Sporting his Kentucky varsity letter jacket, NBA star Karl-Anthony Towns dropped in on UK’s volleyball practice Thursday to offer words of encouragement as they prepared to face Nebraska in the NCAA Tournament’s Sweet 16 in Minneapolis.
“I just wanted to come support y’all, and let you know that Kentucky’s everywhere, and we’re always here for you. No matter what level we’re at, we’re always rooting for you guys,” Towns told the team in a video posted on UK Volleyball’s Twitter account. The tweet had more than 34,000 views on Friday. “You guys have a chance to do something special — something I wasn’t able to accomplish. I wish you nothing but the best.”
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Towns was part of the UK men’s basketball team that went 38-1 and fell short of a national title in a Four Four loss to Wisconsin in 2015. He’s now an NBA All-Star for the Minnesota Timberwolves after being selected as the No. 1 overall pick in the 2015 NBA Draft.
Each season, Kentucky basketball players can often be seen at volleyball games in Memorial Coliseum during their downtime. Off camera, someone told the Cats that Towns would be in attendance for Friday’s game.
“Hopefully, you can make up for my mistakes and win it all. I’m really happy for you guys,” Towns said. “Congrats again on a great season, regardless of what happens.”
The UK volleyball team comes into Friday’s match with Nebraska on a 22-game win streak that included an undefeated run to the Southeastern Conference title. The Cats are a No. 10 overall seed going up against the defending NCAA champion and No. 7 seed in Nebraska.
The Cornhuskers upset UK in Memorial Coliseum at last year’s NCAA Tournament, but UK Coach Craig Skinner dismissed that factor as motivation for his team earlier this week.
NCAA Tournament Sweet 16: No. 10 Kentucky vs. No. 7 Nebraska
Where: Minneapolis, Minn.
When: 2 p.m.