The Kentucky men’s basketball team will make its annual presence felt at NBA All-Star weekend in Los Angeles with 10 Wildcats either selected or set to participate in the league’s showcase of talent.
Headlined by an NBA-tying record four 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 Staples Center in Los Angeles for the All-Star Game. DeMarcus Cousins, Anthony Davis, Karl-Anthony Towns and John Wall were all picked as All-Stars. Cousins and Wall will not participate after suffering injuries since the announcement of their selections. With the four selections, Kentucky will join UCLA as the only program to have four former players in a single NBA All-Star game in the event’s history. UCLA achieved the feat in 1983 with Kareem Abdul-Jabbar, Marques Johnson, Kiki Vandeweghe and Jamaal Wilkes on that year’s roster.
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 Mtn Dew Kickstart Rising Stars Challenge at 9 p.m. ET on TNT. Jamal Murray and De’Aaron Fox will suit up in that game. Murray will look to defend his most valuable player honor from last season’s game.
All-Star Saturday will begin with two Cats participating in Saturday’s slate of events. Murray will participate in the Skills Challenge, while Devin Booker will make his second career appearance in the 3-Point Shooting Contest. All-Star Saturday night airs on TNT beginning at 8 p.m. ET.
Former stars Terrence Jones and Aaron Harrison were selected to represent the G-League All-Stars in the NBA G League International Challenge on Sunday at 4:30 p.m. ET. The event which will pit G-League All-Stars against the Mexican National Team will air on NBATV.
In the All-Star Game on Sunday, Davis will make his third start in the annual NBA spectacle and fourth overall appearance after winning the game’s MVP honor in New Orleans a season ago. Towns will come off the bench to make his first-ever All-Star appearance. Cousins was also voted a starter, but suffered a season-ending Achilles injury. Wall, a reserve, opted for a knee procedure that is holding him out 6-to-8 weeks of competition.
Davis and “Team LeBron” will be coached by 1978 national champion and current head coach of the Toronto Raptors Dwane Casey.
Among the long list of achievements by the NBA Cats this season, some of the most notable for each player:
· Booker – Scored 46 points in a win over the Philadelphia 76ers on Dec. 4 for his 10th 30-point game of the season. Only LeBron James reached 10 30-point scoring games faster this season
· Casey – Toronto is 41-16 on the year and currently atop the Eastern Conference standings. The Raptors have made the playoffs in each of the last four seasons under Casey
· Cousins – Prior to his injury, he was averaging 25.2 points, 12.9 rebounds and 5.4 assists per game. Over the last 50 seasons, only four players averaged at least 25 points, 10 rebounds and five assists per game for an entire season. All four players went on to win the league’s MVP award
· Davis – Became the New Orleans’ franchise’s all-time leading scorer on Feb. 2 in 380 regular-season games. David West, the previous record holder, needed 530 regular-season games to become the leading scorer
· Fox – Sacramento’s rookie is averaging 11.3 points, 4.3 assists, 2.6 rebounds and 1.0 steals per game. He’s averaging 13.1 points per game in February and 14.7 over his last 10 games
· Harrison – Averaging 17.3 points, 4.4 rebounds and 1.7 assists per game for the Reno Bighorns
· Jones – Logging 19.9 points, 7.1 boards, 4.5 assists, 1.3 steals and 1.3 blocks per game for the Santa Cruz Warriors
· Murray – Ranks fourth in the league with a .924 free-throw percentage. He’s averaging career highs in points per game (16.3), rebounds (3.5) and assists (2.9) with 17 20-plus point games already this season
· Towns – Has an NBA-leading 50 double-doubles as of Feb. 14. Only two other Timberwolves players recorded more than 45 double-doubles before the All-Star break: Kevin Garnett and Kevin Love
· Wall – Averaging 19.4 points, 9.3 assists, 3.6 rebounds and 1.1 blocks per game this season. His assists per game ranks second in the league this season
NBA All-Star Weekend Events
· Friday, Feb. 16
Mtn Dew Kickstart Rising Stars Challenge (9 p.m. ET | TNT) – Fox, Murray
· Saturday, Feb. 17
· Taco Bell Skills Challenge (8 p.m. ET | TNT) – Murray
JBL Three-Point Contest (8 p.M. ET | TNT) – Booker
· Sunday, Feb. 19
NBA G League International Challenge (4:30 p.m. | NBA TV) – Harrison, Jones
NBA All-Star Game (8 p.m. ET | TNT) – Casey, Cousins, Davis, Towns, Wall