Kentucky’s Rupp Arena to host NBA preseason game

Big Blue Nation is in for a treat this October.

Just one day after announcing the official date for their annual Big Blue Madness, the Bluegrass Sports Commission (BSC) and Global Sports Management (GSM) announced today that UK’s Rupp Arena will host an NBA preseason game between the New Orleans Pelicans and the Sacramento Kings on Oct. 17, the day after the Madness event.

The back-to-back days will allow fans an early glimpse at the 2015-16 men’s basketball team and then 24-hours later, an intimate seat for the return of some of the best young Wildcats in the league.

The matchup will include former UK stars DeMarcus Cousins, Anthony Davis, Rajon Rondo and Willie Cauley-Stein.

“I’m really excited about the opportunity to play at Rupp Arena again in front of the Big Blue Nation,” Davis said in a press release. “I always look forward to going back to Kentucky and visiting with the players, coaches and fans.”

Davis, who just signed a five-year, $145 million contract to stay in New Orleans, helped lead the Cats to their eighth national championship and was the consensus national player of the year. Last season, he averaged 24.4 points, 10.2 rebounds and 2.9 blocks per game for the Pelicans.

Cauley-Stein, who was a consensus first team All-American last season at Kentucky and voted the Southeastern Conference Defensive Player of the Year, was a lottery pick in the 2015 NBA draft, taken sixth overall by the Kings.

Rondo, who played for Kentucky from 2004-06, just signed a one-year, $9.5 million deal with the Kings this summer. He is a four-time NBA All-Star and won a NBA Championship with the Boston Celtics in 2008.

Cousins, who was voted an NBA All-Star for the first time in his career in 2015, averaged a career-best 24.1 points, 12.7 rebounds and 1.7 blocks per game. The 6-foot-11 center was the only player in the NBA to finish in the top five in both scoring and rebounding last season. In his lone season at Kentucky, Cousins averaged 15.1 points, 9.8 rebounds and 1.8 blocks per game.  With the help of point guard John Wall, the Wildcats reached the Elite Eight of the 2010 NCAA Tournament and finished the season with a record of 35-3.

The last time Rupp Arena hosted an NBA exhibition game was in 2013 when Wall’s Washington Wizards played Davis and the Pelicans.

Tickets for the game will go on sale Friday at 10 a.m. at the Rupp Arena box office,, or by calling Ticket Master at 1-800-745-3000. Ticket prices range from $10-250.

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*Featured Photo (above) credit to USA TODAY Sports

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