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Trio of former Wildcats ink new NBA deals

Exciting times for a few former Kentucky standouts.

NBA: Memphis Grizzlies at Oklahoma City Thunder Alonzo Adams-USA TODAY Sports

The Kentucky Wildcats men’s basketball program has been built into a national powerhouse over the last decade by being one of the most successful at getting players to the next level.

The likes of Karl-Anthony Towns, Devin Booker, Bam Adebayo, and Shai Gilgeous-Alexander join older players like Anthony Davis, Julius Randle, and John Wall as NBA stars that played in Lexington for their collegiate experience.

Far more Wildcats than just those household names are in the NBA, and several recently inked new contracts.

Olivier Sarr signed a two-way contract with the Oklahoma City Thunder. Sarr spent last season with OKC, playing just nine games and averaging four points per outing on 50% shooting. Sarr also had a stint with the Phoenix Suns and Portland Trail Blazers.

On top of Sarr, Ashton Hagans, a former Kentucky point guard, signed with the Trail Blazers on an Exhibit 10 contract. The 2019 SEC Co-Defensive Player of the Year signed with the Minnesota Timberwolves as an undrafted free agent in 2020, then spent several seasons bouncing around the NBA G-League.

The last of the Cats to sign recently was forward Skal Labissiere. He has the most concrete deal in place, inking a partially-guaranteed one-year deal with the Sacramento Kings, per The Athletic’s Sham Charania.

The Kings took Labissiere in the first round of the 2016 NBA Draft. He last played for the Trail Blazers, appearing in 33 games during the 2019-20 season and averaging 17.2 minutes per game.

Labissiere stands 6-foot-10 and provides both quality rim protection and good court spacing for a big man. He will have improvements to make in his efficiency, but there’s certainly a chance he stays on the Kings roster, which is already laced with the former Cats in Malik Monk, De’Aaron Fox, and Trey Lyles.