LEXINGTON, Ky. – Nineteen former Kentucky Wildcats were on opening-day NBA rosters, which were released league-wide Tuesday. Kentucky’s total former players in the league trump any other school in the country.
UK’s longest tenured member in the NBA is Nazr Mohammed who enters his 17th season in 2014-15, and the third with the Chicago Bulls. Kentucky’s newest members to the league are Julius Randle and James Young who enter their rookie seasons with the Los Angeles Lakers and Boston Celtics, respectively.
Four different franchises have two former Cats: Boston (Rajon Rondo, James Young), New Orleans (Anthony Davis, Darius Miller), Phoenix (Eric Bledsoe, Archie Goodwin) and Toronto (Chuck Hayes, Patrick Patterson).
Coach John Calipari has coached 19 players who have been drafted over the last five seasons. Fifteen players were selected in the first round with eight going in the opening 10 selections. All three of those totals are the best marks of any school in the country in the five-year span.
Furthermore, Coach Calipari has had at least one player selected in the top 10 of the draft in each of the last seven seasons dating back to his time at Memphis. No other school in the country has had a first-round selection in each of the last seven seasons. Calipari is the only coach in the history of the sport to have three of his players drafted No. 1 overall (Derrick Rose – 2008, John Wall – 2010, Anthony Davis – 2012).
Entering the 2014-15 NBA season, Kentucky players comprise 4.2 percent of all players in the league.
The NBA season officially tips off on Tuesday. Four former Wildcats will take the court tonight on the league’s opening night. Davis and Miller with the Pelicans host the Orlando Magic at 8 p.m. ET, while Terrence Jones’ Rockets visit Randle and the Lakers at 10:30 p.m. ET.
Former Wildcats on NBA Rosters::Rajon Rondo, Boston
James Young, Boston
Michael Kidd-Gilchrist, Charlotte
Nazr Mohammed, Chicago
Jodie Meeks, Detroit
Terrence Jones, Houston
Julius Randle, LA Lakers
Tayshaun Prince, Memphis
Brandon Knight, Milwaukee
Anthony Davis, New Orleans
Darius Miller, New Orleans
Nerlens Noel, Philadelphia (pictured)
Eric Bledsoe, Phoenix
Archie Goodwin, Phoenix
DeMarcus Cousins, Sacramento
Patrick Patterson, Toronto
Chuck Hayes, Toronto
Enes Kanter, Utah
John Wall, Washington
Photo by Jamie H. Vaught