In case you haven’t heard, John Calipari has said he would like his Kentucky Wildcats alumni play NBA superstars, or maybe even a super-team that has already been formed.
The game would be the annual Alumni game that Kentucky holds every year, inviting former players to come back to play once more at Rupp Arena. It’s a fantastic recruiting tool for Cal and has been a benefit at his disposal for years.
If this were to happen, who would be the 10-man rotation that Calipari would put on the floor? With all the talent that he has put in the league over the last eight years, it’s not an easy question to answer.
So, I’ll answer it for you. Here is what my ten-man team of former Kentucky players would be versus an NBA all-star team of non-Kentucky players.
Starting Point Guard - John Wall
This one is a no-brainer. John Wall is a top-five point guard in the NBA and arguably the most successful former Kentucky player in the league, leading Washington to the playoffs and coming within a game of getting to the Eastern Conference Finals. Wall has helped build the Wizards up to a legitimate contender and is, without a doubt, the starting Kentucky point guard.
Backup Point Guard - De’Aaron Fox
Who steps onto the court as soon as John Wall steps off? Why that’s none other than the second coming of John Wall, De’Aaron Fox. Fox has yet to play a game in the NBA but already seems to be poised for a good career, barring any serious issues.
Fox is quite possibly the second-best point guard to come out of Kentucky in the Cal era, and maybe even ever, as we’ll have to wait to see how his NBA career turns out. In game against NBA stars, Fox is already my backup PG.
Starting Shooting Guard - Devin Booker
Devin Booker is twenty years old and scored 70 points in a game this past season. One would be insane to not have him as the starting shooting guard. Booker was selected with the 13th pick in the 2015 NBA draft, and in hindsight, he probably should have been taken with the 2nd pick, because he has been that good in his first two years.
We saw flashes of his greatness at Kentucky, including one month where he seemingly only missed about two of three point attempts. D-Book is a soon to be NBA All-Star and the starting shooting guard for my all-Kentucky team.
Backup Shooting Guard - Eric Bledsoe
Okay, I’m counting Eric Bledsoe as a shooting guard because that’s what his starting position was at Kentucky. Forgive me. Bledsoe has had a solid NBA career, playing for the Clippers before getting traded to, and being a star player for the Suns alongside Booker.
Bledsoe isn’t my backup shooting guard for his offense, which can be iffy sometimes, but for his defensive prowess. Bledsoe is an underrated defender in my mind and playing a team of NBA stars, I’m going to need defense. Bledsoe gets the nod off the bench behind Booker for me.
Starting Small Forward - Jamal Murray
Jamal Murray can seemingly play any position from point guard to small forward. Being a 6’5” combo guard, I would definitely move Murray to the small forward position to give Kentucky a viable scoring threat.
Murray is arguably the best shooter in Kentucky history and it’s without question. Murray shot forty percent from three for his lone season at Kentucky, hitting 113 of them while averaging 20 ppg. The Blue Arrow gets the starting nod at small forward for me.
Backup Small Forward - Michael Kidd-Gilchrist
MKG hasn’t had the NBA career that many people were expecting. Being taken with the 2nd pick in the 2012 NBA draft right after teammate Anthony Davis, he had a lot of hype to live up to. He’s shown flashes of being a great player here and there, but the injury bug has plagued no one more than MKG.
One of my favorite Kentucky players of all-time, MKG was a nuisance on the court in a good way. His tenacious defense and aggressive rebounding nature is something that Kentucky fans fell in love with. MKG was a no-brainer pick for me.
Starting Power Forward - Anthony Davis
This one was a sure-fire pick wasn’t it?
Anthony Davis is a top-five player in the NBA right now and is a future MVP and the future of the league. He’s only 24 years old and is already a four-time All-Star and two-time All-NBA first team selection. He’s also arguably the greatest player in Kentucky history, and no one will replicate what AD did in his one season at Kentucky; National Player of The Year, National Defensive Player of The Year, Freshman of The Year, Final Four MOP, 2012 NBA Draft Number One Pick, and 2012 Olympic Gold Medalist.
And did you know he took the fifth most shots on that 2012 title team?
Backup Power Forward - Karl-Anthony Towns, Karl Towns, KAT
KAT coming off the bench? Am I a mad man?
Probably, but I have my reasons. Karl has been one of the superstars of the league for the past two seasons. Becoming a top twenty player despite getting snubbed from an All-Star selection this past season. (Seriously, they picked Draymond over KAT?)
Karl can play any position on the court which is what makes him one of the more scarier NBA players I’ve seen in a long time. I opted to put him behind AD simply because once Anthony Davis steps off the court, you have someone who could potentially be better than him coming to take his spot. We scary.
Starting Center - DeMarcus Cousins
In Kentucky we love our Cousins. And we still love him even after he’s been gone for seven years. Cousins is the best true center in the league and a top-10 player, but has just been plagued with playing for a bad team for his first six and half seasons.
Cousins seems to be getting on the right track to potentially be making his first playoff appearance with the Pelicans and Anthony Davis , though. He’s one of the most lovable Kentucky players of all-time and that still holds true to this day.
Also, who could ever forget that tip-in against Mississippi State?
Backup Center - Willie Cauley-Stein
WCS has had a solid two years in the NBA so-far. Playing behind DeMarcus Cousins for the majority of that, he never really got to showcase much of his talent.
Once Cousins was traded, he and Skal both stepped up and showed their potential. Willie’s time at Kentucky was underrated, I feel. In my opinion, Willie is the third best player to ever play for Cal at Kentucky as a college player.
At Kentucky, Willie was named a first-team All-American, NABC 2015 Defensive Player of The Year, 2015 SEC Defensive Player of The Year, 2015 first-team All-SEC, 2x All-SEC Defensive team, and 2013 SEC ALL-Freshman team.
Also, did you know that he played wide receiver in high school?