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The Kentucky men's basketball program saw two more players selected by teams in the NBA Draft in Isaiah Jackson and Brandon Boston Jr., while a third - Terrence Clarke - was also honored by the NBA with a posthumous selection in the first round.
Jackson was selected No. 22 overall by the Los Angeles Lakers, with that pick being traded to the Washington Wizards, and then again to the Indiana Pacers. The 6-foot-10 forward becomes the first former Wildcat on the Pacers since Alex Poythress in 2017-18.
“It's a surreal moment,” Jackson said Thursday at the Barclays Center. “Just growing up, just wanting, like having the dream of making it to the NBA, it's just crazy. So, this is surreal moment for me and I'm enjoying it.
“It lived up to everything, just having my name called, getting drafted. It's just, it's mind blowing. … It just feels like a dream in a way. Like, it's just crazy right now. I'm just trying to bottle all my emotions and it's just crazy, man.”
While Jackson heard his name called in the first round, Boston took a bit of a tumble, falling to No. 51 overall where he was selected by the Memphis Grizzlies. Like Jackson, Boston's rights were traded twice on draft night, with the Grizzlies first sending the pick to New Orleans before ultimately landing in Los Angeles with the Clippers.
In a heartwarming gesture by the NBA, Clarke's name was also called on draft night with his mother, sister and brother in attendance to witness the moment. NBA Commissioner Adam Silver announced the honorary selection between the 14th and 15th picks.
"Before we continue, I'd like to take a moment to recognize Terrence Clarke. Terrence was an All-American high school basketball star in the Boston area. He attended the University of Kentucky, and following his freshman year, he declared for the draft to pursue his lifelong dream of playing in the NBA.
Terrence was expected to be drafted tonight, but he tragically passed away in April following a car crash. He was 19. His extraordinary talent, commitment and dedication to the game deserved to be recognized on this stage. With us this evening is Terrence's mom Osmine, his brother Gavin, his sister Tatyana. To the three of you, and to all those who knew and admired Terrence, please know he will forever be part of the NBA family.
"It is my honor to now announce that with the next pick in the 2021 NBA Draft, the NBA selects Terrence Clarke from the University of Kentucky."
“I want to thank Adam Silver, Mark Tatum and everyone in the NBA office who gave Terrence’s family and all of us who loved him a special moment tonight,” UK head coach John Calipari said in a statement. “It shows the true heart of the league and I thank you all.”
Former Kentucky center Olivier Sarr was not selected on draft night, but the 7-foot big man is expected to sign a deal as an undrafted free agent in the near future.
In 12 seasons with Calipari at the helm, Kentucky has churned out three No. 1 selections, 32 first-rounders, 21 lottery picks and 43 total players in the NBA Draft. The 43 draft picks are 15 more than the next closest school (Duke).
With Jackson’s selection in the opening round, UK has now had at least one player taken in the opening round in each of the last 12 drafts under Calipari. That’s the longest streak in the modern draft era (since 1966). The Wildcats have had more top-10 picks, more lottery selections and more first-round picks in the Calipari era than any other team in the country. Kentucky has had 134 players drafted 136 times in its illustrious history with 57 players selected in the opening round.
Calipari is the only coach to have multiple players selected in 14 consecutive NBA Drafts, dating back to his time at Memphis.
Of the 30 players at UK in the Calipari era who have declared for the NBA Draft after their freshman seasons, 27 have been first-round draft picks after Jackson’s selection (does not include Clarke). All previous players (not including Jackson or Boston) have played in a game.
Kentucky set to host Tony Barbee and Central Michigan
Former UK assistant coach Tony Barbee will be making his return to Lexington this season, as Jon Rothstein is reporting that Central Michigan will be heading to Rupp Arena to take on Kentucky on November 29.
Barbee left the Kentucky coaching staff this offseason to take the head coaching job at Central Michigan, a move that opened the door for the return of Orlando Antigua on staff. Joel Justus also took an assistant coaching job at Arizona State, a move that brought Chin Coleman to Lexington, as well.
Kentucky has played Central Michigan just once in program history, an 84-52 victory over the Chippewas back on December 29, 2008.
This is the 12th non-conference game added to Kentucky’s schedule, with Central Michigan joining Duke, Robert Morris, Ohio, Mount St. Mary’s, Albany, North Florida, Michigan, Notre Dame, Ohio State, Louisville and Kansas.
SEC officially extends invites to Texas and Oklahoma
The Southeastern Conference is expected to add two new schools, as the league's presidents and chancellors voted unanimously to invite Texas and Oklahoma into the SEC effective July 1, 2025.
“Today’s unanimous vote is both a testament to the SEC’s longstanding spirit of unity and mutual cooperation, as well as a recognition of the outstanding legacies of academic and athletic excellence established by the Universities of Oklahoma and Texas,” said SEC Commissioner Greg Sankey
. “I greatly appreciate the collective efforts of our Presidents and Chancellors in considering and acting upon each school’s membership interest.”
The Texas and Oklahoma boards of regents have meetings scheduled for today to formally accept their offers from the SEC.
KSR in an hour
Matt Jones and the crew will be live from 10 a.m. to noon to discuss last night's draft and more. Be sure to tune in.