TOP 10 NBA PLAYS FROM FORMER KENTUCKY PLAYERS
If you want to play basketball in the NBA, why would you not play basketball at the University of Kentucky, if they wanted you?
Maybe I should re frame that, If you want to play basketball in the NBA at the highest level, and be the best basketball player you can possibly be, why would you not play your college basketball at the University of Kentucky? It is a well established fact that Kentucky just doesn’t put players in the NBA, they put kids in the NBA with the mindset and skill set development to maximize their NBA career. Did you hear what I just said? Kids with raw talent are a dime-a-dozen. If a kid doesn’t want to be coached, and thinks they are all that, Kentucky will back off the recruiting process. We have seen that happen over and over. We all can name the names of 5 star high school recruits that Kentucky backed away from. Yes, some made it to the NBA, but without a foundational year or two at Kentucky the number of those kids that never signed a 2nd year NBA contract is not only horrifying, it is sad. Calipari and his staff know what it takes to have a long NBA career that is profitable for the player. During the players time at Kentucky that is their focus. Helping each player maximize their talent and prepare for their future. One of the lasting legacies of the John Calipari era - and the one the Kentucky basketball coach himself focuses on and is most proud of - is the number of Wildcats that have gone on to fulfill their dreams of playing in the NBA. Calipari understands the path and his responsibility at a level that most coaches seriously have never considered. He understands at a very high level During his first 10 years at the University of Kentucky, Calipari has coached a total of 38 players that have become NBA Draft picks, starting with five first-round selections in the 2010 draft, when Calipari infamously declared it to be perhaps "the biggest day in Kentucky basketball history." Many Kentucky fans and quiet frankly legendary Kentucky hero’s like Dan Issel didn’t understand this insightful statement. After the 2010 draft day is the day I went 100% on in on John Calipari. UK has produced three No. 1 overall picks, several NBA All-Stars and dozens of pros under Calipari's guidance. The combined salaries of those Cats is now in the billions, and many of Kentucky's former stars are still not in their prime as professionals. The number of families that will never be the same is what blue collar John Calipari lives for. I respect that and I wish more Kentucky fans could, it would make every season much more enjoyable. Freaking out over early season losses is wasted worry. Caliparis track records speakes for itself. Come March we are going to be in the in the middle of March Madness. We play for March!
The past several seasons have been a blast for Kentucky fans, especially those that follow the pro game. I believe the future will be even brighter. Calipari has joking said one day ½ the NBA ALL STARS will be former University of Kentucky Players. Joke? Is it a possibility? I believe Calipari believes it could happen, and that is what makes him arguably the best college basketball coach in history.
We all get tired or morons that call themselves Kentucky fans who ignore the facts and Cal's track record and demand we fire him after every disappointing loss. Who do they think is going to replace him? Do you remember where we were before Cal got here with John Wall, Cousins, and Eric Bledsoe?
When he says, it is all about the kids, his players, he sincerely believes it, and proves it with his words and actions, every day. If fans, administration, or anyone else doesn’t understand, he understands, but it is not going to stop him from doing everything he possibly can to help his players reach their NBA Dreams! If you are a Kentucky fan who believes it is only about hanging banners at Kentucky, I get it. There is nothing I am looking forward to more than #9. But John Calipari’s calling is to help kids reach their dreams, and the sooner you accept that the more you will enjoy the journey and every Kentucky Wildcats game day. How many times do we have to hear John Calipari say We Play for March? As fans, anytime we ask ourselves as it relates to a specific UK Basketball game, and Calipari’s decidisons…….When you ask yourself. Why are they doing this? Why is he playing them? Why is so and so on the bench? Just remember, WE ARE PLAYING FOR MARCH! These have been Calipari's top 10 NBA players as UK's head coach ... so far at least according to their contracts and NBA stats. However if you have followed the thought process of this article the bottom ten players that would be on the Kentucky NBA players list would probably be and even more impressive list. But here are the Top 10 Kentucky players in the NBA.
Anthony Davis - The unanimous choice for the best college player during the Calipari era was also our staffs choice for the best NBA player that UK has produced in that span. The first-round pick of the New Orleans Hornets (now Pelicans) in 2012 has averaged 23.7 points and 10.5 rebounds over the past seven seasons, and his 2.4 blocks per game leads all active NBA players. The six-time All-Star has appeared in just 13 playoff games and been on the winning side of just one playoff series so far in his career, but Davis joined LeBron James and the Los Angeles Lakers this off season. Big expectations will follow. Davis, still just 26 years old, has two seasons remaining on a five-year, $127,171,313 contract. Not only is he a NBA ALL START, like most former Kentucky players, he is an All Star human being.
John Wall — The first UK megastar of the Calipari era became the program’s first No. 1 overall draft pick in 2010, going to the Washington Wizards and quickly establishing himself as one of the league’s top point guards. Wall has averaged 19.0 points and 9.2 assists per game over nine seasons — earning All-Star honors five times — but the past two seasons have been marred by injuries, and he could miss the entire 2019-20 campaign with a ruptured Achilles’ tendon. He’s been in 37 playoff games and is due to make $171 million over the next four years. There was no bigger cheerleader for the Cats in Madison Square Garden this year when the Cats knocked off #1 Michigan State than John Wall. The former Kentucky star was a fixture on the sideline, leaping out of his courtside seat to cheer after each big play and supporting future Kentucky Wildcat Jonathan Kuminga who was in the crowd.
Karl Anthony Towns The third No. 1 overall pick during Calipari's time at UK went to the Minnesota Timberwolves in 2015 and has averaged 22.3 points and 11.9 rebounds per game over four seasons. Towns, still just 23 years old, is also Calipari's only NBA Rookie of the Year during his time at Kentucky. He's still looking for his first playoff series victory and is due to make $158,253,000 over the next five seasons.
Devin Booker "And he didn't even start!" Calipari would say about the shooting guard who settled into a "platoon" bench role on the 38-1 team before being selected with the No. 13 pick in the 2015 draft. Some Kentucky fans needs to re-read that sentence! This is what John Calipari understand. T ogether
E veryone A chieves
M ore Booker emerged as a starter in his rookie season with the Phoenix Suns and averaged 26.6 points per game this past season. In 2017, he became just the sixth player in NBA history to score 70 points in a game. Booker is due to make $158,253,000 over the next five seasons.
DeMarcus Cousins The No. 5 overall pick by the Sacramento Kings in the 2010 draft, Cousins has averaged 21.2 points and 10.9 rebounds over nine seasons. He was with the Golden State Warriors this past season - limited to just 30 regular-season games due to injury - and will join the Los Angeles Lakers for the 2019-20 campaign. The four-time All-Star will have earned an estimated total of $89.5 million after this season.
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The third member of Calipari's first UK team to make this list, Eric Bledsoe exceeded his recruiting expectations and was selected with the No. 18 overall pick in the 2010 draft. Since then, he's averaged 14.1 points per game, most recently tallying 15.9 points per game as a starter for the Eastern Conference regular-season champion Milwaukee Bucks. Bledsoe was an NBA all-defensive first-team selection this year and by the end of next season will have made more than $92 million in earnings. Eric displayed his confidence and grit in my opinion coming to Kentucky after John Wall had already committed. (They played the same position in high school)
7. Julius Randle The top player on UK's 2014 Final Four team was the No. 7 overall pick by the Los Angeles Lakers that year. He was lost for the season due to an injury in his very first NBA game but bounced back and has averaged 15.4 points and 8.9 rebounds per game over his career so far. This off season, Randle signed a three-year, $62.1 million contract with the New York Knicks.
The Denver Nuggets selected Murray with the No. 7 overall pick in the 2016 draft, and he's already emerged as one of the franchise's key players. The Canadian guard averaged 18.2 points and 4.8 assists per game last season and recently agreed to a five-year contract extension worth nearly $170 million. Jamal's basketball card prices are going up in value as NBA collectors are all expecting Jamal to have a long productive NBA career.
The youngest player on this list, Fox is still just 21 years old and has played only two seasons in the NBA, but it's clear he's an emerging star. The No. 5 overall pick in the 2017 draft averaged 17.3 points and 7.3 assists during a breakout second season with the Sacramento Kings, and he's due to make a total of $35 million by the end of the 2021-22 season. A bigger payday is on the horizon. This is another former UK Player in the NBA that sports card collectors are loading up on.
Enes Kanter - He never played a game at Kentucky, but Kantucky was still part of the 2010-11 team and went to the Utah Jazz with the No. 3 pick in the 2011 draft. He's since played for Utah, Oklahoma City, New York and Portland, averaging 11.9 points and 7.6 rebounds per game for his NBA career. Kanter has already earned nearly $90 million in contracts and recently signed a two-year deal with the Boston Celtics.
Other players receiving votes: Shai Gilgeous-Alexander, Brandon Knight, Patrick Patterson, Michael Kidd-Gilchrist, Willie Cauley-Stein and many more who will all have successful NBA Careers. I have heard it said "Only Fools Argue with FACTS". Coach John Calipari at Kentucky is the best thing that has ever happened for young men who have a Dream to play in the NBA .... PERIOD...The facts are not debatable.
You don't have to be a one-and-done player. PJ Washing, Nick Richards and many other stars have shown us that. As Cal has said, every player is on their own personal time table. Come to Kentucky and Cal and his staff will be as committed to your NBA dream as you are. They can't do the work for you, but will give you every chance to become the best player you can be. As a Kentucky fan I appreciate the positive impact the University of Kentucky basketball program has had on so many families with kids perusing their NBA dream. **