Anthony Davis – Secretary of Defense?
On Episode 11 of The Lex, Buds, & Pick ‘n Roll podcast, co-hosts Brandon and Tyler each take their shot at building the perfect Presidential Cabinet, comprised entirely of UK basketball players from the past 30 years.
Lexbuds UK Basketball Presidential Cabinet Picks
President of the United States: Before we can build a cabinet, you must first have a President. Which former UK player has the leadership, charisma, and intelligence to be the leader of the free world?
Brandon’s Pick: Anthony Epps. The starting point guard on 2 of the greatest Kentucky teams in 96 and 97, Anthony Epps is often forgotten. However, there is no doubting his leadership skills and toughness to make the correct decision. All of which are important traits for a president.
Tyler’s Pick: Karl-Anthony Towns. If you want someone who cares about people, and will kill his political opponents with kindness, look no further than KAT. Anyone who has ever met Karl, will tell you that he is one of the nicest people you will ever find. President Towns would make every decision with empathy to those that would be affected.
Secretary of Defense: Best defender.
Brandon’s Pick: Willie Cauley-Stein. He was a first-team All-American, and it wasn’t because of what he could do on the offensive end. WCS was the best defensive player on perhaps UK’s best defensive team. He could switch every pick and roll and guard all five positions. Some might even call him, “positionless.” I kind of like that term, maybe it will catch on someday.
Tyler’s Pick: Anthony Davis. Not only was he college basketball’s player of the year, he was also the DEFENSIVE player of the year in 2012. How often does that happen? Well, according to Wikipedia, only 4 times. The others were Tim Duncan, Kenyon Martin, and Shane Battier. Not bad company. I can’t deny Anthony Davis as the best defender in UK history until the day I die.
Labor Secretary: Hardest worker, who got the most out of their talent.
Brandon’s Pick: DeAndre Liggins. A true lock-down defender, Liggins earned his playing time by guarding whoever the other team’s best player was night-in and night-out. Ironically, he is probably most remembered for his 3-point shot against North Carolina in 2011 to send Kentucky to its first Final Four in over a decade.
Tyler’s Pick: Michael-Kidd Gilchrist. MKG made what was perhaps the single biggest defensive play in Kentucky basketball history. In the 2012 national championship game, Kentucky was about to see it’s commanding lead all but evaporate and cut to 4 points when a Kansas player cut back-door for a wide-open layup. Or so it seemed, before Kidd-Gilchrist recovered from nowhere to block the shot and give John Calipari his first national championship.
Secretary of State: Best player from the state of Kentucky.
Brandon’s Pick: Darius Miller. The pride of Mason County, Darius was beloved in his time at Kentucky and provided much needed senior leadership to the 2012 title team. His teammates realized his importance too, as Michael Kidd-Gilchrist famously gave up his starting spot in the SEC tournament to get Miller on-track for the Big Dance.
Tyler’s Pick: Scott Padgett. Similar to Darius, Padgett played a key role on a national title team (in 1998). While Cameron Mills’ 3-pointer to give UK it’s first lead has been memorialized on posters, it was actually Padgett’s 3 with about 30 seconds that broke a tie-score and put UK ahead for good.
Secretary of the Treasury: Player who was the most “money.”
The Money Man Aaron Harrison Buries Michigan
Brandon’s Pick: Aaron Harrision. A-a-ron is a legend from “one heck of a story.” Is there anyone who has ever hit more big shots to close out a game? Louisville. Michigan. Wisconsin. And people forget the huge 3 against Notre Dame in the 2015 Elite Eight. Without a doubt, the most clutch player of all-time.
Tyler’s Pick: Travis Ford. OK, there’s not much room to go here, when Aaron Harrison has already been picked. But for someone to be ‘money’, to me that means someone you can count on to never miss. And when Travis Ford went to the free-throw line, you knew you were coming away with 2 points. From the end of the ’93 to beginning of the ’94 season, Ford made FIFTY straight free-throws. Nothing is more money than that. Except maybe Aaron’s game-winners.
Secretary of the Interior: Best post player.
Brandon’s Pick: Randolph Morris. I’m not sure if he’s the best post-player, but he certainly was the best at sending faxes. Or maybe the worst, since his fax somehow got “lost.” Morris was always steady and dependable and led the Cats in scoring and rebounding in his final season in 2007.
Tyler’s Pick: Demarcus Cousins. An absolute force in the paint. Big and strong enough to go through people, agile enough to go around them. Cousins also exceeds Morris in his communications skills. While Randolph was faxing, Demarcus was talking to POTUS (Hello, Mr. President, this Demarcus Cousins), telling Cornell this ain’t no spelling bee, and telling Mississippi State fans to call him.
Secretary of Agriculture: Player who grew the most during their time at Kentucky.
Brandon’s Pick: Joe Crawford. Few players grew as steadily as Joe Crawford did during his 4 years as a Wildcat. From averaging a measly 3 points a game and nearly transferring halfway through his freshman year, to averaging 18 a game during his senior season. Joe went out fighting, putting up 35 points in his final game against Marquette in a 1st round NCAA loss.
Tyler’s Pick: Josh Harrellson. For the first 2 years of Josh Harrelson’s UK career, the only thing we really knew about him was that he had a cool nickname. His 3rd and final season wasn’t expected to be much different as he would have been the backup Center to Enes Kanter. But once the NCAA used their “jump to conclusions mat” to rule Enes ineligible, Josh had to step into the starting role and never looked back. We will never forget Jorts owning Jared Sullinger in the 2011 Sweet Sixteen by putting up 17 points and 10 rebounds and leaving an imprint of a basketball in Jared’s chest that probably still hasn’t gone away.
Secretary of Commerce: Player you would have most liked to have traded.
Brandon’s Pick: Sheray Thomas. For his career at UK, She-ray averaged 2.6 points per game, 1.4 fouls per game, 0.8 turnovers per game. A stat line that only Brian Long could appreciate. Not to mention he once air-balled a potential game-winning shot. From 4 feet away.
Tyler’s Pick: EJ Montgomery. Perhaps the biggest underachiever of the Calipari era. Once a top-10 recruit, EJ declared for the NBA draft after his sophomore season. Most NBA scouts don’t have EJ in their top 100 draft prospects. Which means if there were 2 NBA drafts, he still wouldn’t get picked.
Secretary of Health & Human Services: Most in shape or ripped player.
Brandon’s Pick: Kelenna Azubuike. We all know the “Looks like Tarzan, plays like Jane” line from Tubby Smith that was bestowed upon Kelenna. But there is no arguing that we have never had a player as ripped as he was. I bet it was really tough spending 3 years on a college-campus as a UK basketball player built like a Greek god. The thirst was real.
Tyler’s Pick: Reid Travis. Maybe the only player whose biceps were bigger than his vertical leap. Reid was a GAM and got pushed around by nobody. I imagine boxing him out was like trying to box out brick wall.
Secretary of Housing & Urban Development: Best shot “block”-er.
Brandon’s Pick: Anthony Davis. The best shot blocker UK has ever had, and it’s hard to imagine anyone will ever come close. His single-season shot block record of 186 blocks is a record that will NEVER be broken. For perspective, second place was Willie Cauley-Stein with 106, only 80 shy of Davis.
Tyler’s Pick: Nick Richards. If we had actually finished the 2020 season, Nick Richards was on pace to finish with the 7th most blocked shots in the history of UK basketball. This from a guy who has only played basketball for a few years. It was really fun to see his instincts progress in his Junior season.
Transportation Secretary: Player who traveled the most.
Brandon’s Pick: Patrick Sparks. Sparks traveled so much, that he often got away with it. Hey Rick, remember that time you blew a 16-point lead in Freedom Hall and fouled sparks when he traveled, took that 3-pointer in the corner? And then he made all 3 free throws to cap a 25-point performance? Yeah, that was cool.
Tyler’s Pick: Alex Poythress. Look, I don’t want to rail on Alex. He was a great kid, a great student, and a great competitor in his time at Kentucky. If he hadn’t gotten hurt, we would have had a perfect season. But good grief, I’ve never seen a player who when they got the ball, either stepped out of bounds or traveled as much as Alex. I would cringe anytime he caught the ball on the baseline.
Energy Secretary: Player with the most in-game energy.
Brandon’s Pick: Ramel Bradley. You’ve got to have some energy, or some major cojones, to try and start a fight with someone a foot taller than you. Which is what Ramel famously did against Andrew Bogut in the NCAA Tournament. Not to mention, Ramel never. Stopped. Talking. The energy to play 40 minutes and never take a breath was always quite the impressive feat.
Tyler’s Pick: Tyrese Maxey. I’m pretty sure Maxey ran a marathon over the course of every game he played. Every offensive set had him in constant motion, going sideline to sideline until he shook his defender for an open jumper or cut to the basket. Eerily similar to the style of Rip Hamilton.
Secretary of Education: Smartest player.
Brandon’s Pick: Tayshaun Prince. Much like Obi Wan-Kenobi in Star Wars, Tayshaun was a man of few words, but impressive action. He never let his emotions control him, and never seemed phased by anything happening during the game. Even when he hit 5 straight 3-pointers against North Carolina.
Tyler’s Pick: Rajon Rondo. As much as the man is a savant at the game of basketball, Rajon might actually be a better Connect Four player. He has famously played multiple games at once and never loses. It seems the ability to see 3 moves ahead has served him well in many areas.
VA Secretary: Best Senior player.
Brandon’s Pick: Keith Bogans. Maybe the most underrated and forgotten player in the modern era. People forget how good Keith Bogans was. The 2003 team was destined for the Final Four before he hurt his ankle in the Sweet Sixteen and attempted to guard Dwayne Wade when he could barely walk. And we all know how that turned out.
Tyler’s Pick: Tony Delk. The perfect Pitino player. Long arms, athletic, and could shoot the lights out. He improved his scoring and 3-point percentage in every season as a Cat, and was the most consistent player on the most loaded team of the modern era.
Homeland Security Secretary: Toughest player.
Brandon’s Pick: Jason Parker. A guy who was once seen as the next big thing, in Kentucky basketball after his freshman year, Parker ended his second season when he blew out his knee “horse-playing” in the locker room before Big Blue Madness and was kicked off the team a few months later. Parker always had that crazy look in his eye.
Tyler’s Pick: Jamaal Maglore. “What’s he doing to WoJo?” The famous words from Billy Packer, when Jamaal put Duke’s annoyingly wimpy point guard in the rack during the Elite 8 game in 1998. He also once shoved another team’s mascot to the ground. He may be the meanest Canadian who ever lived.
|President||Anthony Epps||Karl Anthony-Towns|
|Defense||Willie Cauley-Stein||Anthony Davis|
|State||Darius Miller||Scott Padgett|
|Labor||DeAndre Liggins||Michael Kidd-Gilchrist|
|Treasury||Aaron Harrison||Travis Ford|
|Interior||Randolph Morris||Demarcus Cousins|
|Agriculture||Joe Crawford||Josh Harrellson|
|Commerce||Sheray Thomas||EJ Montgomery|
|Health & Human Services||Kelenna Azubuike||Reid Travis|
|Housing/Urban Development||Anthony Davis||Nick Richards|
|Transportation||Patrick Sparks||Alex Poythress|
|Energy||Ramel Bradley||Tyrese Maxey|
|Education||Tayshaun Prince||Rajon Rondo|
|Veterns Affairs||Keith Bogans||Tony Delk|
|Security||Jason Parker||Jamaal Magloire|
Comment below to let us know who you think built the best Cabinet, and which picks you think we nailed or which ones you adamantly disagree with.