Former Wildcats Rake in Postseason NBA Honors
LEXINGTON, Ky. -- The Kentucky men's basketball team is not only helping players reach the NBA with unprecedented success, it's also preparing players to contribute in the professional ranks better than ever.
Four former Wildcats received All-NBA honors this week following another strong NBA season by players who played college ball at Kentucky. Anthony Davis (New Orleans Pelicans) was named to the All-NBA First Team and the NBA's All-Defensive Second Team, DeMarcus Cousins (Sacramento Kings) made the All-NBA Second Team, John Wall (Washington Wizards) was tabbed to the NBA's Second Team, and Nerlens Noel (Philadelphia 76ers) was named to the NBA's All-Rookie Team. Wall also received votes for the All-NBA teams.
-- Kentucky Basketball (@KentuckyMBB) May 21, 2015
Those awards come after a banner season by the Wildcats in the NBA in which eight former UK players and 11 total players who played for John Calipari made the NBA Playoffs. Terrence Jones and Joey Dorsey of the Houston Rockets are still alive in the postseason in the Western Conference Finals.
Davis headlined Kentucky's NBA success this season. The former No. 1 overall draft pick made his second NBA All-Star Game after leading the league in player efficiency rating and blocked shots. The 2012 national champion was among the league leaders in double-doubles and guided New Orleans to its first postseason berth since 2011.
Cousins, who just completed his fifth season in the league, was once again a force down low for Sacramento. The 6-foot-11 forward, who competed for the Wildcats during John Calipari's inaugural season at Kentucky in 2009-10, finished the regular season ranked third in double-doubles, third in rebounding and fifth in scoring. Well overdue for the honor, Cousins was named an NBA All-Star for the first time in 2015.
Wall guided the Wizards back to the NBA Playoffs for the second straight season with commanding leadership at the point guard position. A second-time NBA All-Star, Wall finished the regular season second in assists per game, seventh in double-doubles and 11th in steals per game. He nearly guided Washington to the Eastern Conference Finals despite having five non-displaced fractures in his left hand and wrist.
After sitting out an entire season while he recovered from knee surgery, Noel wasted no time in making a splash in the NBA. In just his rookie season in the NBA, Noel finished the regular season eighth in blocks per game, 11th in steals per game and 24th in rebounds per game.
Nineteen former Wildcats started the season on an NBA opening-day roster, more than any other school in the country. Eight of those players ended up making the NBA Playoffs, and when you add in Joey Dorsey, Tyreke Evans and Derrick Rose, 11 Calipari products were in the postseason. All told, seven of the 16 teams in the NBA Playoffs were represented by either a UK or Calipari player on its roster, or both.
With Calipari at the helm, 19 Wildcats have been selected for the NBA Draft in the last five seasons, including 15 in the opening round, two No. 1 overall selections, five top-five picks and nine lottery selections. With seven Wildcats declaring for the NBA Draft in April, those numbers should only grow following the 2015 NBA Draft on June 25.
-- Kentucky Basketball (@KentuckyMBB) May 20, 2015