Keion Brooks on Kentucky Wildcats, NBA “La Familia”

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John Calipari has instilled a sense of “La Familia” in his Kentucky Wildcats program, and all the former UK players that strive and thrive in the NBA. Yes, Calipari’s La Familia may just be the most Italian sounding sentence we’ve ever published here on The Sports Bank.

Writing this article puts me in the mood to pour chianti and consume caprese, with Pavarotti playing in the background of course. Because after all this is a major La Familia, The Family in Italian (ditto en Espanol) evening on the calendar- NBA Draft night.

john calipari nba draft

This year’s edition is not indicative of how it usually goes for Kentucky. Not a single Wildcat was selected in the lottery. However, we did see Tyrese Maxey go in the first round, to Philadelphia, at the #21 overall pick. Immanuel Quickley went to the Oklahoma City Thunder at #25.

Also, we could definitely see Ashton Hagans and Nick Richards go in the second round; provided we stay up that late in the EST!

However, with the #1 ranked recruiting class coming to Lexington this season, expect to see some one-and-dones/lottery picks in next year’s draft.

Today also saw Keion Brooks, the only rotation guy who returned to UK this season, meet the media. And the NBA Draft was a hot topic of course.

“I’m just extremely happy to see them finally reach their dreams and to kind of make it, so to speak,” said Brooks on the call.

“Obviously, the work isn’t done. You’ve gotta go in there and compete and play hard, but I feel like getting drafted is a moment where you can sit back for a little bit and be like, OK, I’ve reached my dreams.”

“All the hard work, you can look back and reflect.”

Brooks is very tight with Maxey; it’s all part of #LaFamilia.

“Me and Tyrese are extremely close,” he continued.

“We talk almost every day. Like the day they released the lottery, he probably called me five minutes after. We talked about where he could possibly go. And then also with the rest of my teammates, we still have a group chat that we communicate in every day.

“We’ve been talking about the draft and just a lot of the stuff we went through last year and missing all the funny moments and stuff like that.”

Again La Familia, so I asked Brooks, with the final question of the media session, what the concept and idea means to him.

“Players come back all the time,” he responded.

“It’s just is a family that that Coach Cal has built through him and his coaching staff, by caring about his players and taking the time to make sure that they’re the best that they can be.”

“Coach Cal continuously goes out of his way for his former players to help them reach their dreams to help them accomplish the things that that they want to do.”

“Just the culture that we have here is is different than in most places. You know it’s hard, but because I think because of it being a hard that’s what makes it special.”

“Because when you when you get through it, you feel like, wow, and as far as like the draft, as you know, the proof is in the pudding, as Coach Cal continuously puts numerous guys in the league every year.
“I’m excited. I’m going to be watching and cheering them on over to go to the best situation for them and they can thrive and succeed in the NBA.”

Paul M. Banks runs The Sports Bank, partnered with News NowBanks, the author of “No, I Can’t Get You Free Tickets: Lessons Learned From a Life in the Sports Media Industry,” has regularly appeared in WGNSports IllustratedChicago Tribune and SB NationFollow him on Twitter and Instagram.

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