Along with the #1 recruiting classes, first round draft picks, and banners that John Calipari has brought to Kentucky in his first 3 years, he has also given us year-round basketball fanatics a handful of unique events to enjoy throughout the off-season. Literally, Kentucky basketball never stops under John Calipari. In his first summer on the job, he went on a book tour from Pikeville to Paducah, the following summer he brought the team up to Canada and gave Big Blue Nation a couple of exhibitions to watch in August (while the legend of Dom Papa was born), and the summer after that we packed Rupp for an exhibition between Cal’s Dominican Republic National Team and the “UK Pros”.
This off-season has already kicked-off with a National Championship Trophy Tour across the state, but on Thursday, July 12th at 6:00 in Las Vegas, Cal is delivering another very unique event for UK basketball fans to enjoy over the summer: an exhibition between his Dominican Republic team and Coach K’s United States squad, which may feature Anthony Davis. Think about it: Coach Cal and possibly Eloy Vargas playing against the most talented players in the world (Lebron, Kobe, Wade, Rose, Griffin, Durant, and hopefully Davis). I don’t know about you, but I’m already drooling with excitement for this game. With Kidd-Gilchrist, Jones, Lamb, Teague, and Miller simultaneously playing in Vegas in the NBA Summer League, I’d hope that Big Blue Nation shows up in Vegas with force.
Team USA should pull out an easy win over Cal’s Dominicans, but you never know–our national team lost to Puerto Rico, Lithuania, and Argentina in 2004. Regardless, it will be fun to watch, and it means absolutely nothing if Team USA defeats Coach Cal’s team as expected, but could you imagine the ramifications for UK and Coach Cal if the Dominicans somehow are able to beat Coach K and the top current collection of talent in the world? If Cal can lead the Dominicans to qualify for the Olympics (in a separate tournament taking place prior to the exhibition with the U.S.), it will be the first time the country has ever qualified for the Olympics.
If Cal keeps this gig in the future, it would be great to see an exhibition against the U.S. team in Rupp. Whatever the Dominicans are able to accomplish this summer, I’m just glad to be able to watch basketball with a connection to Kentucky in the middle of the summer.