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Kentucky veteran Antonio Reeves drafted No. 47 overall in NBA Draft

Jack Weaver
Kentucky Wildcats guard Antonio Reeves (12) holds the ball during the Kentucky vs. Florida mens basketball game on Saturday, Feb. 4, 2023, at Rupp Arena in Lexington, Kentucky. Kentucky won 72-67. Photo by Jack Weaver | Staff

Former Kentucky guard Antonio Reeves was drafted No. 47 overall by the Orlando Magic and traded to the New Orleans Pelicans in the second round of the 2024 NBA Draft on Thursday.

The 6-foot, 5-inch Chicago native played a large role off the court as well as on as he was really leaned upon for his leadership and veteran experience as a fifth-year senior playing around a Kentucky roster that was funded mostly by freshmen.

Kentucky guard Rob Dillingham, left, talks with teammate Antonio Reeves before the No. 3 Kentucky vs. No. 14 Oakland mens basketball game in the first round of the NCAA Tournament on Thursday, March 21, 2024, at the PPG Paints Arena in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. Kentucky lost 80-76. Photo by Samuel Colmar | Staff (Samuel Colmar)

Reeves, who transferred to Kentucky from Illinois State after the 2021-22 season, played a pivotal role on the court for the Cats this past season as he averaged a team-high 20.2 points, 4.2 rebounds and 1.6 assists through 33 starts. 

Reeves had 20 20-plus point outings this past season and went on a hot streak towards the end of the year in which he served up 20-plus points in seven straight games. 

He reached a season-high 30 points in Kentucky’s 95-76 win over Louisville on Dec. 21 and, in that game, he shot 62.5% from the field and thrashed the Cardinals by nailing four of five attempted threes.

In his senior season and his first campaign with UK, Reeves averaged 14.4 points, 2.1 rebounds and 1.1 assists. He finished shooting 39.8% from three, which was the best of his collegiate career before he upped it this past season.

In that same season, he finished with a team-high 22 points in Kentucky’s first round victory over No. 11 Providence in the first round of the 2023 NCAA Tournament. 

At Illinois State, Reeves averaged 7.2 points his freshman season, 12.4 points his sophomore season and 20.1 points junior season. 

Experts were unsure if Reeves was going to earn a spot on an NBA roster due to his age, but he once again proved the doubters wrong and will join the likes of Zion Williamson and CJ McCollum in New Orleans.

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