A Few ACC Villains Take On the Kentucky All-Stars TonightPosted by KCarpenter on October 24th, 2011
Tonight in Lexington, Kentucky, Duke’s Christian Laettner will lead a coalition of players that have terrorized Kentucky in the past against the Big Blue All-Stars, a group of UK alumni that includes Rajon Rondo, John Wall, and several other Wildcat standouts. Laettner is, of course, the natural choice to coach a team against Kentucky (something about a perfect game and a foot stomp?). Beyond Laettner, though, there are a nice pair of additional ACC players involved in this game on the villain side: Tyler Hansbrough and Nolan Smith.
Hansbrough in particular is a nice pick-up for this team. Despite a lack of postseason showdowns, Hansbrough’s North Carolina team beat Kentucky in each of his four years in Chapel Hill. More importantly, though, is that he is Tyler Hansbrough, one of the most polarizing players in recent college basketball history. While North Carolina’s fans may adore him, Hansbrough’s awkward, sometimes-clumsy, and freakishly intense play irritated all sorts of college basketball fans on a national level. If I had to bet, I would expect that he will the recipient of some the night’s most fervent jeering. Nolan Smith is a more interesting case, mostly because he never played against Kentucky. However, as a Louisville native, the son of former Louisville star Derek Smith, and perhaps most importantly, a star player for the Duke Blue Devils, I expect that Kentucky fans will have no trouble summoning a healthy disdain for the reigning ACC Player of the Year.
As a basketball fan, I’ve found the NBA lockout discouraging. However, the assortment of cool charity games that have taken place over the summer and early fall has been a uniquely gratifying experience. The Villains game at Kentucky is one example of a game that brings college legends back to their old stomping grounds, but it looks like there may be more of these games on the horizon. Roger Mason, Jr., is organizing a charity game of his own at his alma mater, Virginia. The game, which was scheduled for this Saturday at John Paul Jones Arena in Charlottesville, would pit former ACC college stars against an assortment of pros. So far, the rosters don’t look terribly loaded, and that may be the reason why the game is being rescheduled. Still, with Washington, D.C., area pro talent like Kevin Durant, John Wall, and Rudy Gay playing for the pro team, the game should be plenty exciting, even if the current ACC all-star line-up consists of a pair of Virginia players (Mason, Jr., and J.R. Reynolds) and a pair of North Carolina players (Raymond Felton and Brendan Haywood). However, if Mason manages to get this game rescheduled and bring in even more players, this game could be a real treat for ACC fans and a nice way to raise money for the United Way and the Rock and Roll Foundation.