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Newest NBA Cats discuss fits with new teams during return to Lexington

Keldon Johnson, PJ Washington, Reid Travis and Tyler Herro are ready to get to work playing pro ball.

2019 NBA Draft Photo by Sarah Stier/Getty Images

One of the best Kentucky Basketball traditions of the Calipari era is the John Calipari Draft Academy.

Each year, the newest pro Cats come back to Lexington and run a camp for young basketball players hoping to one day be like their favorite Wildcats.

Last week, Charlotte Hornets forward PJ Washington, Miami Heat guard Tyler Herro, San Antonio Spurs forward Keldon Johnson and Reid Travis of the Medi Bayreuth basketball club in Germany were back in Lexington working with campers.

During their trip to Lexington, each spoke with the media to discuss their new homes.

Washington, who was drafted 12th overall by the Hornets, said he was excited to play with former Cats Michael Kidd-Gilchrist and Malik Monk.

“I’m happy to have a guy like Malik (Monk) and MKG on my team. Washington said. “Malik is crazy, and MKG is a great mentor as well, and I’m just excited.”

As for Herro, he was picked right after Washington as the Heat chose “the bucket” with the 13th overall pick in the draft. After a dominant summer league, performance trade rumors swirled that Herro could be apart of a package that sent Russell Westbrook to south beach. Instead, the Thunder shipped Westbrook to the Rockets, and Herro signed a contract with the Heat.

Now officially a member of the Heat, Herro talked about the excitement he has to play with former Cat Bam Adebayo and for Kentucky legend and current Heat president Pat Riley.

“When I got drafted, he (Adebayo) told me to work hard to be ready to work hard,” Herro said. “Bam’s a great guy, and I’m definitely going to be looking up to him.”

On Riley, Herro said “He’s a great guy, obviously a former Kentucky guy, he’s a little bit old school in a way he works hard.”

By being the 29th overall pick of the Spurs, Johnson became the first Wildcat in the Calipari era to become a Spur.

On his goals for his rookie season, Johnson said “My thing is just going in and doing whatever they (Spurs) need me to do. “Just be better, Keldon every day.”

Finally, Travis, who spent the NBA summer league season with the Atlanta Hawks discussed his decision to play overseas in Germany.

“I feel good. I think I picked a great spot. Travis said of Germany. “Obviously my ultimate goal was to play in the NBA this year, but after having great talks with some of the coaches here (Kentucky) like Coach Cal and KP (Kenny Payne) just reassuring me that those goals are still in reach and that it’s not a bad thing to go over there for a year.”

For the full interviews watch here.