Former University of Kentucky stars Karl-Anthony Towns and John Wall were named an NBA All-Star Game reserves, and they’ll join ex-Cats Anthony Davis and DeMarcus Cousins in Los Angeles for the event on Feb. 18. Davis and Cousins were named All-Star starters last week.
All-Star reserves are chosen by the league’s coaches. The starters were selected through combination of voting by fans, players and media.
A UK Athletics news release said that only one other time in the history of the NBA All-Star Game has a college featured four or more of its former players. That took place in 1983 with UCLA’s four representatives (Kareem Abdul-Jabbar, Marques Johnson, Kiki Vandeweghe and Jamaal Wilkes).
Towns, an All-Star for the first time, is first in the league in double-doubles with 41, fifth in rebounding (12.1), tied for 20th in scoring (20.0) and eighth in blocked shots (1.55).
He told the Star Tribune of Minneapolis that he got the news when he came out of film session in Portland and saw his dad, mom and girlfriend waiting.
“It was cool. They were really excited. I was excited, too,” he said. “I really enjoyed the moment. …
“It’s a huge honor. You never think when you’re growing up that you not only are going to make the NBA, but that you’re also going to be an All-Star. I’m truly blessed with this opportunity.”
Wall, a five-time All-Star, is second in the NBA with 9.2 assists per game, 29th in scoring at 19.3 and 21st in blocked shots with 1.14. He also averages 3.6 rebounds and 1.3 steals.
“I’m thrilled to compete in the All-Star game for the fifth year in a row,” Wall said. “Being able to represent the Wizards organization and Washington, D.C., during the weekend is an honor that I do not take for granted. As always, I share this with my coaches and teammates and look forward to continuing to work together to get better.”
It will be Davis’ fifth consecutive All-Star appearance while Cousins will play in his fourth All-Star Game. Cousins will be an All-Star starter for the first time.
Davis is fourth in the league in scoring (26.7), eighth in rebounding (10.5), eighth in double-doubles (24) and tied for third in blocks (2.05).
Cousins is sixth in scoring (25.6), third in rebounding (12.9), second in double-doubles (36), ninth in blocks (1.54), tied for 21st in assists (5.2) and 14th in steals (1.63).
Kentucky is the only school in the country with two former players in the 2018 All-Star Game starting lineup.
When they suit up for the game, it will mark the first time a school has had two players in the starting lineup of the NBA All-Star Game since Wake Forest had Chris Paul and Tim Duncan in the 2011 game. UK had two players — Davis and Wall — voted into the starting lineup in 2015, but Davis could not play due to injury.