Behind Enemy Lines: A Fan’s Account of the UK UNC Alumni Game


My best friend is a huge Kentucky Wildcats fan. However, he has never been to Rupp arena, so I decided for his birthday this year I would get him tickets to see a game at Rupp and suck it up. The more I read the less assured I felt this would be a reality, but after the Alumni game was announced, I hopped on TicketMaster and low and behold I was able to get two lower court seats at a decent price.

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So this past Sunday morning, we drove the six hours to Kentucky to watch the UNC Alumni take on the UK Alumni. It was a great ride up there as we have known each other for a long while and can tolerate each other when other people would get on our nerves after 6 minutes. We checked in to our hotel and headed to the game.

I should’ve known this was going to be a bad experience as we arrived at the stadium and my friend had to check his bag because he brought a camera he knew he couldn’t bring, but wanted to take a chance anyways. That made us late for the game and I missed the tip-off and the play up to the first timeout.

After finally getting seated, I took a look around at what has been described by many as the Mecca of college basketball… it isn’t. I hate to judge the atmosphere too much since the place wasn’t packed and the game didn’t mean a thing, but I’ve easily been to better places. Also Chapel Hill has nothing to worry about as far as college towns go — Lexington has nothing on the beautiful campus at the Hill.

Anyways, what came next was probably the biggest shock of all. I had been looking all week for any kind of resemblance of who might be there and minus a few confirms here and there, like Harrison Barnes and DeMarcus Cousins, had found next to nothing. The whole way up I was hoping to see Psycho T, Rasheed, Kendall Marshall, Ty Lawson, and maybe even catch good ole Roy coaching on the sideline.

Sep 13, 2015; Lexington, KY, USA; North Carolina Shammond Williams (3) blocks Kentucky Wildcats Devin Booker (1) during the Alumni Game at Rupp Arena. Mandatory Credit: Mark Zerof-USA TODAY Sports

Instead I got the bottom of the barrel Tar Heel “stars”. While Kentucky was putting out their starting five from a team last year that went 38-1, Carolina was putting out guys who I remember in high school. At one point the five on the floor for the Heels included an AAU coach (Stackhouse), a High School Coach (Bobby Frasor), a College Assistant (Shammond Williams), a college Coach (Wes Miller) and a D-Leaguer (Dexter Strickland).

We had two NBA players to their nine. Their oldest player was 25; we had two guys who were 40. And yet we trailed only 8 at half and at one point got the game to 5 after trailing by 21. I know moral victories are pointless, but with a roster like that, I will take what I can get.

Now don’t get me wrong — the game wasn’t much of one. No one really played defense and with so much money represented on the floor no one wanted to get injured, which is why Anthony Davis was the coach and not a player. In fact, having so many guys with nothing really to lose probably helped us stay in the game a little more than we should’ve.

In the end, this event was yet another opportunity for Coach Cal to stroke his ego. At halftime he was honored for his induction to the Hall of Fame and received a giant picture of himself with a bunch of signatures.

My friend had a great time and I took one for the team, because that’s what friends do. Maybe next time the game will be at UNC and we will get to show off the talent as players like Jon Hood and Josh Harrelson suit up for the Cats. If you do, you better believe I will be there and this time it will be my friend who gets dragged along for the ride.