Past WKU players discuss alumni game, current lives

WKU alum Courtney Lee signs autographs for fans after the press conference for the Big Red vs. Big Blue alumni game at Diddle Arena Tuesday night.

Brad Stephens

Ten former WKU players were back on the Diddle Arena

floor Tuesday night to play in the Big Red vs. Big Blue Alumni

Basketball Game.

Because of the ongoing NBA lockout, former WKU

players Courtney Lee and Jeremy Evans and former Kentucky stars

Chuck Hayes and Josh Harrellson were able to participate. 

Lee led the Big Red team with 36 points as they beat

a team of six former Wildcats, 112-97.

Following the game the Herald caught up with several

of the former WKU players as they made their return to Diddle.

Ty Rogers

Ty Rogers made perhaps the most famous shot in school

history, a buzzer-beating three-pointer to beat Drake in the 2008

NCAA Tournament.

The Eddyville native averaged seven points a game in

four years, and his 131 career games played rank No. 5 all-time in

WKU history. 

It was his idea in early October to organize an

exhibition between former WKU and UK players.

Rogers said the proceeds from Tuesday’s game will go

toward both the WKU W-Club and the Sharp Shooters Academy, a youth

academy he and teammate Anthony Winchester have recently began


Rogers on not re-creating his famous shot Tuesday


“That was mentioned a few times but I think I only

needed to shoot that one once. People need to remember that the

right way.”

On where organizing Tuesday’s game in less than a

month ranks among his career accomplishments:

“I’m not going to lie, it ranks very high. Not just

the game, but these last few days with these guys. We’ve been best

friends for years.”

Courtney Lee

Courtney Lee graduated in 2008 tied with former

Topper Jim McDaniels as the school’s all-time leading scorer, with

2,238 career points.

Since leaving WKU Lee has played with three NBA

teams, and was a starter for the Orlando Magic during the 2009 NBA


Lee is currently a member of the Houston Rockets.

Lee on playing again at Diddle Arena:

“It was an unbelievable feeling. I had butterflies

the whole time, on the way over her, getting dressed, then running

out there and being under those bright lights in Diddle again. It

felt good.”

On playing exhibition games during the lockout:

“Just coming out here and having fun with some old

college teammates and then being able to play in a five-on-five

setting with refs and against other talented players. It definitely

helps to keep us game ready and keep us in shape.”

Jeremy Evans

Jeremy Evans graduated in 2010 as WKU’s all-time

leader in field goal percentage (.639,) games started (130) and

blocks (224.)

The Crossett, Ark., native was drafted by the Utah

Jazz as the 56th overall pick of the 2010 NBA Draft.

Evans averaged 3.6 points in 9.4 minutes per game

during his rookie year.

Evans on getting ready to face the Big Blue


“Coming out we knew we were going to have to play

because Jim McDaniels was our coach, and he always wants to


On he and Courtney Lee throwing down several dunks

throughout the game:

“In a game like this that’s what they come to see,

excitement, having fun. We just wanted to get out there and give

them a good time.”

Mike Wells

Mike Wells was one of the most prolific scorers in

Topper history, averaging 15.8 points in 2003-2004, and coming in

at No. 24 on the team’s all-time scoring list with 1,245 career


Defensively, Wells ranks seventh in WKU history with

92 career blocks.

The Elkton native was the 2004 Sun Belt Conference

Player of the Year and a 2004 All-American.

Wells resides in Bowling Green.

Wells on returning to Diddle Arena:

“It had been almost 10 years. It felt good, last

time, I guess. I should’ve kissed the floor but I didn’t.”

On beating Kentucky for the second time in his


“Just like when I played them, it felt good to beat

them again. We’re 2-0.”

Matt Maresca

Matt Maresca came to WKU in 2004 after leading

Bowling Green’s Warren Central High School to its first ever state


His career high in points (2.4 per game) and minutes

(10.6 per game) came during the 2006-07 season.

Maresca resides in Bowling Green and works for


Maresca on Ty Rogers organizing the game in a short


“Literally just three, four weeks ago, this was an

idea. How cool would it be to get these guys to come back with the

lockout situation? And I’ve got to give him credit, it actually

worked out.”

On working for Spalding:

“It’s a lot of fun working on something to do with

sports and being in Bowling Green still.”

David Boyden

David Boyden has been both a WKU player (2000-2003)

and assistant coach (2008-2010.)

He helped lead the Toppers to the NCAA Tournament in

his last three seasons, while leading WKU in rebounds during both

his junior and senior seasons.

Last year Boyden took a season off from coaching and

earned his master’s degree at WKU.

He’s now an assistant coach at Tennessee Tech and is

engaged to WKU Assistant Athletic Director Lindsay Thomas.

Boyden on coaching at Tennessee Tech:

“Like everybody else in the country, we’ve been

started up with practice since last Friday, and trying to get our

troops ready for the (Ohio Valley Conference.)

On playing a game at Diddle Arena:

“There’s nothing better than being on this court,

whether as a player or a coach… If we could get together and play

every Sunday then we probably would.”

Derek Robinson

Derek Robinson helped lead WKU to both the 2000-01

and 2001-02 Sun Belt championships.

He averaged 10.6 points and 5.2 rebounds per game in

2001-02, and was named to the All-Sun Belt Conference team.

Robinson played professionally in Germany after

graduating from WKU.

He’s now a high school coach in his native Paris.

Robinson on playing against Kentucky:

“Today was a great break for me to take a day and get

down here and see some people and see some of my old teammates. It

was just fun.”

On playing similar games in the future:

“The loyalty of UK, the loyalty here, it’s good that

we have one of these type games at least once a year to get

everybody back. I think that’s what we should do annually.”