Possible matchup featuring ex-UK stars and NBA super team in works
Published 8:56 pm Monday, July 24, 2017
By Keith Taylor
Could a team of former Kentucky players beat an NBA super team? That lingering question could be answered in the very near future.
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During an appearance on Kentucky Sports Radio last week, DeWayne Peevy, deputy director of athletics at the University of Kentucky, said he’s trying to make such an encounter happen in an effort to settle the debate.
The school’s annual charity basketball game is set for Aug. 25 at Rupp Arena and could feature ex-Kentucky stars against possibly the Golden State Warriors, Cleveland Cavaliers or Houston Rockets.
Former Wildcat standouts Julius Randle and Karl-Anthony Towns would welcome such an encounter that would benefit various charities throughout the state.
“I definitely think we would win,” Randle said Saturday during his one-day camp at the Joe Craft Center. “I don’t think it would really be a challenge. I think Kentucky just has too many stars that come out of here. Too many really good players. I mean, I’m never going to say I’m going to lose.”
Towns, who followed up Randle’s camp with one of his own Sunday in Lexington, agreed with Randle’s prediction.
“Of course, we’d kill anybody,” Towns said. “I don’t care who you’d pick. That’s not a question. I don’t know what Julius said (Saturday), but I’m not as modest. No, we’d beat anybody. That’s not even a question. And if we get to pick our coach and we get to pick Cal, it’s over. It’s not even a question.”
Kentucky coach John Calipari’s All-Kentucky starting lineup would consist of John Wall, Devin Booker, Anthony Davis, Towns and DeMarcus Cousins.
Towns and Randle were part of two different teams at Kentucky and both players share a common bon when it comes to being a part of the historic program. Towns was part of a team that went 38-0 before losing to Wisconsin in the Final Four, while Randle’s 2014 squad lost to Connecticut in the national championship game.
“Coach Cal and Kentucky gave me a platform to showcase myself to the world in a different way. He raised my game,” The Minnesota Timberwolves standout said. “He taught me a lot of things and fine-tuned a lot of my skills that may have been problems before coming in and made them my strengths. There are a lot of things when you come here to UK that you learn. There’s a reason why we’re the best of the best. We’re the best at what we do, especially at putting people in the NBA. There’s a reason, because we have a blueprint that no one else has and no one else has figured out yet, and possibly will never figure out.”
Randle, now with the Lakers, agreed.
“I take it very serious being able to talk to these kids and put a smile on their face, or block their shot, whatever it may be,” Randle said. “Just having fun and interacting with this community, honestly. The parents as well, have given so much to me in my year I was here. This place is like a second home to me for sure.”
When looking back on his lone season with the Wildcats, Towns said the Wildcats embraced the sport and shared a mutual respect for the opposition.
“We went out there and treated the game, first, at all times with respect. We never disrespected the game of basketball,” he recalled. “We always went out there with tremendous respect for our opponents and for the game. But we went out there with a chip on our shoulder and that’s very rare for a team that’s on top of the mountain with absolutely no one around us to have a chip on our shoulder. We made goals for ourselves that were to a lot of people not possible, and we made it possible.”
Keith Taylor is sports editor for Kentucky Today. He can be reached at email@example.com