2019 Has Put A Smile On Guy’s Face And Rings On His Fingers

By Jerry Ratcliffe

Photo by Matt Riley, UVA Athletics

We should all have the kind of year that Kyle Guy is having.

Just think. Guy sank three clutch free throws, just maybe the most three pressurized free throws in Final Four history, to beat Auburn and advance Virginia to the national championship game against Texas Tech. 

He wasn’t done.

Guy helped the Cavaliers beat the Red Raiders for the national title and was named the “Most Outstanding Player” of the Final Four.

If that wasn’t enough, after he declared a year early for the NBA Draft, he was picked late in the second round by the Sacramento Kings. Lots of people said no way he’d be drafted. Proved ‘em all wrong.

He stood out while fitting in with the Kings’ team in the NBA Summer League, eventually signing a two-way contract.

He still wasn’t done.

In late July, Guy married his life-long love, Alexa Jenkins, during a romantic getaway in Hawaii.

“Easily the best year of my life,” Guy said last week when he returned to Charlottesville to participate in Virginia’s banner raising of the natty. “Not too many people get two rings in one year.”

Certainly the national championship celebration at John Paul Jones last Friday night was icing on his wedding cake. Guy was reunited with his teammates and coaching/support staff.

Everybody got a ring and the thrill of seeing the banner hoisted to the rafters of JPJ, where Coach Tony Bennett exclaimed, “It’ll be there forever.”

We had a chance to talk to Guy prior to the ceremony but not afterward, so we had to ask what he thought his emotions might be when the banner was raised.

“I’ll probably go blank,” he said. “I can’t believe it. For as witty as I think I am, I really don’t have a whole lot of words for what’s happening.”

Someone asked, “Will you cry?”

This time, Guy was witty enough.

“My wife might be a little mad if I do because I didn’t cry at our wedding,” he cracked.

The night was more about fun and dreams. That’s the way Bennett wanted it. He wanted everyone to enjoy the moment, because who knows if it will ever happen again in any of our lifetimes, or even if it happens numerous times, this one was special. It was the first. Most believe it won’t be the last.

“This is about giving thanks to the city, the university, and all the people that made it happen,” Guy said. “You’ve got to have donors, some paid for my scholarship and took a chance on us so we could do what we did.. It’s an exciting time to share with all my brothers.”

Guy admitted that he’s a very nostalgic person, and that returning to Charlottesville for the weekend combined all of his favorite things in one sweet weekend: celebrating a championship with his friends, UVA’s football game with Florida State (he is a huge football fan, and UVA won), and his family was along for the ride.

“It doesn’t get any better than this,” Guy said.

It was interesting that Guy has not watched replays of the Final Four, and he’s only seen the free throws he made in the semifinals on Twitter. Still, he hasn’t had to absorb the reality of it all … he lived it and will never forget the moment.

“It sunk in when I was at the [free-throw] line,” Guy said. “I told myself I was in front of 80,000 people, and that there were five million people matching me (on TV). I told myself I had dreamed my whole life for this moment so that I could leave this legacy, so that kids like myself could shoot game-winning free throws in the driveway to go to a national championship.”

Looking back on his whirlwind of a spring/summer, Guy said that span of challenges was nothing new.

“I’ve been doing this my whole life, trying to find a way, to get my foot in the door, to seize the opportunity. It all starts with somebody taking a chance on me, a scrawny kid from Indianapolis,” he said.

“Vlade Divac (GM of Sacramento) and the Kings have done the same thing, they took the chance.”

Guy, who was selected with the No. 55 overall pick in the draft, will be assigned to the Kings’ G-League team in Stockton, Calif. While there, he will earn a prorated $79,568, and while with the parent NBA club he will get a prorated league minimum salary of $898.310. The contract allows the Kings to have Guy for 45 days, (including travel and practice days).

While many doubted Guy’s move to leave Virginia a year early and jump to the pros, Guy never doubted himself.

“If I had a feeling I wasn’t [going to make it], I would have came back [to UVA] in a heartbeat,” he said. “It took a lot of prayer, a lot of thought, talking to my wife, my family, and to Coach Bennett, who actually helped push me over the edge, believe it or not.

“I knew I was going to make it and knew I belonged in the NBA, and that’s why I made the jump.”

Pro basketball offers a new set of challenges, which will keep the newlyweds apart while Kyle travels with his two basketball clubs, and Alexa attends school at Notre Dame for the next two years.

“It sucks that we’re not living together for a couple of years but that’s why we wanted to lay the foundation,” he said. “I’m a very money-conscious person, so the only thing I’ll be blowing my money on this year is plane rides (to South Bend, Ind.).”

Now that they’re a couple, there are in-home rivalries developing between Kyle’s Wahoos and Alexa’s Fighting Irish, which happen to meet on the gridiron a week from this Saturday in South Bend.

Any side bets?

“She’s going to wear her Notre Dame shirt,” Guy smiled. “We’re going to donate to UVA and Notre Dame. But everybody knows I want Virginia to win.”

With the year’s he’s having, don’t bet against it.


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