Ex-Cats

NBA Draft profile: Get to know Kentucky’s De’Aaron Fox

A Kentucky takeover: The NBA Draft in the John Calipari era

Since John Calipari began coaching Kentucky in the 2009-10 season, the Wildcats have had more players selected in the NBA Draft than any other school or foreign country.
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Since John Calipari began coaching Kentucky in the 2009-10 season, the Wildcats have had more players selected in the NBA Draft than any other school or foreign country.

All about De’Aaron Fox

College: Kentucky

Position: Point guard

Measurables (from NBA Combine): 6’3.25” with shoes, 170 lbs, 6’6.5” wingspan, 8’4” standing reach.

Hometown: Houston, Texas (Cypress Lakes HS)

UK statistics: Averaged 16.7 points, 4.6 assists, 3.9 rebounds, 1.6 steals and 2.4 turnovers as a freshman. Shot 47.8 percent from the field, 73.9 percent from the free-throw line and 24.6 percent from three-point range.

Honors and superlatives: Third-team All-American selection by CBS Sports, USA Today and ESPN. … Named first-team All-Southeastern Conference by both the Associated Press and the league’s coaches in addition to making the coaches’ SEC All-Freshman Team. … Earned SEC Tournament MVP honors after averaging 22.0 points per game en route to the title. … Made the 2017 NCAA Tournament All-South Region Team. … 2017 Bob Cousy Point Guard of the Year finalist. … Four-time SEC Freshman of the Week honoree (Nov. 21, Dec. 5, Dec. 19, Jan. 9). … Scored 39 points on 13-for-20 shooting vs. UCLA in the Sweet Sixteen, an NCAA Tournament record by a freshman. … Recorded UK’s first triple-double since Chris Mills in 1988 and just the school’s second all-time with 14 points, 11 rebounds and 10 assists in the Bahamas vs. Arizona State.

Before Kentucky: Born Dec. 20, 1997, in New Orleans. … Named to the All-USA Boys Basketball team as a first-team selection. … Also first-team Naismith All-American. … A McDonald’s All-American, and also participated in both the Jordan Brand Classic game and the Nike Hoop Summit. … Shared MVP honors at the Jordan Brand Classic with fellow UK signee Malik Monk after scoring a game-high 23 points. … Texas Gatorade High School Player of the Year in 2016. … Made the 2015-16 USA Basketball Men’s Junior National Team in September 2015. … Rated as high as No. 2 overall in the rankings by 247Sports. … Scout ranked him at No. 4, Rivals had him at No. 5 and ESPN tabbed him No. 7. … Chose Kentucky over Kansas, Louisville and LSU.

Fox on Twitter: @swipathefox

When the 2016-17 NBA season ended, former Wildcats who played under Calipari were spread across 15 of the league’s 30 teams. That number is likely to increase at Thursday's NBA Draft.

Fox in mock drafts

DraftExpress (June 22): Fifth to the Sacramento Kings

ESPN (June 22): Fourth to the Phoenix Suns

NBA.com (June 22): Fifth to the Sacramento Kings

CBS Sports (June 21): Second to Los Angeles Lakers

The Ringer (June 22): Fifth to the Sacramento Kings

Sporting News (June 22): Fifth to the Sacramento Kings

Draft analysts on Fox

DraftExpress: “Fox possesses great explosiveness as a leaper and a degree of speed and quickness that made him next to impossible to stay in front of at the college level with the ball on his hands. … Blessed with tremendous burst that makes his hesitation dribbles and quick crossovers all the more effective, Fox was regularly able to simply able to step back, measure his defender, and find his way deep into the paint off the dribble, even without a ball screen. He figures to rank among the league's most elusive guards from the moment he checks into his first NBA game. …

“Perhaps the biggest obstacle for Fox in his transition to the pros is his lack of consistent jump shooting ability. Shooting the ball with an unreliable release point that comes from the side of his head with a small arm angle, (Fox) had an uneven year shooting the ball, making just 31% of his pull-up jumpers, and 20% of his spot up attempts in the half court this season, but connected on a far more respectable 55% and 36% of those attempts respectively in the month of March.”

ESPN’s Fran Fraschilla: “De’Aaron has certainly created a buzz. Not only because of his speed and the way he played this season. But he has a magnetic personality that at worst is going to sell a lot of shoes.”

The Crossover: “Dating back to his impressive March, Fox has crept up draft boards … thanks to his tantalizing athletic ability and all that comes with it. He’s incredibly fast, can generate transition looks by pushing the ball, and has the strength and explosion to get it all the way to the rim and finish. His defensive instincts are also extremely impressive, and the legitimate strengths on both ends are a big part of his appeal. The big question is his jump shot, which doesn’t look broken but must become consistent enough to at least keep defenses honest.”

The Ringer: “Lightning-quick point guard who constantly pressures opponents on both ends of the floor. … Excellent ball handler who can stop and start in a flash, armed with weapons like quick crossovers, hesitations, and hang dribbles. … Potential to become an end-of-game scorer if his shot improves because he can create space for his jumper with ease.

ESPN’s Jay Bilas: “Just lightning speed in the open court. And he does a good job of creating for others. … His jumper is inconsistent, but he shoots a good ball. So with some work, I think he can become a much better shooter. But his deal is transition and he’s a very good on-ball defender.”

Coach Cal on Fox

“De’Aaron’s speed, length and ability to pick up defensively from 94 feet set him apart from his peers. De’Aaron came in here focused from day one, and to see his improvement from the beginning of the season to the end was special. What you saw from De’Aaron over the last month and a half of the season I think is what NBA teams will get for the future.”

“When you can make free throws and you can make 15- to 17-footers at a high clip, then you can make threes. There’s nothing mechanically wrong. … That should be the least of (NBA teams’) worries. What you have is a long guard that can pick up 94 feet and can be as fast as anyone in the league.”

Fox videos and more

Dennis Varney: 859-231-3514, @ExCats

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