Tuesday, April 25, 2017

Bam Adebayo To Hire Agent; Forgoes Remaining Eligibility

Kentucky men basketball freshman forward Bam Adebayo announced Tuesday he will officially hire an agent and remain in the 2017 NBA Draft, forgoing his remaining eligibility at Kentucky.

“After talking with Coach Cal, the staff and my family, I have decided it’s in my best interest to remain in the draft,” Adebayo said.

“This process we went through at Kentucky was a tough but a rewarding one. It was everything I wanted when I decided to come to Kentucky. It taught me a lot. It taught me how to be a better man on and off the court. I have improved so much since the beginning of the season thanks to the hard work of the coaching staff. They helped me with every step of the process along the way and they never gave up on me.

“I also want to thank my teammates. I couldn’t have asked for a better group to grow with. We were all like brothers. I also want to thank the fans for their support and everything they do for us. Their passion is like nothing I’ve ever seen before.”

Adebayo is the fifth underclassman to hire an agent, joining sophomores Isaiah Briscoe and Isaac Humphries and fellow freshmen De’Aaron Fox and Malik MonkFreshman Hamidou Diallo has also declared for the draft, but has not hired an agent.

Like Anthony Davis and Karl-Anthony Towns, who developed at Kentucky and went on to become NBA superstars, Adebayo evolved into an unstoppable post presence as the season progressed. The 6-foot-10 freshman from Little Washington, North Carolina, was arguably UK’s most effective player over the last month and a half, averaging a double-double during the Wildcats’ late-season 14-game winning streak.

For the year, Adebayo averaged 13.0 points and a team-best 8.0 rebounds per game. He also led the team in blocks per game (1.5) and double-doubles (eight), including five double-doubles over his last 11 games. He was a member of the All-Southeastern Conference Second Team and was also named to the All-SEC Tournament Team during his successful freshman campaign.
Playing in a guard-heavy lineup, Adebayo provided UK with its most consistent inside presence. His .599 field-goal percentage was the best among players attempting at least 100 shots for the season, and his 101 dunks on the year are more than any other Kentucky player under Calipari. Davis had 92 during the 2011-12 season.

Adebayo took his game to another level starting in February. He followed a 22-point, 15-rebound game at Missouri with an 18-point, 15-rebound effort vs. No. 13/12 Florida, accomplishing a pair of milestones in the process. His back-to-back double-doubles were the first of the season and put him in the team lead with five, while his back-to-back 15-rebound games marked the first such stretch since Jared Prickett accomplished the feat on Feb. 6 and Feb. 9, 1994. It was the first time a UK player had posted back-to-back games of at least 15 boards in consecutive SEC games since Sam Bowie on March 1 and March 3, 1984.

In the opening NCAA Tournament game vs. North Kentucky, Adebayo collected 18 rebounds, the most boards under Calipari in an NCAA Tournament game at Kentucky and the third most all-time in UK history in the tournament. Per ESPN Stats and Info, he became just the second UK player (Julius Randle in 2014) with a double-double in each of his first two NCAA Tournament games.

Since Calipari joined the Wildcat program for the 2009-10 season, UK has produced 28 NBA Draft picks over seven seasons, more than double any other school. Included in the 28 are 21 first-round selections, three No. 1 overall picks, 11 top-10 selections and 14 lottery picks.   

Of the 18 players in the Calipari era who declared for the NBA Draft after one season at Kentucky, all 18 were drafted in the first round.

Monday, April 24, 2017

The CATSPY Awards Were Held This Evening and Here Are Your Winners

The 15th annual CATSPY Awards were held Monday in Memorial Coliseum to recognize athletic and academic performances during the 2016-17 year in the UK Athletics department. With co-winners in some categories, 20 individuals were recognized as well as four teams.

“It’s a real pleasure to have everyone here tonight,” Athletics Director Mitch Barnhart said in a speech welcoming student-athletes, coaches, staff and fans. “As usual, everyone looks tremendous. It’s a night of celebrations, a night of achievement and a night of challenge. It’s been a real special year in a lot of ways.”

WKYT will air the CATSPY Awards at a later time to be announced. A replay is also available on UKathletics.com.

Headlining the awards this year were men's basketball and women’s swimming and diving.

The Kentucky men's basketball team, which had to replace 75.8 percent of its scoring and 70.0 percent of its rebounding from a season ago, won Male Team of the Year after winning its 48th regular-season Southeastern Conference championship and its 30th SEC Tournament title this season. The team also advanced to the Elite Eight for the sixth time in John Calipari’s eight years at Kentucky.

The Kentucky women’s swimming and diving team put together one of the best seasons in school history in 2016-17 to win Female Team of the Year. Spurred by gold-medal performances from freshman Asia Seidt and sophomore Geena Freriks, the Wildcats placed third at the SEC Championships to match their highest finish in program history. The team went on to post its highest point total ever at the NCAA Championships en route to a 14th-place finish, with eight women achieving All-America distinction across nine different events.

The Mr. and Miss Wildcat awards – dedicated in honor of the late Bruno Agostinelli, a UK men’s tennis All-American and past Mr. Wildcat winner – are given for all-around excellence in athletics, academics, character and service. Senior Jon Toth (football), an All-America honoree, an All-SEC First Team selection and a four-time SEC Academic Honor Roll member, won this year’s Mr. Wildcat honor. Senior Danielle Galyer (women’s swimming and diving) captured Miss Wildcat for the second year in a row after an illustrious career that has included winning the NCAA’s Elite 90 academic award in each of the last two seasons, the school’s first national championship in the 200-backstroke and multiple All-America honors.

Track and field won both the Male and Female Athlete of the Year awards. After winning the 2017 NCAA championship and the SEC championship in the indoor long jump, senior Sha’Keela Saunders took home Female Athlete of the Year. Junior Jacob Thomson won Male Athlete of the Year after a decorated year that included SEC championships in the 5,000- and 10,000-meter runs.

Women’s tennis captured Female Academic Team of the Year and men’s golf won Male Academic Team of the Year. The Female Scholar-Athlete of the Year was Galyer (women’s swimming and diving), a two-time NCAA Elite 90 winner. Paul Sime (men’s soccer), the 2017 winner of the Arthur Ashe Jr. Male Sports Scholar of the Year award, won Male Scholar-Athlete of the Year.

“We fight for our Kentucky home together,” Barnhart said. “Thirty-eight states, 18 countries, one department all play a really cool part in this really, really special story we call the University of Kentucky.”

A complete list of awards is below:

Community Service Award
Alex Carter (women’s soccer)
Sean Gunn (men’s swimming and diving)

Female Rookie of the Year
Jasmine Camacho-Quinn (women’s track and field)

Male Rookie of the Year
Malik Monk (men’s basketball)

Bill Keightley “Assist” Award
Ryan Clark (men’s basketball) 

Blue Heart Award
Kole Cottam (baseball)
Alex Montgomery (football)

Female Scholar-Athlete of the Year
Danielle Galyer (women’s swimming and diving)

Male Scholar-Athlete of the Year
Paul Sime (men’s soccer)

Female Academic Team of the Year
Women’s tennis

Male Academic Team of the Year
Men’s golf

Scratch Award
Paige Poffenberger (women’s basketball)

Supporting Role
Dominique Hawkins (men’s basketball)

Heart of a Wildcat
Makayla Epps (women’s basketball)
Evelyn Akhator (women’s basketball)

Female Athlete of the Year
Sha’Keela Saunders (women’s track and field)

Male Athlete of the Year
Jacob Thomson (men’s track and field)

Coach(es) of the Year
Mark Stoops (football)
John Calipari (men’s basketball)
Lars Jorgensen (swimming and diving)
Edrick Floréal (track and field)

Female Team of the Year
Women’s swimming and diving

Male Team of the Year
Men’s basketball

Miss Wildcat
Danielle Galyer (swimming and diving)

Mr. Wildcat

Sunday, April 23, 2017

Kentucky Freshman, Hamidou Diallo To Enter The NBA Draft, Will NOT Hire an Agent

Kentucky men’s basketball freshman guard Hamidou Diallo announced Sunday he has submitted his name for the 2017 NBA Draft but will not hire an agent. So long as Diallo does not hire an agent, he will have until May 24 (10 days after the NBA Draft Combine) to make a final decision as to whether he wishes to remain in the draft or return to Kentucky.

“Playing in the NBA has always been the ultimate goal for me,” Diallo said. “It’s part of what makes Kentucky so special is that it prepares you for the next level better than anywhere else. When I decided to enroll in school in January, my plan was to come to Kentucky to work on my game and to focus on school. At the end of the season, I knew I wanted to see where I was in the draft process and go through that so I could get a proper evaluation.

“That plan hasn’t changed and that’s why I am declaring for the NBA Draft. I do not plan on hiring an agent at this time. I want to see where my game is and explore my options. I just want to keep all doors open, and I want to thank Coach Cal, the coaching staff and my teammates for allowing me to pursue my dreams. My game has grown so much in the four months I’ve been at UK.

“I don’t know what the next few weeks are going to have in store for me, but I do know I’m going to work as hard as I ever have and keep an open mind. At the end of the day, this is a learning process for me and I appreciate the Big Blue Nation for being both understanding and supportive of my decision. I can’t thank you enough for making me a part of the family from day one.”

Diallo is the sixth underclassman from the 2016-17 Wildcats to announce intentions of turning pro. Guards Isaiah BriscoeDe’Aaron Fox and Malik Monk and forward Isaac Humphries have declared for the draft and either signed with an agent already or plan to. Freshman forward Bam Adebayo declared for the draft but will not hire an agent at this time, opening up the possibility of a return.

“With the information that will be available to Hami and the feedback he will receive by going through this process, I fully support his decision,” head coach John Calipari said. “It’s in Hami’s best interests to evaluate if now is his time or if he would be better served returning to school. Whatever Hami ultimately chooses to do, you’re talking about an athletic guard with great ball skills, an unbelievable finisher and a terrific defender. He’s gotten so much better in his four months with us and he’s only going to continue to get better.” 
Diallo enrolled at Kentucky in January after graduating from Putnam Science Academy in Connecticut in May. A top-10 prospect in the 2017 class before reclassifying, Diallo practiced with the team and was eligible to play in games, but he opted not to play this season in order to adapt to college competition, develop his game and focus on his academics.

Once he caught up during the midseason transition process, the 6-foot-5 guard from Queens, New York, became a key player in practice down the stretch as the Wildcats won the Southeastern Conference regular-season and tournament championships before advancing to the Elite Eight of the NCAA Tournament.

Diallo is a long and athletic wing with a ton of upside. A high-flying, high-scoring guard who excels at getting to the basket, Diallo is considered an elite finisher with a potential to be a lockdown defender.

Before reclassifying last season, he was rated as high as No. 9 (247 Sports) and no lower than No. 11 (ESPN) among the major recruiting services. Both 247Sports and Scout considered him the No. 1 shooting guard in the 2017 class.

In his final full season in high school, in 2015-16, Diallo led Putnam Science Academy to a 38-3 record with an appearance in the state semifinals. The two-time all-state honoree averaged 19.0 points, 6.0 rebounds and 3.0 assists in his senior season before graduating in the fall. He averaged 17.0 points and 4.0 rebounds as a junior.

Diallo was also a key member of the 2016 USA Men’s U18 National Team that won a gold medal at the 2016 FIBA Americas U18 Championship in July in Chile, where he averaged 7.6 points and 4.6 rebounds for Team USA.

The NBA Draft Combine will take place May 9-14 in Chicago. Players who have not hired an agent will have 10 days following that showcase opportunity to make a final decision as to whether to forego their athletic eligibility or return to school.

Since Calipari joined the Wildcat program for the 2009-10 season, UK has produced 28 NBA Draft picks over seven seasons, more than double any other school. Included in the 28 are 21 first-round selections, three No. 1 overall picks, 11 top-10 selections and 14 lottery picks.   

Through the 2016 NBA Draft, of the 18 players in the Calipari era who declared for the NBA Draft after one season at Kentucky, all 18 were drafted in the first round.

Thursday, April 13, 2017

Seven Wildcats Are Headed To The NBA Playoffs

Another banner NBA season for former Kentucky men’s basketball players ended Wednesday, closing the book on yet another year of broken records, historic individual performances and an ever-growing presence for the nation’s most prolific NBA-producing program.  

A total of 26 Kentucky Wildcats saw action in the NBA this season – far and away more than any other school in the country – after starting the year with 24 players on an opening-day roster. A full list of every Wildcat who played in an NBA game this season is below.

Head coach John Calipari also had two additional players from his time at Memphis in Derrick Rose (New York Knicks) and Tyreke Evans (New Orleans Pelicans/Sacramento Kings) play in the NBA in 2016-17.

Seven Wildcats will participate in the NBA playoffs, which begin Wednesday. The playoff-bound Wildcats include: Andrew Harrison (Memphis Grizzlies), Enes Kanter (Oklahoma City Thunder), Trey Lyles (Utah Jazz), Patrick Patterson (Toronto Raptors), Rajon Rondo (Chicago Bulls), John Wall (Washington Wizards) and James Young (Boston Celtics).

Kentucky not only dominated the NBA this season in terms of sheer numbers, the NBA Cats were among the top performers in the league all season long. Headlining superb individual seasons were Wall, Anthony Davis (New Orleans Pelicans), DeMarcus Cousins (New Orleans Pelicans), Karl-Anthony Towns (Minnesota Timberwolves) and Devin Booker (Phoenix Suns) – just to name a few.

Wall became the first player in NBA history to average at least 20.0 points, 10.0 assists, 4.0 rebounds, 2.0 steals and 0.5 blocks per game, according to the Wizards; Davis finished third in the NBA player efficiency rankings while winning NBA All-Star most valuable player honors; Cousins was among the league leaders in double-doubles; Booker recorded an unforgettable and Suns franchise record 70 points in a game; and Towns became the first player in NBA history to post 2,000 points, 1,000 rebounds and 100 3-pointers in a single season.

And that’s just a tip of the iceberg in a season chock-full of outstanding and – in many cases – record-breaking performances. Notes were compiled from the NBA, its teams, the Elias Sports Burea and ESPN Stats & Info (all notes are in chronological order):

·         Davis began the season with a 50-point, 15-rebound performance followed by a 45-point, 17-rebound day. According to ESPN Stats & Info, he was the first play to score at least 90 points in the first two games of a season since Michael Jordan (91 in 1986-87)
·         In late November, Cousins posted four straight games with at least 30 points, marking the longest such streak by a Kings player since Chris Webber in 2001
·         Towns posted 47 points and 18 rebounds vs. the New York Knicks on Nov. 30. According to ESPN Stats & Info (at the time), the last six 40-point, 15-rebound games in the NBA were by Kentucky bigs. That streak has since been broken
·         Jamal Murray was named the Western Conference Rookie of the Month for October/November after averaging 12.3 points per game in the month of November
·         Davis had a string of five straight 20-point, 15-rebound performances in late December through early January, making him one of just four players to have done that in the last 30 years, according to ESPN
·         Wall was named the NBA Eastern Conference Player of the Month for December after leading the Eastern Conference in assists (10.7 apg) and steals (2.67 spg) in addition to 24.5 points per game for the month of December
·         On Jan. 3, Julius Randle recorded his second triple-double of the season and the third of his career. He and the great Magic Johnson are the only players in Lakers history to record triple-doubles prior to the age of 22
·         Booker posted back-to-back 39-point performances vs. Dallas and San Antonio. According to basketball-reference.com, he is the youngest player in NBA history with three 39-point games as well as the youngest player in NBA history to log back-to-back 39-point games. In the game vs. the Mavericks, Booker scored 28 of his 39 points in the fourth quarter, the highest scoring output by a player in a single quarter in Suns franchise history
·         Eric Bledsoe posted three games of 40 points or more in a six-game stretch in late January and early February
·         Cousins became the fourth player in the NBA this season to have scored at least 45 points and grabbed at least 15 rebounds in a single game when he posted 46 points, 15 rebounds and five assists vs. the Philadelphia 76ers on Jan. 30 when he was with the Kings. Two of the other players are Davis and Towns
·         In a head-to-head matchup on Feb. 10, Davis posted 42 points and 13 rebounds while Towns had 36 points and eight boards. According to the Elias Sports Bureau, the last time two players who went to the same college scored 78 or more points in the same NBA game was on April 11, 2014, when Florida's Corey Brewer (51) and Chandler Parsons (27) combined to score 78 points
·         Jamal Murray stole the show at the BBVA Rising Stars Challenge at NBA All-Star weekend with a game-high 36 points, 11 assists and nine 3-pointers en route to MVP honors. His 36 points were the fourth most in the history of the game. Murray scored 27 points in the second half
·         Davis set an All-Star Game scoring record with 52 points in addition to 10 rebounds to win MVP. The record 52 points easily surpassed Wilt Chamberlain's previous mark of 42 points set in 1962. Davis became the second player from Kentucky to win MVP honors at the NBA All-Star Game, joining Adrian "Odie" Smith (1966)
·         With 39 points and 14 rebounds on Feb. 25, Davis posted his 14th 30-point, 10-rebound game of the season. According to the Elias Sports Bureau, that tied Moses Malone (1980-81) for the most in a season since the merger
·         Davis scored 24 points in the first quarter on Feb. 26, the most in any quarter in Pelicans history
·          Cousins, making himself at home in his first week in New Orleans, became the first player since Moses Malone (1986) to record 31 points and 10 rebounds in 22 minutes or less on Feb. 26
·         In just his fifth career game with the Pelicans, Cousins tied Tyson Chandler's franchise single-game record with 23 rebounds
·         On March 8, Towns became the second-youngest player in NBA history (Dwight Howard) to record his 100th career double-double
·         Davis posted 46 points and 21 rebounds on March 11. He became the first player since Chris Webber in 2011 with at least 46 points and at least 21 rebounds in a game
·         On March 13, Wall and Towns were named NBA Eastern and Conference Players of the Week, respectively. It's only the second time in NBA history that players from the same school have won the award in the same week. Reggie Miller and Baron Davis (from UCLA) both did it in April 2005
·         On March 15, Skal Labissiere became just the second player in Kings history to record 32 points at age 20 or younger when he scored a career-high 32 points in a win over the Suns Furthermore, he became the first rookie in 2017 to have a 30-point game.
·         On March 17, Wall recorded a career-high 20 assists. It's the most by a Wizards player since Rod Strickland had 20 on Feb. 10, 1988
·         Booker became the sixth player in NBA history to score at least 70 points in game in the Suns loss to the Celtics on March 24. It was the most points in Suns' franchise history. It was just the 11th 70-point game in NBA history, the first since Kobe Bryant scored 81 in 2006. It was the most points ever scored in Boston, edging Elgin Baylor's 64 in 1960, Michael Jordan's 63 in 1986 and Wilt Chamberlain's 62 in 1962. He is also the youngest player in NBA history to have scored at least 60 points in a game
·         Davis had four straight games of at least 30 points and at least 13 rebounds in late March, the first player with at least 30 pts and at least 13 rebounds in four straight games since Shaquille O’Neal in April 2000, according to Elias Sports
·         Wall, already the franchise’s career assists leader, broke Rod Strickland’s single-season franchise record for assists on April 2
·         On April 9, Booker moved ahead of Kobe Bryant (2,755) for the fourth-most points by a player before turning 21 years old in NBA history
·         Towns surpassed Kevin Love on April 12 for the franchise’s single-season scoring record
·         Wall became the first player in NBA history to average at least 20.0 points, 10.0 assists, 4.0 rebounds, 2.0 steals and 0.5 blocks per game, according to the Wizards
·         Towns is the first play in NBA history to record 2,000 points, 1,000 rebounds and 100 3-pointers in a season. He’s also the youngest player (the 15th overall and first since Tim Duncan in 2001-02) to tally 2,000 points and 1,000 rebounds in a season

The full list of Wildcats who played in the NBA this season:

Eric Bledsoe – Phoenix Suns
Devin Booker – Phoenix Suns
Willie Cauley-Stein – Sacramento Kings
DeMarcus Cousins – Sacramento Kings/New Orleans Pelicans
Anthony Davis – New Orleans Pelicans
Archie Goodwin – New Orleans Pelicans/Brooklyn Nets
Aaron Harrison – Charlotte Hornets
Andrew Harrison – Memphis Grizzlies
Terrence Jones – New Orleans Pelicans/Milwaukee Bucks
Enes Kanter – Oklahoma City Thunder
Michael Kidd-Gilchrist – Charlotte Hornets
Brandon Knight – Phoenix Suns
Skal Labissiere – Sacramento Kings 
DeAndre Liggins – Cleveland Cavaliers/Dallas Mavericks
Trey Lyles – Utah Jazz
Jodie Meeks – Orlando Magic 
Jamal Murray – Denver Nuggets 
Nerlens Noel – Philadelphia 76ers/Dallas Mavericks
Patrick Patterson – Toronto Raptors 
Alex Poythress – Philadelphia 76ers
Julius Randle – Los Angeles Lakers
Rajon Rondo – Chicago Bulls
Karl-Anthony Towns – Minnesota Timberwolves
Tyler Ulis – Phoenix Suns
John Wall – Washington Wizards
James Young – Boston Celtics

Friday, April 7, 2017

Malik Monk Wins 2017Jerry West Award

Kentucky freshman guard Malik Monk has already rewritten the Kentucky record books as one of the more prolific scorers in program history. He now owns the official designation as the top shooting guard of the 2016-17 college basketball season with the awarding of the Jerry West Shooting Guard of the Year Award.

Monk was announced as the 2017 winner during ESPN’s College Basketball Awards Show on Friday. Monk was on site in Los Angeles to receive the prestigious award presented annually by the Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame to the top shooting guard in the country.

The UK sharpshooter, who announced Tuesday his intentions to declare for the NBA Draft and sign with an agent, is the first player in program history to win the award and the second in school history to win one of the Hall of Fame’s historic positional awards after Tyler Ulis was the Bob Cousy Point Guard of the Year a season ago. Monk is the third player to ever win the West Award, joining Ohio State’s D’Angelo Russell in 2015 and Oklahoma’s Buddy Hield in 2016 as the others to do so.

The Southeastern Conference’s Freshman of the Year, Monk beat finalists Marcus Foster (Creighton), Luke Kennard (Duke), Peter Jok (Iowa) and Bryce Alford (UCLA) to win the award. 

A national committee comprised of top college basketball personnel determined the initial watch list of 20 candidates in October, trimmed it down to 10 in February and named the final five finalists in March. The winner of the West Award was determined by a combination of fan votes and input from the Basketball Hall of Fame’s selection committee.

The Jerry West Award is named after Jerry West who attended West Virginia University and averaged 24.8 points and 13.3 rebounds per game in his three varsity seasons. He led his team to the NCAA Championship game in 1959 and was named a consensus All-American in 1959 and 1960. In the summer of 1960, he was co-captain of the U.S. men’s basketball team and won an Olympic gold medal. As a professional player, West played 14 seasons in the NBA with the Lakers, making the All-NBA First Team 10 times. West won an NBA championship in 1972 and was named the NBA Finals MVP in 1969 despite his team not winning the championship. In 1996, he was named a member of the NBA’s 50th Anniversary All-Time Team.
Monk posted one of the greatest all-time individual seasons for an elite scorer in school history while leading the Wildcats to a regular-season and SEC Tournament title. UK finished the year with a 32-6 overall record and advanced to the Elite Eight of the NCAA Tournament.

Monk became one of the nation’s most dynamic and exciting players to watch throughout the season. He concluded the year owning the UK freshman record of points scored with 754, passing Jamal Murray’s output of 720 from a season ago. His record-breaking 754 points is also fourth all-time in UK’s history books regardless of class, trailing only Dan Issel (948; 1970), Jodie Meeks (854; 2009) and Jamal Mashburn (767; 1992).

He finished his freshman season averaging 19.8 points per game, second among all freshman nationally, and reached double-figure scoring in all but two games this season.   

The Lepanto, Arkansas, native produced 18 games of 20 points or more, including a Kentucky freshman record 47 points vs. North Carolina in December. Monk is the only freshman in program history with four 30-point games, and six times this season he scored at least 20 points in a half. In addition to scoring 37 points at home vs. Georgia and 30 in a half against Georgia, he hit the game-winning shot vs. North Carolina and the game-tying shot to force overtime in the win at home vs. the Bulldogs.

Monk made 104 3-pointers on the season, not far behind Jodie Meeks’ school record of 117.

Just last week, Monk was named a consensus NCAA second-team All-American, becoming John Calipari’s eighth consensus All-American in his eight years as head coach of the Wildcats.

Among the honors Monk has received this postseason:

·        Jerry West Shooting Guard of the Year
·        NCAA Consensus All-America Second Team
·        SEC Player of the Year (AP)
·        SEC Newcomer of the Year (AP)
·        SEC Freshman of the Year (Coaches)
·        All-SEC First Team (AP/Coaches)
·        All-SEC Freshman Team (Coaches)
·        AP All-America Second Team
·        NABC All-America Second Team
·        USBWA All-America Second Team
·        Sporting News All-America Second Team
·        Sporting News Freshman All-America Team
·        USA Today All-America Second Team
·        NBC Sports All-America Second Team
·        Wooden Award All-American
·        USBWA District IV Player of the Year
·        USBWA All-District IV Team
·        Wooden Award Finalist
·        NABC All-District 21 Team

Thursday, April 6, 2017

Three Kentucky Signees To Participate in Nike Hoops Summit Tomorrow Night

Three future Kentucky men’s basketball players are set to participate in the annual Nike Hoop Summit in Portland, Oregon, on Friday. Guards Quade Green and Shai Gilgeous-Alexander will join forward Nick Richards in the game set to tipoff at 10 p.m. ET on ESPN2.

Gilgeous-Alexander and Richards will represent the World Team, while Green will suit up for the USA Team. All players must be 19 years old or younger to participate in the 20th annual event.

UK can only publicize prospects who have signed a national letter of intent or a financial aid agreement. The next signing period begins April 12.

The Hoop Summit has had success in featuring some of the world’s elite players. According to the event, as of December 2016, 70 former U.S. players and 38 former members of the World Team have been active in the NBA. Included in those numbers are former Kentucky Wildcats in Anthony Davis, DeMarcus Cousins, Archie Goodwin, Aaron Harrison, Andrew Harrison, Michael Kidd-Gilchrist, Enes Kanter, Brandon Knight, Skal Labissiere, Trey Lyles, Jamal Murray, Nerlens Noel, Julius Randle, Marquis Teague and Karl-Anthony Towns.

The 2016-17 Kentucky team also featured some former Nike Hoop Summit participants in Isaiah Briscoe, De’Aaron Fox, Wenyen Gabriel and Tai Wynyard.

Gilgeous-Alexander will come to Kentucky out of Hamilton Heights Christian Academy in Chattanooga, Tennessee. Originally, from Canada, Gilgeous-Alexander was a member of the 2016 Canadian Men’s U18 National Team that captured the silver medal at the 2016 FIBA Americas U18 Championship over the summer. He averaged 7.8 points, a tournament-best 5.4 assists and 3.0 steals per game, second best in the field. ESPN, Scout and 247Sports tab him a top-50, four-star prospect. He capped his season averaging 18.4 points, 4.4 rebounds and 4.0 assists per game.

Green is considered a five-star point guard prospect by Rivals, ESPN and Scout. ESPN ranks him as high as the No. 22 overall prospect in the class, while Rivals has him at No. 23, Scout tabs him at No. 25 and 247Sports list him at No. 31. Green just closed out a prolific high school career that saw him capture four state championships, including a 22-point, eight-assist and two-steal performance on March 23 to lift Neumann-Goretti to the title. Green, was named the 2016 Pennsylvania Class 3A Player of the Year as a junior, was a part of the 2016 FIBA Americas U18 Championship team that won a gold medal in Chile. He averaged 18.7 points, 4.2 rebounds and 3.8 assists in leading Neumann-Goretti High School to the Pennsylvania state championship in 2015-16.

Richards will be the second player in the Calipari era to join Kentucky out of the Patrick School in Elizabeth, New Jersey. National champion and No. 2 overall NBA Draft selection, Kidd-Gilchrist was the other. Richards is ranked in the top 20 by the major recruiting services, including ESPN (No. 12), 247 Sports (No. 15), Scout (No. 17) and Rivals (No. 19). 247Sports tabs him as the second-best center in the class. He’s a consensus five-star prospect. Richards joined fellow UK players Towns and Briscoe as other high school stars to lead their teams to the New Jersey Tournament of Champions when he led The Patrick School to a 64-45 win. Richards scored 24 points and had 12 rebounds in the win.