Sidelines with John Clay

How do this year’s departures compare to past early exits under John Calipari?

Just when we were having fun: closing a chapter on Kentucky basketball

A last-second shot by North Carolina's Luke Maye ended Kentucky's tournament run in the Elite Eight. Take a look back at the fun and dunks brought to you by this season's edition of the Wildcats.
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A last-second shot by North Carolina's Luke Maye ended Kentucky's tournament run in the Elite Eight. Take a look back at the fun and dunks brought to you by this season's edition of the Wildcats.

With Wednesday’s news that sophomore center Isaac Humphries has decided to pursue a pro career and will hire an agent, that makes five University of Kentucky basketball players who are departing the program early.

Humphries joins freshman guard De’Aaron Fox, freshman guard Malik Monk, sophomore guard Isaiah Briscoe and freshman center Bam Adebayo as players who will put their names into the 2017 NBA Draft.

The number of departures could be dialed back to four if Adebayo has a change of heart. The North Carolina native has slipped on some draft boards and says he won't hire an agent before receiving evaluations.

So how does this year compare to early exits from John Calipari’s eight years as the Kentucky coach? Let’s take a look:

2009-10 (6)

Eric Bledsoe: The freshman guard wasn’t considered a sure one-and-done prospect when he signed with UK. Turned out, Bledsoe was too good too soon to stick around. He averaged 11.3 points and 2.9 assists playing alongside John Wall. He was the 18th overall pick in the first round of the 2010 NBA Draft. After three years with the Los Angeles Clippers, Bledsoe is finishing up his fourth year with the Phoenix Suns.

DeMarcus Cousins: The temperamental “Boogie” charmed UK fans for one season, averaging 15.1 points and 9.8 rebounds. He was taken by the Sacramento Kings with the fifth pick in the first round of the draft. Perhaps the best pure post player in the NBA, Cousins was traded to the New Orleans Pelicans during the All-Star break this season.

Darnell Dodson: A junior-college transfer, Dodson lasted just one season at Kentucky. He skirted trouble before moving on to Southern Miss.

Daniel Orton: The freshman center from Oklahoma committed to previous UK coach Billy Gillispie but stuck around for Calipari’s debut. He did not play as much as he wished, averaging just 3.4 points and 3.3 rebounds, so opted to leave after one season. He was drafted 29th overall in the first round, the final of a record five first-round picks out of Kentucky in 2010. Orton played 51 games over three seasons with Orlando, Oklahoma City and Philadelphia. He hasn’t played in an NBA game since 2014.

Patrick Patterson: A holdover from the Gillispie regime, Patterson averaged 14.3 points and 7.4 rebounds in his one season under Calipari. A junior, he entered the draft, and he was taken with the 14th pick in the first round. Patterson had stays with Houston and Sacramento before finding a home in Toronto, where as a sixth man he has been a key contributor to the Raptors’ success.

John Wall: Considered a certain one-and-done when he arrived at UK, Wall did not disappoint. He averaged 16.6 points and 6.5 assists in leading the Cats to the Elite Eight. The Washington Wizards drafted Wall with the No. 1 overall pick, and this year, Wall has led the franchise to its first division title since 1979.

2010-11 (3)

Brandon Knight: The freshman guard out of Miami led the 2010-11 Cats to the Final Four in Houston, averaging 17.3 points and 4.2 assists per game. Taken with the No. 8 overall pick in the first round of the 2011 NBA Draft, Knight has bounced around the league. He has started just five of 54 games with the Phoenix Suns this season after spending time in Detroit and Milwaukee in previous years.

Deandre Liggins: A defensive stopper on that Final Four team, Liggins decided to leave after his junior year. (He, too, was a Giillispie holdover). Taken with the 53rd pick in the second round, Liggins has bounced in and out of the league. He played 61 games with the Cleveland Cavaliers this season before being recently released. Just this week, the Dallas Mavericks claimed Liggins off waivers.

Stacey Poole: A prep football and basketball star in Florida, Poole stayed just one season at Kentucky before transferring to Georgia Tech, where he scored 109 points in two seasons.

2011-12 (5)

Anthony Davis: The star of UK’s 2012 national championship team and voted the most outstanding player in the Final Four, the freshman was taken with the No. 1 overall pick by the New Orleans Pelicans in the 2012 NBA Draft. A perennial All-Star, Davis is averaging a career-high 28 points per game this season for New Orleans.

Terrence Jones: He stuck around for his sophomore season and averaged 12.3 points and 7.2 rebounds on the title team. Taken with the 18th overall pick in the first round, Jones has bounced from Houston to New Orleans to Milwaukee and is currently out of the league. Signed March 5 by the Bucks, he was released in early April.

Michael Kidd-Gilchrist: The glue guy on that 2012 title team, Kidd-Gilchrist was the No. 2 pick in the draft behind fellow freshman Davis. MKG averaged 11.9 points, 7.4 rebounds and 1.9 assists in his one season at UK. He is averaging 9.2 points and 7.0 rebounds for the Charlotte Hornets, where he has started all 81 games going into the season finale Wednesday night.

Doron Lamb: Like Jones, Lamb stuck around for his sophomore season. The New York native averaged 13.7 points for the 2012 Cats and was taken in the second round of the draft with the 42nd overall pick. Lamb played a combined 100 games with Milwaukee and Orlando but has been out of the league since 2014.

Marquis Teague: The final of UK’s fourth first-round picks in the 2012 draft, the freshman point guard was taken 29th overall after averaging 10 points and 4.8 assists. Teague played 88 games with Chicago and Brooklyn but also has been out of the league since 2014.

2012-13 (4)

Archie Goodwin: A talented but often headstrong player, the freshman guard averaged 14.1 points for the only Calipari team at UK that has failed to make the NCAA Tournament. Goodwin was drafted in the first round with the 29th pick in the 2013 NBA Draft. After three years with Phoenix, he has played for both New Orleans and Brooklyn this season. He has averaged 6.8 points in 11 games with the Nets.

Ryan Harrow: After one season at North Carolina State, Harrow transferred to UK, where he sat out he 2011-12 campaign. He averaged 9.9 points and 2.8 assists for the 2012-13 Cats but was never a good fit for Calipari’s coaching style. Harrow transferred to Georgia State, where he averaged 17.8 points as a junior and 18.3 as a senior.

Nerlens Noel: A knee injury suffered by the freshman center at Florida probably deep-sixed UK’s 2012-13 season. The 7-footer averaged 10.5 points and 9.5 rebounds before tearing his ACL. He was taken with the sixth pick in the first round of the draft but missed all of the 2013-14 season. After two-plus seasons with Philadelphia, Noel was traded to Dallas, where he has averaged 8.5 points and 6.8 rebounds in 21 games.

Kyle Wiltjer: The Oregon product averaged 10.2 points and 4.2 rebounds as a sophomore before deciding to return to the West Coast and transfer to Gonzaga. He helped the Zags to the Elite Eight in 2015 and averaged 20.4 points per game in 2016. Undrafted, Wiltjer was signed by the Houston Rockets and has played 13 games this season.

2013-14 (2)

Julius Randle: The freshman forward from Dallas averaged 15 points and 10.4 rebounds for the team Calipari “tweaked” to the national title game in 2014. The Los Angeles Lakers took Randle with the seventh overall pick in the first round. A leg fracture in his very first NBA regular-season game scrapped his rookie season. Randle averaged 11.3 points and 10.2 rebounds last season and is averaging 13.2 points and 8.6 rebounds this year. The surprise has been Randle’s assist total, which is a career-high 3.6 per game this year.

James Young: The sharpshooter from Michigan averaged 14.3 points on that 2014 team. He opted to leave after just one year and was taken by Boston with the 17th overall pick in the first round. Young has played in 88 games in three seasons with the Celtics. He has averaged 2.4 points per game in 28 games with Boston this season.

2014-15 (7)

Devin Booker: The knockdown shooter never started as a freshman on the 38-1 team in 2014-15, yet Booker averaged 10.0 points per game. Drafted with the 13th pick in the first round by Phoenix, Booker might turn out to be the best -- or second-best behind a certain Towns fellow -- of that year’s UK pro crop. After averaging 13.8 points per game as a rookie, Booker is averaging 22.1 per game this year for the Suns. He scored 70 points in a game last month.

Willie Cauely-Stein: Considered something of a project when the 7-foot former football wide receiver arrived from Kansas, Cauley-Stein progressed by leaps and bounds in each of his three years. After averaging 8.9 points and 6.4 rebounds his junior season, Cauley-Stein was taken by Sacramento with the sixth pick in the first round of the draft. He averaged seven points and 5.3 rebounds as a rookie and is averaging 8.0 points and 4.4 rebounds in 74 games this season.

Aaron Harrison: An NCAA Tournament hero with his late shots in 2014, Aaron returned for the 2015 season to try to improve his draft stock. He averaged 11.0 points but went undrafted. Signed by Charlotte, he played in 21 games last season and five this year before being sent to the D-League and was eventually traded.

Andrew Harrison: UK’s other Harrison twin also came back for his sophomore season and averaged 9.3 points and 3.6 assists. Taken in the second round with the 44th overall pick by Memphis, Andrew spent the 2015-16 season in the D-League before being called up by the Grizzlies this year. He has played in 71 games with Memphis this season, including 18 starts, averaging 5.9 points and 2.8 assists per game.

Dakari Johnson: The sophomore center averaged 6.4 points and 4.6 rebounds on Calipari’s second platoon, backing up starters Karl-Anthony Towns and Cauley-Stein. Johnson opted to leave UK after his second season and was taken by Oklahoma City in the second round with the 48th overall pick. He has been a D-League star but has not yet made it into an NBA game.

Trey Lyles: The former Indiana high school star averaged 8.7 points and 5.2 rebounds in his one season at Kentucky. Taken with the 12th overall pick in the first round by Utah, the 6-10 forward averaged 6.1 points in 80 games last season and 6.3 in 70 games this year. He has 37 career NBA starts.

Karl-Anthony Towns: A member of the Dominican National Team coached by Calipari, Towns came to UK and averaged 10.3 points and 6.7 rebounds while developing into the No. 1 overall pick by the Minnesota Timberwolves in the 2015 NBA draft. Towns is the third UK player under Calipari to earn that distinction, following Wall and Davis. Towns averaged 18.3 points and 10.5 rebounds as a rookie. This year, he has improved those numbers to 25.1 points and 12.2 rebounds. On Tuesday night, he set the Timberwolves franchise record for points in a season.

2015-16 (5)

Skal Labissiere: Considered a disappointment in his one year at UK, Labissiere averaged just 6.6 points and 3.1 rebounds. Still, he showed enough potential to be taken by Sacramento in the first round of the 2016 NBA Draft by Sacramento. The 6-11 center has shown flashes of late and is averaging 8.8 points and five rebounds over 32 games.

Marcus Lee: The likable center from out West averaged 6.4 points and 6.0 rebounds as a junior and decided to test the NBA waters. When the reviews weren't positive, he decided to transfer back home to the University of California, where he could sit out a year and work on his game. Lee will be eligible for his senior season in 2017-18.

Charles Matthews: The freshman guard from Michigan averaged just 1.7 points and 1.6 rebounds for the Cats last year. In the summer, he opted to transfer back home to the University of Michigan, where he will be eligible next year.

Jamal Murray: The Canadian averaged 20.0 points and 5.2 rebounds for a team that was knocked out of the second round of the 2016 NCAA Tournament. Murray was taken with the seventh overall pick by the Denver Nuggets. Murray has had a hard time finding his stroke as an NBA rookie but is averaging 9.7 points over 81 games heading into the season finale. Most observers agree that he has a bright NBA future.

Tyler Ulis: The heart and soul of that 2015-16 team, the 5-foot-9 guard from Chicago averaged 17.3 points and 7.0 assists as a sophomore. Ulis was taken in the second round with the 34th overall pick by the Suns and finally got his chance to shine late this season. Overall, Ulis is averaging 7.3 points and 3.7 assists for the Suns. He has started 15 games.

Kentucky’s draft picks under John Calipari

Year

Player

Round

Pick

Team

2010

John Wall

1

1

Washington

2012

Anthony Davis

1

1

New Orleans

2015

Karl-Anthony Towns

1

1

Minnesota

2012

Michael Kidd-Gilchrist

1

2

Charlotte

2011

Enes Kanter

1

3

Utah

2010

DeMarcus Cousins

1

5

Sacramento

2013

Nerlens Noel

1

6

New Orleans-c

2015

Willie Cauley-Stein

1

6

Sacramento

2014

Julius Randle

1

7

L.A. Lakers

2016

Jamal Murray

1

7

Denver

2011

Brandon Knight

1

8

Detroit

2015

Trey Lyles

1

12

Utah

2015

Devin Booker

1

13

Phoenix

2010

Patrick Patterson

1

14

Houston

2014

James Young

1

17

Boston

2010

Eric Bledsoe

1

18

Oklahoma City-a

2012

Terrence Jones

1

18

Houston

2016

Skal Labissiere

1

28

Sacramento

2010

Daniel Orton

1

29

Orlando

2012

Marquis Teague

1

29

Chicago

2013

Archie Goodwin

1

29

Oklahoma City-d

2016

Tyler Ulis

2

34

Phoenix

2012

Doron Lamb

2

42

Milwaukee

2015

Andrew Harrison

2

44

Phoenix-e

2011

Josh Harrellson

2

45

New Orleans-b

2012

Darius Miller

2

46

New Orleans

2015

Dakari Johnson

2

48

Oklahoma City

2011

DeAndre Liggins

2

53

Orlando

a-traded to L.A. Clippers

b-traded to New York

 

c-traded to Philadelphia

   
 

d-traded to Phoenix

   
 

e-traded to Memphis

   
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