Perhaps no team in the history of basketball has left an imprint on the sport like Kentucky. We have become familiar with its ability to sprinkle the NBA with massive talent – from AD to Devin Booker, John Wall, Jamal Murray, and many more, the list feels endless. But today I wanted to explore the best former Kentucky men’s basketball players who are balling out professionally overseas.
Best Kentucky Basketball Players Hooping Overseas
The 6-foot-8 former McDonald’s All-American from Clarksville, Tennessee, has had stints in the NBA with the Hawks, Sixers, and Pacers. He’s now settled into his role in Europe.
This upcoming season, he’ll join Zenit St. Petersburg in Russia and compete in the EuroLeague. Considering Poythress tore his ACL in college, he has bounced back extraordinarily well and made a nice basketball career for himself overseas.
Another McDonald’s All-American, Goodwin saw significant minutes in the NBA with the Phoenix Suns in the 2015-16 season. Since, the former Kentucky player has seen action in some of the best leagues overseas, including China, Turkey, Germany, and most recently in France.
Goodwin continues to standout as an American guard who could easily find his way back into an NBA rotation. He played in The Basketball Tournament for Eberlein Drive this summer and ended up as the leading scorer on one of the more talented squads in the event.
The 2012 national champion will forever feel remembered by Kentucky fans.
After finding himself drafted No. 18 overall by the Houston Rockets in the 2012 NBA Draft, Jones had a short NBA career that included stops in Houston, New Orleans, and Milwaukee. After some G-League experience, he has taken steps into his overseas journey with stints in China, the Philippines, and most recently Puerto Rico.
The bruising big man is still in the prime of his career at 29 and will play this upcoming campaign in the Ukrainian SuperLeague for Prometey.
The 26-year-old former Kentucky buzzer beater extraordinaire is now entering the prime of his basketball career overseas, spending last season with Greek powerhouse Olympiacos playing in the EuroLeague against some of the best competition in the world.
Harrison, still a bucket in any league in the world, will take his talents to Turk Telekom in the Turkish top league this year. I imagine a more expansive role than the one he saw in Greece will showcase his skillset that much more.
Dakari Johnson should receive a second look.
A 7-foot beast down low, Johnson could play anywhere in the world with any team. Still only 25, he has carved out a three-year career in China as one of the best import big men the league has seen. Last season, Johnson led Quingdao to a 32-22 record and put up amazing numbers: 21.1 points, 12.2 rebounds, 3.1 assists, 1.4 blocks, and 1.1 steals per contest.
Kentucky has produced tons of professional talent, and it has lots of players hooping overseas. There are a few more names I feel have to be mentioned, even if they aren’t on the same level as the others I’ve explained in this article.
DeAndre Liggins – 2021-22 team: Libertadores de Queretaro (Mexico)
Josh “Jorts” Harrellson – 2021-22 team: Sun Rockers Shibuya (Japan)
Derek Willis – 2021-22 team: Club Joventut Badalona (Spain)
Marquis Teague – 2021-22 team: London Lions (United Kingdom)