Cats tracker: Former UK, Coach Cal players in the NBA

No school produces more NBA players like Kentucky and John Calipari.

As the NBA opens its 2012-13 regular season, no school has more players on an opening-day roster than UK. With six more Kentucky Wildcats drafted into the NBA in 2012, there are now 21 players on an NBA roster. That number could increase if a couple of free agents find teams over the coming days, weeks and months.

Fifteen players have been drafted out of Kentucky over the last three seasons, the most of any school over a three-year period. Eleven of those players were drafted in the first round.

And those are just Kentucky players.

Coach Cal has now coached eight top-five NBA Draft picks, with three of those seven being No. 1 selections: Derrick Rose (2008), John Wall (2010), and Anthony Davis (2012).

Now, more than ever, the Big Blue Nation is keenly interested in the NBA, and with the 2012-13 set to tip off Tuesday night, it’s time to review where the Wildcats (and other Coach Cal players) will be hitting the hardwood.

To keep up with Coach Cal’s players all season long, check out our NBA players page.

Former UK players in the NBA

(* indicates player played for Coach Cal)

*Eric Bledsoe — Los Angeles Clippers
2011-12 stats — 3.3 points, 1.6 assists, 1.6 rebounds
Although Bledsoe plays second-fiddle to Chris Paul at the point-guard spot, he’s proved his worth as a strong backup point, as well as occasionally playing shooting guard. There were trade rumors surrounding Bledsoe during the summer, but the Clippers picked up his contract option in September, an option which will pay him nearly $6 million over the next two years. After a tremendous preseason, some believe he could be the breakout player of the year.

Keith Bogans — Brooklyn Nets
2010-11 stats with Chicago Bulls — 4.4 points, 1.8 rebounds, 1.2 assists
Embarking on his 10th season in the NBA, Bogans has recently fought a number of health issues related to his right knee, left ankle and deltoid ligament. When healthy, Bogans will be playing behind Joe Johnson and MarShon Brooks on the Nets’ roster, so playing time could be scarce. Bogans, though, is a great locker-room guy and will provide perimeter depth and defense as the Nets move from New Jersey to Brooklyn.

*DeMarcus Cousins — Sacramento Kings
2011-12 stats — 18.1 points, 11.0 rebounds, 1.6 assists, 1.4 steals, 1.2 blocks
Big Cuz, set to make just over $3.8 million this season, increased his field-goal accuracy by 18-percentage points from his rookie year, his scoring by four points and he snagged two-and-a-half more rebounds per game. At only 22 years old, Cousins has not yet begun to be as good as he will some day be.

John Calipari joined Anthony Davis and Michael Kidd-Gilchrist in Newark, N.J., for the NBA Draft. (Associated Press photo)

*Anthony Davis — New Orleans Hornets
2012 preseason stats — 14.9 points, 9.9 rebounds, 1.6 blocks
The No. 1 pick in the 2012 NBA Draft is drawing praise from high places these days, as LeBron James and Miami Heat coach Eric Spoelstra recently witnessed Davis score 24 points and grab 11 rebounds against the NBA champs in a preseason game. “He’s going to be a heck of a player,” James said after the contest. “He showed it tonight.” Davis is at the center, literally, of the Hornets re-building efforts, a basketball responsibility “The Brow” is well-equipped to handle.

*Josh Harrellson — Miami Heat
2011-12 stats with New York Knicks — 4.4 points, 3.9 rebounds
Harrellson injured his wrist only 16 games into the 2012 NBA season and did not return until late February. The injury derailed what was shaping up to be a great rookie season. In July he was traded to the Rockets, then waived a month later. The 2012 NBA champions signed the big man in September.

Chuck Hayes — Sacramento Kings
2011-12 stats — 3.2 points, 4.3 rebounds, 1.4 assists
In his second season in Sacramento, Hayes will look to continue to do what he does best: rebound and play defense, while adding valuable depth and leadership in the Kings’ front court.

*Terrence Jones — Houston Rockets
2012 preseason stats — 10.5 points, 5.0 rebounds, 1.2 blocks
Jones, the No. 18 pick of the 2012 NBA Draft, will join fellow Wildcat Patrick Patterson as they battle JuJuan Johnson and Royce White for playing time in the Rockets’ front court. Jones had a strong preseason for Houston, which should bode well for him getting an early opportunity at playing quality minutes.

*Enes Kanter — Utah Jazz
2011-12 stats — 4.6 points, 4.2 rebounds
Kanter averaged 13 points and nine rebounds in eight preseason games as he continued to grow as a player. He will play behind Al Jefferson at the center spot for the Jazz, but expect to see an increase in the 13 minutes per game Kanter averaged last season after Kanter transformed his body this summer thanks to a new diet.

*Michael Kidd-Gilchrist — Charlotte Bobcats
2012 preseason stats — 5.8 points, 5.0 rebounds, 1.5 assists, 1.0 steals
The No. 2 pick in the 2012 NBA Draft impressed in the preseason because of his incredible work ethic and dedication to defense, two attributes UK fans know MKG possesses in spades, and reasons why he will quickly become indispensable to the Bobcats. The question is, how will Kidd-Gilchrist handle losses, which are expected be plentiful in Charlotte this season during the franchise’s rebuilding efforts.

*Brandon Knight — Detroit Pistons
2011-12 stats — 12.8 points, 3.8 assists, 3.2 rebounds
Named to the All-Rookie team in 2012, Knight quickly acclimated to the speed and strength of the NBA game, becoming a valuable back-court member of the Pistons. Nothing if not versatile, look for Knight to continue to split time between playing point and the two as the Pistons take advantage of his versatility.

*Doron Lamb — Milwaukee Bucks
2012 preseason stats — 12.0 points, 1.0 assists
Lamb, the No. 42 selection of the 2012 NBA Draft, takes his dead-eye shooting ability to Milwaukee where he will battle Monta Ellis and Beno Udrih for playing time. Lamb tore a ligament in his elbow early in the preseason but debuted Oct. 26 with a 6-of-11 shooting night.

*DeAndre Liggins — Oklahoma City Thunder
2011-12 stats with Orlando — 1.9 points
Defense not only wins championships, but it also creates roster space for someone like DeAndre Liggins. After failing to be re-signed by Orlando, OKC chose to give Liggins a change in September and he won the final roster spot just a few days ago.

Jamaal Magloire — free agent
2011-12 stats with Toronto Raptor — 1.2 points, 3.3 rebounds
The 13-year NBA veteran (and native of Canada) was waived by Toronto on Oct. 27 and may take a job within the organization. Named an all-star in 2004, Magloire was known for his great defense and rebounding. Over his career, Magliore averaged 7.2 points and 6.5 rebounds, and posted 603 blocks and 4,408 rebounds.

Jodie Meeks — Los Angeles Lakers
2011-12 stats with Philadelphia 76ers — 8.4 points, 2.4 rebounds
The sweet-shooting Meeks joins one of the most visible sports franchises in the world. He’ll have to battle hard for minutes as Kobe Bryant and Steve Blake will eat significant shooting-guard floor time, but Meeks could see some significant time in the season opener with Bryant battling a foot injury.

*Darius Miller — New Orleans Hornets
2012 preseason stats — 5.9 points, 1.0 rebounds
The No. 46 pick of the 2012 NBA Draft, Miller will be given every opportunity to earn playing time on a team that won only 21-of-66 games last season. Miller’s great shooting eye will stretch defenses, and the discipline to play within himself (and smartly) should benefit his fight for meaningful minutes.

Nazr Mohammed — Chicago Bulls
2011-12 stats with Oklahoma City Thunder — 2.7 points, 2.7 rebounds
Mohammed played in 63 games last year for the Thunder, but he was not re-signed in the offseason. In July, the hometown Chicago Bulls offered him a one-year deal. Presumably, he will backup Joakim Noah at the center spot, in this, his 15th NBA season.

*Daniel Orton — Oklahoma City Thunder
2011-12 stats with Orlando Magic — 2.8 points, 2.4 rebounds
Orton, who has battled knee issues since his high school days, signed with Oklahoma City in August, but former teammate Liggins beat him out for the final roster spot with the Thunder. However, the James Harden trade to Houston opened up another roster spot with the Thunder, which was given to Orton on Wednesday.

Patrick Patterson is entering his third season in the NBA. (photo by Al Bello/Getty Images)

*Patrick Patterson — Houston Rockets
2011-12 stats — 7.7 points, 4.5 rebounds
Patterson finds himself in a tussle with former Wildcats Jones for playing time as the Rockets beefed up their front court in the offseason. Patterson brings a physical presence to the floor and the skill to score from all over the floor, which should allow him to continue to stay in Houston’s rotation.

Tayshaun Prince — Detroit Pistons
2011-12 stats — 12.7 points, 4.5 rebounds, 2.4 assists
Always steady, Prince continues to make big shots, block big shots and be a steady force on a team attempting to rebuild its roster. Prince, who enters his 11th NBA season, is the lone remaining player from the Detroit’s 2004 NBA championship team.

Rajon Rondo – Boston Celtics
2011-12 stats — 11.9 points, 11.7 assists, 4.8 rebounds, 1.8 steals
One of the best point guards in the NBA, Rondo posted 21 double-doubles last season and an NBA-leading six triple-doubles (giving him 16 for his career). He continues to get better, almost every game, and he’s quickly becoming the face of the Boston franchise as the Big Three (now the Big Two) get closer to retirement.

*Marquis Teague — Chicago Bulls
2012 preseason stats — .6 points, .4 rebounds
The No. 29 pick in the 2012 NBA Draft, Teague will be in learning mode this season as he sits behind Kirk Hinrich and Nate Robinson at the point. When Derrick Rose returns from knee surgery, Teague will have the great benefit of being taught by not only a John Calipari pupil, but one of the most dynamic players in the league.

*John Wall — Washington Wizards
2011-12 stats — 16.3 points, 8.0 assists, 4.5 rebounds, 1.4 steals
The No. 1 pick in the 2010 NBA Draft, Wall has played well in his first two seasons — he was seventh in the league in assists last year — while playing on a team building its roster. Wall is already dynamic, and with a bit more experience and few more play-makers around him this season (the Wizards added big man Nene and drafted Bradley Beal), his full potential should be realized. Unfortunately Wall will have to wait a few weeks to play with his new pieces as he recovers from a stress injury in one of his knees.

Other former Coach Cal players in the NBA

Earl Bannon — Washington Wizards
2011-12 stats with Golden State Warriors — 2.0 points in two games
Bannon has been an NBA journeyman, but he’s managed to remain in the league since getting drafted in 2003. Bannon’s best season was in 2007-08 when he played in 46 games with the Miami Heat and averaged 7.1 points and 4.3 rebounds.

Marcus Camby — New York Knicks
2011-12 stats with Portland Trail Blazers and Houston Rockets — 4.9 points, 9.0 rebounds, 1.8 assists, 1.4 blocks
A four-time NBA blocks leader, a two-time All-Defensive first-team member and the 2007 NBA Defensive Player of the Year winner, Camby begins his 17th NBA season with the Knicks. A great shot blocker and rebounder, Camby, in his career, has averaged 9.9 rebounds and 2.4 blocks per game. Although averaging just over 20 minutes per game the last few seasons, Camby will play an important role in helping the Knicks build on last season’s 36-30 record.

Tyreke Evans — Sacramento Kings
2011-12 stats — 16.5 points, 4.6 rebounds, 4.5 assists, 1.3 steals
A dangerous, multifaceted player — not atypical of a Coach Cal player — Evans was moved from the point guard spot to shooting guard last season and played well in spurts despite missing 19 games with plantar fasciitis in his left foot. Along with Cousins, Evans is a major component in the Kings’ rebuilding effort, but he is entering the all-important final year of his contract with the organization.

Derrick Rose — Chicago Bulls
2011-12 stats — 21.8 points, 7.9 assists, 3.4 rebounds
The 2011 NBA MVP, and arguably the NBA’s top point guard, is recovering from knee surgery with no set timetable for his return. The All-Star break was thought to be the initial target return day, but some reports suggest the Bulls may not want to rush back so they may sit Rose for the entire season.

Shawne Williams — free agent
2011-12 stats with New Jersey Nets — 4.5 points, 2.7 rebounds
Williams, who signed a two-year, $6.1 million deal with the New Jersey Nets in December 2011, was traded to Portland in March but never played for the Blazers. In July, Williams agreed to a contract buyout and is now a free agent.

Of course, other Coach Cal players like Chris Douglas-Roberts, Rodney Carney and Joey Dorsey are still trying to find an NBA home or playing overseas. You can check out the full list of players Coach Cal has sent to the NBA here.

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