The NBA’s summer league play got underway this past weekend with the California Classic and then the Salt Lake City Summer League early this week, but it’s the Las Vegas Summer League that Kentucky basketball fans will particularly want to give their attention.
The Las Vegas league tips off late Thursday with a pair of games that will feature the Cats’ two 2022 draft picks — Shaedon Sharpe (No. 7 to the Portland Trail Blazers) and TyTy Washington (No. 29 to the Houston Rockets via a trade).
Leaving aside the argument that Sharpe never played for Kentucky and therefore is not truly an ex-Cat, this will be the first time the none-and-done standout — who did spend several months practicing with the team — will play in an organized game of basketball since last summer’s Nike Peach Jam, which pitted him against high school competition.
First on the court in Vegas on Thursday will be Washington, though, when the Rockets take on the Orlando Magic, who had the No. 1 overall pick and took Duke’s Paolo Banchero. The Rockets also added Auburn’s Jabari Smith (No. 3) and LSU’s Tari Eason (No. 17) in the first round, and their summer roster includes former Owensboro High School and Mississippi State standout Aric Holman.
The second game on opening night in Vegas should feature Sharpe’s debut when the Trail Blazers face the Detroit Pistons, whose top pick was Purdue’s Jaden Ivey at No. 5.
Kentucky’s undrafted players from this past year’s squad, Kellan Grady and Davion Mintz, could make their summer league debuts on Friday and Saturday, respectively. Grady signed an Exhibit 10 contract with the Denver Nuggets, and Mintz signed the same such deal with the Washington Wizards.
Some other former Kentucky players expected to play in Las Vegas:
▪ Isaiah Jackson, a rookie with Indiana Pacers last season, averaged 8.3 points and 4.1 rebounds in 2021-22. Tevin Brown, an undrafted free agent from Murray State, and former Bowling Green High School star Terry Taylor (Austin Peay) will also play for Indiana.
▪ Former UCLA star Johnny Juzang, who played his freshman season at Kentucky, signed a two-way contract with the Utah Jazz after going undrafted. Juzang missed the team’s first game in the Salt Lake City Summer League on Tuesday because of a concussion he sustained in an auto accident Saturday.
▪ Brandon Boston, who averaged 6.7 points and 2.2 rebounds as a rookie, is on the Los Angeles Clippers’ summer roster, along with former Central and Louisville Trinity High School standout Jay Scrubb and ex-Morehead State star Xavier Moon.
▪ Nick Richards, who has averaged 2.4 points and 1.4 rebounds in 6.3 minutes in two NBA seasons, will play for the Charlotte Hornets.
▪ Nate Sestina, who has been playing professionally in Turkey, is on the Sacramento Kings’ summer roster. Sestina averaged 5.0 points, 4.0 rebounds and 2.0 assists in in the Kings’ first two summer contests in the California Classic. He did not play in the third game.
▪ Olivier Sarr, who played for the Oklahoma City Thunder at the end of last season, is with the Phoenix Suns this summer.
▪ Ashton Hagans, undrafted in 2020, will play with the Cleveland Cavaliers. Hagans averaged 10.8 points, 6.7 assists and 3.8 rebounds for Raptors 905 in the G League last season.
▪ Mychal Mulder, who played two seasons at Kentucky (2015-17) and has spent parts of the past three seasons in the NBA, will play for Miami. He is with the Heat on a two-way contract. He played in 15 games for the Magic and two for the Heat last season, averaging 4.1 points. Mulder started all three of the Heat’s games at the California Classic, averaging 9.3 points, 2.0 rebounds, 2.0 steals and 1.0 assists while struggling a bit from three-point range (5-for-23).
▪ Sacha Killeya-Jones, who spent two seasons at Kentucky and sat out one season as a transfer at N.C. State before turning pro, has played in the Czech Republic, Estonia, Poland and Israel. He’s on the Los Angeles Lakers’ summer roster. Killeya-Jones was a DNP in the Lakers’ first California Classic contest, then averaged 7.0 points and 1.5 rebounds in the other two while shooting 2-for-6 from three-point range.
▪ Kahlil Whitney, who played in 18 games for the Cats during the 2019-20 season before leaving the team, will play for the Minnesota Timberwolves as a free agent.
Ex-Cats on TV in Las Vegas
(Notes: All times Eastern; not all rosters have been announced and those that have are subject to change; schedule for Saturday, July 16, and Sunday, July 17, is to be determined.)
Shaedon Sharpe: Trail Blazers vs. Pistons, midnight Thursday, July 7 (ESPN); Trail Blazers vs. Pelicans, 10 p.m. Saturday, July 9 (ESPN2); Trail Blazers vs. Knicks, 11 p.m. Monday, July 11 (ESPN2); Trail Blazers vs. Rockets, 9:30 p.m. Thursday, July 14 (NBA).
TyTy Washington: Rockets vs. Magic, 10 p.m. Thursday, July 7 (ESPN); Rockets vs. Thunder, 8 p.m. Saturday, July 9 (ESPN2); Rockets vs. Spurs, 7 p.m. Monday, July 11 (ESPN); Trail Blazers vs. Rockets, 9:30 p.m. Thursday, July 14 (NBA).
Davion Mintz: Wizards vs. Pistons, 6 p.m. Saturday, July 9 (ESPN2); Wizards vs. Suns, 5:30 p.m. Sunday, July 10 (NBA); Wizards vs. Pelicans, 6 p.m. Wednesday, July 13 (NBA); Wizards vs. Pacers, 9 p.m. Friday, July 15 (ESPN2).
Kellan Grady: Nuggets vs. Timberwolves, 9 p.m. Friday, July 8 (NBA); Nuggets vs. Cavaliers, 7 p.m. Sunday, July 10 (ESPNU); Nuggets vs. Clippers, 10 p.m. Wednesday, July 13 (NBA); Nuggets vs. 76ers, 6 p.m. Friday, July 15 (NBA).
Isaiah Jackson: Pacers vs. Hornets, 6 p.m. Friday, July 8 (ESPN2); Pacers vs. Kings, 3 p.m. Sunday, July 10 (ESPN); Pacers vs. Pistons, 9 p.m. Tuesday, July 12 (NBA); Pacers vs. Wizards, 9 p.m. Friday, July 15 (ESPN2).
Johnny Juzang: Jazz vs. Hawks, 7:30 p.m. Saturday, July 9 (NBA); Jazz vs. Mavericks, 10 p.m. Monday, July 11 (NBA); Jazz vs. Raptors, 7 p.m. Wednesday, July 13 (ESPNU); Jazz vs. Clippers, 5 p.m. Friday, July 15 (ESPN2).
Brandon Boston: Clippers vs. Grizzlies, 9:30 p.m. Saturday, July 9 (NBA); Clippers vs. Lakers, 11 p.m. Tuesday, July 12 (NBA); Clippers vs. Nuggets, 10 p.m. Wednesday, July 13 (NBA); Clippers vs. Jazz, 5 p.m. Friday, July 15 (ESPN2).
Nick Richards: Hornets vs. Pacers, 6 p.m. Friday, July 8 (ESPN2); Hornets vs. Lakers, 9:30 p.m. Sunday, July 10 (NBA); Hornets vs. Cavaliers, 5 p.m. Wednesday, July 13 (ESPNU); Hornets vs. Bulls, 5 p.m. Thursday, July 14 (ESPN2).
Nate Sestina: Kings vs. Magic, 4 p.m. Saturday, July 9 (ESPN); Kings vs. Pacers, 3 p.m. Sunday, July 10 (ESPN); Kings vs. Thunder, 8 p.m. Wednesday, July 13 (NBA); Kings vs. Suns, 8 p.m. Friday, July 5 (NBA).
Olivier Sarr: Suns vs. Lakers, 10 p.m. Friday, July 8 (ESPN2); Suns vs. Wizards, 5:30 p.m. Sunday, July 10 (NBA); Suns vs. Mavericks, 10 p.m. Tuesday, July 12 (ESPN2); Suns vs. Kings, 8 p.m. Friday, July 15 (NBA).
Ashton Hagans: Cavaliers vs. Spurs, 5 pm. Friday, July 8 (NBA); Cavaliers vs. Nuggets, 7 p.m. Sunday, July 10 (ESPNU); Cavaliers vs. Hornets, 5 p.m. Wednesday, July 13 (ESPNU); Cavaliers vs. Pistons, Thursday, July 14 (NBA).
Mychal Mulder: Heat vs. Celtics, 5:30 p.m. Saturday, July 9 (NBA); Heat vs. Hawks, 7 p.m. Tuesday, July 12 (NBA); Heat vs. 76ers, 9 p.m. Wednesday, July 13 (ESPNU); Heat vs. Raptors, 10 p.m. Friday, July 15 (NBA).
Sacha Killeya-Jones: Lakers vs. Suns, 10 p.m. Friday, July 8 (ESPN2); Lakers vs. Hornets, 9:30 p.m. Sunday, July 10 (NBA); Lakers vs. Clippers, 11 p.m., Tuesday, July 12 (NBA); Lakers vs. Pelicans, 11 p.m. Friday, July 15 (ESPN2).
Kahlil Whitney: Timberwolves vs. Nuggets, 9 p.m. Friday, July 8 (NBA); Timberwolves vs. Grizzlies, 9 p.m. Sunday, July 10 (ESPNU); Timberwolves vs. Bucks, 4 p.m. Wednesday, July 13 (NBA); Timberwolves vs. Nets, 9 p.m. Thursday, July 14 (ESPNU).