Kentucky coach John Calipari will have some big-name recruits on campus Monday for the UK Alumni Charity Game at Rupp Arena, which he anticipates will raise close to $800,000 for 15 different charities.
However, the best part about the game for Calipari is that it brings back players from his 2010 Elite Eight team and 2012 national championship team, not only to play against each other, but also to play with and interact with his current freshman-dominated team.
“Go play against my guys and come back and tell me what you think,” Calipari said on his message to his former players.
Already, former Wildcats Eric Bledsoe and DeMarcus Cousins have been on campus during the summer and liked what they saw from his roster that will include six freshmen who were McDonald’s All-Americans and two sophomores that could have likely been first-round NBA draft picks if they had put their name into the June draft.
Calipari said many former UK players were embarrassed by last year’s team, which lost in the first round of the NIT to Robert Morris.
“(They) went crazy … were so happy when they played pickup against them. ‘We’re back! Yeah!’ ”Calipari said of Bledsoe and Cousins.
However, the UK coach then quickly issued a warning for fans Thursday.
“We’re not back. We’ve got a long way to go. But as far as what we look like, we’re back. Now we look like what we’ve always looked like. Whether they play that way, we’ll have to see,” Calipari said.
Calipari said about 17,000 tickets have already been sold for Monday’s event, which also features a team of older former Cats playing against an all-star team from the John Calipari Fantasy Camp that ends Monday.
Former Kentucky star Kenny Walker, Andre Riddick, Perry Stevenson, Ramon Harris, Jared Prickett and Randolph Morris are scheduled to play in that game.