Last night, three former Wildcats reached their dream of playing in the NBA, as PJ Washington, Tyler Herro, and Keldon Johnson were each selected in the first round of the NBA Draft.
Washington was the first to come off the board at No. 12 to Charlotte, followed immediately by Herro with the No. 13 pick to Miami.
From there, though, Johnson had to wait quite a bit in the NBA Draft Green Room, falling all the way to the bottom of the first round. The Cleveland Cavaliers were originally set to select the Wildcat forward at No. 26, but backtracked at the last minute to take Belmont’s Dylan Windler instead. And then three picks later, Johnson finally heard his name called when the San Antonio Spurs selected him with the No. 29 pick.
For a minute, it appeared Johnson would join Jarred Vanderbilt as the lone one-and-dones in the John Calipari era to slip to the second round. Instead, the former Wildcat’s selection allowed for Kentucky to have three first-rounders for the 5th time in 10 years.
As for the other two, Herro’s selection at No. 13 gave Calipari back-to-back lottery selections with former four-star recruits and the third since 2015 (Herro, Gilgeous-Alexander, Booker).
The Washington-Herro one-two punch was also the first time Kentucky has had back-to-back draftees since Trey Lyles and Devin Booker in 2015.
After being selected by their respective teams, all three former Kentucky stars wanted to thank the Big Blue Nation personally for their support during their time in Lexington:
Your newest #NBACats wanted to say thank you for all of the support you’ve shown them.
We want to say thank you to them for letting us be a part of their college careers.
— Kentucky Basketball (@KentuckyMBB) June 21, 2019
The fourth draft-eligible Wildcat, Reid Travis, went undrafted. He is expected to sign with a team as an undrafted free agent and work his way up to an NBA roster by taking the G-League route.
Kentucky is hitting the recruiting trail
Today starts yet another NCAA Evaluation Period for college coaches across the country, and the Kentucky coaching staff is ready to pounce on the opportunity to take a look at some of the top high school prospects in the nation.
Sources tell KSR that Kentucky assistant coach Joel Justus is expected to fly out to Phoenix, AZ today to check out the Section 7 Camp, where he will be watching 2020 five-star point guard Daishen Nix, 2021 five-star forward Michael Foster, and 2021 five-star guard Devin Askew, among others.
2020 five-star forward Makur Maker’s team, Orange Lutheran, is also participating in the event, but there are current questions surrounding his high school eligibility and his senior season may be in jeopardy.
Source: Kentucky is set to watch 2020 five-star point guard Daishen Nix in Phoenix, AZ on Friday night.
Told KSR last week that he’s hoping for a scholarship from UK soon because “not a lot of people where I’m from get offers like that.”
— Jack Pilgrim (@JackPilgrimKSR) June 20, 2019
Georgia is hosting a similar NCAA-certified event featuring the likes of 2020 five-star guards Sharife Cooper and BJ Boston, among others, and Kentucky is also expected to make an appearance there, as well.
Sources tell KSR that another assistant, likely Kenny Payne, is expected to check out the Titans/Rockets Summer Shootout in Shelby County starting today, where countless high-level local talents are set to participate.
We’ll have plenty of recruiting coverage this weekend.
TopGolf is officially coming to Louisville
On Thursday evening, Jefferson Circuit Judge Ann Bailey Smith dismissed a lawsuit against Topgolf’s project at Oxmoor Center in Louisville, ultimately paving the way for the groundbreaking of the new facilities.
“This is a tremendous day for Louisville, TopGolf, and Oxmoor Center,” the golf entertainment business and Oxmoor read in a joint statement on Thursday. “We look forward to breaking ground and bringing this exciting development to Louisville.”
Seen as a last-ditch effort to stop the building of the TopGolf facilities, the lawsuit was originally filed due to a simple naming technicality error in the paperwork.
Opponents to the project have been worried about increased noise and light coming from the entertainment complex, along with potential drunk drivers cutting through their Hurstbourne neighborhood at night.
KSR in an hour
With Matt Jones’ three-week vacation coming to a close, we’re down to just one final guest host on Kentucky Sports Radio.
This morning, ESPN’s Laura Rutledge is set to take over the big chair, where she will discuss the NBA Draft and her thoughts on where the former Wildcats ended up.
We wrap up all our guest hosts with @LauraRutledge in the big chair tomorrow morning! Lotta draft talk! Lotta sock talk! Lotta talk!
— Ryan Lemond (@ryanlemond) June 21, 2019
10:00 a.m. to 12:00 p.m.
You won’t want to miss it.