The Kentucky men’s basketball team will make its annual presence felt at NBA All-Star weekend in New Orleans with nine Wildcats participating the league’s showcase of talent.
Headlined by three NBA All-Stars, more alumni than any other school, UK will touch nearly every part of All-Star weekend.
The main event will be Sunday night at the Smoothie King Center in New Orleans for the All-Star Game. Anthony Davis and John Wall will be making their fourth appearances in the game while DeMarcus Cousins will make his third.
That game will tip off Sunday at 8 p.m. ET on TNT.
But it’s far from the only action of the weekend featuring the Wildcats.
Things officially start Friday with the BBVA Rising Stars Challenge at 9 p.m. ET on TNT. Four former UK products – Devin Booker, Trey Lyles, Jamal Murray and Karl-Anthony Towns – will suit up in that game. Booker and Towns will play for Team USA while Lyles and Murray will represent the World.
No other school has more than two representatives in the Rising Stars Challenge.
All-Star Saturday will begin with the NBA D-League All-Star Game at 2:30 p.m. ET. Wildcats Dakari Johnson and Alex Poythress will participate in that game at the Mercedes-Benz Superdome. The game will be televised by NBA TV.
John Calipari one day hopes that half the NBA All-Star Game will be filled with Kentucky Wildcats. That wish will come true by some measure in the Taco Bell Skills Challenge with four of the eight participants hailing from UK.
Booker, Cousins, Davis and Wall will look to make it two straight Skills Challenge titles for Kentucky after Towns won the event last season. This year’s event will start at 8 p.m. ET on TNT from the Smoothie King Center.
In the All-Star Game on Sunday, Davis will make his second start in the annual NBA spectacle, while Cousins and Wall will come off the bench as reserves.
Among the long list of achievements by the NBA Cats this season, some of the most notable for each player:
· Booker – Earlier this season became the youngest player in NBA history with three games of at least 39 points and the youngest player to post back-to-back games of 39 points or more
· Cousins – In late November, posted four straight games with at least 30 points, marking the longest streak by a Kings players since Chris Webber in 2001. Also one of four players (Davis and Towns being two of the others) with a 45-point, 15-rebound game this season
· Davis – Ranked seventh in the league in player efficiency rating and began the NBA season by becoming the first player since Michael Jordan in 1986-87 to begin the first two games of the years with at least 90 points
· Johnson – Was named NBA D-League Player of the Month for the month of November and leads his team with 11 double-doubles
· Lyles – Has scored in double figures in 18 games this season
· Murray – Has scored in double figures in eight of the last 11 games
· Poythress – Leads the Fort Wayne Mad Ants in scoring and rebounding to go along with nine double-doubles
· Towns – The reigning NBA Rookie of the Year is third in the league with 42 double-doubles, highlighted by a 47-point, 18-rebound game in November vs. the Knicks
· Wall – Was named the NBA Eastern Conference Player of the Month for December and currently leads all Eastern Conference guards in assists, steals and double-doubles (trails only triple-double machines Russell Westbrook and James Harden among all guards in double-doubles)
NBA All-Star Weekend Events
Friday, Feb. 17
BBVA Rising Stars Challenge (9 p.m. ET | TNT) – Booker, Lyles, Murray, Towns
Saturday, Feb. 18
NBA D-League All-Star Game (2:30 p.m. ET | NBA TV) – Johnson, Poythress
Taco Bell Skills Challenge (8 p.m. ET | TNT) – Booker, Cousins, Davis, Wall
Sunday, Feb. 19
NBA All-Star Game (8 p.m. ET | TNT) – Cousins, Davis, Wall
From UK Athletics