Going into the 2019 NBA Draft, the Miami Heat were not shy about the fact that all three Kentucky Wildcats entering the draft were on their radar.
Many mock drafts had Pat Riley, a former Wildcat himself, selecting PJ Washington at No. 13 overall. But with Washington off the board after being selected No. 12 by the Charlotte Hornets, the Heat decided to go with Tyler Herro.
Pat Riley had high praise for the Kentucky sharpshooter in his post-draft press conference on Friday.
“He’s just right on with his attitude and his approach and how much he wants to be a professional,”Riley said. “He really is excited to be here too, so we’re happy to have him.”
Herro was thrilled to be selected in the lottery and to be headed to Miami. He will be paired up with another former Kentucky player, Bam Adebayo, when he gets there.
However, Riley did not stop there when talking about Miami’s sole selection on draft night.
“It’s not a coincidence anymore that we’re drafting all the Kentucky players,” Riley said. “Getting rid of the Duke concept. So, that’s enough of that.”
The only Duke player on the roster is Justise Winslow, who averaged 12.6 points, 5.4 rebounds, and 4.3 assists in the 2018-2019 season. He started 52 of the 66 games where he saw action, and he has consistently contributed since being drafted by the Heat in 2015.
Did Riley’s comments have anything to do with Winslow? Or was it just an opportunity for him to praise his alma-mater? Either way, praising Kentucky while simultaneously dissing Duke is always music to Big Blue Nation’s ears.