Shai Gilgeous-Alexander, who starred for Kentucky men's basketball in the 2017-18 season, was selected as an NBA All-Star starter for the first time, as announced on TNT, Thursday night. The Oklahoma City Thunder guard was chosen by virtue of a combined vote from fans, players and media.
The selection marks the second career All-Star nod for Gilgeous-Alexander, who is averaging 31.1 points per game to go along with 6.4 assists, 5.6 rebounds and 2.3 steals per contest this season. He ranks fourth in the league in scoring and first in steals in 43 games played, while his rebound, assist and steal averages are all career-high marks.
Gilgeous-Alexander is the fifth player under John Calipari to be picked as an NBA All-Star game starter joining Anthony Davis (four-time), Derrick Rose (from Memphis, two-time), John Wall and DeMarcus Cousins.
He averaged 14.4 points per game and 5.1 assists for the Wildcats during the 2017-18 season. Gilgeous-Alexander helped the Wildcats to an SEC Tournament crown and was MVP. Additionally, he was an All-SEC Second Team and All-SEC Freshman Team honoree. In postseason action, Gilgeous-Alexander averaged 20.7 points, 6.3 assists, 5.7 rebounds and 2.0 steals per game in the SEC and NCAA Tournaments combined. He was then drafted 11th overall by the Hornets before his draft rights were traded to the Clippers.
Kentucky has enjoyed unprecedented success at putting players in the NBA under Calipari. In the 14-plus seasons of the Calipari era, 47 players have been selected in the NBA Draft, more than any other school. Included in the recent run are 35 first-round picks, three No. 1 overall selections (Anthony Davis, Karl-Antony Towns and John Wall) and 23 lottery selections. A staggering 26 players from Kentucky were on 2023-24 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, but they are also succeeding when they do. Since 2010, nine Calipari-coached players have garnered 33 All-Star selections with the latest picks. Derrick Rose (from Memphis) was named league MVP in 2011. Nine of his players have been tabbed All-NBA (Devin Booker, DeMarcus Cousins, De'Aaron Fox, Gilgeous-Alexander, Julius Randle, Rose, John Wall, Anthony Davis, and Karl-Anthony Towns), three have been named NBA Rookie of the Year (Rose, Tyreke Evans and Towns), Randle was tabbed the NBA's Most Improved Player in 2021, Tyler Herro won NBA Sixth Man of the Year in 2022 and 15 players from Calipari's first 12 teams at Kentucky have made the NBA All-Rookie teams.
Among all active collegiate coaches, Calipari has more total players (nine) and more total All-Star selections (33) than any other coach.
Walter Cornett, of Glendale, Kentucky, is the owner and operator of Walter's Wildcat World. He founded WildcatWorld.com in 1998 making it one of the oldest Kentucky basketball fan sites in operation today.
On This Day In UK Basketball History
- On February 23, 1970, Dan Issel scored 47 points against Alabama.
- On February 23, 2019, with an 80-53 victory over Auburn, 10th-year head coach John Calipari moves past Joe B. Hall for the second most victories by a UK head coach in program history. He trails only the Baron of the Bluegrass, Adolph Rupp.