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Pros and Cons for Each UK Lottery Selection

Barry Williams | UK Athletics

Thursday night’s NBA Draft went surprisingly well for the Kentucky Wildcats.  Once considered a fringe first rounder, Bam Adebayo leaped up the draft board and into the lottery at No. 14, giving John Calipari his 17th lottery selection in eight years at Kentucky.

Now that the bright lights from the draft have dimmed, the former Wildcats are tasked to help rebuild three different franchises.  Will they turn their team into playoff contenders, or struggle through a rebuild?  Here’s how each player fares at their new destination.

De’Aaron Fox 

Pros

The Kings had a good draft.  It’s a sentence I never expected to type.  The team that used to build around DeMarcus Cousins by drafting more centers actually drafted well.  Vlade Divac invested in blue bloods, teaming Fox up with Harry Giles, National Player of the Year Frank Mason III, and Fox’s former AAU teammate Justin Jackson.

If Giles can return to form following his injuries, the former projected No. 1 overall pick is the steal of the draft.  Jackson and Mason are shooters that can help spread the floor for Fox, but only time will tell if they can live up to the hype.

—  Kentucky connections.  Only Phoenix has more Kentucky players on one team than Sacramento.  If nothing else, lobs from Fox to Cauley-Stein will frequently make the SportsCenter Top Plays.

—  No pressure.  There is no pressure to win early.  At all.  Zero pressure.  If there’s no pressure to win, you can play like you have nothing to lose every single night.

Cons

Horribly run franchise.   The Kings are competing with the Knicks for “NBA’s worst run franchise.”  Their decisions consistently make no sense for even the common idiot.  It’s a place where players’ careers go to die.  Hopefully Fox doesn’t get lost in the shuffle.

—  Western Conference.  Winning is hard for the Sacramento Kings.  It’s even harder when you’re playing in the powerful Western Conference that just got a whole lot tougher following the Timberwolves’ acquisition of Jimmy Butler.

Malik Monk

Pros

—  Michael Jordan.  If there’s one person Monk can learn from it’s Michael Jordan.  A clutch scorer that was born to get buckets, Monk has the Jordan quality.  Hopefully, MJ can help him harness that ability to become an all-star.

—  Kentucky fans will be frequent flyers.  Charlotte isn’t too far from Lexington and they already have one Wildcat on the roster, Michael Kidd-Gilchrist.

—  The uniforms are dope.  Seriously, is there anything cooler than the Hornets’ teal?  I don’t think so.

—  They’re not the bad.  Malik Monk could be the missing piece to the Hornets’ puzzle.  Kemba Walker is as close to being an all-star without officially earning the title “all-star.”  Monk can play off Walker to spot up from three, and open up the lanes for Walker to create scoring opportunities.

When healthy, MKG can guard the other team’s best player well.  Inside, they have the best Zeller and now Dwight Howard.  Even though Dwight is a castaway, if he can return into just a shell of what he used to be with the Magic, the Hornets could easily make the playoffs in the Eastern Conference.

Cons

— Kemba dominates the ball.  You take the positive with the negative.  Kemba can draw defenders to leave Monk open, but he can also keep the ball in his hands and take all of the shots.  He’s not known to be a selfish player, but Monk must get buckets in order to be effective, the biggest knock on his game entering the draft.

Will he get immediate playing time?  There’s no guarantees for Monk in Charlottes’ starting lineup.  Nicolas Batum is a proven long-range shooter that will not quickly be surpassed.  Monk will get minutes, but he must learn how to contribute without having his hands on the ball.

Bam Adebayo

Pros

Gets to play with Hassan Whiteside.  Bam doesn’t have to bang on the inside; the Heat have Hassan Whiteside.  Bam’s athleticism will allow him to get easy buckets by running the floor and playing off the pick-and-roll.  If his new jump shot is all that it’s cracked up to be, Whiteside is a proven example of development throughout an organization.  Miami is a great place to cultivate his talent and take him to the next level.

—  He’s in Miami.  Even though I trashed Fake Barney for his takes on the OTT, there’s no denying it’d be pretty dope to be a professional athlete in the city where the heat is on, all night, on the beach till the break of dawn.

—  They were a game away from the playoffs this year.  The Heat’s midseason turnaround ended just short of the eight-seed in the Eastern Conference.  They won their final game, but victories by Chicago and Indiana in the last game of the season ended Miami’s run.  Goran Dragic and Dion Waiters are formidable wings that can return the Heat to the playoffs.  With the help of Adebayo, all they need is for Justice Winslow to figure out his shot.

Cons

—  What are the Heat after D-Wade?  The franchise’s signature player left a year ago and the rest of the world is unsure of their identity.  Chris Bosh’s health concerns have sidelined him indefinitely, leaving no remaining pieces to LeBron’s big three.  However, the void provides Adebayo an opportunity to become a star on a team that’s searching for a new identity.

—  How much more gas does Pat Riley have in the tank?  Riley is not the type of guy who can leave the game of basketball and have a life outside of the sport, but he’s been doing this a very long time.  Who knows much longer he can perform at en elite level.


Prepare for 2017 Summer Guest Hosts on Kentucky Sports Radio

Now that Matt Jones is away, the kids will play.  We’re going to have a lot of fun over the next five weeks.  Prepare accordingly.

Week One

June 26: Dan Woken of USA Today
June 27: Pardon My Take
June 28: Evan Daniels
June 29: Aaron Torres
June 30: Jennifer Palumbo and Mrs. Tyler Thompson

Week Two

July 3rd and 4th: “Best of” shows to celebrate America’s Independence
July 5: KSR Football Podcast
July 6: Mo Egger
July 7: Steve Romines and T.J. “Makes em Pay” Smith

Week Three

July 10: Rex Chapman and Josh Hopkins
July 11: Avery Williamson
July 12: Tate Frazier and Mark Titus of The Ringer
July 13: The Sklar Brothers
July 14: Laura Rutledge of the SEC Network

Week Four

July 17: Dewayne Peevy
July 18: Nick Mingione
July 19: Tim Couch
July 20: Matthew Mitchell
July 21: UK Football coaches

Week Five

July 24: Seth Greenberg
July 25: Ramel “Smooth” Bradley
July 26: Cole Cubelic of the SEC Network
July 27: Guest Hosts
July 28: KSR Crew

If you can’t listen to the shows live, make sure you are subscribed to the NEW iTunes KSR radio feed.


What do you think Monk, Bam and Kennard are looking at? CAPTION THIS, via UK Athletics.

Saturday’s Top 10: Draft Leftovers, Boxing is Back, Podcast SZN

What do you think Monk, Bam and Kennard are looking at? CAPTION THIS, via UK Athletics.

The dust has finally settled on Thursday night’s successful NBA Draft.  After months of interviews, analysis and mock drafts, three Wildcats heard their names called in the lottery.  It was a wild time.  We’ve covered just about everything, but there’s a few leftovers.  If I don’t cover them all now, you’ll hear more from me throughout the day.

1. Summer League Teams for Each Cat

After they did not hear their names called Thursday night, three Wildcats discovered their NBA Summer League destinations.

  • Isaac Humphries: Washington Wizards
  • Derek Willis: Detroit Pistons
  • Isaiah Briscoe: Philadelphia 76ers

Briscoe will team up with Aaron Harrison and Alex Poythress for the Sixers in the Utah (July 3-6) and Vegas Summer Leagues (July 7-17).  The verdict is still out on Dominique Hawkins and Mychal Mulder. 

2. James Young to New Orleans?

One report says the former Wildcat guard will sign with the New Orleans Pelicans once free agency officially begins.  A Top Ten player in the class of 2013, Young’s professional career with the Celtics has been lackluster at best.  All of his career statistical highs are from his first season in 14-15: 31 games played, 10.7 minutes and 3.4 points per game.

3. Louisville was the Draft’s Top TV Market

Once again, nobody watched the NBA Draft more than the city of Louisville.  What’s even more astonishing, the UofL College World Series baseball game drew an 8.0 rating and a 13 share, yet there were still enough people watching the draft to beat out professional basketball cities.

1. Louisville (5.3)
2. Charlotte (4.7)
3. Indianapolis (4.4)
4. Norfolk (4.0)
5. OKC (3.9)

To all the curmudgeons who think Louisville can’t support an NBA team, get outta here.  This place loves basketball and needs more of it.

4. Cal Reviewed the Draft on KSR

John Calipari gave KSR listener’s a departing gift before Matt leaves vacation by calling into the show to discuss Thursday night’s NBA Draft and take a shot at Roy Williams.

“I’m the father in the stands that embarrasses his kids because he goes and takes pictures, he’s yelling, he’s screaming, he’s hugging. That’s a big day for parents. And it is for me.” Cal added, “You’re maybe not real close to the kid or he didn’t or he wasn’t grateful enough — it doesn’t matter to me. I’m going.”

For more talk about the draft, the U19 team and the UofL sanctions, listen below.  If the new iHeart widget doesn’t work, click here.

5. Check out KY Wildcats TV’s Draft Recap

6. Boxing Returns to Freedom Hall

People forget that Boxing is Back in Louisville.  Returning to the place Ali won his first professional fight, Freedom Hall hosts the Real Deal Championship Boxing tonight.

With Evander Holyfield as the mastermind, 11 fights will happen tonight, starting at 6:00 p.m.  It’s headlined by a heavyweight title fight.  Contender Derric Rossy will face Carlos Negro in a 10-round bout for the WBC Continental Americas Championship belt.

Even if you’re not a boxing person, this will be an entertaining event, one we are not used to seeing around these parts.  Tickets are still on sale through Ticketmaster.  If you can’t make it, the event will air on CBS Sports Network beginning at 10:00 p.m.

7. One Fantastic LaVar Ball Quote

It’s a fantastic quote because it’s not coming from his mouth.  This quote is about LaVar as a player from Washington State.  This is an excerpt from a January 27, 1988 column in the Lewiston Tribune.

@BlogMyRabbit

8. Podcast SZN on KSR

Every day this week we released a new one, covering something completely different each time.  After a season three Game of Thrones review on Kentucky Thrones Radio, Nick Mingione joined the KSR Baseball Podcast to wrap up the historic baseball season.  Fake Barney shared his awful opinions on NBA cities with Tyler Thompson (Barns might have the worst takes ever) on the OTT.  Finally, Pookie Jones joined The Depth Chart Podcast for what might be my favorite episode we’ve ever recorded.

If you aren’t subscribed yet to the “Kentucky Sports Radio” podcast feed on iTunes, do so now.   You can also stream them on Pod Paradise and a variety of other platforms.

There’s one other podcast feed you need to subscribe to.  The old KSR Radio podcast is dead.  To hear new episodes of the radio show, you must subscribe to the new feed here.

9. SEC Media Days are Coming

It’s hard to believe that football season is almost here.  Three weeks from tomorrow Freddie and I will depart for Hoover for SEC Media Days.  The hotel has been booked, but your company can still be a part of our adventure.   Your business has the opportunity to sponsor content on KentuckySportsRadio.com, receive live reads on our KSR podcasts, and mentions on our social media accounts.  Contact us at KSRads@kentuckysportsradio.com to learn more.

10. World’s Ugliest Dog Crowned

The World’s Ugliest Dog isn’t that ugly…

Justin Sullivan | Getty

…until you see her flaps up.

Josh Edelson | Getty

Martha, a 125-pound Neapolitan Mastiff, was awarded $1,500 for winning the competition.  It’s great to see a big dog win the competition, especially one that’s a rescue.  If you’re thinking about getting a dog, get a rescue.  Mine are the best; don’t at me.


John Calipari on attending the draft: “That’s a big day for parents. And it is for me.”

John Calipari on attending the draft: “That’s a big day for parents. And it is for me.”

After bouncing from table to table to check on his guys and essentially hitting the pause button on the draft with his six-minute segment on ESPN, John Calipari called into KSR this morning to talk to the Big Blue Nation. Calipari discussed the draft, his U19 National Team, and the NCAA sanctions on the UofL scandal. He even took a bit of a shot back at Roy Williams for his comments yesterday regarding Calipari attending the draft. Highlights and audio below:

He jabbed back at Roy Williams

Yesterday, Roy said on a North Carolina radio show that, unlike Calipari, he doesn’t like to attend the draft because it’s a special moment for players and their families, an eye-rolling comment if there ever was one. Today, Cal seemed to jab back when he said that he loves going to the draft because he feels he is family.

“For me, I’m the father in the stands that embarrasses his kids because he goes and takes pictures, he’s yelling, he’s screaming, he’s hugging. That’s a big day for parents. And it is for me. So, you can shake it anyway you want. You’re maybe not real close to the kid or he didn’t or he wasn’t grateful enough — it doesn’t matter to me. I’m going. And none of it — it’s what I do. I didn’t start just doing it when I went to Kentucky. I was always there. If a kid was going to get drafted, I was there. I think it’s important.”

Pat Riley texted him a 💥 emoji after drafting Bam

“Bam goes to Miami. Before the pick, I hit Pat Riley, said ‘Pat, I hope you’re taking my kid, you will love him.’ And after they made the pick, he had BAM with an emoji, like an explosion emoji, like BAM! You know, like that, which was kind of neat.”

Like this? “BAM 💥”

Watch out guys, Calipari has discovered emojis.

He thought Isaiah Briscoe would be drafted by the Knicks

Cal believed Briscoe would be drafted by New York in the second round, but apparently that plan went out the window when a higher prospect fell down the board. The Knicks drafted Damyean Dotson at 44 and Jaramaz Ognjen at 58.

He’s still trying to figure out PJ Washington

The conversation turned to Calipari’s U19 Team in Colorado Springs, and after praising Kevin Knox, who had to withdraw due to injury, he talked about PJ Washington, a player so positionless that he’s trying to figure out exactly how to use him.

“I’m still trying to figure him out. I want some people to tell me, professional people, what they want him to look like. I’ll need some help because I’m still — like, I’m going to ask him this question today, ‘Alright PJ, the game is on the line and we need a game winner. Where do I give you the ball? You tell me. Where do I give you the ball where you’re getting fouled or scored. How are we doing it?'”

Hamidou Diallo “has a winner’s mentality”

Hami has been an offensive machine in Colorado this week, but Calipari wants him to play on the ball more than off because “he has a winner’s mentality.”

“I want his hands on the ball. Now, that’s going to force him to make better decisions, throw better passes, because going right to the rim, he’s really good. He’s shooting the ball better, but got a ways to go. And he has a winner’s mentality. He’s okay defensively, but I’m different, I want guys that really lock people down and he’s not quite there yet, and neither is PJ and neither is Kevin. But they’re so long and we should be a great defensive team. That doesn’t mean we will be, but we should be.”

He both answered and didn’t answer Matt’s question about UofL’s NCAA sanctions

Matt couldn’t help but ask Calipari about the sanctions the NCAA handed down to UofL. As someone who is pretty familiar with the NCAA’s strict liability policy, Calipari offered this response.

“I’ve always said coaches should stand up when they did these, you know, the strict liability. I said, where is everybody and why is everybody silent? I said, it’s going to hit everybody. But we didn’t have anybody say anything, so it’s like, okay. The second thing is, I’ve never thought vacating games had an effect other than affecting the other players and maybe the fans that had nothing to do with anything. I’ve always believed that. But again, no one said anything so we’re here. This is where we are.”

Cal changed the subject, bringing up how busy he’s been lately (Megan’s getting married! He’s trying to lose weight!), but circled back to the topic again a few minutes later.

“I haven’t — I just know we have issues that we should have dealt with 10 years ago but everyone ran from because it was personal vs. what does this do to our profession? And now we’re paying a price for it. I don’t know exactly what went on. I don’t wish ill on any program. This about our game and coaching.”

Make of that what you will.

 


Barleycorn’s Friday Top 10: Kentucky wins the NBA Draft (again)

A message from our friends at Barleycorn’s…

Looking for a place to hang out with other UK fans? Take your family and friends to Barleycorn’s!

Barleycorn’s has over 30 beers on tap, jumbo wings with 10 delicious sauces, sandwiches, salads, and our famous handcrafted burgers!

Barleycorn’s has three locations in Northern Kentucky – Cold Spring, Lakeside Park, and Florence – and is open seven days a week! For hours and information, follow them on Facebook or visit Barleycorns.com.

Get over here!


I think you guys know where we’ll start today’s rundown…

1. The NBA Draft was another UK infomercial

Last night was another huge success for Kentucky Basketball, which saw three players drafted in the lottery:

5. De’Aaron Fox, Sacramento Kings
11. Malik Monk, Charlotte Hornets
14. Bam Adebayo, Miami Heat

See all three picks below:

2. Some staggering stats

In the eight years John Calipari has been at Kentucky…

  • 31 players have been drafted
  • 24 in the first round
  • 17 in the lottery

The most impressive stat of all: All 21 one-and-done players that have come through the program have been drafted in the first round. That’s insane.

3. John Calipari was one proud papa

As Calipari does, he went from table to table, hugging each player as they heard their name called. When he arrived at the ESPN set, he had lipstick from one of the player’s mothers on his cheek, which he wore proudly as a symbol of his program’s success and his role as dream facilitator.

“These families, to live it with them, it’s just amazing,” Cal said. “But it’s hard. You don’t know then they’re getting picked. You have an idea, but stuff happens. And they slip sometimes. When those guys in that green room are done, I’m out. I am out. I don’t care who else gets picked, I really don’t. Just my guys.”

3. Cal did his thing and turned the appearance into a recruiting pitch

“They’re talking about one-and-done, it’s not broken! It isn’t broken. My kids finished the term, they’re on lifetime scholarships — can I recruit a little bit?” Cal joked. “These kids have a genius. Just like a pianist, just like someone with a cello, you look and you say, they’re a prodigy. These kids are prodigies. Again, I think, when they come with us — here’s my comment. I’m on them, they look at me, and I say, what are you going to do, transfer? You can’t transfer, so listen to what I’m saying. Somebody will say, he coaches them hard, he gets them to share. Pat Riley gave me the greatest compliment. He said, ‘Your guys come into this league and they’re all good teammates.’ Because they all have to share, they all have to give up something.”

Listen to more of that recruiting pitch below:

4. Malik Monk had the best reaction to sliding to 11th

Calipari said the one thing that disappointed him was that he wanted Malik Monk in New York with the Knicks, but he knew he wouldn’t fall past Charlotte at No. 11.

“I wanted Malik in New York because I thought he would light it up,” Cal said. “But I knew he wasn’t going to fall by — Michael [Jordan] wasn’t — He plays like Michael. He wasn’t going to let him go by him.”

Malik had an even better response:

That’s one of many great soundbites from Malik this week. On Wednesday, he had some fun with a reporter who said she’d never tried catfish before:

Something tells me Malik will love Lake Norman.

5. Sacramento is excited about their new point guard

Who can blame them? Fox is by far the most charismatic figure in this draft. Speaking of the Kings, they pulled in some big picks thanks to a swap with Portland. The Kings took Fox, North Carolina’s Justin Jackson (15), Duke’s Harry Giles (20), and Kansas’ Frank Mason III (34). That’s an impressive haul for a young, rebuilding team, and should pair well with Willie Cauley-Stein and Skal Labissiere. Let’s hope the Kings don’t screw it up like they usually do.

6. We’ll keep an eye out for news on the remaining Cats

As expected, Isaiah Briscoe, Isaac Humphries, Derek Willis, and Dominique Hawkins went undrafted, but several will receive summer team invites. That news started breaking last night, so stay tuned. Derek’s fiancee Keely shared a text he received from Karl Towns telling him to keep his head up:

Agreed, Keely.

7. Trey Lyles got traded

The Utah Jazz traded Lyles, the 13th pick in the 2015 Draft, to the Denver Nuggets in exchange for the 13th pick, Louisville’s Donovan Mitchell, and the 24th pick, Tyler Lyndon. After a promising rookie season, Lyles stumbled in his sophomore year in the league, so here’s hoping a fresh start in Denver will serve him well. It doesn’t hurt that he’ll play alongside one of the most talented young shooters in the league in fellow Cat Jamal Murray.

8. Markelle Fultz made his first goof as an NBA player

Fultz — or likely, whichever friend/agent was handling his phone — made his first blunder as the number one pick when he forgot to fill in some important details in this Instagram post:

D’oh.

9. LaVar Ball was just as nuts as you thought he’d be

Lonzo went second to the Lakers, which meant the cameras were squarely on his dad for the first part of the night. LaVar did not disappoint, telling Jeff Goodman that Zeus and Jesus told him this would happen, and that Lonzo will lead the Lakers to the playoffs in his first season:

Fans booed LaVar out of the green room, and in response, he threw his Big Baller Hat into the crowd:

LaVar may be a horrible person, but I’d be lying if I said he didn’t entertain the hell out of me.

10. KSR is in Owensboro

Come on out to Don Moore Automotive to see the show, Matt’s last before he leaves for vacation. Something tells me they’ll talk about that Katina Powell interview, which we’ll bring back to the top of the site in about thirty minutes.


Bam Adebayo Selected No. 14 by the Miami Heat in the NBA Draft

Bam Adebayo rose up the draft boards to become the third Wildcat selected in tonight’s lottery and the 17th lottery selection in the Calipari era.  Pat Riley has selected Bam Adebayo to play for the Miami Heat.

A McDonald’s and Jordan Brand All-American hailing from the mountains of North Carolina, the powerful post player took some time to find his game, but dominated down the final stretch of the season.  He had six double-doubles in his final 13 games, doubling his total from the first half of the season.

A Second Team All-SEC selection, Bam averaged 13 points, 8 rebounds and 1.5 blocks in his only season at UK.  He dunked the ball 101 times, the most by any player in the Calipari era.   Here’s just a few of them from the NCAA Tournament.

Adebayo’s first round selection makes John Calipari perfect with one-and-dones.  21 UK players have declared for the draft after their freshman season, 21 have been drafted in the first round.

At the end of the season, there was some question as to whether or not Bam would be drafted in the first round, but he ended up a lottery pick, thanks in part to Calipari believing in him.

“Never doubt myself,” Bam said of Cal’s advice. “He always told me to stay positive and everything would work out.”

Bam made a drastic jump in the mocks in the past few days, which he credited to his improved shooting in workouts.

“I improved my shooting. Everybody thought I couldn’t shoot then I got in these workouts and everyone was shocked.”

What was it like for Bam to share this night with De’Aaron Fox, Malik Monk, and Calipari?

“We’re like brothers so this is our graduation again. Just being here, Cal being one of our dads. Just this experience, it’s wonderful.”


Malik Monk Selected No. 11 by the Charlotte Hornets in the NBA Draft

The greatest scorer to ever play for John Calipari at Kentucky will get the chance to learn from the Greatest of All Time.  Malik Monk will play for Michael Jordan and the Charlotte Hornets.

A five-star recruit from the state of Arkansas, Monk spurned the Razorbacks and his famous brother’s alma mater to become an elite scorer for John Calipari.  Monk’s 754 points surpassed Jamal Murray’s total (720) to become the highest-scoring freshman in UK history.  He averaged 19.8 points, 2.5 rebounds and 2.3 assists per game to earn just a few postseason awards…

  • Jerry West Award
  • AP’s SEC Player of the Year
  • First Team All-SEC
  • Second Team All-American by USA Today and NBC Sports

Monk scored 20 or more points in 38 games; in six of those games he scored 20 or more in one half.  Monk had many unforgettable clutch performances.  His three-pointer at Rupp forced overtime against Georgia, scoring 37 en route to victory.  Monk gave the Cats a chance in the Elite Eight, knocking down two threes in the final 30 seconds to tie it before the Cats fell on a buzzer-beater.  His best game was the best game any player has ever had under John Calipari at UK.  47 points, 64 percent shooting, 8 threes, onions.

Monk is the 16th Kentucky player drafted in the lottery in eight years under John Calipari and one of only six UK guards to go in the lottery.

Eleventh was lower than Monk expected to be picked, but he took it in stride.

“I mean, it was lower than I thought but you never know in this situation, so I’m just thankful. Praying for the best situation and hopefully this is it.”

What will Monk bring to the Hornets?

“Versatile, I think I can score on all three levels,” Monk said. “And I can shoot the ball pretty good, so I think that will show immediately.”

Monk lit up when asked if he had met Hornets owner Michael Jordan yet.

“Earlier in the week I did a Skype call with him, they wanted to meet me and see how things were going. It went well and they picked me, so thankful to be in this situation.”

That smile at the end when he was asked about hunting and fishing spots near Charlotte was priceless.


De’Aaron Fox Selected No. 5 by the Sacramento Kings in the NBA Draft

De’Aaron Fox is heading west.  The Kentucky point guard will team up with two former UK bigs, Willie Cauley-Stein and Skal Labissiere, on the Sacramento Kings.

The No. 6 player in the 2016 recruiting class averaged 16.7 points, 4.6 assists and 4 rebounds per game in his only season at Kentucky.  He earned third team All-American honors from three different publications, he was a unanimous first team All-SEC Selection and he was the MVP of the conference tournament in Nashville.

Fox became one of just three Wildcats to ever record a triple double, but it wasn’t his best performance of the season.  Against Lonzo Ball and UCLA in the Sweet 16 he scored an NCAA Tournament freshman record 39 points to upend the Bruins.

Fox follows in the footsteps of two other Calipari point guards to be selected in the lottery following their freshman season, joining John Wall (No. 1) and Brandon Knight (11).

“It’s been extremely gratifying,” Fox said of sharing this experience with other freshmen that have been drafted. “I’ve known Jayson [Tatum] since the fourth grade and man, I’m speechless right now. We’re living out our dreams together.”

“I can’t even describe it, like I said. I’m extremely happy, I’m finally where I wanted to be, but like they said all week, the work is just beginning.”

How does Fox expect his speed to translate to the next level? He drew a familiar comparison.

“A lot of the comparisons are to John Wall, and you saw him and how he was competing in the playoffs so if I’m able to use my speed the way he was, speed kills and you can’t really teach it.”

As you may have noticed, De’Aaron honored his mother, a 21-year breast cancer survivor, with the lining of his jacket:

“It’s breast cancer signs. My mom is actually a 21-year breast cancer survivor, so that’s just something for her.”

ESPN tried to pull away from the interview, but De’Aaron was having none of it, interrupting to thank his sponsor, JC Penney, for dressing him for the night.

Nicely done, De’Aaron. You’re already a pro.

UPDATE: The Kings got De’Aaron a visor!

Much better.


Barleycorn’s Thursday Top 10: Draft Day is finally here

A message from our friends at Barleycorn’s…

Looking for a place to hang out with other UK fans? Take your family and friends to Barleycorn’s!

Barleycorn’s has over 30 beers on tap, jumbo wings with 10 delicious sauces, sandwiches, salads, and our famous handcrafted burgers!

Barleycorn’s has three locations in Northern Kentucky – Cold Spring, Lakeside Park, and Florence – and is open seven days a week! For hours and information, follow them on Facebook or visit Barleycorns.com.

Get over here!


1. It’s Draft Day

Believe it or not, Draft Day is finally here, meaning that twelve hours from now, we should know the fates of at least three Wildcats. De’Aaron Fox, Malik Monk, and Bam Adebayo are all expected to go in the first round, Fox and Monk certainly in the lottery. Of the remaining Cats that declared, Isaiah Briscoe and Isaac Humphries probably have the best chance of hearing their names in the second round, although that’s a long shot.

2. Where Fox, Monk, and Bam stand in the latest mock drafts

The best part about Draft Day? It’s the last day we have to deal with mock drafts for a while. Here’s where the Cats lie in the major mocks right now:

De’Aaron Fox Malik Monk Bam Adebayo
Draft Express  5. Sacramento  8. New York  18. Indiana
Chad Ford  4. Phoenix  11. Charlotte  17. Milwaukee
Sports Illustrated  5. Sacramento  8. New York  19. Atlanta

This is Jonathan Givony and Chad Ford’s Super Bowl, so expect those to be updated throughout the day as rumors fly.

3. Calipari will be there

Cal is taking a timeout from his head coaching duties in Colorado Springs to fly to New York to be a proud papa for the night. As you might expect, he’s scheduled to spend some time with ESPN’s team of analysts, which includes Rece Davis, Jalen Rose, Michael Wilbon, and Jay Bilas. Don’t worry, I’m already preparing a Bingo board so you can keep track of all of the predictable things he’ll say.

4. Watch the Draft with KSR

ESPN’s coverage of the Draft begins at 7 p.m. ET, but that will likely include at least 30 minutes of pre-draft coverage. We’ll start the KSR LIVE BLOG a few minutes before the real action begins. In the meantime, keep refreshing because we’ll have the latest rumors, mocks, pictures, videos, etc. as we continue the countdown.

Speaking of ESPN’s coverage, for some reason, they’ve got Rece Davis reporting from the bathroom at the Barclays Center:

Not sure what that’s all about.

5. Kevin Knox withdraws from the U19 Team

We were all looking forward to watching Kevin Knox play in the FIBA World Cup, but unfortunately, that’s not going to happen. Yesterday, Calipari announced that Knox tweaked his hamstring in practice Wednesday morning and will withdraw from the U19 team and return to Lexington. It’ll be a bummer not to be able to see him play this summer, but as Cal pointed out, having him at full strength this fall is much more important.

6. Hamidou Diallo and PJ Washington looked great last night

With Knox on his way back to Lexington, all eyes turn to Hamidou Diallo and PJ Washington, and last night, the two Cats dominated Team USA’s scrimmage. Yesterday morning, it seemed like Washington might be headed home early too when he sat out practice with a sore back, but he rallied to put up 10 points and 7 rebounds last night. Diallo led all players in the scrimmage with 22 points off 8-10 shooting, 4-5 from the free throw line. Here are some highlights courtesy of Kyle Tucker:

7. Check out the latest OTT Podcast

ICYMI last night, Fake Barney and I fired up the ole podcasting machine to draft the best NBA cities. Citing a fear of natural disasters and murder, Barney drafted Miami, Manhattan, and Los Angeles with his first three picks, which is just as ironic as it sounds. Meanwhile, I took Denver, New Orleans, and Chicago because food and views. If you’re looking for a way to pass the time before the draft, listening to us debate which is better, Cleveland or Detroit, is certainly a way to do it.

While you’re at it, check out the latest Kentucky Thrones Radio podcast, along with the KSR Baseball Podcast and Freddie’s Depth Chart Podcast. All can be found on the KSR Podcast feed on iTunes/Podbay/Sitcher/Itcher/Etcher/Etc. Speaking of…

8. Did you see the latest “Game of Thrones” trailer?

Only 24 more days.

9. Katina Powell will be on “Hey Kentucky!” tonight

Matt tweeted out this sneak peek of their interview, and I must say, kudos to Katina for sporting red and black. Her troll game is strong.

10. KSR is in Henderson

Come on out to the Sleep Outfitters in Henderson to hear Matt, Ryan, and Drew talk about the draft, Matt’s interview with Katina, and Rick Pitino’s ridiculous letter to UofL supporters. Because it really was ridiculous.


Three Dreams Realized: De’Aaron Fox, Malik Monk, and Bam Adebayo’s Paths to the Draft

Three Dreams Realized: De’Aaron Fox, Malik Monk, and Bam Adebayo’s Paths to the Draft

Tomorrow night, at least three Kentucky Wildcats will hear their names called in the NBA Draft, a moment De’Aaron Fox, Malik Monk, and Bam Adebayo have dreamed of their entire lives. Not only is being drafted the culmination of years of hard work for the players, it’s a testament to the countless sacrifices made by their families.

Every year on the night before the draft, I like to go back and revisit each player’s story to fully appreciate what the moment means. As Kentucky fans, we feel like we know these players better than anyone, but on the eve of the biggest night of their lives, let’s look at the blood, sweat, and tears that got them here.

De’Aaron Fox

Then…

In a way, De’Aaron Fox has his older brother Quentin to thank for getting him into basketball. Quentin is five years his senior and just before De’Aaron turned two, really got into basketball. The family was gathered at his grandmother’s house for Thanksgiving when De’Aaron noticed Quentin playing, and, like many little brothers do, De’Aaron picked up a plastic pumpkin bucket used for trick-or-treating to mimic him.

“It was just hilarious,” Lorraine Fox told Bleacher Report’s Reid Forgrave. “It was like, ‘OK, son, that’s not a basketball.'”

From there, Fox was hooked. He also played football when he was young (it was Texas, after all), but gave it up when he got tired of practicing outside in the unforgiving heat. Fox’s speed is undeniable, but his mind moves just as fast. Like many kids his age, Fox also loved video games, playing NBA2K as early as fourth grade for hours on end. Whereas gaming is often associated with lazy nerds, Fox and those around him credit the countless hours with controller in hand for sharpening his hand-eye coordination, concentration, and analytical thinking on the court.

Now…

Fox is predicted to go anywhere from second to fifth in tomorrow night’s draft, his most likely landing spot being Sacramento at No. 5. In a draft not short on stars, he’s emerged as the media darling thanks to his thoughtful, candid personality. The more Fox talks, the more Kentucky fans miss him. Not only did he tug on our heartstrings with an emotional tribute to his teammates in the locker room after the loss to North Carolina, he’s not afraid to speak his mind when it comes to topics like LaVar Ball. He really endeared himself this afternoon when he said of Kentucky, “We actually go to class, not like some other places.” Oh, snap!

De’Aaron will probably always be the player we wish we had gotten to know better earlier, but he’ll also be one to make us proud for years to come.


Malik Monk

Then…

As the tattoo on his chest will tell you, Malik grew up in “The Woodz,” aka the basketball courts in Lepanto, Arkansas, a tiny town with a population of 1,893. There’s nothing flashy about Lepanto — its poverty rate is more than double the national average — but Malik considers it home, even after his mother decided to move them to Bentonville to be closer to his older brother Marcus and expand his opportunities.

“Escaping Lepanto was always the goal. Malik just did it early,” Ron Crawford, the longtime president of Malik’s AAU team Arkansas Wings Elite, told the Memphis Commercial Appeal. “He would’ve been the hero of the town, but he wasn’t learning anything. I know a lot of people, it hurt their feelings when Malik left, but it changed his life. It changed his life as far as his vision.”

Malik’s vision prompted him to pick Kentucky over Arkansas despite relentless pressure from Razorback fans, who envisioned him following in his brother’s footsteps as a home state hero. But when Malik made his decision, his family stood behind him 100%. So did the Big Blue Nation, his new family.

“Kentucky fans made one thing crystal clear to me: They had my back,” Malik wrote in a letter in The Players’ Tribune. “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. And whether it was defending me on social media … or sending me messages about how excited they were for me to come play there … or alums getting in touch and letting me know what an amazing experience was in store for me in the fall … it really helped a lot. It helped turn an extremely tough situation into an extremely positive one. And it helped me realize that, just by committing to Kentucky, I was already a part of something special. And I’ll never forget that.”

Now…

Malik proved to be the most electric scorer in college basketball last year, lighting North Carolina up for 47 points back in December. Projected to go anywhere from sixth to eleventh, Malik will be a valuable asset for whichever team picks him, a player that can scorch opponents on almost any night. Most mock drafts have him going to the Knicks at No. 8, and even though New York City is a far cry from “The Woodz,” all you have to do is take one look at that tattoo to remember what got him there.


Bam Adebayo

Then…

Bam’s story has always centered around his mother, Marilyn. When Bam was seven, Marilyn moved them from the rough streets of Newark, New Jersey to the backwoods of North Carolina where she grew up. The two stayed with Marilyn’s sister until she got a job as a cashier at the Acre Station Meat Farm in Pinetown. Bam and Marilyn moved into a trailer nearby, and while she worked long hours, he played basketball. Bam was always a big kid — by now you know he earned his nickname by turning over a coffee table when he was one year old — but by age 13, he was already 6’6″. As Bam continued to draw attention for his size and power, his mother worked even harder to make sure he had what he needed.

“She fought for us,” Adebayo told Sports Illustrated’s Brian Hamilton. “She made it happen. She made it work. . . . Growing up in a trailer, you think everything you get is good. I always thought it was a gift from God, because some people are out here struggling and on the street. We had warmth. We had clothes. We had a roof over our head.”

There was no greater joy this season than watching Bam’s mother watch her son play. Marilyn, decked out in her custom “Yabba Dabba Blue” shirt, lit up every time Bam had the ball, and when there was a bad call, she made everyone in the stands aware. Who could forget her reaction to Kentucky’s win over Wichita State, in which her son “shut up” the Shockers’ Darral Willis, Jr., who had talked trash about Bam the day before:

Now…

Projected as a late first round/early second round pick a few months ago, Bam went home to North Carolina to think about his decision. After consulting with his mother and family members, he decided to keep his name in the draft. Now, after impressing teams with his shooting, he’s projected to go anywhere from the late lottery to the mid-20’s. Most mocks have him going to Indiana at No. 18 or Portland at No. 20, but after a recent workout with the Hornets, there were rumblings that Charlotte may be interested in taking him at No. 11. I think the folks in Pinetown would be pretty happy with that.

No matter the scenario, can you imagine a better “thank you” than the hug Bam will give his mother once his name is called tomorrow night?


The Top 10 NBA Draft Moments of the Calipari Era

The Top 10 NBA Draft Moments of the Calipari Era

On June 24, 2010, five Kentucky players were drafted in the first round of the 2010 NBA Draft, a night Calipari dubbed the greatest in the history of Kentucky Basketball. That statement raised plenty of eyebrows at the time, and seven years later, it continues to rub some fans the wrong way; however, there’s no denying that the draft has taken on a whole new meaning in the Calipari era. Over seven seasons, Kentucky has produced 28 NBA Draft picks, more than double any other school. All 18 of Kentucky’s one-and-done players have been drafted in the first round. The milestones continue to mount: three number one picks (all freshmen), the first and second picks in 2012, fourteen lottery picks, four players in the lottery in 2015. When you sit back and reflect on it all, in less than a decade, Calipari has put more players in the league than most programs will in their entire existence.

With three more players expected to join the ranks on Thursday night in De’Aaron Fox, Malik Monk, and Bam Adebayo, I thought it would be fun to look back at some of the best draft moments since Cal came on board. There are certainly plenty to choose from.

In chronological order…

2010: John Wall goes #1

Wall was Kentucky’s first ever #1 draft pick, a fitting end to the program’s meteoric rise from the ashes in Cal’s first year. Wall was a huge part of making Kentucky Basketball cool again, and when his name was called first, you couldn’t help but swell with pride.


2010: Five players drafted in the first round

After Wall went #1, the night just got better. DeMarcus Cousins was drafted 5th by the Kings, Patrick Patterson 14th by the Rockets, Eric Bledsoe 18th by the Thunder/Clippers, and Daniel Orton 29th by the Magic. That’s five players in the first round, which, of course, was an NBA record. Watch all five picks below:


2011: Jorts and DeAndre Liggins drafted

Brandon Knight and Enes Kanter being drafted wasn’t surprising, but the Big Blue Nation jumped for joy when Josh Harrellson’s name was called at #45. Through a trade with New Orleans, Jorts became a New York Knick, proving to boys and girls around the world that with a lot of hard work and some serious denim, anything is possible. Another cool moment came minutes later when DeAndre Liggins was drafted 53rd by the Orlando Magic. Under Calipari, Liggins found his role as a lockdown defender and left school early due to his family’s financial situation. After some ups and downs, he continues to find opportunities thanks to his hard-nosed defense, playing for the Cleveland Cavaliers last season, and now, the Dallas Mavericks.


2012: Anthony Davis and MKG go 1-2

Anthony Davis and Michael Kidd-Gilchrist went 1-2 in the 2012 NBA Draft, the first time in draft history two players from the same school have done so. Everyone knew Anthony Davis would go first, but MKG was a bit of a surprise at #2, making the shock and emotion on his face once his name was called even more moving:


2012: Six players drafted

Six Kentucky players ended up being selected in the 2012 Draft, the most from one school in NBA history. Sadly, Darius Miller didn’t make the photoshoot above, but his selection at #46 by New Orleans was heartwarming in its own right.


2013: Nerlens Noel’s suit

It was tough to see Nerlens, the projected number one pick, slide to sixth, but he took it in stride, proudly showing off the Kentucky jersey sewn inside of his jacket lining when his name was called by the New Orleans Pelicans. For a brief moment, fans rejoiced at the thought of Nerlens and Anthony Davis teaming up to make Nola Block City, but the Pelicans quickly traded Nerlens to the Philadelphia 76ers for Jrue Holiday. Unfortunately, Nerlens never really clicked in Philly, but now he’s getting a fresh start with the Dallas Mavericks.

Speaking of Nerlens, this GIF of him waving at the camera at the 2013 Draft Lottery is still a classic:


2014: Julius Randle vows to make teams that passed on him regret it

Amid rumors about his foot, Randle slipped to the Los Angeles Lakers at seventh, and afterwards, vowed to make the six teams that passed on him regret it; with the exception of Cleveland (who traded #1 pick Andrew Wiggins to Minnesota), Milwaukee (#2 – Jabari Parker), and Philly (#3 – Joel Embiid), I’m sure they do.


2015: Karl Towns goes #1

By 2015, two Kentucky players had been picked first in the draft in John Wall and Anthony Davis. That didn’t make it any less awesome when Karl Towns heard his name called first on draft night. The months following Kentucky’s loss to Wisconsin weren’t easy for Cats fans, but watching one of the program’s most likable players go first was a sweet, sweet moment. Even Karlito got to come:

Counting Karl, Calipari has coached four number one draft picks, twice as many as any other coach.


2015: Four players drafted in the lottery

Six Cats were drafted in 2012, tying the record Kentucky set back in 2012. The program made more history with four lottery picks: Karl Towns at #1, Willie Cauley-Stein at #6, Trey Lyles at #12, and Devin Booker at #13. The only downside to the 2015 Draft was Aaron Harrison not hearing his name called, but by the next morning, word broke that Aaron had signed with the Charlotte Hornets, making it an incredibly sweet night for the program.


2016: Tyler Ulis reunites with Devin Booker

The 2016 Draft wasn’t the most memorable, but one sweet moment came when Tyler Ulis finally heard his name called at #34 by the Phoenix Suns. Ulis slid out of the first round after rumors circulated about a hip injury, but teaming up with his best friend Devin Booker was a great consolation prize. The video of his family’s reaction is still one of my favorites.


BONUS: Joel Embiid’s non-reaction in 2014

This has nothing to do with Kentucky, but I can’t think of the draft without thinking of it. Due to a delay in the broadcast, ESPN’s cameras failed to capture Joel Embiid’s reaction in real time, producing one of the most awkward videos in draft history. That’s probably one reason why Embiid’s reaction to Philly’s draw in this year’s draft lottery was so exaggerated:

Either that or he’s just a goofball. Probably just that.


YAHTZEE: Florida Wide Receiver Flips Commitment from Louisville to Kentucky

@9GoLive

Three-star Florida wide receiver Akeem Hayes committed to Louisville on April 27.  Today he dropped the Cards to become a Kentucky Wildcat.

Hayes’ timing was impeccable, announcing the decision on Twitter just moments after the Cards lost to Florida in the College World Series.

Hailing from Chaminade-Madonna Prep in Hollywood, Florida, he is now the third player from the South Florida football powerhouse in UK’s 2018 class, joining defensive end Davoan Hawkins and wide receiver Marvin Alexander.

Considered the No. 65 athlete in the nation, Hayes was offered by Kentucky a month after he committed to UofL.  He camped in Lexington after making a stop in Louisville two weeks ago.  Now he’s a Wildcat.

I’d like to think this poll had something do with it.

See what Hayes has to offer Eddie Gran’s offense.


Team USA finalists announced, all three Wildcats advanced

John Calipari’s group of FIBA World Cup hopefuls has been narrowed down to 18 players out in Colorado Springs.

Among those 18, three Wildcats and several Wildcat targets made the cut.

Here’s the full list of finalists:

Bol Bol
Jordan Brown
Hamidou Diallo
Carsen Edwards
Kevin Huerter
Louis King
Kevin Knox
Romeo Langford
Brandon McCoy
Chuma Okeke
Josh Okogie
Payton Pritchard
Immanuel Quickley
Cameron Reddish
Mitchell Robinson
Quinton Rose
PJ Washington
Austin Wiley

Duke’s Marques Bolden, a former UK target, was one of the players cut from competition and sent home from Colorado.

The final 12-man roster will be named later this week.


Three Wildcats invited to NBA draft green room

Twenty of the NBA’s top prospects for the upcoming draft will be seated in the draft’s green room Thursday night when the picks are announced.

Kentucky will be represented by three of its former players: De’Aaron Fox, Malik Monk, and Bam Adebayo. A fourth Wildcat is also expected to be in the green room as John Calipari plans to fly to New York for the night from USA training camp in Colorado to be with his “sons.”

Take a look at the entire green room list:

Bam Adebayo, Kentucky
Jarrett Allen, Texas
OG Anunoby, Indiana
Lonzo Ball, UCLA
John Collins, Wake Forest
Zach Collins, Gonzaga
De’Aaron Fox, Kentucky
Markelle Fultz, Washington
Jonathan Isaac, Florida State
Josh Jackson, Kansas
Justin Jackson, North Carolina
Luke Kennard, Duke
T.J. Leaf, UCLA
Lauri Markkanen, Arizona
Donovan Mitchell, Louisville
Malik Monk, Kentucky
Frank Ntilikina, France
Justin Patton, Creighton
Dennis Smith, N.C. State
Jayson Tatum, Duke

Go Cats.


NBA analytics predict big things from… Isaac Humphries?

NBA analytics predict big things from… Isaac Humphries?

ESPN.com got all mathematical and analytical in projecting what we can expect out of all of the NBA prospects in this year’s NBA draft. Using a very complex and complicated method of projecting the future from FiveThirtyEight.com, ESPN determined the likelihood each player will become an All-Star, a starter or a role player in the league.

De’Aaron Fox is the most likely of the Kentucky bunch to become an All-Star, according to the study, which found Fox has an 8.3 percent chance of earning an All-Star bid, a 27.8 percent chance of being an NBA starter, and a 26.5 percent chance of falling into a smaller role within a rotation. Malik Monk has a better shot at starting with a 35.5 percent chance of being a regular in a starting lineup, but only a 6.9 percent chance of playing in an All-Star game and a 24.6 percent chance of only being a role player.

See the full list here

Then there’s the surprise down in the “Beyond The Lottery” section of the report where ESPN names four sleeper picks with bright futures.

Kentucky’s Isaac Humphries, who is projected to go undrafted, received high praise as a potential contributor in the league. The study found Humphries has a 13.3 percent chance of starting one day, the 23rd best percentage of the entire class.

Read more:

Isaac Humphries (Kentucky), Thomas Bryant (Indiana), Caleb Swanigan (Purdue) and Tyler Lydon (Syracuse) are all top-30 players in our projections, though none can be found within the top 29 picks of Chad Ford’s latest mock draft.

Humphries (not listed in either round of the mock) had a very high adjusted offensive rebound percentage while at Kentucky, and rebounding is the collegiate skill that most consistently carries over to the NBA, according to the projections. Humphries has little chance of becoming an All-Star, but the model gives him a 28 percent chance of being above a replacement-level player. His likelihood of being a role player should be attractive to teams at the end of the first round and into the second. [ESPN.com]

I don’t know how believable this whole study is, but it’s interesting to read how each prospect is expected to pan out through this particular system of analytics. Isaac Humphries’ projection is quite surprising and maybe a team will roll the dice on him in hopes it’s an accurate look at his future.

Read more here.