Where in the world are the Wildcats from?


Kentucky freshman forward Kevin Knox dunks the ball during the Kentucky Cares Classic charity game against Morehead State at Rupp Arena on Monday, October 30, 2017 in Lexington, Ky. Kentucky won 92 to 67. Photo by Arden Barnes | Staff

When John Calipari recruits his next batch of basketball stars, the head coach tells the talented players all the amenities and positives that come with playing basketball at UK.

However, there is always one particular thing that makes a player want to come to Kentucky. Whether it’s the competition, history or goals of winning a national championship, one thing always sticks out in a recruits mind when it comes to choosing a school.

UK has eight new freshmen who all have that one reason of why they came to UK. Here’s what some of them had to say.

Kevin Knox

“Just the way that they push their kids, I mean I want to get pushed to the max and get outside my comfort zone. That’s something that Cal (John Calipari) and KP (Kenny Payne) are really known for doing, is really pushing kids. I know that some workouts, individuals and team workouts, it was crazy, Cal was yelling at us and we haven’t even started the season yet, that’s something I wanted was to be pushed. It’s really competitive in practice, that’s something you really can’t go wrong with, I mean you’re practicing with five – six McDonald’s All-Americans every day, so of course you’re going to get better and that’s something I liked. We felt – my family and I – felt that coming here, I would be able to get pushed and get me outside my comfort zone basically.”

Nick Richards

“Coach Cal told me that I’m not guaranteed anything. He basically kept it real with me out of all the coaches, he was the only one that was keeping it real with me. Coach KP, coach Tony Barbee, those guys, they were a major part of my recruiting process too, and they basically didn’t lie to me, they didn’t try to sugarcoat anything to me, they kept it real with me, and they told me the truth. That’s what I wanted to hear.”

Jarred Vanderbilt

“I felt like it was a great fit. I’ve been watching them since the John Wall days and I just loved the way they play. They’re fast-paced, they’re a transition team. It fits my style of play. It’s just like they knotted together on and off the court, and they help their guys who are succeeding in the league, so it’s like they prepared them on and off the court to be pros, and that really stood out to me.”

PJ Washington

“I just felt like it was a family atmosphere. My parents loved it, my little sister and my little brother loved it, so I felt like it was the best place for me to come here and get better, and just focus on winning.”

Jemarl Baker

“My dad pushes me like as hard as I can go pretty much, and just for me to be the best that I can be. Then in the meeting with Coach Cal, he said he’s going to push me to be the best version of myself and push me to compete and just try to win everything I do. For me to have that figure out here so far away from home, it was just all I needed to hear.”

Shai Gilgeous-Alexander

“I think it was less of showing me – sugarcoating me and showing me what they want or what they need from me and stuff like that. It was more straightforward in their approach and it was real, and that’s what I want to be coached by.”

Quade Green

“When I found out about the players that were going to be around me, it was definitely going to make me better – I like making other people better, too, off the court and on the court, so it even made it easier for me to come here.”