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Seven former UK players to compete in 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 – more than any other school in the country – after starting the year with 24 players on an opening-day roster.

Kentucky 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).”

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 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

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