Eric Bledsoe – Los Angeles Clippers
Keith Bogans – Brooklyn Nets
DeMarcus Cousins – Sacramento Kings
Anthony Davis – New Orleans Hornets
Josh Harrellson – Miami Heat
Chuck Hayes – Sacramento Kings
Terrence Jones – Houston Rockets
Enes Kanter – Utah Jazz
Michael Kidd-Gilchrist – Charlotte Bobcats
Brandon Knight – Detroit Pistons
Doron Lamb – Milwaukee Bucks
DeAndre Liggins – Oklahoma City Thunder
Jodie Meeks – Los Angeles Lakers
Darius Miller – New Orleans Hornets
Nazr Mohammed – Chicago Bulls
Daniel Orton – Oklahoma City Thunder
Patrick Patterson – Houston Rockets
Tayshaun Prince – Detroit Pistons
Rajon Rondo – Boston Celtics
Marquis Teague – Chicago Bulls
John Wall – Washington Wizards
Now that’s a list of Basketball Talent! Each one a current NBA player, contributing greatly to his respective team. Every one of them was a member of a University of Kentucky Basketball team.
University of Kentucky Basketball has a long tradition of NBA talent.
So many University of Kentucky Basketball players have gone on to NBA careers that it would be impossible to list them all here. The Wildcats have been one of the most prolific providers of professional talent to the NBA, standing at number 3 all-time with 91 Draft Picks and 72 Players who played in the NBA at least one season.
Starting with Bob Cluggish in 1947, University of Kentucky Basketball has had a steady stream of both “role” players, as well as its share of standouts.
- Frank Ramsey (1955-1964)
- Cliff Hagan (1957 – 1970)
- Pat riley (1968-1976); also went on to be one of the NBA’s great Coaches and Executives
- Louie Dampier (1968-1979)
- Dan Issel (1971-1985); also went on to be one of the NBA’s great Coaches and Executives
- Sam Bowie (1985-1995)
- Kenny “Sky” Walker (1987-1995)
- Rex Chapman (1989-2000)
- Antoine Walker (1997-2008)
The list above represents some of the more well-known names from UK to go on to the pros. There are a multitude of others however, many that some fans don’t remember, or never knew about. For example, did you know that Rob Lock was drafted into the NBA in 1989 alongside Rex Chapman, and played 20 games? Now true, the “greats” are legendary, but it’s the guys that most of the country never heard about, or took notice of, that make us as University of Kentucky Basketball fans the most nostalgic.
“I wonder what ever happened to that guy? Man, I loved watching him play.”
Current NBA Players
The list at the top of the page represents the current batch of NBA Wildcats, and there are some great talents in that gene pool.
- Nazr Mohammed as of this article writing had played 855 NBA games, fourth behind Dan Issel, Louie Dampier and Antoine Walker; and played key roles on several teams.
- Tayshaun Prince is still a major player for the Detroit Pistons, along with another recent University of Kentucky Basketball draft pick Brandon Knight.
- Other Wildcat standouts such as Anthony Davis, John Wall, the incomparable Rajon Rondo, are current or potential NBA All-Stars, and will give us much pride and enjoyment for years to come.
Perhaps though, the reason I love the University of Kentucky Basketball NBA players the most, is the continual turn out of not only Basketball Talent, but that ever intangible trait known as “heart”.
- Eric Bledsoe has a drive to succeed that has made him a valuable member of a potential NBA Championship Clippers team.
- Guys like Terrence Jones, Patrick Patterson, Josh Harrelson, DeAndre Liggins and Chuck Hayes have been scraping along in the pros, literally, “making” themselves valuable enough to be kept on highly talented and competitive rosters.
But perhaps my personal NBA favorite son from the University of Kentucky Basketball comes in the form of homegrown talent Darius Miller. This 22 year old Maysville, KY native grew up watching Wildcat Basketball, and dreamed of playing for the Cats one day. After sticking with a waning program through lean years, his dream was not only realized, but lived to its ultimate end as a National Champion in March of 2012. Drafted to the Hornets in the 2nd Round of the 2012 NBA Draft, Miller exemplifies the ultimate in “professional” basketball. Loyalty and hard work forged in fire are what being a great Wildcat is all about.
NBA Players from the University of Kentucky Basketball Program
Since its inception, the NBA has had University of Kentucky Basketball players throughout. With 13 players winning NBA Championships a total of 18 times, and 10 players named as NBA All-Stars a total of 17 times, it’s obvious that the University of Kentucky Basketball Program is something the NBA is going to need around for as long as it’s around.