- Valparaiso Crusaders - December 7, 2016 - Rupp Arena - 8:00 PM EST - SEC Network
Photo gallery at the bottom
Joe B. Hall may not have been granted the time to get in 26 offensive sets like he wanted, but the former Kentucky head coach and co-coach of the Pros team managed to install a couple of sets with the players Monday afternoon before the first “Pros vs. Dominican Republic” game.
Though it was brief, Hall met with the former UK pros at Rupp Arena at 1 p.m. for a shoot-around. With all eight former Kentucky players in attendance (John Wall, DeMarcus Cousins, Eric Bledsoe, Rajon Rondo, Tayshaun Prince, Nazr Mohammed, Jodie Meeks and Keith Bogans), Hall drew up a couple of sets for the players to walk through.
Even if Monday night’s game is an exhibition and even if Monday afternoon was the first time all eight UK pros had been together, they were prepping for the game like they wanted to win.
“It’s very important,” former UK forward and current Sacramento King DeMarcus Cousins said Sunday night. “We haven’t lost a game in Rupp and we want to keep it that way.”
The Pros kept that mentality throughout the walkthrough — at least for 30 minutes. The last half hour, the eight pros horsed around with each other like they were blood brothers and had been playing together for 10 years.
Wall practiced shots from a sitting position on the bench, Bogans kidded with Hall about his playing limits and Cousins was, well, Cousins.
“This is like a family,” said Wall, who stuck around with Cousins well after the shoot-around ended for a friendly shooting competition. “Once you’re a part of it, you’re UK until you die.”
On the Dominican Republic side, head coach John Calipari ran his team through a much more structured and fast-paced walkthrough at 10 a.m. Calipari, having coached several of the former UK pros, prepped his team on how to guard the former Wildcats and some of their tendencies.
Anyways, below are some pictures I took of each shoot-around while I sat at the scorer’s table. They’re low-resolution photos from a phone, so they’re not much to look at, but they should give you an inside look at the pregame festivities going at Rupp for Monday’s “Pros vs. Dominican Republic” game.