Paying $20 to watch North Carolina's alumni play against each other is a bargain. Seeing 24 of the best Heels of the last 15 years square off? Sweet.
But it got me thinking –what other schools could produce an alumni game worth paying for? (Remember, it's not just recent alumni, but guys who also are still playing.)
May as well start with Duke. According to Basketball-reference.com, the Devils have 13 players on NBA rosters and a couple of guards (Daniel Ewing, William Avery) playing overseas, more than enough to fill a couple of rosters.
|Chris Duhon helped Duke J.J. Redick reach the 2004 Final Four
Perhaps the starting lineups would look like this:
Chris Duhon, Gerald Henderson, Shane Battier, Shelden Williams and Elton Brand vs. J.J. Redick, Corey Maggette, Luol Deng, Mike Dunleavy Jr. and Carlos Boozer. That leaves Grant Hill, Dahntay Jones, Avery, Ewing and Josh McRoberts, among others, to come off the benches.
The frontline of Williams and Brand would be imposing, but one of 'em would have to guard Dunleavy on the perimeter, which would open up things for Boozer. This game would be won by the team that has fewer guard issues, namely who wins the Duhon-Redick matchup. I'd pay $19 for that game.
Arizona's alums also would put on a sweet show. It'd be an up-tempo, guard-oriented game.
Let's pit Gilbert Arenas, Jerryd Bayless, Luke Walton, Andre Iguodala and Channing Frye vs. Mike Bibby, Jason Terry, Marcus Williams, Richard Jefferson and Jordan Hill. That leaves Hassan Adams, Salim Stoudamire, Damon Stoudamire and Loren Woods coming off the bench.
This game doesn't have much going down low, but watching Arenas and Terry gun 3s and Iguodala and Jefferson face off alone would be worth $18.
Stick in the Pac-10 and consider UCLA.
The Bruins can showcase two balanced rosters with a nice mix of NBA newcomers and crafty vets. But for some reason, it doesn't seem like there are any superstars playing.
I'd start Baron Davis, Arron Afflalo, Matt Barnes, Ryan Hollins and Dan Gadzuric vs. Jrue Holiday, Russell Westbrook, Jason Kapono, Trevor Ariza and Kevin Love. That leaves Jordan Farmar, Luc Richard Mbah a Moute and Darren Collison coming off the bench.
There's nobody in that mix that you have to see, but there's not any weak links, either. It's a solid game, worth about $12.
|Emeka Okafor, Ben Gordon and Charlie Villanueva must be talking about who will guard Caron Butler.
Connecticut is the opposite.
Ray Allen, Rudy Gay, Ben Gordon, Rip Hamilton, Caron Butler, Charlie Villanueva and Emeka Okafor – when's he's healthy – are all worth dropping a Jackson. But that's just seven guys. The other ones drop the price a bit.
I'd start A.J. Price, Allen, Butler, Villanueva and Hasheem Thabeet against Gordon, Hamilton, Gay, Donyell Marshall and Okafor. Coming off the bench are Denham Brown, Marcus Williams, Khalid El-Amin, Josh Boone, Hilton Armstrong and Jeff Adrien, among others.
True, Okafor could very well break Thabeet in half, but I'm not sure one school's produced two better recent shot blockers. Thabeet would probably block more shots, but Okafor is probably more intimidating – not that it'd come down to that. Between Allen, Hamilton, Gay and Gordon, this is a gunner's game, worth $18. Only the lack of top-notch point guards hurts it.
Kansas has perhaps the best individual player of any of these schools in Paul Pierce. But the rest of the roster doesn't come close.
Then again, maybe it's interesting to pit the 2008 national champs against the rest of the former Jayhawks and see how it turns out.
Try Mario Chalmers, Russell Robinson, Brandon Rush, Darnell Jackson and Darrell Arthur (with Sasha Kaun coming off the bench) vs. Kirk Hinrich, Paul Pierce, Julian Wright, Nick Collison and Drew Gooden (with Jacque Vaughn and Wayne Simien off the bench).
Hmmm. Having a hard time seeing the champs beat the rest of the 'Hawks. Perhaps this is a $13 game.
Having a hard time figuring out Kentucky's starters. The Wildcats have plenty of players to put on an alumni game, but there doesn't seem to be a lot of star power. The guys at A Sea of Blue should send along any corrections, but here's how I see the 'Cats.
Start Rajon Rondo, Joe Crawford, Tayshaun Prince, Chuck Hayes and Jamaal Magloire vs. Jodie Meeks, Keith Bogans, Kelenna Azubuike, Randolph Morris and Nazr Mohammed. Have Antoine Walker, Derek Anderson and Scott Padgett come off the bench and it's a decent game, but feels like it's missing something.
There has to be other recent Kentucky alumni still playing who could liven up this game, right? This version is worth about $8.
The more entertaining SEC game belongs to Florida.
Pitting the back-to-back champs against the other professional Gators would be an intriguing game, mostly to see how the frontlines compare.
Playing Taurean Green, Lee Humphrey, Corey Brewer, Al Horford and Joakim Noah vs. Nick Calathes, Mike Miller, Matt Bonner, David Lee and Maurice Speights seems to favor the non-champs, but my guess is Horford and Noah would make up the difference.
And it'd be a $12 game.