Okay, not exactly old pals, but you get the point
Years ago, there was a kid tearing up the high school hoops scene in the state of Kentucky. The home state Wildcats, unfortunately, had not given this star the attention he deserved, at least early on in his career before he blossomed. Tubby Smith didn’t seem to notice Shelvin Mack much. His senior year, he averaged 23.7 points, 7.7 rebounds, and 7.5 assists as a Bryan Station senior. By the time Smith left, the lack of attention had already doomed UK’s chances of getting in with Mack. Billy Gillispie came in, but by early 2008, Mack was committed to be a Butler Bulldog, never really giving the Cats a chance to make up for lost time.
No worries, though. Mack doesn’t seem to hold any grudges against UK (I bet making the national title game back-to-back years didn’t hurt). When both UK and Butler made the Final Four this year, Mack said, “I’m really glad UK’s here. They deserve it.” Part of him cheering us on, in a way, probably results from his best-friendship with our own Darius Miller. If you pay attention on twitter, you will see the two chatting constantly, something that probably started in their high school days as two of the state’s finest playing on the D1-Greyhounds AAU squad.
Now, Shelvin Mack lands with another Wildcat favorite in a different city as he was selected by the Washintong Wizards with the 34th overall pick. An article came out today where Shelvin Mack discusses his 2-year long friendship with John Wall. The title may be a tad misleading, as Darius Miller is much more Mack’s ‘old pal’ than Wall. However, the important thing about this article is the way a friendship developed due to the off-season pick-up games on campus we hear so much about as fans. We’ve heard discussion of NBA players coming back to Lexington, but the idea of a Lexington native from a different school becoming friends and eventually NBA teammates with one of the greatest talents to play for Kentucky is very cool. Here are a few words from Shelvin himself:
“Me and John Wall have been friends for about two years now.”
“He was at UK, I’m from Lexington, Kentucky. It’s like ten minutes from campus so I knew him through that.”
“It creates a family atmosphere. You already know these guys so you understand what they like to do, what they don’t like to do and it just made everything easier on the court because you’re able to get along with someone off the court.”