Rejoice, Wildcats, Cardinals, Racing Louisville, Kentucky Derby fans and everyone in between! The state of Kentucky is approving mobile sports betting and DraftKings Sportsbook will soon be available for residents. The launch date for the DraftKings Sportsbook App is September 28!
In honor of the upcoming launch, I will be counting down the top 10 NBA players from the University of Kentucky. It will be a little different from our past state launch articles, as this series will serve as a countdown from No. 10 to No. 1. Each day, a new player will be revealed!
These rankings are based on each player’s production IN THE NBA, not in college.
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Top 10 NBA Players from the University of Kentucky
No. 10: Julius Randle
One-and-done in Lexington, Randle left a mark in his only season with the Wildcats, finishing his freshman year with the 24 double-doubles, the second-most tally in a single season by any player in the program’s history. Kentucky ultimately lost in the national championship game to UConn, but Randle’s brief tenure at the school was certainly successful.
The versatile forward opted to forego his final three years of eligibility and enter the 2014 NBA Draft, in which the Los Angeles Lakers selected him seventh overall.
Randle’s stint in L.A. was admittedly tough, as he never really found his footing over the course of four years with the Lakers. In the 2018 offseason, the sides parted ways, and Randle found a new home in New Orleans, where he broke out. In one season with the Pelicans, the young big averaged 21.4 points and 8.7 rebounds per game.
After declining his second-year option, Randle became a free agent once again and landed with the Knicks in New York, where he has established himself as one of the most dangerous offensive players in the league. In his second season with the team, he won Most Improved Player, averaging 24.1 points, 10.2 rebounds and six assists per game while shooting an extremely impressive 41.1% from three.
At 28 years old, Randle boasts a myriad of NBA accolades outside of his M.I.P win, including two All-Star appearances and an All-NBA Second Team selection. He is a strong start to these rankings at No. 10.
No. 9: Bam Adebayo
Another one-and-done — notice a trend here? — for the Wildcats, Adebayo was a dominant two-way player in his only season in Lexington. The versatile big man averaged 13 points, 10 rebounds and 1.5 blocks per game for Kentucky, and his squad ultimately fell to UNC in the Elite Eight.
Adebayo was selected by Miami with the 14th overall pick in the 2017 NBA Draft, and it took him a couple years to develop into the elite big he is today. Bam broke out in his third NBA campaign, averaging 15.9 points, 10.2 rebounds and 5.1 assists for the Heat in a significantly expanded role.
Since that season, Adebayo has only continued to improve, as the 26-year-old averaged a career-high 20.4 points per game last year. While he’s more than capable offensively, Bam makes his presence felt on the other side of the ball, boasting four NBA All-Defensive Second Team selections to go along with his pair of All-Star nods.
Adebayo has played a crucial role in Miami’s recent two runs to the NBA Finals in 2020 and 2023, and he’s still finding ways to improve every year.
No. 8: ???
Player will be revealed Thursday morning... stay tuned!
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