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Keith Taylor: Future UK guard Fox impresses at Hoop Summit; former Wildcat Booker on fire for Suns

Two future Kentucky Wildcats — De’Aaron Fox and Wenyen Gabriel — participated in the Nike Hoop Summit last weekend and helped lead the United States to a 101-67 win over the World Select team.

Fox, who likely will take over at point guard for John Calipari’s Wildcats next season, scored nine points and dished out a team-high five assists. He also collected a pair of steals and played 15 minutes in the contest.

De'Aaron Fox scored nine points and had five assists in the Nike Hoop Summit last weekend

De’Aaron Fox scored nine points and had five assists in the Nike Hoop Summit last weekend

Gabriel tallied two points, had a block and grabbed four rebounds. Fox and Gabriel will join future teammates Malik Monk and Edice “Bam” Adebayo in the Jordan Brand Classic set for Friday at the Barclays Center in Brooklyn, N.Y.

In John Calipari’s seven seasons as coach of the Wildcats, 29 players have participated in the event, including John Wall, Anthony Davis and Karl-Anthony Towns.

Booker on fire

Former Kentucky sharpshooter Devin Booker is enjoying a successful rookie season with the Phoenix Suns.

Booker became the fourth youngest player in NBA history to score 1,000 points last weekend, joining Kobe Bryant, Lebron James and Kevin Durant on the exclusive freshman club.

Booker is averaging 13.7 points, 2.6 assists and 2.4 rebounds a game for the Suns this season and is the first rookie since Blake Griffin in 2010-11 to score at least 30 points in six games or more. He also has drained six 3-pointers in a game and hit at least one trey in 11 straight games, both Suns rookie records.

Booker is joined on the Phoenix roster by former Kentucky players Brandon Knight, Archie Goodwin and Eric Bledsoe. Despite the lofty numbers by Booker, former teammate Towns is poised to win the NBA Rookie of the Year Award.

Towns is averaging 18.3 points, 10.5 rebounds and 1.7 blocks per game. Although he’s averaging a double-double, Towns is showing no signs of letting down.

“I’ve never felt like I’ve had a good game,” Towns said to NBA.com recently. “It’s hard to get me to even say I played good. That’s just in me. I’m just never satisfied.”

No Kentucky player has been the NBA’s top rookie in the 63-year history of the award.

Tubby Smith honored

Former Kentucky coach Tubby Smith received the Wooden Legends of Coaching Award last week after leading Texas Tech to its first NCAA Tournament appearance in nine years in his third season in Lubbock.

The Red Raiders finished 19-13 last season and lost to Butler in the first round of the NCAA Tournament.

Smith has been mentioned as a possible successor to Josh Pastner at Memphis. Pastner, who replaced Calipari at Memphis, took over at Georgia Tech last week. Smith led Kentucky to the NCAA title in his first season with the Wildcats in 1998.

Reds rebuilding?

In what was supposed to be a rebuilding year for the Cincinnati Reds, it has been just the opposite during the first six games.

The Reds swept Philadelphia and took two of three games from the Pittsburgh Pirates during the first week of the season.

It’s a nice start, but the season is a marathon and not a sprint. It remains to be seen whether the Reds can keep up the pace, starting with a three-game series with the Chicago Cubs and a three-game set with the St. Louis Cardinals this weekend.

Green gets first win

Former Kentucky baseball standout Andy Green picked up his first win as manager of the San Diego Padres with a 13-6 victory over the Colorado Rockies Friday.

The Padres, who didn’t score a run in their first three games, tallied 29 in wins over the Rockies Friday and Saturday. San Diego began a four-game series with Philadelphia Monday.

Keith Taylor is a senior sports writer for KyForward, where he primarily covers University of Kentucky sports. Reach him at keith.taylor@kyforward.com or @keithtaylor21 on Twitter

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