The dust has finally settled on Thursday night’s successful NBA Draft. After months of interviews, →
Cats in the NBA
Former Kentucky Players in the NBA
By Eli Mitchell on ©May 21st, 2017 @ 12:00pm
For the last two years the Phoenix Suns have brought special needs children to the NBA Draft Lottery, this year former Kentucky guard and current Suns star, Devin Booker was accompanied to the lottery by Noah Smith. Adi Joseph, For the Win, gives us a behind the scenes look at Noah’s special day in the Big Apple.
Noah, an 11 year-old Special Olympian, has been a fan of the Suns and Booker since he was drafted to the team in 2015.
Booker, Noah, both of their brothers, and a few Suns staff members had quite a day in New York City playing basketball, eating pizza, and visiting the One World Observatory.
A real connection was quickly formed between Noah and Booker as the two have more in common than Booker expected. Noah suffered from a similar Micro-deletion syndrome that Booker’s younger sister Mya Powell also suffered from.
“I know how important it is to the families,” Booker said. “I know my mom would do anything to make my sister smile, anything to make her happy. So in my role as a brother, I try to make her happy. So for this to be a good experience for him, to see him smiling, it’s really relatable. And it’s easy to deal with. They have the same disorder, so it’s very similar, and I’m very comfortable with it all.”
Booker knows the influence that he can have as the celebrity that he is and plans to continue giving back to the community in the best way he knows how.
“I wish I could do this with every single kid in Phoenix.”
Read the full story here.
Unlike the first Free Enes campaign, this one actually worked. The New York Times reports Kanter has left Romania after his canceled travel documents kept him from entering the country.
“Today at around 1 p.m. local time an individual arrived from Frankfurt,” Mr. Fabian Badila, a spokesman for the Romanian border police, said in an interview. “My colleagues established that his travel documents weren’t valid, that they had been canceled by his home country, so he wasn’t allowed to enter the country.
“At around 5 p.m., he left the airport on a flight to London,” Mr. Badila continued. “While he was at the airport he wasn’t detained or locked up, he was allowed to wander around, but he couldn’t enter the country.”
Kanter’s 25th Birthday got off to a rough start. Traveling to basketball camps and clinics around the world for the Enes Kanter Foundation, he had been to eight or nine different countries, most recently Singapore, to help grow the game of basketball. With plans to finish the tour in four Scandinavian countries, his international trip was cut short when he arrived in Romania.
Targeted for his outspoken political beliefs against Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan, the government has arrested thousands of Fethullah Gulen supporters like Kanter since a failed coup in December. One of Kanter’s representatives told Brett Dawson the country will report passports as stolen or missing in order to have them confiscated in foreign countries. Once the documents are confiscated, they are usually deported, only to be arrested once they return to Turkey.
Luckily, Kanter’s birthday will not end with an arrest in his home country. Kanter has yet to confirm the Times’ report with a social media post, but right now we’re just glad Enes is Free.
Enes Kanter’s offseason travels around the world hit a roadblock in Romania. The former Kentucky big man shared this message with his followers.
I’m being held at Romanian airport by Police!! pic.twitter.com/uYZMBqKx54
— Enes Kanter (@Enes_Kanter) May 20, 2017
Kanter’s opposition to the Turkish government and president, who he so lovingly referred to as “the Hitler of our century,” has put him in a pickle. It’s already put him between his family. Kanter’s father disowned him for his beliefs last August. Now he’s stuck in an airport without a valid passport.
Through it all, Enes still has a smile on his face.
— Enes Kanter (@Enes_Kanter) May 20, 2017
In the video Enes shared with the world, he used phrases like “canceled my passport” and “deportation.” The ambiguous allegations provided little detail, but now we have some clarity.
According to Mahir Zeyalov, a journalist who covers Turkey, the country has revoked his passport. He faces deportation to Turkey where he will likely be arrested.
Back home, Kanter’s assistant told Brett Dawson he’s “pretty optimistic” about Kanter’s chances of returning to the United States.
Sam Vecenie of The Sporting News spoke with Catspause.com recently and he said, Malik Monk is now “seriously in play” with the Philadelphia 76ers.
Last week, at the NBA Draft Lottery, the 76ers got the third overall pick and, Monk is projected to go third in many mock drafts. This could be a match made in heaven for Philly – a team that REALLY struggles with shooting. Considering Monk scored a total of 754 points (the most ever by a UK Freshman) last season, I’d say drafting him would fix the 76ers shooting problem.
The 76ers are built around Joel Emiid at the post and Simmons on the interior. Monk could really give them some perimeter depth and play well with Simmons. The only downside to Monk going to Philly? I’d have to actually watch some 6ers games – which means watching Ben Simmons play. But I doubt the 76ers’ franchise owners will take my qualms into consideration on this.
A quick twitter search of Monk’s name shows that 6ers fans REALLY, REALLY want him – I mean who wouldn’t right? If he does go third, that’d be Cal’s seventh top-five pick during his time at UK. Yeah, he’s pretty good at this getting kids ready for the NBA thing.
If we’re to believe Isaiah Briscoe’s Instagram story, which he is very active on, the former Kentucky guard was at the Houston Rockets practice facility in Houston earlier today.
I’d say it’s safe to say he was there to work out for the team, although I cannot confirm that outside of his social media postings.
Houston has two second-round picks in the draft at No. 43 and 45.
As for the other NBA hopefuls, Bam Adebayo is continuing his workouts out in Arizona; last we heard from De’Aaron Fox and Malik Monk, they were wearing fancy suits in New York City yesterday; and Hamidou Diallo is trying to make up his mind on his basketball future.
This was your Friday night UK-NBA update.
By Drew Franklin on ©May 19th, 2017 @ 12:35pm
Our dear friends Big Cat and PFT and the late Larry The Goldfish had Kareem Abdul-Jabbar on their podcast this week to discuss his new book and life as a UCLA and NBA legend. I tuned in because I’m an occasional AWL, and I found it interesting when they asked Kareem who he would want to play with if he could play with any present day NBA player.
“The kid in New Orleans, Davis. He’s awesome,” he said. “He can do it either way. He posts up and faces the basket. I think he’s a great center.”
Nice praise for AD, huh?
Kareem also chimed in on the Lonzo Ball debate, telling the show, “Lonzo’s a talented athlete, but I don’t know if he’s the fit for the Lakers… His dad gives me the willies. Parents like that really bother me, trying to exploit their kid like that.”
The Davis line comes around the 32:45 mark on Wednesday’s show.
By Nick Roush on ©May 18th, 2017 @ 10:00pm
Kentucky’s former backcourt combo and top NBA Draft prospects spent the day doing charity work with Kenny “The Jet” Smith in New York City.
Inside the Vanderbilt YMCA gymnasium, Monk and Fox teamed up with JC Penny to help teens, “suit up for success.” Along with Smith, they shared life lessons, fitted the teens with new suits and missed a few three-pointers in formal attire.
Following their charity work, Fox and Monk shared stories with the press from their meetings with Knicks’ executives, most notably Phil Jackson.
“[The Knicks] were trying to get a feel for my personality, how I feel about them, how I would fit with some of the players they have,” Fox told the New York Daily News. “It was really cool meeting Phil Jackson. He was one person I idolized as I was growing up.”
Even though the Knicks don’t pick until No. 8, likely unable to select either of the two, Monk is interested in which ever team is willing to take a chance on him in the draft.
“Any team that picks me I’m going to have to be interested because that’s where I’m going,” Monk told Newsday. “I’m just going to do what they tell me to do, play how they want me to play, and just try and do what’s best for me too.”
Naturally, Fox echoed a similar sentiment, one they will repeat often until the draft on June 22.
“It’s cool to be going through this with a brother,” Fox said. “I can’t predict what will happen.”
It’s difficult to see anything related to the NBA without finding a few former Wildcats, even if it’s a Game of Thrones cartoon-parody. If you do not watch the best show on television, you’ll still enjoy the five-minute short from Bleacher Report that you’ve seen advertised on the lower third of every Turner basketball broadcast.
This week’s edition starts with Enes Kanter and Steven Adams as cocky Dothraki who insult the rising Targaryens/Pelicans, Anthony Davis and DeMarcus Cousins. For those who watch the show, the Stash Brothers fit the Dothraki build perfectly.
The second scene centers around a skittish Nerlens Noel, who’s just been invited to the Dallas Mavericks by Mark Cuban, a.k.a. Lady Tyrell, the Queen of Thorns. Nerlens must kiss the ring to show respect.
See all four Wildcats in the cartoon:
— Bleacher Report (@BleacherReport) May 18, 2017
Hamidou Diallo had his workout with the Brooklyn Nets today. We know that via many reports here on this website and throughout the internet. But was John Calipari there by his side?
I’m a two and two together kind of a guy, a real tea leaves reader, and it seems Calipari was also at the Brooklyn Nets facility today. Cal shared a photo with Archie Goodwin from inside the Nets facility earlier this afternoon:
— John Calipari (@UKCoachCalipari) May 18, 2017
That tells me Calipari was in attendance for Diallo’s workout for the NBA team eyeing Diallo the most. Was he there as a spectator? Was he at the table when the interview and draft talks occurred? WHAT DOES THIS MEAN!
Then again I’m probably overanalyzing it because my brain is fried from all things Hamidou Diallo the last couple of weeks, so who knows.
Probably just a big coincidence they were in Sunset Park in Brooklyn at the same time on a Thursday afternoon.
Karl-Anthony Towns and Devin Booker (and the entire internet, really) seem to have a problem with Towns’ snub from the All-NBA teams. He fell four votes shy of tying DeAndre Jordan for the center spot on the third team.
Booker just put his complaint right out there:
So we're gonna pretend KAT wasn't suppose to be on any All-NBA?🤔
— Devin Booker (@DevinBook) May 18, 2017
While Towns was a little more subtle with his tweet:
— Karl-Anthony Towns (@KarlTowns) May 18, 2017
One could argue that DeMarcus Cousins should’ve also been ahead of DeAndre Jordan in the voting, but one would need stats to back something like that up.
Stats like these, right?
— Drew Franklin (@DrewFranklinKSR) May 18, 2017
Get out of here with that DeAndre Jordan nonsense.
By Drew Franklin on ©May 18th, 2017 @ 3:00pm
Anthony Davis lost $24 million last year by not being named to any of the All-NBA teams, a pretty costly bonus clause in his contract with the Pelicans. He jokingly said last week that it would mean a lot to be named All-NBA this season, “but last year it would’ve meant a lot more.”
Well today, Davis bounced back with First Team All-NBA honors for the 2016-17 season, narrowly edging out Rudy Gobert for the center spot. Davis joins Russell Westbrook, James Harden, Kawhi Leonard and LeBron James on the league’s First Team All-NBA.
All three teams can be seen here, with voting totals:
As you can see, John Wall was named Third Team All-NBA.
By Drew Franklin on ©May 17th, 2017 @ 11:00pm
The Los Angeles Lakers will take a point guard with the No. 2 pick in the draft and there is only one man for the job.
That man is not the hometown kid, Lonzo Ball.
That man is De’Aaron Fox, point guard, from the University of Kentucky.
Let me tell you why Magic Johnson’s decision is an easy one (in my completely unbiased opinion)…
De’Aaron Fox isn’t that bad of a shooter.
Sure, to start his freshman campaign at Kentucky, De’Aaron Fox was one of the worst three-point-shooting guards ever (although not even the worst in his own starting five), which is why he’s not projected above Lonzo Ball. But by the end of the year, Fox’s stroke — which always looked the part without getting the results — improved immensely. By season’s end, he was shooting about as well as anyone could want from a speedy, drive-first point guard. He entered the NCAA tournament having gone 7-for-12 in his last six SEC games, showing a massive improvement from earlier in the year when he couldn’t get his outside shot to fall.
From the foul line, Fox was good at 74 percent on the season and even better in the clutch, while Lonzo Ball shot 67 percent over at UCLA.
The Lakers like to run.
The Lakers like to get it and go in transition, and there isn’t a better guard in the draft who can play at that tempo. No incoming prospect is faster with the ball than De’Aaron Fox and there aren’t many guys who are already in the league that can run with him. If Luke Walton wants to push it, Fox and De’Angelo Russell make a backcourt that can really push it.
To be fair, Lonzo Ball is also very good in transition — it’s his biggest strength — but give me the blazing speed that can’t be taught over Ball’s court vision and unselfishness. Like John Wall, Fox can figure that out as he goes.
Lonzo Ball can’t guard me.
He can’t guard you. He can’t guard the person sitting next to you or anyone else reading this. We know he can’t guard De’Aaron Fox and I’m not sure he can guard anyone else in the NBA on the ball. He will get pick-and-roll’d and ISO’d to death at the next level, where, unlike the college game, you can’t hide your defensive inefficiencies. 99 percent of the guys Ball will be matched up with in the NBA are going to blow right past him. Set a screen and it’s a free basket.
Lonzo Ball’s shot is broke.
It’s tough to criticize Ball’s shot because it goes in, but it’s also tough to see him getting as many off in the NBA with that broke-ass form. If he’s open, yeah, it’s a good shot. But what if there are five seconds on the shot clock and he has to get one off over the longer, quicker, better defenders in the league? Not a prayer. He can’t get that shot over a flat-footed Isaiah Thomas with his hands in his pockets.
Lonzo Ball’s shoes are really broke.
This has nothing to do with Ball vs. Fox; however, it should be mentioned that Ball’s shoes are complete trash and blatant Kobe knock-offs.
I’d pass on him with the 50th pick in the Croatian league draft just to keep those shoes off of my court and out of my locker room.
LaVar Ball is an actual crazy person who is doing much more harm than good.
Above all else, at the end of the day, LaVar Ball is Reason No. 1 why teams should pass on Lonzo Ball. He’ll be complaining about Lonzo’s teammates and coaches the moment something goes wrong, and Lonzo will be the one who is punished in the end. Crazy dad did a great job of getting the family name out there — kudos to his marketing — but it’s time to take a seat and let Lonzo do his thing. That won’t happen, though, and whatever team gets Lonzo will be constantly dealing with LaVar’s nonsense. The NBA is a league of grown men making millions upon millions of dollars; do you think they want some kid’s crazy dad inserting himself into their business? Hell, there’s already a target on Lonzo’s back for the things LaVar’s already said, and it’ll only get worse.
Let the next team take Daddy’s Boy and take the safe bet in De’Aaron Fox as your point guard.
The World’s Most Famous Unibrow joins John Calipari in the latest edition of the Cal Cast to discuss why he went to Kentucky. Ahead of the 2018 recruiting season and Mo Bamba’s decision, Anthony Davis’ podcast appearance is timely.
Their candid conversation will surely bring a smile to your face. Unlike most interviews, instead of asking about his accomplishments, Calipari asks about how he was raised and what helped him reach unprecedented heights.
The podcast starts with a story about Calipari’s visit to Davis’ Inglewood, Chicago home. It doesn’t take long for Calipari to casually allude to a visit with Bamba in his Harlem home. “I just had a kid walk me around in the projects in Harlem thinking I would be intimidated.”
The episode isn’t entirely a subtle shout out to Bamba. They discuss a variety of subjects like…
— Growing up with a twin.
— The first time Cal saw Anthony Davis play: “You were a shooter, not a maker.”
— The struggles of going through an insane growth spurt.
— Davis’ early AAU struggles that led him to quit (temporarily).
— Did you know he took the fourth most shots on the National Championship team?
— The talk Darius Miller had with the 2012 team the sparked their run to the title.
— What the locker room was like at halftime of the Championship Game.
By Mrs. Tyler Thompson on ©May 17th, 2017 @ 2:30pm
Today’s the 225th anniversary of the New York Stock Exchange, so to celebrate, they invited members of the companies that made the milestone possible to help them ring the bell…along with Devin Booker. Booker and Suns owner Robert Sarver were part of the celebration, with Booker standing up top for the big moment:
— Livestream (@Livestream) May 17, 2017
Of all of the great and memorable moments of Booker’s young career, this is probably the most random. But still, very cool. For more, check out Booker’s Snapchat (dbook01).
By Mrs. Tyler Thompson on ©May 17th, 2017 @ 9:00am
Ciao, miei amici. Forgive me if I’m a bit distracted today because tomorrow, I take off for Italy for two weeks, with stops in Rome, Florence, Cinque Terre, and Venice. I studied abroad in Florence my junior year of college, so this will be a homecoming of sorts, and I am beyond excited. In an attempt to pacify my dog, who starts pouting the instant we bring out our suitcases, I put off packing until the last minute, so today will include lots of laundry and careful decisions. Do I bother packing running gear? (No) Are these wedges comfortable enough to navigate the cobblestones? (Probably not, but I’ll take them anyways) How in the world will I be able to watch the Predators in the Western Conference Finals from there? (Looking at you, XFINITY app on the iPad)
In between all of that, I’ll also be bringing you the latest in UK sports. Andiamo!
1. The NBA Draft order is officially set
Last night was the NBA Draft Lottery, and the Boston Celtics drew the first pick, followed by the Lakers and the 76ers. Here’s the complete order of the first round of the draft now that the lottery’s over:
1. Boston Celtics (from Brooklyn)
2. Los Angeles Lakers
3. Philadelphia 76ers (from Sacramento)
4. Phoenix Suns
5. Sacramento Kings (from Philadelphia)
6. Orlando Magic
7. Minnesota Timberwolves
8. New York Knicks
9. Dallas Mavericks
10. Sacramento Kings (from New Orleans)
11. Charlotte Hornets
12. Detroit Pistons
13. Denver Nuggets
14. Miami Heat
15. Portland Trail Blazers
16. Chicago Bulls
17. Milwaukee Bucks
18. Indiana Pacers
19. Atlanta Hawks
20. Portland Trail Blazers (from Memphis, via Denver and Cleveland)
21. Oklahoma City Thunder
22. Brooklyn Nets (from Washington)
23. Toronto Raptors (from Los Angeles Clippers via Milwaukee)
24. Utah Jazz
25. Orlando Magic (from Toronto)
26. Portland Trail Blazers (from Cleveland)
27. Brooklyn Nets (from Boston)
28. Los Angeles Lakers (from Houston)
29. San Antonio Spurs
30. Utah Jazz (from Golden State)
2. Mock Draft season is now in overdrive
NBA pundits went into overdrive last night, pushing out instant reactions to the lottery order. Here’s Jonathan Givony of Draft Express‘ take:
5. De’Aaron Fox — Sacramento Kings
6. Malik Monk — Orlando Magic
32. Bam Adebayo — Phoenix Suns
35. Hamidou Diallo — Orlando Magic
Meanwhile, ESPN’s Chad Ford believes Monk will go off the board first, to Philly at #3:
3. Malik Monk — Philadelphia 76ers
5. De’Aaron Fox — Sacramento Kings
23. Bam Adebayo — Toronto Raptors
27. Hamidou Diallo — Brooklyn Nets
My initial reaction was Fultz first, Ball second, and Fox to the 76ers.
3. Joel Embiid was the real MVP
Embiid had a ball representing the 76ers, showing up to the stage with a Shirley Temple and doing this weird maniacal laughter thing as his squad’s chances of a top pick got better and better:
— CJ Fogler (@cjzero) May 17, 2017
Embiid is hilarious.
4. Hamidou Diallo works out for the Nets today
Where you going, Hami? I wish I knew, and honestly, that’s the question I look forward to getting away from the most. According to Adam Zagoria, Diallo worked out for the Chicago Bulls on Monday and the Milwaukee Bucks on Tuesday. The Bulls have the 16th pick in the draft and the Bucks the 17th, and the latter reportedly has “high interest” in Diallo. The Bucks drafted Thon Maker last year, so clearly they don’t have an issue rolling the dice on a prospect who hasn’t played college ball. Tomorrow, Diallo will meet with his hometown Nets, who have the 22nd and 27th picks. That meeting could decide it all.
5. Dominique Hawkins has gotten interest from NFL teams
Dominique Hawkins is determined to continue his basketball career, but yesterday we found out that he’s garnered some interest from some professional football teams as well. Jonathan Givony told Ben Roberts that NFL teams have reached out to Hawkins to see if he’d be interested in switching careers to play defensive back, but for now, Dom is sticking with basketball. So, if you’ve ever said, “Man, Dom would make one hell of a safety,” pat yourself on the back because the NFL agrees.
6. Maria Taylor will replace Samantha Ponder on “College Gameday”
Shoutout to one of my favorite women in the business, Maria Taylor, on her promotion to “College Gameday.” Taylor hosted “SEC Nation,” the SEC Network’s version of “College Gameday,” last year, and will replace Samantha Ponder, who will host “Sunday NFL Countdown” this fall. I’m very happy about the news because Taylor has the brains and wit to match her beauty, and should be a great fit for one of the last few things ESPN does well.
Speaking of badass ladies…
7. Kendra Harrison is back running hurdles five days after surgery
A post shared by Keni Harrison (@ken_aye_) on
The former UK track star and current world record holder broke her hand before a race earlier this month, and not only did she run that race anyways and win it, she’s back on the track running hurdles five days after her surgery. Rock star.
8. The Titans gave every offensive line squad goals last night
The Nashville Predators rallied to beat the Anaheim Ducks in a thriller last night to take a 2-1 lead in the series. Before the game, Marcus Mariota and the Titans offensive line served as the hype guys, throwing catfish on the ice and chugging Bud Light tallboys:
Marcus Mariota and the Titans offensive line working on a new shotgun formation pic.twitter.com/WVEuoB2Ev6
— Sports Illustrated (@SInow) May 17, 2017
Talk about squad goals.
9. Would you rock a “romphim”?
If you answered yes, please get off this website.
10. Radio in an hour
You know the drill.