Kentucky is represented by two guys in this year’s NBA final four, despite not making the NCAA tournament themselves this year.
First, Indiana Pacers head Coach Frank Vogel is a graduate of Kentucky and in fact got his start under Rick Pitino during his stint with the Boston Celtics. Vogel seems to be bringing the Pacers back to their former glory however, he certainly has his hands full with NBA defending champion Miami Heat. That saids, Vogel is the second youngest coach in the NBA working in the league for fifteen seasons now. If, Vogel and the Pacers are able to upset the Heat they can make it to the championship series.
In the other matchup of San Antonio vs. Memphis, Kentucky is represented in a Grizzlies jersey in small forward Tayshun Prince. The California native, played his college ball for the Cats where he was named the SEC player of the year in 2001, after being drafted to the pros in 2002 Prince has played the majority of his career with the Detroit Pistons, being traded only this year, however clearly he has already had an impact on the team.
The (5) Grizzlies are meeting the (2) Spurs after upsetting the (1) Oklahoma City Thunder in the west, while the (3) Pacers took out the (2) New York Knicks, in the previous round to meet up with the (1) Heat in the East.
If the Grizzlies are able to get past the Spurs, this would be the first time the franchise has ever made it to the Championship series; and this dates back to prior to their relocation to Memphis when they were in Vancouver. Meanwhile, the Pacers have also never won an NBA championship, however they did win three titles when they were still in the ABA in the 1970’s. As a side note, ironically the Pacers biggest rival during that time was Louisville’s own Kentucky Colonels.
Image courtesy of Commercial Appeal