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UK Basketball: A history of Kentucky natives under John Calipari

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Kentucky natives on Calipari’s teams aren’t super rare, but ones that contribute at a high level are.

Hawkins Jason Marcum - Sea of Blue

Kentucky has a Kentuckian.

Dontaie Allen’s commitment make him the biggest-name Kentuckian to play for the Wildcats since Dominique Hawkins and Derek Willis, who both graduated in 2017. It’s also the first offer a Kentucky native has received since Hawkins, who was apart of the 2013 recruiting class.

Kentucky natives aren’t rare on John Calipari-coached teams, but ones that make a significant impact are. Allen is likely to fall in that second category, as a four-star recruit who’s seen by multiple outlets as a top-100 player.

Here’s a look at all the Kentuckians that have come before Allen in the Calipari era.

Dominique Hawkins (2013-2017, Richmond native)

One of the biggest fan favorites that Kentucky has had in recent years, Hawkins was truly something special. The Richmond native played in 20+ games in all four years in Lexington. He came on strong in his senior year, playing in all 38 games. He was named to the SEC All-Tournament Team after scoring a career-high 14 points to help defeat the Arkansas Razorbacks in the tournament championship. He averaged just 4.7 points and 1.7 assists, but posted an astounding 3.6 assist-to-turnover ratio.

Hawkins was, without a doubt, one of the most beloved Kentucky natives of the Calipari era.

Jon Hood (2009-2014, Madisonville native)

Hood didn’t see a ton of the court in his four years at Kentucky, but he did play in 33 games his sophomore year. He averaged a career high 1.5 points per game in his redshirt junior season. He was a member of the National Championship team, but was redshirted due to a torn ACL. The highlight of his career was when he was named to the 2014 SEC Community Service Team.

Tod Lanter (2012-2015, Lexington native)

Lanter transferred from Gulf Coast State Community College. played three seasons with Kentucky, playing in a career-high seven games in his senior year. He hit one 3-pointer in that season (going 1 for 1). Lanter made the SEC Academic Honor Roll all three years in Lexington.

Jarrod Polson (2010-2014, Nicholasville native)

Polson came out of nowhere to make an impact in his junior season. On a struggling 2012-13 team, Polson was a veteran presence that Calipari needed on the floor. He played in 33 games, averaging 3.1 points and 1.1 assists per game. He also shot 53 percent from the field. Polson played in 33 games again his senior year, but he had a less significant role. Polson was a member of the National Championship team and was a member of the All-SEC Academic Team all four years.

Derek Willis (2013-2017, Mt. Washington native)

Willis has made one of the greatest contributions of any Kentucky native in the Calipari era. His biggest seasons were in his junior and senior year. He averaged a career-high 7.7 points in 2015-16 and a career-high 5.4 rebounds in 2016-17. He appeared in all 38 games of his senior season, and was second on the team in made 3-pointers. Willis then went on to get a roster spot with the Detroit Pistons’ G-League team.

Dillon Pulliam (2014-2018, Cynthiana native)

Pulliam transferred from Transylvania. He played in 11 total games in his career, but didn’t score any points. He was on the SEC Academic Honor Roll all three years at Kentucky and was named to the SEC Community Service Team in 2018. Pulliam graduated following his redshirt junior season.

Zan Payne (2018-current, Lexington native)

Payne comes to Kentucky from Lexington Catholic. The 6-4 guard is the son of assistant coach Kenny Payne.

Twany Beckham (2011-2013, Louisville native)

Beckham transferred to Kentucky from Mississippi State. He played two seasons at UK and won a National Championship. He played in 21 total games, but scored just two points as a Wildcat.

Darius Miller (2008-2012, Maysville native)

Miller is another one of the most significant contributors to Kentucky under Calipari, although he got his start with the team prior to Calipari’s arrival. Miller played in more than 35 games in each of his four seasons as a Wildcat. In that time he scored 1,248 total points. He averaged a career high 10.9 points in his junior season, and came in just under that in his senior year, averaging 9.9 points as a veteran leader on a National Championship team.

Miller was drafted by the New Orleans Pelicans before winding up overseas. He rejoined the Pelicans during the 2017 season.

Mark Krebs (2007-2010, Newport native)

Krebs played his final year in Calipari’s first season. The Newport Center Catholic alum played in 16 games in his final year. He never averaged one point per game, but put up his career high in his first season, averaging 0.8 points in four games played.