As much fun as it will be to see Christian Laettner in Rupp Arena, he’s no longer the person I’m most anxious to see on the court Oct. 24.
Not that it won’t be fun to see how Kentucky fans boo him for hitting that game-winning shot for Duke in the 1992 epic NCAA Tournament overtime win over UK after he stomped on Aminu Timberlake’s chest earlier in the game. But it’s going to be even more fun to see the ovation the die-hard Wildcat fans at the game matching the Big Blue All-Stars against the Villains coached by Laettner giveEnes Kanter.
Yes, Kanter finally is going to get his chance to play in Rupp Arena after having his Kentucky career stopped before it even started by the know-it-all NCAA, which found no problems with letting Cam Newton quarterback Auburn to a national championship but couldn’t find any way to clear Kanter to play.
Jeff Sheppard, the 1998 Final Four MVP who has put the Big Blue All-Stars together, confirmed Thursday that Kanter will play in the Oct. 24 game. Some of his teammates will be John Wall, DeMarcus Cousins, Chuck Hayes and Tayshaun Prince. Some of the players on the Villains coached by Laettner will be North Carolina’s Tyler Hansbrough, Duke’s Nolan Smith, Connecticut’s Rudy Gay and Louisville’s Terrence Williams.
However, as popular as Wall and his teammates will be and as unpopular as Laettner’s cast will be — here’s still hoping that Florida’s Joakim Noah can be added to the roster — the star of the night will be Kanter.
He was the No. 3 overall pick by the Utah Jazz in the June NBA draft. He’s back in the United States after playing for Turkey in the 2011 EuroBasket Tournament, where he averaged 9.6 points and 3.9 rebounds per game and shot 59.2 percent from the field in eight games.
He briefly considering signing to play in China before it was finalized that players would have to complete the entire season if they started the year in the Chinese league. That doesn’t mean Kanter wouldn’t consider a chance to play in Europe until the NBA lockout ends — if it does end — if a lucrative contract was offered.
It was a terrific move by Sheppard to add Kanter to the game, which will benefit the V Foundation. Kentucky fans got to see Kanter about a year ago when he walked out at Big Blue Madness. After that, his only time at Rupp Arena was sitting on the bench during games after being banned from playing by the NCAA.
Tickets for the game go on sale at 10 a.m. Monday at Ticketmaster.com or by calling the Rupp Arena box office at (859)¿233-3535. Prices range from $25 for upper level seating to $50 for lower-level seating. VIP seats range from $75–250.
Fans can purchase the official line of Big Blue All-Stars shirts and memorabilia, which include the official Big Blue All-Stars vs. The Villains T-shirt and the official series of the Laettner shirts and posters at www.bigblueallstars.com.