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Former Cats help raise more than $1 million for charity in annual alumni game at Rupp


 

Almost two dozen former UK men’s basketball players, including 10 current NBA players, came together Monday to raise more than $1 million for charity at the school’s annual alumni game.

 

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The game featured seven former Wildcats currently on NBA rosters: Washington Wizards point guard John Wall, Detroit Pistons forward Josh Harrellson, Sacramento Kings forward Patrick Patterson, New Orleans Pelicans center Anthony Davis, Houston Rockets forward Terrence Jones, Charlotte Bobcats forward Michael Kidd-Gilchrist and Milwaukee Bucks point guard Brandon Knight. Sacramento Kings forward DeMarcus Cousins, Phoenix Suns point guard Eric Bledsoe and Philadelphia 76ers center Nerlens Noel participated in the festivities as “assistant coaches” but did not play.

 

Former Wildcats Randolph Morris, Ramon Harris, Perry Stevenson, Jared Prickett, Kenny Walker, Andre Riddick, DeAndre Liggins, Joe Crawford, Twany Beckham, Todd Svoboda and Mark Krebs also participated in the event.

 

John Wall warms up before the alumni game. (Photo by Jon Hale)

John Wall warms up before the alumni game.
(Photo by Jon Hale)

“How about these guys? They’re up here and they’re competing,” said UK head coach John Calipari. “They’re balling now. And how lucky have we been to be able to watch these guys in this building play?”

 

In between quarters checks were presented to 17 organizations for a total of $1.05 million: 4 Paws for Ability ($50,000), Citi House ($50,000), EverFi ($100,000), the Hope Center ($50,000), the Louisville Zoo ($20,000), Save the Children ($10,000), the Starkey Hearing Foundation ($100,000), Streets Ministry ($200,000), Team Focus Inc. ($50,000), UK Healthcare ($25,000), the Urban League ($50,000), the Foundation for Appalachian Kentucky ($50,000), Kids to Camp ($50,000), the Kentucky National Guard Memorial Fund ($50,000), Hope for the Warriors ($50,000), American Red Cross ($50,000) and Samaritan’s Feet ($50,000).

 

In the game, Wall led the way with a triple-double, totaling 40 points, 10 rebounds and 10 assists for the Blue team, which prevailed 111-95. Liggins and Patterson each scored 20 points for the Blue team.

 

Knight led the White team with 30 points. Kidd-Gilchrist totaled 26 points and 14 rebounds, and Jones scored 22 points.

 

“It’s exciting to have fun, put on a show for the crowd, but at the same time we want to get each other better so we’re taking it pretty serious and trying to guard each other,” Wall said.

 

With the current Cats sitting on the sideline and several highly ranked recruits in attendance, the UK NBA alumni put on a show.

 

Several of the pros noted after the game that if they were high schoolers, the event would have made a major impact in their recruitment.

 

“Especially if you were a point guard, ain’t no question you want to come here,” Bledsoe said. “We’ve got a couple of the best guards in the NBA right now, played for the same college. Calipari’s why they get there. So if you’re a recruit, you should want to come here.”

 

While the announced crowd of 19,255 turned out for another chance to see some of their favorite UK players on the Rupp Arena court, the UK alumni knew there was more than bragging rights at stake Monday.

 

“I don’t expect anything else from Kentucky fans,” Knight said. “That’s what you kind of expect. And it just shows the appreciation that’s here, the tradition, and how much the fans are behind the players here. I think that’s why we take the time out of our schedules now to come back and play in things like this, because we know that we had a lot of support when we were here. It means a lot to us, so we have to take the time to come back and do things like this.”


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