensations like Aquille Carr and Seventh Woods.
Today, we’re going to rank the best high school highlight tapes of the Calipari era.
Let me preface by saying this has nothing to do with actual production at Kentucky or in the NBA, rather the general excitement for each player based on mixtape/film alone.
Check out our list:
1. John Wall
The world was introduced to John Wall with this legendary Hoopmixtape. We saw some of the most jaw-dropping passes, dunks, blocks, and ball-handling skills we’ve ever seen at the high school level.
The shifty point guard electrified the BBN, bringing in the Calipari era at UK with a bang.
2. Anthony Davis
This is where the epic “growth spurt” storyline with Anthony Davis began. The lanky big man from Chicago had the ability to bring the ball up court, defend, shoot from deep, and dunk all over people, and this mixtape showed it all.
Little did we know Davis would become one of the best players in the NBA just a few years later.
3. Julius Randle
Every time Julius Randle went up for a dunk at Kentucky, we expected the rim to break off. This video was the sole reason.
We were able to see his true athleticism and sheer power, something that translated to the college game with ease. Randle’s ability to score on just about anyone in the country was fascinating to watch, and it all started with his dominant high school highlight reel.
4. Hamidou Diallo
When Hamidou Diallo was rumored to commit to Kentucky and join the team last Winter, fans expected him to come in immediately and make a major impact. His highlight tapes showed off some of the most epic in-game dunks we have ever seen, with each one better than the one before.
His ridiculous athleticism was second to none, and with an elite potential on defense, the hype was real.
Diallo sat out for half a year to spend time refining his game, and he’s expected to be a star player next season for the Wildcats.
Like Malik Monk last year, expect Diallo to live on SportsCenter with high-flying dunks and tremendous scoring ability.
Speaking of Monk…
5. Malik Monk
Monk brought a unique ability to shoot lights-out from deep, but dunk on someone’s face if need-be. His high school tape gave us the best of both worlds.
Monk was a threat to score 30+ points on any given night in high school, and that narrative was the same in college.
Coming out of Arkansas, many Razorback fans went crazy when their prized recruit left home to join the BBN. So did we.
6. Nerlens Noel
Elite shot-blocking ability, athleticism, dunks, etc., Noel was the best big man in the country and it wasn’t close. The energy he brought to the table in this mixtape alone gave Kentucky fans a massive spark going into the 2012-13 season.
For a recruiting class that needed a superstar to anchor the unit, Noel gave them just that.
7. De’Aaron Fox
Drawing comparisons to John Wall, Fox showed off the quickness and elite athleticism we saw at Kentucky in this highlight tape.
Everything came to him so easily in high school.
(It’s weird seeing him in a headband and short hair.)
8. Karl-Anthony Towns
Karl-Anthony Towns showed off the unique ability to execute traditional post moves and shoot the ball as a big man, on top of his deceiving athleticism. His ability to run the floor with and without the ball in his hands as a 7-foot 17-year old was just ridiculous.
After reclassifying to the class of 2014, Towns was actually fairly underrated going into the season.
As the year progressed, however, the former Kentucky star developed into the best center in America and the No. 1 overall pick.
9. The Harrison Twins
The anticipation for the Harrison Twins was out of this world, as they were one of the most impressive package deals in recent memory. Considered the No. 1 point guard and shooting guard in the nation, their joint highlight tape provided some of the best examples of their on-court chemistry.
Shooting, crossovers, and ball handling, these kids did it all.
Oh, and Aaron hit three of the biggest shots in school history. That was awesome, too.
10. Kevin Knox
A 6’10 shooting guard with ball handling and ridiculous range? I don’t believe it.
Knox’s official mixtape sparked Kevin Durant-like comparisons, and those are going to keep going into the season.
This kid is special.
11. Tyler Ulis
One of the best point guards in UK history started out as a 5’9 kid out of Chicago with a chip on his shoulder looking to cross his opponents up one at a time.
His high school highlight tapes proved to tell just part of the future story of his greatness.
12. Isaiah Briscoe
Absolutely. Ridiculous. Handles.
Briscoe was known as a pit bull from the get-go, going heads up with anyone that dared to guard him in high school. There was no one in the nation with better ball handling abilities, and his scoring at the rim was impressive as well.
13. Brandon Knight
Brandon Knight was the centerpiece of the 2010-11 recruiting class, known as one of the best scorers in the nation.
Though he rarely had to show it at UK, his highlight tape showed just how athletic he really was with a few of the crazy dunks and finishes at the basket.
He also had a 4.0 GPA out of high school and into college, with that intelligence translating onto the court as a floor general and natural leader of the offense.
14. Marquis Teague
Teague was considered the top guard in America in 2011, and it’s easy to see why in his senior highlight tape.
With elite ball handling, athleticism, and court vision, Teague’s game translated into the perfect National Championship point guard.
It made it even sweeter when he chose Kentucky over Louisville as a senior (wearing a red polo at the announcement, at that.)
15. Jamal Murray
To have Jamal Murray’s tape listed last in the list of top 15 mixtapes just goes to show how unreal Calipari’s recruiting ability is. Showing off elite shooting range and athleticism at the rim, Murray shot up the recruiting ranks and hype built on his highlight tapes alone.
At Kentucky, he ended up being the perfect compliment to Tyler Ulis, giving the Wildcats one of the most impressive backcourts in school history.
The Canadian superstar was one of the best surprises we’ve received in a while.
What does your list look like?
By Mrs. Tyler Thompson on ©August 31st, 2017 @ 3:30pm
Former Kentucky player and assistant coach Scott Padgett treated us to many great stories this morning on KSR, but the funniest may have been how John Calipari had a baby bottle made for DeMarcus Cousins during the 2009-10 season. Padgett, an assistant coach at Kentucky that year, said that whenever DeMarcus whined or complained during practice (which happened a lot), Cal would yell for the assistants to “get him his bottle.”
“If you see the transformation that guys like that that were a little rough around the edges have made — I can remember [DeMarcus] Cousins being in practice and throwing tantrums to the point that Cal had a baby bottle made up and said, ‘Give him a bottle.’ I mean, he didn’t ever give him the bottle, but he had it made up and it was kind of funny. ‘Get him his bottle! He’s acting like a child!’”
Padgett said Cal’s ability to get guys like DeMarcus, who are used to getting their way based solely on talent, to listen is one of his best traits as a coach.
“You guys see Cuz still gets some technicals and things like that, but the real amazing thing is to see how far they’ve come, and I think it started with their time at Kentucky because Cal was always talking about the things you have to do moving on in life to be successful. I think they’ve done a great job with those guys. You don’t see very many guys come from there and get in trouble afterwards, and that’s rare with the one-and-done guys because 19-year-olds all of a sudden become millionaires. A lot of times, that becomes trouble.”
“It’s part of the testament to Cal and his staff. They’ve recruited great talents, but they’ve recruited good kids and I think that’s part of the reason the kids have been willing to accept certain roles even though they’re all stars when they get there.”
I’d love to see if that baby bottle is still around the Joe Craft Center. Listen to Padgett do his best Calipari impression in the clip below:
By Jack Pilgrim on ©August 30th, 2017 @ 11:00pm
Slam Online recently released a list of the top high school basketball mixtapes ever released, and John Wall’s epic tape was rated as the best of all time.
Remember this gem?
Here’s what SLAM had to say about the video:
“The undisputed mixtape GOAT. Wall was a man among boys in high school and his Hoopmixtape made him a legend before he even started at Kentucky.”
At nine million views (and counting), it’s easy to see why they consider Wall’s tape the greatest of all time.
Julius Randle’s ridiculous mixtape came in at No. 13 overall.
“Julius Randle was an absolute specimen as a high schooler. Before he went off to Kentucky, Randle ran through and dunked over everything in his path.”
A third Wildcat also made the list, with former point guard De’Aaron Fox’s tape coming in at No. 25.
“There isn’t much on a basketball court that De’Aaron Fox can’t do, which makes his mixtape all the more impressive. The creative dribble moves are awe-inspiring enough on their own, but when you view them in succession with tomahawks, windmills and pull-up threes, it makes you wonder how Fox’s team ever lost in high school.”
If you want to take a stroll down memory lane, here’s the entire list by Slam Online:
It won’t be long before an All-Kentucky list of highlight tapes gets ranked.
(It’s in the works…)
By Mrs. Tyler Thompson on ©August 30th, 2017 @ 6:15pm
John Wall has joined the growing list of professional athletes donating money to Hurricane Harvey relief. Last night, Wall pledged $50,000 to comedian Kevin Hart and Texans’ defensive end J.J. Watt’s fundraising campaigns for victims of the storm, which ravaged Houston and southeast Texas earlier this week. Wall announced the donation on his Instagram story:
Yesterday, Hart challenged his fellow celebrities and followers to donate to Harvey victims in a video on Instagram, following in the footsteps of Watt, who started his fundraising campaign on Sunday night. Since then, Watt has raised $6 million, and this afternoon, raised his goal to $10 million:
A post shared by JJ Watt (@justinjames99) on
The $50,000 donation to Harvey victims is just the latest charitable act for Wall, who won the NBA’s Community Assist Award in 2016. The former Kentucky star has made giving back a priority, starting The John Wall Foundation to improve the quality of life for disadvantaged families and at-risk youth. He also created the “Passport to Manhood” mentor program in conjunction with the Boys and Girls Club. Additionally, Wall hosts the annual “#2SQUAD” which helps with back-to-school supplies.
Simply put, he makes us proud in more ways than one. If you’d like to join Wall and help the victims of Hurricane Harvey, donate to the charities above or text HARVEY to 90999 to donate $10 to the American Red Cross.
By Drew Franklin on ©August 29th, 2017 @ 10:44pm
De’Aaron Fox often draws comparisons to John Wall for his speed in the open floor, but there are no similarities in the way they throw a baseball.
Wall is known for one of the worst first pitches of all time, while Fox showed some potential on the mound in throwing out a first pitch for the Sacramento River Cats.
Watch as he painted the strike zone Tuesday night:
— River Cats (@RiverCats) August 30, 2017
Here’s Wall’s famous toss for comparison:
By Mrs. Tyler Thompson on ©August 29th, 2017 @ 1:30pm
John Wall produced one of the most impressive mixtapes in high school basketball history, so when he doles out praise for a recruit, I listen. On the latest episode of his Ball is Life’s “No Offseason” documentary, Wall was asked about YouTube dunking sensation Zion Williamson, one of Kentucky’s top recruits in the 2018 class.
“He’s one of the top two, three most athletic players I’ve ever seen in high school basketball, period, or in life, period,” Wall said. “He just does all type of dunks like it’s nothing in games. The best in-game dunker I’ve seen is Vince Carter and [Zion] does some stuff that he does in the game without even trying.”
What advice would Wall give to Williamson, whose star will only rise in the coming years?
“I would tell him just to work on different things. The game is so easy and boring at times for him, you can tell. Work on things you’re going to need for the next level. That’s kind of how I played in high school. When the game got serious, I played the way I knew how to play to get what I wanted to get done. But other than that, I was just trying stuff and trying to improve my game.”
Hopefully Williamson will follow in Wall’s footsteps and improve his game at Kentucky. Kansas has the momentum for the 6’7″ star as of late, but I’m still holding out hope that John Calipari can reel him in. Watch Wall’s comments about Williamson below, followed by Zion’s latest ridiculous dunks from Snapchat:
— Overtime (@overtime) August 28, 2017
By Jack Pilgrim on ©August 28th, 2017 @ 10:00pm
There are two familiar names on the top of the list of the ten highest rated centers in the newest game of the NBA 2K series.
DeMarcus Cousins and Karl-Anthony Towns are ranked 92 and 91 overall, respectively.
— NBA 2K 2K18 (@NBA2K) August 28, 2017
With Anthony Davis and John Wall also listed above 90 overall, we will certainly see them on the top ten lists of their positions, as well.
Not too bad for the former Wildcats, eh?
By Mrs. Tyler Thompson on ©August 28th, 2017 @ 3:30pm
NBA.com asked Malik Monk to show off his new digs in Charlotte, but with his furniture still on the way, the former Cat only had one item to show off: a large Kentucky display from the SEC Tournament this past March in Nashville. Monk has the poster propped against a wall in his empty living room, a nice nod to his year in Lexington:
— NBA (@NBA) August 28, 2017
Monk’s bedroom was similarly sparse except for the closet, which included a few dozen sneakers from his time at UK, which he insisted just scratched the surface of his extensive shoe collection.
“This is nowhere near all my shoes. Most of these just came from college, what I took from college. That’s not that many.”
Maybe for a basketball star. Good luck decorating, Malik. I suggest sticking with the Kentucky theme.
— NBA (@NBA) August 28, 2017
Karl-Anthony Towns on 2017-18 team: “We could be talking about (this team) for years and years to come.”
By Jack Pilgrim on ©August 27th, 2017 @ 11:00pm
Following his return to Rupp Arena to play in the UK Alumni Game, Karl-Anthony Towns spoke with the media on his recent Players’ Tribune article, his experience back in Lexington, and his expectations for this coming season after watching the team practice.
He says they’re going to be fun to watch.
“I think they’re going to be good,” Towns said. “I think they’re going to be one of the best fast break teams I’ve ever seen from a Kentucky team. They have so much athleticism that’s just pure. They don’t even know how to use their bodies fully yet because there’s just so much athleticism. This Cats team is going to be very high-flying.”
When it comes to the final product, Towns believes it could be a historic year.
“If they can come together and put egos aside and “I’m the man” mentalities aside, they can be truly special and someone we could be talking about for years and years to come.”
Watch the entire press conference below (including an appearance by Rex Chapman)
(I miss him.)
By Jack Pilgrim on ©August 27th, 2017 @ 5:00pm
The UK Legends and Alumni Games were filled with laughs, smiles, and jaw-dropping talent.
Over 30 former Wildcats came back to Rupp Arena, where they helped raise over $1 million for a wide variety of charities.
Take a trip down memory lane with KSR’s photo gallery from the event:
A big thanks again to Dr. Mike for the incredible pictures (as usual.)
By Jack Pilgrim on ©August 27th, 2017 @ 4:00pm
Former Wildcat Darius Miller just signed with the New Orleans Pelicans, but he’s about to have his workload increased exponentially this coming year.
According to ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski, New Orleans forward Solomon Hill suffered a torn hamstring and will miss most of the regular season.
New Orleans forward Solomon Hill underwent surgery to repair torn hamstring and could miss much of regular season, league sources tell ESPN.
— Adrian Wojnarowski (@wojespn) August 27, 2017
Pelicans just lost their only true, healthy, proven NBA caliber SF and best wing defender for the season. Unreal.
— Mason Ginsberg (@MasonGinsberg) August 27, 2017
Beyond Anthony Davis and DeMarcus Cousins, the Pelicans had absolutely no one to contribute while point guard Jrue Holiday recovered from injury last season. Even when Holiday returned, the New Orleans backcourt struggled to find anyone of substance to help provide production.
Solomon Hill was their best option at small forward, and with him likely out for the season, New Orleans is back to square one on the wing.
Insert Darius Miller.
According to New Orleans insiders, the Pelicans are extremely high on the former Wildcat and expect him to be a big player for the franchise.
Here’s just one example:
I think they'd give Darius Miller real minutes before taking on long-term salary like that. They're weirdly high on him from what I've heard
— Mason Ginsberg (@MasonGinsberg) August 27, 2017
After winning back-to-back league championships in Germany and having familiarity with the system, it’s no surprise the team has confidence in Miller.
If workouts are any indication of future success, the former Wildcat is going to be a stud for the Pelicans.
Here’s a preview by KSTV:
— KSTV (@KSTV_Sports) August 11, 2017
It looks like a four-Wildcat starting lineup for the Pelicans to open the season is extremely likely.
By Nick Roush on ©August 26th, 2017 @ 1:39pm
Nerlens Noel has finally signed a new contract, but it’s not the mx deal he was searching for. It’s quite the opposite.
According to ESPN’s Chris Haynes, Noel has signed a one-year qualifying offer with the Dallas Mavericks for $4.1 million. Haynes refuted a previous report that Noel turned down $17 million a year, but his ESPN colleague said that offer was available last month.
Nerlens Noel clearly betting on himself with acceptance of $4.1M QO. He turned down 4-year, $70M Mavs offer made on July 1, sources say.
— Adrian Wojnarowski (@wojespn) August 26, 2017
Nerlens’ deal is disrespectful, plain and simple. A year after bad bigs rolled in money (I’m look at you Mozgov), the restricted free agent could not find any bidders. After negotiating for this long, it was safe to assume he would not sign a large deal, but this low number is still shocking.
There is one silver lining: the deal is only worth one year. He has a year to convince the rest of the NBA he’s worth more than just $4 million.
By Nick Roush on ©August 26th, 2017 @ 12:00pm
Karl-Anthony Towns took a risk, one he believed was worth taking.
Athletes are criticized more than they are praised for voicing their opinions outside the realm of sports. Usually a guy who “takes the safe road,” Towns believed it was time to take a different route.
“The first thing you always do when you write an article like that is you think about all the consequences and the backlash that can come from it,” Towns said after last night’s charity alumni game. “The first thing I thought about all of that is, ‘Maybe I shouldn’t do it.’ That’s exactly what I think people wanted me to do. I decided to go the route that I felt was right.”
Towns believed the right thing to do was use his prominent platform to do something positive.
“When you live in this time you want to make sure that you don’t have history repeat itself. I felt that with the platform that I have, everything I learned, how to use my voice effectively at the University of Kentucky, while in the NBA I felt that I could do something positive for the world.”
Towns did not use his forum simply to call out the President. He did not want to be critical, he just wanted to spread love.
“I put my passion, my soul, my feelings, my ideals, my values, my morals into there,” he said. “The intention was to spread love. Racism, bigotry, gender equality can all be fixed with love. It seems that a lot of times in life when you go to work, you look at your kids, you do anything in life, you always seem to do better when you put love into it. I feel one of the biggest components the gives me an advantage over my opponents is the love I have for the game. Nothing about talent, nothing about mentality, just straight love. That’s what the article was about, just trying to spread love.”
The only thing missing from his piece: