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Four Wildcats begin NBA Summer League play today

Wenyen Gabriel (Vicky Graff Photo)

LEXINGTON, Ky. – The opening portion of the NBA Summer League will feature four Kentucky men’s basketball players in the Salt Lake City Summer League and the California Classic.

Wenyen Gabriel (2017-18), Tyler Herro (2019), Keldon Johnson (2019) and Jarred Vanderbilt (2019) will participate in the first two summer leagues, which begin today in Salt Lake City and Sacramento. Gabriel will play for the Sacramento Kings, Herro will suit up for the Miami Heat, Johnson will play for the San Antonio Spurs and Vanderbilt will compete for the Denver Nuggets.

Both leagues will feature four franchises apiece playing in a three-day, round-robin style competition with each team playing the others once.

Those two leagues will then give way to the Las Vegas Summer League, which will feature all 30 teams and the Chinese and Croatian National Teams. That league begins Friday and concludes July 15. It already includes Reid Travis, who joined the Atlanta Hawks’ team this past week.  

Other Las Vegas Summer League rosters will be announced at a later time. A number of Wildcats are expected to be in action in Las Vegas.

For the third consecutive year, ESPN will present every game from Las Vegas via the ESPN App, along with 43 games on its linear television networks (ESPN, ESPN2 and ESPNU). NBA TV will air a record 40 games.

The NBA Summer League is an important time of the year for professional players to either earn a free-agent contract, solidify their spot on an NBA roster, or develop and earn additional playing time for the NBA regular season.

Fans can access box scores, game recaps and cumulative statistics at nba.com/summer-league.

Herro and Johnson were two of three Wildcats selected in the 2019 NBA Draft on June 20. Herro was selected 13th overall by the Heat while Johnson went 29th to the Spurs. PJ Washington was the first Wildcat taken when the Charlotte Hornets selected him with the 12th overall pick.

All told, three Wildcats went in the first round, continuing UK’s dominating NBA Draft success under John Calipari.

In 10 seasons with Calipari at the helm, Kentucky has churned out three No. 1 selections, 29 first-rounders, 21 lottery picks and 38 total players in the NBA Draft. The 38 draft picks are 14 more than the next closest school (Duke). With another surge of first-round picks, Kentucky has more first-round selections (39) than any other school in the NBA lottery era (since 1985).

Vanderbilt was a part of that draft success in 2018. He was picked by the Nuggets at No. 41. After sitting out the first half of the season with the foot injury he sustained at Kentucky, he appeared in 17 games in his rookie season

Although Gabriel went undrafted in 2018, he signed a two-way deal with the Kings and made four appearances on the NBA level.

In the 10 seasons Calipari has been the head coach at Kentucky, his players have totaled more than $1.55 billion in NBA contracts heading into the 2019 NBA Draft. With another big draft night last week and NBA free agency underway, that number will only grow.

Including his players at Memphis and UMass, Calipari-coached players have amassed more than $1.9 billion in career NBA contracts. That number could go over $2 billion at the end of this NBA’s offseason moves.

 

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