LEXINGTON, Ky. — Two Kentucky men’s basketball alumni in Anthony Davis and Julius Randle were named to the 2021 NBA All-Star Game on March 7 in Atlanta. Davis is making his eighth consecutive appearance, while Randle’s selection is the first of his career.
UK’s representatives were chosen as reserves by the league’s head coaches. The announcements were made Tuesday on TNT.
While Davis will be making his eighth overall appearance – most all-time among former UK players – the appearance will be an official stamp on his breakthrough season.
Teams will be set by the All-Star starters who led their respective conferences in fan votes during NBA All-Star voting, LeBron James (Los Angeles Lakers) and Kevin Durant (Brooklyn Nets) will serve as this year's captains and select their teams from the pool of players on March 4 at 8 p.m. on TNT.
Kentucky has enjoyed unprecedented success at putting players in the NBA under John Calipari. In the 11-plus seasons of the Calipari era, 41 players have been selected in the NBA Draft, more than any other school. Included in the recent run are 31 first-round picks, three No. 1 overall selections (Davis, Karl-Anthony Towns and John Wall) and 21 lottery selections. A staggering 31 players from Kentucky were on 2020-21 NBA opening-day rosters (including two-way and inactive lists), the most of any school.
Calipari’s players are not only reaching the next level, they are succeeding when they do. Since 2010, eight of players have garnered 25 All-Star selections with the latest picks. Derrick Rose (from Memphis) was named league MVP in 2011. Five of his players have been tabbed All-NBA (Rose, Wall, Davis, DeMarcus Cousins and Towns), three have been named NBA Rookie of the Year (Rose, Tyreke Evans and Towns), and 14 players from Calipari’s first 10 teams at Kentucky have made the NBA All-Rookie teams.
Davis is in his ninth season in the NBA and second for the reigning NBA champion Los Angeles Lakers. Los Angeles is currently second in the Western Conference standings with a 22-10 overall record in its pursuit of a second straight title. Davis is the team’s second-leading scorer and leader in rebounds, blocks and steals per game. He has started in all 23 games in which he’s appeared. Plagued by a lingering Achilles injury, the 6-foot-11 forward stills ranks sixth in blocks per game (1.8), 15th in steals (1.3) 19th in rebounds (8.4), 22nd in total double doubles (eight) and 24th in points per game (22.5). His player efficiency rating is at 24.75, which ranks 11th in the league. The Lakers have lost four of their last five games since Davis left the Feb. 14 game vs. Denver with the injury.
In 2017, Davis won MVP honors on what was then his home court in New Orleans. Davis scored an All-Star Game record 52 points in addition to contributing 10 rebounds. He broke Wilt Chamberlain’s previous scoring record of 42 points set in 1962.
Named the 2012 NCAA Final Four Most Outstanding Player after leading Kentucky to the 2012 national championship, Davis has already put together a long list of accolades in the NBA during his short career. Among his most noteworthy achievements, he’s a four-time All-NBA First Team selection (2015, 2017, 2018 and 2020) and made the NBA All-Rookie Team in 2013. He was considered the consensus national player of the year in 2012 before being drafted No. 1 overall by the New Orleans Pelicans (formerly the New Orleans Hornets) in 2012.
Davis helped lead the Lakers to the 2020 NBA championship – his first – played in Orlando this summer. Davis averaged 27.7 points, 9.7 rebounds and 3.5 assists per game during the Lakers’ playoff run.
Randle has the surprising New York Knicks off to a 15-16 record and a seventh place showing the standings to this point. He’s been the centerpiece to the resurgence for Tom Thibodeau in his first season as head coach. Randle is averaging team bests in points per game (23.2), rebounds (11.0) and assists (5.5).
Earlier this season he became the fifth player in NBA history with at least 550 points, 275 rebounds, 145 assists in their first 25 games of the season, demonstrating his all-around impact and versatility. He ranks eighth in the league with 19 double doubles, 12th in rebounds per game, 21st in points, 28th in assists and he has a triple-double on the year.
Randle started in all 40 games for the Wildcats in 2014 en route to an NCAA championship game appearance following one of the most memorable runs in postseason history. He led the team with 15.0 points per game and 10.4 rebounds. Randle set the UK single-season freshman record in rebounds (417), double-doubles (24) and made free throws (204). His 24 double doubles also led the nation that season.
Randle was an All-America Third Team selection by the National Association of Basketball Coaches, United States Basketball Writers Association and the Associated Press. He was tabbed the SEC Freshman of the Year and was an All-SEC First Team selection. He was also a member of the Midwest Region NCAA All-Tournament Team and the Final Four NCAA All-Tournament Team.
Using figures compiled by basketball-reference.com and spotrac.com, Calipari-coached players only (which includes Rose but not Rajon Rondo) have amassed nearly $3 billion ($2.96) in career NBA contracts. In the 11 seasons Calipari has been the head coach at Kentucky, his players have totaled nearly $2.6 billion in NBA contracts.