With 10 years of stellar recruiting classes and each superstar being replaced by a new one every season, it’s highly likely that some of our favorite players fell through the cracks. Some of these players were stars at Kentucky, but ultimately overlooked by NBA scouts or even Calipari himself. Other players were good, but on such good teams they could never manage to get substantial playing time. These 10 players were universally loved at UK despite their careers fading after their time in Lexington was up.
DeAndre Liggins has had a pretty rocky NBA career. Disappointing since he was one of the best on-ball defenders that Calipari has ever had. He and Anthony Davis have been the only players I have felt 100% confident about them guarding a last second shot.
Leaving Derek Willis open for 3 was one of the biggest mistakes an SEC team could make. Luckily for them, his utter lack of defensive awareness made those points up real quick. A Kentucky kid that stays all four years and reminds us of Darius Miller was loved at UK, but sadly did not get the same love from the NBA.
Who would have thought that this kid was going to be the savior of the 2013 Cats? Being a former walk-on, he was underrated his whole life. But, he made the best of a bad situation and ran the hell out of an offense that was in shambles. We would have made the tournament had Nerlens Noel hadn’t torn his ACL.
One would think that a national championship winning point guard would get their fair chance in the NBA. Especially when he has a brother already in the League. Not only is he underrated to the NBA, he was underrated to the teams he played in college. Little did they know, he turns into Steph Curry with less than 5 seconds on the shot clock.
JORTS. He may have been forgotten about it the NBA, but no one will forget the games he had against Louisville and Ohio State. Nothing I can write about how undervalued he was would do him justice.
Not only was Kyle Wiltjer underrated, he was under appreciated. He transferred to Gonzaga after his sophomore season due to the stacked incoming freshman class and to be closer to home. I still don’t understand what he could have been afraid of. There is not a single person in the world that could convince me that Marcus Lee was a better option.
Calipari has got to be kicking himself over how he let Charles Matthews slip away. Every time he stepped on the court in the blue and white, we all thought to ourselves that this kid should get some more playing time. I was disappointed to see him go, but it was awesome to see the player he became at Michigan.
The born and raised Kentuckians that come to play ball at UK are always fan favorites. Only they never get the exposure they need from their comparatively small towns during recruitment. Luckily, Cal has been able to find some gems like Dominique Hawkins. So much potential, but underrated nonetheless.
It’s hard to think of a player that was more universally loved that Tyler Ulis. Being one of the only returners from the 38-1 team, he was a constant reminder of how great Kentucky Basketball can be. If only he was 6 foot tall.
Even though his Twitter handle was once AlexTheGreat, I always considered him AlexTheJustOkay. That being said, when Poythress was on… he was ON. I’ll never forget how he jumped from the middle of the paint and floated to the basket. Imagine how he would have turned out had he not torn his ACL.