Pros return to Rupp for Alumni Charity Game

By David Schuh
Video By Les Johns
dschuh@kykernel.com

Fans will get their first chance to see basketball this year at the UK alumni charity game at Rupp Arena on Saturday.

A collection of former UK players, including Michael Kidd-Gilchrist, Anthony Davis, DeMarcus Cousins, Randolph Morris and several players from the 1996 championship team will be in Lexington for the charity showcase.

“There’s no other scale like this,” said Derek Anderson, who played from 1995-97 for UK. “This is a program that is beyond touchable for anybody.”

UK head coach John Calipari said he hopes to donate more than $300,000 to charities such as Samaritan’s Feet, 4 Paws for Ability, the West Liberty Recovery Fund and EverFi Financial Literacy.

“This is a neat thing,” Calipari said. “I want the players who are there to give away the checks. By coming together, we can have an impact on these organizations.”

The 1996 team will take on an all-star team from the John Calipari Fantasy Experience at 11 a.m., followed by the feature alumni game at 2 p.m.

Members of the ’96 team in attendance will be Anderson, Anthony Epps, Walter McCarty, Jared Prickett, Jeff Sheppard, Wayne Turner and Antoine Walker.

“It’s awesome that we can get guys back that played from ’96 -’99,” Turner said. “For Coach Cal to get us all together is an honor for us. This is my second home.”

Calipari said members of the ’96 team will play together as well as with the younger pros in attendance.

“When you’re sitting in the seat I’m in, you’re the keeper of tradition,” Calipari said. “You reach back and bring people in and let them know that this is their program.”

And for those guys, it’s great to feel that recognition again.

“It’s good to be back involved in the program,” Anderson said. “We had those times when we weren’t able to come here sometimes, but now Coach Cal has opened the doors to us.”

Calipari announced Monday that lower-level tickets, originally $40, would be cut in half. Now, every ticket in the building is $20 besides the premium lower-level seating, which is still $100.

To get the half-price ticket deal, fans can use the code “TWENTY” at the Rupp Arena box office, Ticketmaster.com, or by calling 800-745-3000.