If you’re like me, every minute of the past two days has been spent putting an imaginary roster together for the exhibition game against the Dominican Republic. I have come up with so many different combinations for Joe B. Hall to coach, and each one is equally awesome. But regardless of who shows up to play the D.R., it’s going to be a very entertaining game and one of the cooler things UK fans have seen in a long, long time.
To have some fun and generate excitement, let’s take a look at some of the possibilities for the roster.
And, before you ask, tickets are not on sale yet and we’ll let you know as soon as we know.
John Wall, DeMarcus Cousins, Eric Bledsoe, and Jodie Meeks have all been confirmed for the UK Legends roster. We’ll finally get to see “what could’ve been” in the 2009-2010 season.
Patrick Patterson has to play, right? I’m going to pencil him in without confirmaton.
Tayshaun Prince and Nazr Mohammed are two names being tossed around as potential roster additions. Neither have committed to play (as far as we know) but chances are very high we’ll see at least one of these guys, especially Nazr. Nazr lives in Louisville so he’s just a short car ride away. We’ll even pick him up.
Last Year’s Players:
The only player from last year’s squad that I’d really like to see in this game is Enes Kanter, for obvious reasons. Unfortunately, he’ll be in Turkey getting ready for EuroBasket 2011. As much as I love Brandon Knight, Josh Harrellson, and DeAndre Liggins, it has only been a handful of months since we’ve seen these guys play. Not that I wouldn’t mind watching them team up with other Cats, I’d just rather see some guys we haven’t seen in a while. Let’s try to fill the roster with some other names first, and then fill in with these guys if needed.
The Other NBA Guys:
There are enough current NBA players to stack Joe B. Hall’s roster from top to bottom and even start a J.V. Legends team. It’d be nice to see all of them return to Lexington for the game but let’s not count on that.
Two guys I’d really like to see return – and I think they will – are Chuck Hayes and Keith Bogans. Chuck is a must-have for a UK reunion game and Bogans is a guy everyone would love to see back in Rupp Arena to put on the show we missed in the 2003 Elite 8. Seeing him one more time in Rupp will help erase the memory of watching him limp of the Metrodome floor.
We haven’t seen much of Kelenna Azubuike in Lexington since he left us early for the NBA, so it’d be great to see him return home to dunk on Charlie Villanueva. But, Kelenna is a big name in NBA free agency this season after only playing in nine games in the past two years, so he’d be better off staying home and playing it safe. No hard feelings, Kelenna.
With Wall and Bledsoe already on the roster, I doubt we see Rajon Rondo. The NBA guys have egos and the last thing they want to do in their offseason is compete with other NBA players for minutes in an exhibition game.
It would be in Daniel Orton‘s best interest to stay home, if he has been even invited at all. I don’t know what kind of reception he’d get from the crowd, but I wouldn’t be surprised if he was booed after the way he left UK.
Jamaal Magloire. Please????
Wouldn’t it be great to see some of Coach Cal’s NBA buddies team up with former Kentucky players? Imagine seeing the two stars from the NBA Finals, LeBron James and Dirk Nowitzki, uniting with your favorite Wildcats in Rupp Arena. Or some of Calipari’s old Memphis guys like Derrick Rose or Tyreke Evans. Two of Tyreke’s Sacramento teammates (Cousins and Francisco Garcia) will be playing in the game. Don’t forget about Tracy McGrady, either.
I think Ramel Bradley and Joe Crawford are two guys who have to be invited to play in this game. Not only would they be a hit with the fans, both guys are still making their way up the pro ranks and a game like this would give them the opportunity to play against/with top competition and maybe even gain some exposure. Plus, they both deserve another moment in Rupp Arena in front of Big Blue Nation.
Throw Woo and Mark Krebs on the bench somewhere. We, the fans, demand it.
Guys Who Might Still Be In Shape:
As much as we’d love to see Richie Farmer and Jack Givens running the floor, it’s going to be hard to find some of the older guys that are still in game shape. Remember, this isn’t the Barnstorming Tour, it is going to be a very competitive game. Only former players who are just a few years removed will be options. A couple names that come to mind are Perry Stevenson, Ravi Moss, Shagari Allenye, and Bobby Perry. Perry is a possibility, the other three would be seat-fillers.
Ramon Harris is a guy whose career could benefit from the game like Ramel and Joe. He’s tearing it up over in China right now and his regular season schedule ends August 6. I won’t pretend to know what happens after that in the China-NBL.
Darnell Dodson is still in good shape. Joking.
Former UK Greats
The dream team would be the young NBA stars plus former UK legends from the ’96-’98 run. I know Tony Delk and Wayne Turner can still run the floor, but Wayne is on UK’s staff so he’s out. I don’t know what the rules are for Tony since he’s an assistant at New Mexico State. Walter McCarty was recently let go from the Pacers coaching staff so his focus right now is on finding a job. What about Antoine Walker???? Is Ron Mercer still alive?
You’ve read mine – now what do you think? Who would you like to see come back home to scrimmage the Dominican Republican?