UK basketball notes: Ex-Cats enjoy reunion at NBA Combine

jtipton@herald-leader.comJune 7, 2012 


  • Terrence Jones talked about the teams he's worked out for and the teams with which he's interviewed while at the pre-draft NBA combine in Chicago.
    Videos by Jerry Tipton


    Anthony Davis spoke to the media Thursday from the pre-draft NBA combine. He talked about being the top pick in the draft, the Hornets, more.



    Darius Miller discusses teams he met with and fun of working out with his fellow ex-Cats at the NBA pre-draft combine in Chicago Thursday.



    Former Kentucky basketball player Marquis Teague talks about what he's showing teams and who's giving him advice. He was among the 6 former UK players invited to the annual pre-draft combine June Thursday and Friday in Chicago.

CHICAGO — The six Kentucky players at the NBA Combine this week staged a reunion of sorts Wednesday night. They gathered in Anthony Davis' hotel room to reminisce about the good old days of less than three months ago.

"Just talking about the past and enjoying it," Terrence Jones said Thursday.

Davis, Jones, Darius Miller, Doron Lamb, Marquis Teague and Michael Kidd-Gilchrist relived UK's national championship season of 2011-12. They also looked a bit ahead.

"How summer school started," Jones said. "How we're glad we're not there."

The players had not been together much recently. Jones said he has been working out in Santa Monica, Calif. Teague and Miller have been working out in Indianapolis. Each goes to whatever NBA teams request an individual workout.

"Sometimes we give each other stuff to look out for," Miller said.

As Jones saw it, the gathering at the combine continued a pattern of togetherness. After this event ends this weekend, the UK six go their separate ways.

"It's just good to be around my brothers," Jones said. "It's special."

No. 1 pick?

No one thinks Davis will not become the second UK player in three years to be the first player selected in a NBA Draft. He'll also become the third John Calipari player in five years to be the first selected, following Derrick Rose in 2008 and John Wall in 2010.

As if not to jinx this expectation, Davis refused to embrace the idea of being the first player selected.

"We don't know that yet for sure," he said. "It's not set in stone. So I still have to continue to work hard."

Davis has yet to hire an agent. When asked what teams besides New Orleans, which has the No. 1 pick, had contacted him or his family, he said, "None, really."

Clarification

When New Orleans won the lottery, Davis answered an interviewer's question by saying Kobe Bryant was the player he'd like to contain.

He clarified. "I knew you were going to ask that," he said to a Chicago-based reporter. "I didn't call out Kobe. They asked me who I'd like to play and who would I like to shut down. Kobe's one of the greatest players to ever play the game. ... He's a legend of the game. I'd never disrespect him."

Check my stats

Davis wore a T-shirt that read, "Check my stats," an apparent reference to a Nike promotion for LeBron James.

To which former Kansas star Thomas Robinson said, "Well, if this is about stats, I'm the top pick. I've got to get one of those shirts."

Robinson, who wore a shirt and tie to the combine's interview session, was asked if he was miffed that New Orleans did not invite him to work out.

"I don't need to be the top pick," he said. "I just need to be the best pick."

Not projected high

Miller and Lamb shrugged at not being projected high in the draft.

"It's not a problem for me at all," Miller said. "I just want to play basketball. As long as I'm playing, I'm fine."

Lamb had a similar reaction. "I'm not worrying about it," he said. "Whatever happens June 28 happens."

Together again?

Jones recently worked out for New Orleans, which has the 10th pick as well as the first pick.

That raised the possibility of Jones reuniting with Davis.

"It'd be a great thing if it happens," Jones said before adding, "Whoever picks me, I'll be happy."

Davis dampened reporters' enthusiasm for a reteaming with Jones.

"We never talked about it," he said. "He told me he worked out for them, but we didn't get into the details. It'd be fun."

Of the possibility of teaming with a former UK player in the NBA, Jones quipped, "Hopefully, pretty soon we'll have a Kentucky kid on every team."

Jones' stock

Jones downplayed the notion that his NBA stock slipped from last season.

"I cared about winning," he said of the decision to return to UK for a sophomore season. "Going back and winning the national championship was the goal. ... That's why I was happy I went back."

Of his NBA stock, Jones said, "I'm not sure. (The return to UK) wasn't for the stock too much. It was mainly to do what I did."

Etc.

Teague's older brother, Jeff, got him two pair of shoes this past season. The younger Teague is his own man, now. "I got my own shoes," he said with a smile. ... Jones noted that he bought his mother a pearl-colored Cadillac.

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