On a whim, 2018 five-star wing Keldon Johnson decided to take an unofficial visit to →
Cats in the NBA
Former Kentucky Players in the NBA
One of the best scorers to ever play for John Calipari at UK is back in the Bluegrass.
In case you didn’t hear him earlier this week on Kentucky Sports Radio (which is everybody, because his phone refused to cooperate), Malik Monk has returned to the Commonwealth this weekend to make few autograph stops. Last night he was at Barleycorn’s in Northern Kentucky and this morning he drew a crazy crows at the Simpsonville outlet mall.
If you missed your chance to see Malik, fear not. There’s one more opportunity tonight at All Sports in Lexington from 7:00-8:30. Drop by, say Hi, maybe get an autograph or picture, and ask him which bucket was his best.
By Nick Roush on ©July 29th, 2017 @ 11:00am
John Calipari is wrapping up the July live evaluation period by going against the grain into Canada.
Coach Cal has left the talented tournaments in Las Vegas to visit Simi Shittu, a 6’8″ top ten forward in the 2018 class. No stranger to America’s northern allies, Calipari has coached four Canadians at UK over the last four years.
To help make it five, he’s bringing his most successful Canadian Wildcat with him on the private jet.
Who is this guy? Anybody know him?🏹🏹🏹 pic.twitter.com/CnXsEsrjEm
— Jamal Murray (@BeMore27) July 29, 2017
We don’t know exactly why Murray is accompanying Calipari on the trip to his homeland. My best guess: to teach Shittu how to fire an arrow or two in Kentucky blue. (That was a terrible guess.)
I failed to do my social media due diligence. Tasked to infer the destination of their flight, exploring Jamal Murray’s Instagram story has led me to discover their flight was from Vegas to Lexington, not Lexington to Canada. I apologize for the misinformation.
Even though it would be cool to bring Murray as a recruiter to Canada, it’s still pretty cool that Murray can hitch a ride back to Lex on a private jet with his coach.
If Archie Goodwin is going to play in the NBA next season, it won’t be in Brooklyn.
Today the Nets waived Goodwin, who signed a multi-year deal with the team back in April, after only 12 appearances for the team in 2016-17. In those games, the former Wildcat averaged 7.9 points, 2.3 rebounds and 1.9 assists in 15.4 minutes per game.
Goodwin’s time with the Nets began back in March when he signed two 10-day contracts and ultimately earned a two-year deal worth around $1.6 million.
Now he’s homeless in the league and seeking a fourth team that will take him.
By Drew Franklin on ©July 27th, 2017 @ 4:00pm
Loyal fans and followers of De’Aaron Fox, like yourself, are pretty aware of the former Kentucky point guard’s fascination with Dragon Ball Z, a Japanese anime television series and video game. Fox has said many times that it is his favorite TV show and he is unbeatable in the video game; he often tweets about Dragon Ball Z, too.
Well that love for Dragon Ball Z earned Fox his own DBZ-themed Nikes as a gift for signing with the brand this summer.
Fox shared his new exclusive Kobe AD sneaker, made for him and only him:
I’m no DBZ guy, but that’s a pretty good looking shoe. I can’t imagine Fox’s excitement when he got them.
What do you think? And will he actually wear them on the court this fall?
Isaac Humphries’ has found a home, his old home, for the beginning of his professional basketball career.
The former Kentucky big man has returned to his native Sydney, Australia to play for the Sydney Kings of the National Basketball League. It’s a one-year deal, worth an undisclosed amount, but it was enough for Humphries to pass up his NBA hopes and move back to be around his friends and family.
Humphries received offers from teams in the Adriatic League, Italy’s Serie A, Germany’s BBL, and the Greek Basket League, among others, but ultimately decided on the Kings; an organisation that had been openly recruiting him for the better part of seven months.
“Isaac was presented with a number of options over the last few months,” Humphries’ agent, Daniel Moldovan, told foxsports.com.au. “From the (NBA) G League, to Germany, Greece, Israel, Italy, Lithuania, and Serbia, but after evaluating all options, the situation in Sydney ticked all the boxes.
“The opportunity to play alongside three Boomers in Brad Newley, Kevin Lisch, and Jason Cadee, as well as be coached by Andrew Gaze seemed like the perfect first stop for him.
Humphries went undrafted this summer after his two-and-done run in Lexington, but signed with the Washington Wizards for the summer. He was then cut only a day before he was set to play his first summer league game in Las Vegas, which was enough for him to pack his bags and move home to pursue other options.
Many fans criticized Humphries for leaving Kentucky after only two seasons of eight minutes per game, but some behind the scenes have said this is exactly what Humphries wanted and expected this summer: a return to Australia to make a living playing basketball.
Good luck to him.
(And damn you, Luke Maye — you stole his NCAA tournament shine.)
By Nick Roush on ©July 26th, 2017 @ 9:20pm
Since news broke late last week that Kyrie Irving wants to be traded from the Cleveland Cavaliers, former Kentucky Wildcats have been at the center of speculation.
Even though he just signed a super-max deal with the Wizards, some believe a “Kyrie-for-Wall” trade could work. LeBron James may have stoked the fire when he sent out this Tweet, congratulating John Wall for inking the extension worth $170 million.
That’s not serious evidence. That was sent because Wall and James share the same agent. However, there is legitimate speculation surrounding Wall’s former Kentucky teammate, Eric Bledsoe.
ESPN’s Chris Haynes reported that former-MVP and new-Cavalier Derrick Rose accepted an invitation to work out with LeBron James in Las Vegas. The other player working out with Rose and James in Vegas: Eric Bledsoe. This report is just two days after Bledsoe had this to say about finding a new NBA home:
“I love everything about it,” Bledsoe said of the Phoenix area on Sunday. “At the same time I want to win.”
Bledsoe was not happy that the Suns shut him down before the end of last season and he’s unsure if he fits in with the Suns’ new youth movement.
With the right kind of contract to make the trade plausible, connecting the dots have never been easier. Next June we might see Bledsoe next to LeBron, going toe-to-toe with the Warriors in the NBA Finals.
By Drew Franklin on ©July 26th, 2017 @ 6:09pm
It looks like John Wall has officially inked his new “super-max” deal that will extend his contract another four years for a cool $170 million over that span.
Klutch Sports Group, which represents Wall, shared a photo of Wall signing the paperwork alongside his famous agent, Rich Paul.
— Klutch Sports Group (@KlutchSports) July 26, 2017
The Washington Post had a full explanation of the contract when it was agreed upon last week:
Wall, the 26-year-old point guard who has played all seven seasons with the Wizards, will be tied to Washington for at least the next five years — two on his current deal, and three on the extension before he can opt out. By earning all-NBA honors for the first time after a career year in 2016-17 — he was third team — Wall became eligible to sign the extension that begins in 2019. Through the life of the contract, Wall will earn 35 percent of the salary cap. [The Washington Post]
It’s times like these I wish I had been faster and more athletic and better at basketball in my youth. I don’t think there are any Kentucky sports bloggers out there pulling in $42.5 million per year, and if there is one, it ain’t me or anyone in my office.
Congrats to John, though.
This is the type of news you hate to share. ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski is reporting that Brandon Knight has torn the ACL in his left knee. The former Cat and current Phoenix Suns guard could miss the entire 2017-18 NBA season.
This is the latest unlucky break for Knight, who has struggled to find his place on the Phoenix roster in recent years. Last season, he averaged 11.0 points, 2.4 assists, and 2.2 rebounds per game and functioned mostly as the Suns’ sixth man, but was shut down along with Eric Bledsoe when the team decided to tank after the All-Star game.
Minor setback for a major comeback, right?
By Mrs. Tyler Thompson on ©July 24th, 2017 @ 2:18pm
It’s official: Darius Miller is back with the New Orleans Pelicans.
Word first broke that Darius was going to rejoin his former team earlier this month, but today, he put the pen to the dotted line. According to Adrian Wojnarowski, Miller signed a two-year deal with the Pelicans that includes a team option. Miller was with New Orleans for three seasons before heading to Germany to play for Brose Bamburg, which he led to three consecutive league championships.
With the Hornets/Pelicans, Miller averaged 3.1 points and 1.3 rebounds per game in 102 appearances. Last year, he was named MVP of the BBL Finals, and this past season, he led the team in scoring with 11.8 points per game, along with 2.9 rebounds and 1.9 assists. Always an outside threat, Miller averaged 41% from three-point land and hit 90% of his free throws this past season. I’m sure that played a factor in him coming back to Nola.
The Pelicans now have four former Cats officially on the roster: Anthony Davis, DeMarcus Cousins, Rajon Rondo, and Miller. Will they sign James Young to make it five?
By Mrs. Tyler Thompson on ©July 24th, 2017 @ 12:30pm
Eric Bledsoe is one name that keeps popping up in trade talks for Kyrie Irving, and judging by his latest comments, he’s not at all opposed to that. In an interview with AZ Central Sports, Bledsoe said that while he loves Phoenix, his home for the past four seasons, he also wants to find a situation in which he can win.
“I love everything about it,” Bledsoe said of the Phoenix area on Sunday. “At the same time I want to win.”
Bledsoe admitted that he doesn’t really fit in to Suns’ new youth movement and was upset when the front office shut him down the last 14 games of the season to tank the season. At the time, Bledsoe was playing some of the best basketball of his career, averaging a career-high 21.1 points, 4.8 rebounds, 6.3 assists and 1.4 steals. Those are great numbers, especially for a player who doesn’t really fit into his team’s new philosophy. Add in the fact that he’s friends with LeBron James and a solution is out there should both sides want to pursue it.
By Mrs. Tyler Thompson on ©July 24th, 2017 @ 10:30am
Here’s something that won’t surprise you: Arkansas fans still hate Malik Monk. A lot.
SEC Country’s John Nabors recently put together a bracket to determine the most hated figure in Arkansas sports, and the finals included Monk, who picked Kentucky over his home state school, and John Calipari, the guy who persuaded him to do so. Monk won by a narrow margin:
ENEMY OF THE STATE
Most Hated Person in Razorback Sports
John Calipari vs. Malik Monk
— John Nabors (@YourNaborJohn) July 21, 2017
Other contenders in the bracket: Bobby Petrino, John L. Smith, Houston Nutt, and, for some reason, Ashley Judd. ¯\_(ツ)_/¯
Back when he declared for the draft, Monk penned a piece in The Players’ Tribune thanking Kentucky fans for taking him in after Arkansas fans turned on him for picking the Cats over the Razorbacks.
“I won’t lie: It was tough. You hear something enough times, you know, and you can start to wonder if it’s true. It was almost like, man … am I turning my back on my home state? Am I all of the terrible things that they’re calling me? That stuff can get in your head in a bad way.
But then I realized pretty quickly that I didn’t have to go through it alone.
Kentucky fans made one thing crystal clear to me: They had my back. No one made me wait until the fall, until I got to Lexington, to be accepted into Big Blue Nation. Man, it was just right off the bat: Like, Once you’re one of us, you’re one of us.”
Want to show your support for Monk? He’ll be back in the Bluegrass this weekend to do a signing tour:
Good morning, friends. You’re looking at the new Joe B. Hall mural in Cynthiana, his hometown, the perfect image with which to start our week. The mural is being painted by Sergio Odeith, the Portuguese artist who created “The Walking Dead” mural in Cynthiana last year. I know I’m not alone when I say that so far, it looks amazing. It’s scheduled to be unveiled on Tuesday night.
It’s a new week, so let’s jump right in.
1. Calipari gave us the video of the weekend
How does John Calipari celebrate the end of a busy trip? By getting in on the latest internet meme, of course. After trips to Philadelphia, Washington, Georgia, and Dallas, Cal did the Drive-By Dunk Challenge in Lexington, giving us the viral video of the weekend:
— John Calipari (@UKCoachCalipari) July 22, 2017
2. De’Aaron Fox followed suit
A post shared by De'Aaron Fox (@swipathefox) on
I give this challenge one more week before it starts to get annoying. UK NBA players, you’re on the clock.
3. Cal’s office looks nice
While Cal was away this summer, he had his office at the Joe Craft Center redone, and it looks fabulous. I especially like the SLAM cover with the stars of his first Kentucky team behind the desk. (UPDATE: Apparently, Cal’s office was redone last fall, not this summer. Regardless, it’s the first time I’ve seen it in a while and it looks nice.)
Anyways, Cal had the team in his office a few times this weekend, first to talk branding (he is the master) and then to meet with Karl Towns, who was on campus for a basketball camp. Speaking of…
4. Karl Towns reminded us we’re still not over the Wisconsin game
The Wisconsin loss is the Laettner shot for a new generation of Kentucky fans, and even two years later, I don’t know if I’ll ever get over it; it’s nice to know that Karl Towns feels the same. While in town this weekend, Karl talked openly about the 38-1 team’s accomplishments, and how that one loss still stings.
“No one’s ever going to do that again… it’s almost impossible. I talked to Devin Booker awhile ago about it. It’s not going to be done again.”
“It wasn’t just the way that we won, it was how we won. I mean, we’re beating teams by 50. UCLA should’ve just walked off the court against us at one point,” Towns said. “It’s no disrespect to any university, but that year was our year.”
Yes, it was. Damnit.
5. Karl and Julius Randle like Kentucky’s chances vs. an NBA superteam
DeWayne Peevy’s proposal to have an NBA superteam, ala the Warriors or Rockets, face off against an All-UK Team in the Alumni Game has everyone talking, including Towns and Randle. Both said the Cats would win easily.
“Of course,” Karl said. “We’d kill anybody. That’s not a question. I don’t know what Julius [Randle] said yesterday, but I’m not as modest. If we get to pick our coach and we get to pick Cal, it’s over.”
“I definitely think we would win,” Randle said, also in town for a basketball camp. “I don’t think it would really be a challenge.”
Gotta love that confidence. Here’s hoping we get to see this hyped up hypothetical showdown on August 25.
6. How will that Kyrie trade affect NBA Cats?
Friday’s bombshell news that Kyrie Irving has requested a trade has the NBA world talking, and several Cats have been rumored to be part of the deal for the Cavs star. One rumor has De’Aaron Fox as part of a trade for Irving, another MKG, and another Eric Bledsoe. Whatever happens, this will be a huge deal, and should a former Cat be involved, they’ll join an immediate contender in the Cavs. Stay tuned…
7. John Wall is about to get paid
On Friday night, news also dropped that John Wall has agreed to a four-year $170 million contract with the Washington Wizards. That’s a lot of money, so big congrats to the man who helped Calipari turn it around in his first year at Kentucky.
8. Football is just around the corner
The NCAA has eliminated two-a-days in the preseason, so training camp will start a week earlier this year, meaning football really is just around the corner. Camp will begin later this week, with Media Day taking place on Sunday. The annual Women’s Clinic took place on Saturday, and while I wasn’t able to make it up to Lexington for the event, Maggie Davis had a great recap for us. Click here to check it out.
9. I can’t believe I wasted an hour watching “Phelps vs. Shark”
To kick off Shark Week, the Discovery Channel had Michael Phelps race a shark. Kind of. Okay, not really at all. Obviously, it wouldn’t have been very safe (or practical) to put Phelps in the same waters as a shark, so the Discovery Channel crew did a bunch of tests to determine the shark’s top speed and had Phelps try to beat it. He didn’t, and it was just as disappointing as it sounds.
In other, more exciting swimming news, shoutout to Danville native and Centre College grad Kyle Poland, who swam around the island of Manhattan yesterday. It took Poland, who swam the English Channel in 2013, seven hours and sixteen minutes to complete the 28-mile swim. That is way more impressive than a fake race against a shark, if you ask me.
10. Today on KSR: Seth Greenberg
Get ready to talk college basketball as we enter Matt’s final week of vacation.
Everyone say hello to the newest social media craze, the Drive By Dunk Challenge. What started as a compilation of videos tweeted by a group of friends, has now turned into the latest trend on Twitter and Instagram. Essentially, you just drive up to a random house, hop out of your car, go dunk on their hoop, and then drive away. Does it seem a little silly/pointless? Yes. But most things are social media could be described with both of those words, and at least this one opens the door to some creativity.
Former Cat De’Aaron Fox decided to try his hand at the Drive By Dunk Challenge, hitting up a few houses in this Instagram video he posted a couple hours ago.
A post shared by De'Aaron Fox (@swipathefox) on
And in case you missed it, Coach Cal got in on the action earlier this weekend, showing off his supreme athleticism on what appears to be a 7-foot basket.
A post shared by John Calipari (@ukcoachcalipari) on
I’m sure you’ve seen our coverage of the kids’ skill camps going on on campus this weekend, with former Cats Julius Randle and Karl Towns returning to Lexington to take part, along with all of the current players.
Today, Towns had the opportunity to attempt a half court shot to win one lucky camper a pair of custom ordered Nike basketball shoes. I’ll not ruin the video before you watch, but here’s a hint, the kid is going to to love his new shoes.
— Kentucky Basketball (@KentuckyMBB) July 23, 2017
Interacting with NBA players for a weekend is probably an incredible experience for these kids, and you can hear their reaction to Towns hitting the shot. Someone sign me up for the next round of camps, because I could sure use a new custom pair of Nikes.
By Kory Henry on ©July 23rd, 2017 @ 6:00pm
Earlier today, it was reported that the Sacramento Kings were looking to package De’Aaron Fox in a possible trade for Cleveland’s Kyrie Irving. While that rumor spread across multiple sources, it’s still just a rumor until official.
For the past few days, NBA analysts have tried to put together realistic possibilities for an Irving trade. Fox isn’t the only former Wildcat that keeps showing up in the discussion.
Bleacher Report released their top-5 possibilities for an Irving trade, and two former Cats could be on the move.
First was fan-favorite Michael Kidd-Gilchrist. Charlotte has an interesting offer, given that Kemba Walker would only be a small drop in talent for Cleveland. Add MKG to the package, and suddenly the Cavs have an elite defender on the perimeter. MKG matches up well against the Warriors defensively, so maybe that’s something to interest them?
Getting Walker to slide into Irving’s old starting point guard spot would be nice, but trading for Kidd-Gilchrist makes the Cavaliers more Warriors-ready.
Irving’s former high school teammate in New Jersey, Kidd-Gilchrist is a 6’7″ premier wing-stopper who can guard four positions. He’d be perfect to put on the floor against the Warriors, switching seamlessly between their offensive weapons.
Eric Bledsoe for Kyrie Irving is another possibility floating around the rumor mill. In this trade, the Suns would have to offer more, but Devin Booker is untouchable. That leaves Josh Jackson, according to Bleacher Report.
Bledsoe enjoyed a career year in 2016-17, posting marks of 21.1 points, 4.8 rebounds, 6.3 assists and 1.4 steals. He’s one of the better defensive point guards in the league and is represented by LeBron James’ agency, Klutch Sports. It was James who urged the Suns and Bledsoe to come to a contract agreement while the two worked out in Cleveland together back in 2014.
Bledsoe is a nice start, but the Cavs would need something more. Devin Booker is untouchable, which means either Jackson or small forward T.J. Warren could come into play. Both are young, athletic and like to attack the basket. They both would give Cleveland another wing to play against the Warriors or use in a future trade.
Anytime an All-Star like Irving requests a trade, it sends shockwaves throughout the league. With so many former Wildcats in the NBA, there’s always a possibility that one or more could be on the move.
A move to Cleveland for any of these players could mean a championship ring in the future.
This off-season has already seen its share of twists and turns, with many players on the move. Do you see a another former Wildcat teaming with Lebron?