There’s only one spot remaining in KSR’s BBN Jam Tournament. Will The Untouchables take on the 2012 Champions or can Towns and Booker make it an all-Calipari title?
The ’96 team is represented by Derek Anderson and Antoine Walker, two of the team’s six players that went on to be first round NBA Draft picks. The former, a Louisville Doss product that started his career at Ohio State, was a scorer on the wing that could get hot in a hurry, posting 18 points against Utah in the Sweet 16 of the NCAA Tournament. His BBN Jam teammate, Antoine Walker, was a big that used his wide frame to out-muscle opponents. When he needed to apply some finesse that was no problem either.
Bullying Karl-Anthony Towns is much easier said than done. Kentucky’s talented freshman did not come to UK as the presumptive future No. 1 overall pick. It took some time for the seven-footer to find his touch around the rim. Once things clicked, he became arguably Calipari’s most efficient interior scorer. In this matchup he’ll have help from Devin Booker, one of the best spot-up shooters to wear Kentucky blue and white.
TALE OF THE TAPE
It’s important to remember this game is between the college versions of these players. Walker was an All-Star in just his second season with Celtics, the first of three appearances, after scoring 49 points on the Wizards. Devin Booker won the NBA Three-Point Shooting Contest in 2018, a year after he became just the sixth player to ever score 70 points in an NBA game. Derek Anderson won an NBA title and Karl Towns was the NBA’s Rookie of the Year.
Put all the professional accolades aside and you have four players who were far from finished products in college. Anderson was actually at his best in ’97 before an ACL injury ended his UK career prematurely. Booker struggled with consistency, especially on the defensive end. At 6’5″ Anderson is a formidable foe with length that would certainly bother the freshman.
In the other matchup, Towns’ length provides a decisive advantage in the interior, towering four inches over Walker. The ’96 champion could try to stretch out Towns by facing up 12-feet from the basket, but it would do no good. Towns was athletic enough to embrace that challenge.
Anderson likely has a leg up, but the ’96 team’s best player would struggle against the Big KAT. Does it put the Untouchables too far behind the 8-ball or would their experience pay off against freshmen that played in limited minutes with the Platoon Squad?