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Kentucky star Rob Dillingham drafted No. 8 overall in 2024 NBA Draft

Abbey Cutrer
Kentucky guard Rob Dillingham looks at his coach during the Kentucky vs. Florida mens’s basketball game on Wednesday, Jan. 31, 2024, at Rupp Arena in Lexington, Kentucky. Kentucky lost 94-91. Photo by Abbey Cutrer | Staff

Kentucky men’s basketball star Rob Dillingham was selected No. 8 overall in the 2024 NBA Draft by the San Antonio Spurs on Wednesday before being traded to Minnesota.

Dillingham was the second Cat to hear his name called in the 2024 edition of the draft after his former teammate and fellow freshman Reed Sheppard was selected No. 3 overall.

Kentucky guard Rob Dillingham (0) celebrates after a timeout is called during the No. 2 Kentucky vs. No. 7 Texas A&M men’s basketball match in the SEC Tournament quarterfinals on Friday, March 15, 2024, at Bridgestone Arena in Nashville, Tennessee. Kentucky lost 97-87. Photo by Samuel Colmar | Staff (Samuel Colmar)

Dubbed “shifty” by fans and teammates alike, Dillingham made an immediate impact in his single season in Lexington, averaging 15.2 points, 3.9 assists and 2.9 rebounds per game, shooting 47.5% from the field and 44.4% from beyond the arch.

Hailing from Hickory, North Carolina, many expected Dillingham — a former FIBA U16 Championship MVP — to follow through with his initial plan to play for the NC State Wolfpack, but the freshman had other plans, flipping to Kentucky and former head coach John Calipari.

Being a spark plug off the bench for the Cats, Dillingham racked up a few accolades during his time in Lexington, being named SEC Sixth Man of the Year and to the SEC All-Freshman Team. He was also named to the All-SEC Second Team.

A five-star recruit by Rivals and ESPN, it came as little surprise when Dillingham declared for the NBA Draft following Kentucky’s shock NCAA Tournament loss to Oakland, becoming the latest in a lengthy streak of “one-and-dones” for Calipari.

While size is a concern for Dillingham, his explosiveness with the ball in his hands and energy on the court made him perhaps the most “NBA-like” of any of the Wildcats last season.

Now joining the Timberwolves following the trade, Dillingham will join former Wildcat Karl-Anthony Towns and superstar Anthony Edwards. Dillingham also became the 60th Kentucky Wildcat drafted in the first round of an NBA draft, a college basketball record.

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Cole Parke, Sports Editor
Abbey Cutrer, Editor-in-Chief

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    Rosa CarterJun 27, 2024 at 5:03 pm

    LOVE ❤️ THIS