College Heights Herald
Tuesday night brought back plenty of memories for
those donning red in the “Big Red vs. Big Blue” alumni game at
It was a chance for former WKU players to run through
the tunnel and onto the floor in front of fans one more time.
“I had butterflies the whole time — on my way over
here, getting dressed, then running out there,” former Topper and
current Houston Rocket Courtney Lee said. “Being under those bright
lights in Diddle, it felt good.”
It was a rare opportunity for fans to see past WKU
players square off against past Kentucky players in a charity game
that featured four NBA players and four starters from WKU’s 2008
Sweet 16 team.
Former Topper Ty Rogers organized the event to
benefit the WKU W-Club and Sharp Shooters Academy — a youth
foundation he and former Topper Anthony Winchester help
Once the game itself started, the product on the
floor resembled what fans might have seen during the 2008 season
from the Toppers.
Lee threw an alley-oop to Jeremy Evans early on in
the first quarter to set the tone for a game that featured a lot of
three-pointers and a lot of dunks — many of which came from
The red team led most of the way through the first
half until former UK player Bobby Perry made a dunk just before
half to give the blue team a 51-50 edge.
With the score close, the intensity picked up from
both sides. After a score, former UK player and current Rockets
teammate of Lee’s Chuck Hayes ran down the floor chanting “let’s
That’s when Lee caught fire— much like he did
throughout his career at WKU, where he left tied with Jim
McDaniels, who coached the red team, as the school’s all-time
Lee led all scorers with 36 points, including four
made three-pointers, thanks to some sideline motivation from
“He just told me to pick up the intensity,” Lee said.
“It was fun, but we wanted to win this game. It was a pride game at
the end of the day.”
Ravi Moss, who finished as the blue team’s leading
scorer with 34 points, decided to get in on the competitiveness as
After Rogers committed a hard foul, Moss ran up the
court pleading for an intentional foul.
“You all are getting some home cookin’,” Moss said,
jokingly, to the WKU fans as he laid on the scorers table.
Former UK star and 2011 NBA Lottery pick Brandon
Knight, who was scheduled to play for the blue team until he
suffered an ankle sprain in a charity game last night, coached the
blue team. He too tried his best at pleading with an official, to
which the official replied, “I’ve got a red towel in my back
After that, everything seemed to go right for the red
team, as Evans, who took a career-high three three-point shots in a
2007 game against Gonzaga during his college career, drained his
only three point attempt of the night.
“I always tell people I can shoot it, I just don’t,”
he said. “Some guys don’t jump as high as I do, so I just use that
to help the team. I rebound, they shoot.”
Then with about three minutes left to play, the game
turned into a slam dunk contest. Evans jumped from near the elbow
and dunked left-handed over Chuck Hayes with nearly his entire arm
above the rim before he finished the dunk.
The red team walked away with a 112-97 win over the
“In a game like this, that’s what they come to see —
excitement, having fun,” Lee said. “We just wanted to get out there
give (the fans) a good time.”
Rogers said he was thrilled with the way the event
came together after just a little more than two weeks of
“The greatest thing is that it seemed like a great
experience for these fans,” he said. “Being with the guys that we
were together with for four year — just being with them was a great
experience. We all had a pretty amazing feeling when we ran out of
that tunnel again. It kind of brings back all kinds of
One of those memories was Rogers’ buzzer-beater in
the first round of the 2008 NCAA Tournament which sent WKU past
Drake and eventually to the Sweet 16.
When asked if he and Tyrone Brazelton, who started
for the red team, would consider recreating “The Shot,” Rogers said
the idea of that had been brought up several times.
“I think I only need to shoot that one once,” he
said. “People need to remember that the right way.”
Winchester, along with several other players on the
red team, said they hope this type of an event becomes an annual
outing, be it against UK players or just players from Kentucky in
“This year, obviously with the lockout it helped,” he
said. “This is something we would love to do. If we could have an
event like this, it would be great every year to get everyone back
Rogers didn’t say for certain whether or not he’d
personally organize other similar event, but said this one ranked
right up there with “The Shot” in his all-time memories at WKU.
“Not just playing in the game, but these last few
days getting to spend time with guys that we’ve been best friends
there,” he said. “That’s what it’s all about to me — bringing all
the guys back, even the guys that are older.”