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Cats in the NBA

Former Kentucky Players in the NBA

Julius Randle Explains how Kentucky Basketball Prepared him for the Lakers

Julius Randle Explains how Kentucky Basketball Prepared him for the Lakers

Before he was a Los Angeles Laker, Julius Randle helped take Kentucky to a National Championship game.  Jumping from the college level to the NBA wasn’t so bad, thanks to Coach Cal’s system at Kentucky.

The former seventh-overall draft pick is in Chicago this week and stopped by ESPN’s desk at the NBA Combine to talk about upcoming free agency, his draft experience and much more.  Naturally, his time at Kentucky was a talking point.  Randle said the expectations at UK are not so different than the Lakers.

“It’s very similar, to where the fans expect a lot out of you.  It’s great.  You love to have a fanbase that’s passionate.”

The Lakers’ fans remain engaged, even though they have not had much success during Randle’s four-year tenure.  There have been more losses than wins, but he still managed to post some impressive numbers ahead of a restricted free agency offseason.

Randle attributes his success to one of Calipari’s core tenets: accountability.

“I think the biggest thing coming out of Kentucky that Coach (Cal) teaches is accountability.  For young men going into the NBA, there’s a lot of free time, a lot of stuff to where you have to be accountable for your actions off the court, but on the court as well.”


WATCH: Hamidou Diallo’s Vertical Leap at the NBA Combine

@HowardWKYT

At the 2017 NBA Combine, Hamidou Diallo wowed NBA Scouts with the highest vertical leap at the event.  His 44.5″ vertical tied for the eighth-best in NBA history.

Diallo set the bar high, no pun intended.  See how he performed under pressure:

Unfortunately, Diallo could not surpass his previous mark.  Even though he almost touched every single plastic marker, it was four inches shorter than last year’s leap.  At 40.5,” he’s currently tied for fourth with Grayson Allen.

Diallo’s athleticism manifested in every other drill.  Players are still being tested, but he’s currently in the top five of the shuttle run (4.44), three quarter sprint (3.1) and lane agility (10.53).  You’ll find all of the combine numbers here.


Washington, Diallo to Participate in Combine 5-on-5

A pair of Wildcats will scrimmage in front of dozens of scouts at the NBA Combine in Chicago.

The rosters have been released for the 5-on-5 portion of the combine.  Hamidou Diallo will play for Team Two alongside Kansas’ Devonte Graham, UCLA’s Kris Wilkes and Louisville’s Ray Spalding.  P.J. Washington will team up with Kansas’ Malik Newman, Auburn’s Austin Wiley and West Virginia’s Sagaba Konate on Team Three.

Kentucky’s Kevin Knox and Shai Gilgeous-Alexander, both projected to be lottery picks, are noticeably absent from the roster, seen below:

@JeremyWoo

The scrimmages will take place after players are tested in a variety of drills.  You can catch all of the action on ESPN2 from 3:00-7:00 today and tomorrow.

UPDATE

The fine reporters at ESPN just notified us that even though he’s on the roster, Hamidou Diallo will not participate in the scrimmage portion of the combine.  A surprising move, maybe he believes less is more?


Kentucky’s NBA Combine Measurements Released

The NBA Combine is officially underway in Chicago.

The festivities began with simple measurements.  The results from Kentucky’s representatives — Hamidou Diallo, Shai Gilgeous-Alexander, Kevin Knox and P.J. Washington  — prove just how lengthy last year’s team was.

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

Gilgeous-Alexander has the lowest body fat of any NBA Combine participant.  Hamidou Diallo is not far behind at fifth.

Click here to see how they compare with the entire field, and stay tuned to KSR for more combine coverage throughout the day.


DeMarcus Cousins unfollowed the Pelicans on Instagram

DeMarcus Cousins may have tipped us off regarding his future with the New Orleans Pelicans. Cousins unfollowed the Pelicans on Instagram, which suggests he no longer has a future with the franchise.

Cousins will become an unrestricted free agent this summer and there is a big debate over whether or not the Pelicans should offer him a new deal. It’s rumored they’ll offer him a two- or three-year deal at less than the max, but Cousins will want a max contract and should have plenty of opportunities, despite the injury that cut his season short.

When asked about the unfollow, Cousins replied, “cause I’m grown,” in the comments.

It’s worth noting that he still follows the Pelicans on Twitter, so this could be nothing more than an overreaction to a meaningless Instagram cleansing.

Whatever the case, we’re following Boogie wherever he ends up.

#0Doubt


REPORT: Dwane Casey’s push for contract extension may have led to firing

Photo by Ezra Shaw/Getty Images North America

After yet another early playoff exit at the hands of LeBron James, the Toronto Raptors controversially relieved Dwane Casey of his head coaching responsibilities.

The former Kentucky Wildcat player and assistant coach led the Raptors to a franchise-record 59 victories during the regular season and ran away with the No. 1 seed in the East. It was a performance worthy of the National Basketball Coaches Association’s coach of the year award, an honor he won just two days before being fired.

Now, there’s a bit more to the story.

According to Jeff Zillgitt of USA Today, the former Wildcat asked for a two-year contract extension after the season, which may have led Raptors team president Masai Ujiri to make the ultimate decision to cut ties with Casey.

Casey sought a two-year contract extension in an effort to maintain job security, a person with direct knowledge of the situation told USA TODAY Sports.

The person requested anonymity because he wasn’t authorized to speak publicly about the decision.

Casey’s wish may have forced Ujiri’s hand ahead of Friday’s decision.

Ryan Wolstat of the Toronto Sun said Raptors president Ujiri denied reports of any contract extension request.

If the report of Casey asking for an extension turns out to be true, it’s a bit of a questionable move for him. He just signed a three-year, $18 million contract extension two years ago to lock him up through the 2018-19 season. Despite another disappointing postseason run for the Raptors, Casey had one more season left on his contract to capitalize on a solid roster foundation, which could have led to an even longer tenure with the team. With few key draft/trade/free agent decisions this offseason, along with a potential move for LeBron to the West, there was a legitimate shot for an ECF/Finals run for Toronto.

Now a free-agent, there are rumors the Orlando Magic and the Milwaukee Bucks are interested in Casey to fill their head coaching vacancies, though nothing significant has been reported as of yet. That being said, it’s no secret the former Cat won’t be unemployed for long.


Derek Willis and Archie Goodwin participate in G-League Elite Minicamp

Two former Kentucky Wildcats are doing whatever it takes to keep their NBA dreams alive.

The NBA G-League Elite Minicamp tipped off in Chicago today, where Derek Willis and Archie Goodwin were two of 51 players invited to workout in front of NBA scouts.

Other familiar names on the list include Kennedy Meeks of UNC, James Blackmon Jr. of Indiana, and Jaylen Johnson of Louisville, among others.

Here is the whole list:

Here are the teams participating in the two-day event, where it looks like Goodwin will be teaming up with Kennedy Meeks and UCLA’s Bryce Alford, while Willis will team up with UofL’s Jaylen Johnson:

The G-League Elite Minicamp is a pre-Combine event where the NBA invites some of the biggest G-League standouts from the previous season for a chance to perform in front of NBA scouts and executives. The end goal? Invites to the Summer League and training camp to kick off the 2018-19 season.

This is the tenth consecutive season the event has been held.

Best of luck to both Willis and Goodwin on day two!