Former Kentucky star De’Aaron Fox has an NBA home. The speedy point guard was taken fifth overall by the Sacramento Kings on Thursday night in the NBA Draft.
Fox averaged 16.7 points per game for the Wildcats in his freshman season and led the team with 165 assists and 53 steals. The Houston native was a first-team All-SEC selection and was named SEC Tournament MVP after averaging 22 points per game en route to the tournament championship.
He’ll join fellow former Kentucky players Willie Cauley-Stein and Skal Labissiere in Sacramento. The Kings are putting a young core together, having traded DeMarcus Cousins for former Oklahoma sharpshooter Buddy Hield last season.
Fox is the 29th draftee Calipari has coached at Kentucky. Shooting guard Malik Monk and power forward Bam Adebayo are likely next.
Here are five things to know about Fox.
1. De’Aaron Fox set an NCAA Tournament freshman scoring record
In a much-anticipated duel between Fox and Ball, it was the Kentucky guard who came out on top in the Wildcats’ 86-75 win against UCLA in the Sweet 16. Fox scored a career-high 39 points against the Bruins — the most ever by a freshman in an NCAA Tournament game. He made 13 of 20 shots and was 13 for 15 at the free-throw line.
2. De’Aaron Fox recorded the second triple-double in Kentucky basketball history
That’s right. Chris Mills’ 19 points/10 rebounds/10 assists line from 1988 was the only triple-double in program history before Fox notched one Nov. 28 against Arizona State in the Bahamas. Fox’s line of 14 points, 11 rebounds and 10 assists was shrouded by controversy as one of the counted assists didn’t appear to be an assist. But in the end it stood.
3. De’Aaron Fox has made the Barnett family fans for life
Seth Barnett was born in eastern Kentucky and moved to Texas because of his father’s job. And he took with him a deep love of UK basketball. What a joyous coincidence, then, to end up in high school with a McDonald’s All-American who was being recruited by the Cats. He and Fox were classmates at Cypress Lakes High School in Katy. Seth, who was confined to a wheelchair by cerebral palsy, passed away last spring. SEC Country’s Kyle Tucker spoke to Seth’s mom, Carol Barnett, to tell the full story of how Fox has impacted their family.
4. De’Aaron Fox is known for his speed above all else
Comparing Fox to John Wall is easy because of the Kentucky connection. But there’s another similarity — speed. “I think I’m faster than John,” Fox said prior to last season. Fox proved to be one of the fastest college basketball players in the country. ESPN’s Sports Science put his speed on display against a pro boxer.
5. De’Aaron Fox’s favorite player is Russell Westbrook
Fast? Check. No. 0? Check. NBA point guard? Check. There are several similarities between Fox and Oklahoma City Thunder star Russell Westbrook, so it’s no surprise that Fox says Westbrook is his favorite NBA player. Several more triple-doubles are in Fox’s future if his career turns out anything like Westbrook’s.