Former UK Basketball Standouts Return For NBA Exhibition Game At Rupp Arena Next Month
LEXINGTON, Ky. – A day after celebrating the official tipoff of the 2016-17 Kentucky men’s basketball season at Big Blue Madness, former UK standouts John Wall, DeMarcus Cousins, Willie Cauley-Stein and Skal Labissiere will return to Rupp Arena on Oct. 15 for an NBA exhibition game.
Wall’s Washington Wizards will play Cousins, Cauley-Stein, Labissiere and the Sacramento Kings. The game is slated for a 7 p.m. tipoff.
Tickets, which start as low as $10, can be purchased online at Ticketmaster.com, by phone at 800.745.3000 or by calling the Lexington Center Ticket Office (859) 233-3535. Prices are subject to change. Infants under 2 are admitted free but must sit in parent’s lap.
The exhibition game will take place the day after Big Blue Madness, which is scheduled for Oct. 14 at 7 p.m. in Rupp Arena. Madness will be televised by the SEC Network.
Wall, an NCAA Consensus First Team All-American at Kentucky in 2009-10, is coming off his third straight NBA All-Star appearance with the Wizards. Though the Wizards missed the NBA Playoffs after back-to-back breakthrough seasons, Wall enjoyed another stellar season, ranking among the NBA leaders in assists per game (10.2) and steals per game (1.9), in addition to his team-leading 19.9 scoring average. Wall was Kentucky’s first-ever No. 1 draft pick in 2010, starting a trend of three top picks over a six-year period.
Cousins is fresh off winning a gold medal at the 2016 Olympics with the U.S. National Team, the first of his career. The 6-foot-11 forward averaged 9.1 and 5.8 rebounds in eight games at the Olympics, saving his best for last with a 13-point and game-high 15-rebound performance in the gold-medal game. The fifth overall pick in the 2010 NBA Draft has made the All-NBA Second Team in back-to-back seasons as well as two consecutive NBA All-Star games. In 2015-16, Cousins was once again among the league’s leaders in points per game (26.9) and rebounds per game (11.5).
Cauley-Stein just completed his rookie season in the NBA after going sixth overall in the 2015 NBA Draft. Cauley-Stein lived up to his selection, making the NBA’s All-Rookie Second Team. The 7-footer, who picked up two votes for the All-Rookie First Team, showed off his immense potential with the Kings, averaging 7.0 points, 5.3 rebounds and 1.0 blocks in 66 games. Named the 2015 Southeastern Conference Defensive Player of the Year and an NCAA Consensus First Team All-American, Cauley-Stein was a key member of the historical 2014-15 UK team that went 38-1.
Labissiere joined the Kentucky connection in Sacramento when he was drafted 28th by the Kings (via a trade with the Phoenix Suns) in the 2016 NBA Draft. Labissiere appeared in all 36 games with 18 starts for the Wildcats in 2015-16, averaging 6.6 points, 3.1 rebounds and 1.6 blocks. He scored in double figures in four of his first six career games and posted a career-high 26 points in his second career game. Labissiere came on late in the season with an 11-point, eight-rebound game in the win at Florida and an 18-point, nine-rebound, six-block effort in the regular-season finale vs. LSU.
Photo by Jamie H. Vaught