LEXINGTON, Ky. (UK Athletics) – Kentucky men’s basketball alumnus Devin Booker was added to the 2021 NBA All-Star Game Western Conference roster by the league’s commissioner, Adam Silver, on Wednesday. Booker will replace a fellow Wildcat, Anthony Davis, who is currently unavailable with an injury.
This marks the second straight All-Star selection for Booker. Booker’s addition gives the Wildcats three All-Stars in 2021, which ties Duke for the most selections. In addition to Davis and Booker, Julius Randle was a first-time pick as a reserve for the Eastern Conference.
It is the eighth straight season UK has led the country in All-Star selections (tied or led outright).
Teams will be set by the All-Star starters who led their respective conferences in fan votes during NBA All-Star voting. LeBron James (Los Angeles Lakers) and Kevin Durant (Brooklyn Nets) will serve as this year’s captains and select their teams from the pool of players on March 4 at 8 p.m. on TNT.
Booker was a member of the UK team that became the first in collegiate history to begin the season 38-0 during its unprecedented run to the Final Four in 2015. In his sixth NBA season, he leads the Suns and is 16th in the league with 24.7 points per game. He’s also adding 4.3 assists and 3.8 rebounds per game. Booker has scored 20 or more points in all but three games this season and helped lead the Suns to a 20-10 record to begin the season, fourth in the Western Conference standings. Over the last 10 games, the Suns are 9-1 with Booker averaging 25.5 points during the run.
Although this is his second NBA All-Star Game, Booker has had a consistent presence at All-Star weekend with four 3-Point Shooting Contest appearances, including winning in 2018, A Skills Challenge appearance and two games in the Rising Stars Challenge.
Booker was the SEC Sixth Man of the Year during UK’s magical 2014-15 season. He averaged 10.0 points, 2.0 rebounds and 1.1 assists per game, while also sinking 58 3-pointers. He won four straight SEC Freshman of the Week honors and earned a league-high five overall awards. He was drafted 13th overall by the Suns in 2015.
In 2020, Booker became the fourth-youngest player in NBA history to score 7,000 career points. He also scored 70 points in a game in his second season in the league.
Kentucky has enjoyed unprecedented success at putting players in the NBA under John Calipari. In the 11-plus seasons of the Calipari era, 41 players have been selected in the NBA Draft, more than any other school. Included in the recent run are 31 first-round picks, three No. 1 overall selections (Davis, Karl-Anthony Towns and John Wall) and 21 lottery selections. A staggering 31 players from Kentucky were on 2020-21 NBA opening-day rosters (including two-way and inactive lists), the most of any school.
Calipari’s players are not only reaching the next level, they are succeeding when they do. Since 2010, eight of players have now garnered 26 All-Star selections with the latest picks. Derrick Rose (from Memphis) was named league MVP in 2011. Five of his players have been tabbed All-NBA (Rose, Wall, Davis, DeMarcus Cousins and Towns), three have been named NBA Rookie of the Year (Rose, Tyreke Evans and Towns), and 14 players from Calipari’s first 10 teams at Kentucky have made the NBA All-Rookie teams.
Using figures compiled by basketball-reference.com and spotrac.com, Calipari-coached players only (which includes Rose but not Rajon Rondo) have amassed nearly $3 billion ($2.96) in career NBA contracts. In the 11 seasons Calipari has been the head coach at Kentucky, his players have totaled nearly $2.6 billion in NBA contracts.