The University of Kentucky and head coach John Calipari continued their dominance at the 2019 NBA Draft on Thursday night as the Wildcats had two players selected in the lottery and three first round selections overall.
Forward P.J. Washington was the first selection off the board for the Cats when he was taken No. 12 overall to the Michael Jordan owned Charlotte Hornets.
Coach Calipari, who was in attendance at the draft as usual, didn't have to wait long to hear another one of his players' names called as shooting guard Tyler Herro was selected with the next pick at No. 13 by former "Rupp's Runt" Pat Riley and the Miami Heat.
Washington will join former Kentucky stars Michel Kidd-Gilchrist and Malik Monk in Charlotte while Herro will join former UK big man Bam Adebayo in Miami.
Later in the first round at pick No. 29 small forward Keldon Johnson finally heard his name called as he was taken by the San Antonio spurs and will get to play with arguably the top coach in the NBA Greg Popovich.
Since John Calipari took over at Kentucky in the 2009-10 season, the Wildcats have had the most players drafted at 38, which is 14 more players taken than any other school. The 21 lottery selections are also the most during that span ahead of second place Duke (13) and third place Kansas (9).
They also have the most first round selections with 29 and are tied for the most No. 1 picks during that time with three. Duke tied Kentucky in that category on Thursday as phenom Zion Williamson was drafted No. 1 to the New Orleans Pelicans. The Blue Devils had three picks in the top 10 this year as R.J. Barrett was taken No. 3 by the New York Knicks and Cam Reddish was taken No. 10 by the Atlanta Hawks.
The only bad news on Thursday night for the Wildcats was the fact that graduate transfer Reid Travis did not hear his name called after his lone season at Kentucky. Travis averaged 11 points and seven rebounds for UK in his lone season after transferring over from Stanford.
He averaged over 18 points and nine rebounds in his junior season for the Cardinal and was First Team All PAC-12. He is expected to sign an undrafted free agent contract and try to earn a spot on NBA squad with his play in the NBA Summer League.
Speaking of undrafted free agents, former West Virginia center Sagaba Konate was signed by the world champion Toronto Raptors after going undrafted on Thursday night.
Konate leaves WVU as the all-time leader in blocked shots with 191 despite only playing in two full seasons. He considered entering the NBA Draft in 2018 after his sophomore season but ultimately decided to return to Morgantown where he only played in a handful of games because of injury.
Konate will get a chance to play his way into a roster spot in the Summer League and will also be able to play for the Toronto G-League affiliate, the Raptors 905.
Marshall all-time leading scorer and Charleston native Jon Elmore was not selected in either round. He is also expected to be signed as an undrafted free agent with a team and will get a chance to show off his talents in the upcoming Summer League.
In other basketball news, former Kentucky head coach Rick Pitino says he will not be returning to coach Panathinaikos, a Green professional team he led to the Greek League Championship this past season.
Pitino, who also had stints at Louisville and Providence in college and with the Boston Celtics and the New York Knicks in the NBA, says he is interested in landing a job back in the NBA either as a coach or in the front office per a report from ESPN.
The Naismith Hall of Famer won NCAA titles at Kentucky and Louisville, reached seven Final Fours and claimed conference titles in the Big East, SEC and ACC. His career has also been marred by scandals that led to his demise at Louisville, where a national title and two Final Four appearances were vacated. He was fired in 2018.
Jarrid McCormick is a sports reporter for the Williamson Daily News. He can be reached by email at jmccormick@HDMediaLLC.com.