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Seven former Wildcats named NBA All-Stars, breaking single season league record

Kentucky+head+coach+John+Calipari+reacts+to+a+play+during+the+Kentucky+vs.+Tennessee+mens%E2%80%99s+basketball+game+on+Wednesday%2C+Feb.+3%2C+2024%2C+at+Rupp+Arena+in+Lexington%2C+Kentucky.+Kentucky+lost+103-92.+Photo+by+Isaiah+Pinto+%7C+Staff
Isaiah Pinto
Kentucky head coach John Calipari reacts to a play during the Kentucky vs. Tennessee mens’s basketball game on Wednesday, Feb. 3, 2024, at Rupp Arena in Lexington, Kentucky. Kentucky lost 103-92. Photo by Isaiah Pinto | Staff

The 2023-24 round of All-Star selections in the NBA saw history made by former Wildcats, with seven familiar faces earning All-Star notches to shatter the record for the most selections from one school in a single season.

Shai Gilgeous-Alexander was the only former Wildcat to earn a starting spot on an All-Star team, with Devin Booker, Karl-Anthony Towns, Julius Randle, Anthony Davis, Bam Adebayo and Tyrese Maxey earning spots as All-Star reserves.

The achievement broke the previous record of four selections from one school in a single season, which was set by UCLA in 1983 and matched by the Wildcats twice since then.

Gilgeous-Alexander spent one year in Lexington for the 2017-18 season where he scored 532 points in 37 appearances, which he started 27 of.

Kentucky sophomore forward Sacha Killeya-Jones comforts freshman guard Shai Gilgeous-Alexander after missing the final shot during the game against Kansas State in the NCAA Sweet 16 on Friday, March 23, 2018, in Atlanta, Georgia. Kentucky was defeated 61-58. Photo by Arden Barnes | Staff

The Toronto native was selected in the first round of the 2018 NBA Draft by the Charlotte Hornets, but after two trades ended up in Oklahoma City where, after averaging 31 points, he earned a spot as a 2024 NBA All-Star starter.

After playing one season as a Wildcat on arguably the best Kentucky team ever assembled in 2015, both Booker and Towns were selected in the first round of the 2015 NBA Draft with Towns going first overall to the Minnesota Timberwolves and the Phoenix Suns taking Booker with pick 14.

Towns’ 23 points and average of over eight rebounds per game would earn him an All-Star spot with the Timberwolves sitting at first in the West, while Booker’s 28 points and seven assists per game would also earn him a spot in the All-Star game.

Adebayo would also spend one year in Bluegrass, helping the Cats reach an Elite Eight where they fell 77-75 to the North Carolina Tar Heels before declaring for the 2017 NBA Draft, where he was selected in the first round by the Miami Heat.

He helped the Heat reach the NBA Finals in both 2020 and 2023, with Miami losing to both the Los Angeles Lakers and Denver Nuggets respectively. Adebayo would earn an All-Star spot after averaging 20 points and 10 rebounds per game this season.

Randle would have a slower start to his professional career than some of the other names on the list, but after one season as a Wildcat that saw Randle play a pivotal role in a tournament run that ended in a National Championship loss to the UConn Huskies, Randle was selected seventh overall by the Lakers in the 2014 NBA Draft.

Randle would end up in New York playing for the Knicks where the Dallas native would flourish into the player Kentucky fans remember. An average of 24 points and nine rebounds per game would earn Randle a place as an All-Star reserve.

Kentucky forward Karl-Anthony Towns celebrates after making a basket in the UK versus Florida basketball game on Feb. 7, 2015. Kentucky defeated Florida 68-61. Photo by Jonathan Krueger | Staff

Serving as the most recent departure from Lexington to earn All-Star honors, Maxey has proved to be a pivotal part of Philadelphia 76ers’ success after the team selected him in the first round of the 2020 NBA Draft.

Maxey’s 26 points and six assists per game have served as a huge compliment alongside reigning league MVP Joel Embiid, earning him his first All-Star selection.

Rounding out Kentucky’s record breaking seven All-Star selections was none other than Davis, who was selected first overall by the New Orleans Pelicans after leading the Wildcats to their eighth National Championship in 2012.

Davis would join LeBron James and the Los Angeles Lakers in 2019 after being traded from the Pelicans, where Davis would win the 2020 NBA Finals and, after averaging 25 points and 12 rebounds in 2024, would earn himself yet another All-Star selection.

The record-breaking All-Star roster speaks volumes to not only the success of Kentucky players after leaving the Bluegrass, but to Kentucky’s ability to produce star-caliber professionals with almost a third of the 24-man All-Star roster being former Wildcats.

The 2024 NBA All-Star Game is set to take place on Sunday, Feb. 18, inside Gainbridge Fieldhouse in Indianapolis. It will be televised on TNT.

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