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Cats in the NBA

Former Kentucky Players in the NBA

Anthony Davis named to NBA All-Defensive First Team

(NBAE/Getty Images)

I can’t believe this hadn’t happened yet, but Anthony Davis was named to the NBA All-Defensive First Team for the first time this afternoon. Davis, also a Defensive Player of the Year and MVP Award finalist, received the second-most points and First Team votes behind Utah’s Rudy Gobert. He’s been named to the All-Defensive Second Team twice.

Davis led the NBA in blocked shots for the third time (2.57 per game) and was fifth in defending the rim (minimum 250 field goals defended), allowing opponents to shoot only 52.4 percent at the basket. He also ranked fifth in rebounds per game (11.1) and 15th in steals (1.5).

Joining Davis and Gobert on the First Team are Indiana Pacers guard Victor Oladipo, Pelicans guard Jrue Holiday and Philadelphia 76ers forward Robert Covington. The Second Team consists of 76ers center Joel Embiid, Golden State Warriors forward Draymond Green, Boston Celtics forward/center Al Horford, San Antonio Spurs guard Dejounte Murray and Minnesota Timberwolves guard/forward Jimmy Butler.

Relive AD’s monster season with the highlight reel below:

Bam Adebayo emoji-reacts to All-Rookie snub

Photo: Issac Baldizon | NBAE via Getty Images

Bam Adebayo should’ve been an All-Rookie selection.

The former Wildcat and No. 14 overall pick last summer was a nice surprise for the Miami Heat. The Heat took a gamble by taking him in the lottery when the so-called experts projected him as a late-first-rounder, but the gamble paid off as Adebayo quickly picked up the NBA game and stole playing time from Heat veterans, namely Hassan Whiteside.

But when the NBA announced its two All-Rookie teams, Adebayo fell one point shy of cracking the second team. Josh Jackson of the Phoenix Suns beat him out for the last spot, 45-44 in the voting.

No former Cats on NBA All-Rookie teams for only second time under Calipari

Bam’s reaction matched his personality: not a lot of words.

Only an emoji.


Picture of the night: Boogie does Pilates

DeMarcus Cousins continues to recover from surgery on his torn Achilles, and apparently, pilates is part of his rehabilitation. Check out Boogie hanging from the Pilates machine earlier today:

Don’t worry; DeMarcus is also back on the basketball court, showing off his jumper in another social media post this afternoon:

Where will DeMarcus play once healthy? That’s still up in the air. An unrestricted free agent this summer, Boogie hinted he may not want to re-sign with the Pelicans by unfollowing them on Instagram (what a time to be alive). In an interview with The Undefeated last week, he implied it will all come down to who makes him the best offer.

In this age of social media scrutiny, does the fact that he’s wearing an old pair of New Orleans shorts mean anything?

VIDEO: Diallo recaps workout with the Wizards

VIDEO: Diallo recaps workout with the Wizards

Hamidou Diallo worked out with the Washington Wizards on Tuesday, his second workout in two days (the other was Monday with the Chicago Bulls).

After putting in work, Diallo took some time to speak to the media about what he can bring to a team and how he would fit in with the Wizards playing alongside the speedy John Wall, who attended Diallo’s workout.

Hear what he had to say:

No former Cats on NBA All-Rookie teams for only second time under Calipari

The NBA released its All-Rookie selections on Tuesday and the list did not include a former Kentucky player for only the second time since John Calipari has been the head coach of the Wildcats.

De’Aaron Fox, Malik Monk and Bam Adebayo were UK’s only three rookies this past season, but they did not play well enough in their debut seasons to earn All-Rookie honors. The NBA’s 2013-14 season is the only other year UK failed to crack the two All-Rookie squads.

In those other years, Calipari has had 11 All-Rookie selections overall: John Wall, DeMarcus Cousins, Eric Bledsoe, Brandon Knight, Anthony Davis, Michael Kidd-Gilchrist, Nerlens Noel, Karl-Anthony Towns, Devin Booker, Willie Cauley-Stein and Jamal Murray.

This year, Bam Adebayo got robbed as he fell one point shy of the second team.


First Team

Donovan Mitchell, Utah Jazz
Ben Simmons, Philadelphia Sixers
Jayson Tatum, Boston Celtics
Kyle Kuzma, Los Angeles Lakers
Lauri Markkanen, Chicago Bulls

Second Team

Dennis Smith Jr., Dallas Mavericks
Lonzo Ball, Los Angeles Lakers
John Collins, Atlanta Hawks
Bogdan Bogdanovic, Sacramento Kings
Josh Jackson, Phoenix Suns


First Team

Malcolm Brogdon, Milwaukee Bucks
Dario Saric, Philadelphia Sixers
Joel Embiid, Philadelphia Sixers
Buddy Hield, Sacramento Kings
Willy Hernangomez, New York Knicks

Second Team

Jamal Murray, Denver Nuggets
Jaylen Brown, Boston Celtics
Marquese Chriss, Phoenix Suns
Brandon Ingram, L.A. Lakers
Yogi Ferrell, Dallas Mavericks


First Team

Karl-Anthony Towns, Minnesota Timberwolves
Kristaps Porzingis, New York Knicks
Devin Booker, Phoenix Suns
Nikola Jokic, Denver Nuggets
Jahlil Okafor, Philadelphia Sixers

Second Team

Justise Winslow, Miami Heat
D’Angelo Russell, L.A. Lakers
Emmanuel Mudiay, Denver Nuggets
Myles Turner, Indiana Pacers
Willie Cauley-Stein, Sacramento Kings


First Team

Andrew Wiggins, Minnesota Timberwolves
Nikola Mirotic, Denver Nuggets
Nerlens Noel, Philadelphia Sixers
Elfrid Payton, Orlando Magic
Jordan Clarkson, L.A. Lakers

Second Team

Marcus Smart, Boston Celtics
Zach LaVine, Minnesota Timberwolves
Bojan Bogdanovic, Brooklyn Nets
Jusuf Nurkic, Denver Nuggets
Langston Galloway, New York Knicks


First Team

Michael Carter-Williams, Philadelphia Sixers
Victor Oladipo, Orlando Magic
Trey Burke, Utah Jazz
Mason Plumlee, Brooklyn Nets
Tim Hardaway Jr., New York Knicks

Second Team

Kelly Olynyk, Boston Celtics,
Giannis Antetokounmpo, Milwaukee Bucks
Gorgui Dieng, Minnesota Timberwolves
Cody Zeller, Charlotte Bobcats
Steven Adams, Oklahoma City Thunder


First Team

Damian Lillard, Portland Trail Blazers
Bradley Beal, Washington Wizards
Anthony Davis, New Orleans Pelicans
Dion Waiters, Cleveland Cavaliers
Harrison Barnes, Golden State Warriors

Second Team

Andre Drummond, Detroit Pistons
Jonas Valanciunas, Toronto Raptors
Michael Kidd-Gilchrist, Charlotte Bobcats
Kyle Singler, Detroit Pistons
Tyler Zeller, Cleveland Cavaliers


First Team

Kyrie Irving, Cleveland Cavaliers
Ricky Rubio, Minnesota Timberwolves
Kenneth Faried, Denver Nuggets
Klay Thompson, Golden State Warriors
Iman Shumpert, New York Knicks
Kawhi Leonard, San Antonio Spurs
Brandon Knight, Detroit Pistons

Second Team

Chandler Parsons, Houston Rockets
Isaiah Thomas, Sacramento Kings
MarShon Brooks, New Jersey Nets
Derrick Williams, Minnesota Timberwolves
Tristan Thompson, Cleveland Cavaliers


First Team

DeMarcus Cousins, Sacramento Kings
Landry Fields, New York Knicks
Blake Griffin, LA Clippers
Gary Neal, San Antonio Spurs
John Wall, Washington Wizards

Second Team

Eric Bledsoe, LA Clippers
Derrick Favors, Utah Jazz
Paul George, Indiana Pacers
Wesley Johnson, Minnesota Timberwolves
Greg Monroe, Detroit Pistons

Wishing a Big Blue Birthday to former Cat Enes Kanter!

Wishing a Big Blue Birthday to former Cat Enes Kanter!

Everyone’s favorite zero-and-done player, Enes Kanter, is celebrating his 26th birthday today! After being ruled permanently ineligible prior to his first season at Kentucky, Kanter has remained loyal to the Kentucky program in his time in the NBA.

While he may be known for his ongoing social media feud with LeBron James, Kanter has quietly turned into a really solid NBA big man. This season was the best of his career, averaging 14.1 points and 11 rebounds, while shooting nearly 85% from the free throw line for the New York Knicks.

He had a coming out party on Christmas Day against the Philadelphia 76ers, as he totaled 31 points, 22 rebounds, and 7/8 from the charity stripe.

Big Blue Nation, go wish our favorite Turk a happy birthday on Twitter @Enes_Kanter!


Derek Willis Shines in G-League Mini-Camp

Derek Willis’ season is over, but he’s still playing for his professional future.

This week the G-League held an Elite Mini-Camp to showcase players’ talents in front of NBA talent evaluators.  Willis proved in a short amount of time he can be a consistent contributor.

After averaging 11.8 points (47 FG%) and 6.8 rebounds this season for the Grand Rapids Drive, Willis posted double figures in three of four games at the mini-camp.  His best game was a 15-point, nine-rebound performance in the opener.

Willis gave all the credit to Coach Cal.  “He’s helped me prepare for this camp,” Willis told the News-Sentinel. “I can’t thank him enough.”

Willis added: “Playing at Kentucky was about the hardest thing that I have ever done in my life,” he said in a positive sense. “Every practice, it takes a lot out of you and (Calipari) demands a lot because you have five or six months to get things right.”

Calipari helped transform Willis into a professional basketball player.  Now the Kentucky kid is inching closer to an NBA contract.


What we Learned about the Kentucky Wildcats at the NBA Combine

Stacy Revere | Getty Images

The action on the court at the NBA Combine has concluded.

Four Wildcats were in Chicago for the evaluation event — Kevin Knox, Shai Gilgeous-Alexander, Hamidou Diallo and P.J. Washington.  The projected lottery picks, Knox and SGA, were only measured, while Washington and Diallo fought to raise their draft stock.  Where they stand now is still unknown, but we do know a little bit more about their basketball future.

Washington wants a Guarantee

“If I get a second round guarantee, I’m definitely going back to school,” Washington told reporters Thursday.  “Right now, if it’s a first round, I should take it.  If it’s a second round, I should come back (to school).”

Now it’s just a matter of what he hears from teams.  The deadline to withdraw from the draft is June 11 at 5:00 p.m.

Diallo met with Two Teams

The athletic phenom who stole the show a year ago has hired an agent and cannot return to Kentucky.  Now in the process of meeting with teams, the first two are the Washington Wizards and the Philadelphia 76ers.  The Wizards’s pick at No. 44 overall fits Diallo’s stock.  The Sixers have more options with the 26th, 38th, 39th and 56th picks.

Money-Making Scrimmages

While Diallo declined to participate in the scrimmage portion of the combine, his teammate made the most of the opportunity.  Washington finished his first scrimmage with a double-double, and reached double figures on day two.  He combined for 24 points and 15 rebounds in 40 minutes of 5-on-5 action.  Few players were more consistent than Washington.

Bilas Believes

The ESPN analyst named Washington as one of the four top performers from day one at the combine.


Turning Heads

Bilas wasn’t the only impressed by Washington.  Sports Illustrated’s Jeremy Woo said Washington’s stock is rising, although he’s unsure what it means for the Wildcat’s decision.

“Two strong combine days makes Washington’s draft decision a bit more interesting. He’s said publicly he wants to turn pro only if he’s a first-round pick, and while that deal is far from sealed, he at least gave teams more to think about this week.

Washington is a unique player, standing 6’7” but utilizing long arms and plus athletic ability to bang on the inside. He showed a good understanding of the floor, rebounded aggressively, and notably hit three midrange jumpers in a row early in Friday’s scrimmage. Washington’s unique skill set will only fit with certain lineups as a small-ball big, but he certainly does enough to get drafted. If he really wants to be a first-rounder it may help his case to go back, but he’s at least turned some heads.”

Dropping Verticals

Some people have bad days.  That might be what happened to Hamidou Diallo, who reached 40.5 inches at this year’s combine.  That number was good enough to tie for sixth, but it was four inches shorter than the record-setter at last year’s combine.

Washington can’t simply chalk it up as a bad day.  His vertical leap was nine inches shorter in Chicago than it was at UK last summer.  How that can happen, I do not know, but he recovered well enough in the scrimmages to put the poor leap in his past.

So. Much. Length.

The official measurements prove what we already knew — last year’s Kentucky team was LONG.

Player Body Fat Hand Length Hand Width Height w/o Shoes Height w/Shoes Standing Reach Weight Wingspan
Hamidou Diallo 4.45% 8.75 9 6’4.25 6’6″ 8’7″ 197 6’11.5
Shai Gilgeous-Alexander 3% 9 9 6’4.5 6’6″ 8’8″ 180 6’11.5
Kevin Knox 4.95% 8.75 9.25 6’7.75 6’9″ 9″ 212.6 6’11.75
PJ Washington 6.85% 9 10.25 6’6.5 6’8″ 8’11” 223 7’2.5

An Interesting Comparison

After seeing Diallo run through drills all weekend, CBS’ Reid Forgrave walked away with an interesting NBA comparison — Zach Lavine.  How is Diallo like the former Slam Dunk Champion?  He’s an “incredible athlete who needs to learn to become a basketball player.”  Diallo can’t completely hate that comparison, especially if he is somehow picked as high as Lavine was at No. 13 overall.

Why Vanderbilt did not Attend

One Wildcat declined the NBA Combine invitation.  Many expected Jarred Vanderbilt stayed home because of an injury.  Calipari confirmed to reporters that Vanderbilt “physically could not participate.”

This weekend should have provided clarity on Vanderbilt and Washington’s status.  P.J. probably did enough to leave, but it’s still uncertain what he and Vanderbilt will do.  They have 23 days to make a decision.