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Matt Trumbo remembers the craziness that was Towne Mall when former University of Kentucky men’s basketball player Anthony Davis was in Elizabethtown in late April.
Over 3,000 fans turned out to see Davis on April 22. When Trumbo heard another former Kentucky player would be at Towne Mall on Tuesday, he wanted to make sure he and his son Luke got in line pretty early.
They were the first in line, arriving to the mall around 2 p.m. to get an autograph and take pictures with former Wildcats star Terrence Jones.
“He wanted to come see Terrence, so here we are,” Trumbo said of his son. “It’s been good for us. He really enjoys it. When we left after seeing Anthony Davis, he said ‘This has been the best day ever.’ It makes him excited.”
And it helps Trumbo, who’s been the pastor at Roanoke House of Prayer for 10 years, build lasting memories with Luke.
“I like sharing this with my son,” Trumbo said. “He was able to see them win a championship and he’s able to come and meet them. I never really got a chance to do that when I was his age, so I’m glad to come here and give him that chance.”
While the crowd wasn’t as big as when Davis was in town, a few hundred came out to see Jones, who said he was excited to be able to give something back to the fans that supported him and the Wildcats during their run to the school’s eighth national championship.
Jones said he likes getting to spend as much time with the fans as possible.
“It’s real exciting just to be able to give support to all the fans that supported you all year, coming to the games,” Jones said. “It’s awesome to be able to come here and see how happy it makes the fans. It’s just a great experience.”
It’s an experience Chris Sallee got to share with his younger siblings, Mark and Cheyenne Pressley.
Sallee, a former Hodgenville resident who now lives in Hart County, has been to several autograph signings across the state since the Wildcats won the title, including Davis’ stop in Elizabethtown and one in Nicholasville last week to see members of Kentucky’s 1996 national championship team.
“I’m a big UK fan,” Sallee said. “I grew up watching them. If they won the championship, I figured I might as well get their autographs. It’s been awesome. I’ve been everywhere. I guess you could say I’m a super fan.
“It’s not every day you get to meet someone who’s going to be a big superstar in the NBA,” he added. “I really didn’t get into these until this year. But I wanted to meet this year’s team.”
Jones was the eighth former Kentucky player to have an autograph session at Towne Mall in the last two months, joining Davis, Josh Harrellson, Michael Kidd-Gilchrist, Doron Lamb, Darius Miller, Marquis Teague and Eloy Vargas.
Davis, Kidd-Gilchrist, Teague, Jones and Lamb are all projected to be first-round picks in Thursday’s NBA draft by NBADraft.net.
“It’s everyone’s dream. It’s going to be great,” Jones said. “Those are my brothers. I knew most of them before we were in college. Just to go through that process together and being able to be there for each other, it just felt like it never ended. It’s been fun to have that ride together, from winning the national championship to going to pursue our dreams in the NBA.”
Jones has had several workouts with NBA teams in the weeks leading up to the draft, but he didn’t want to speculate where he would wind up in the draft. NBADraft.net has him being selected 21st overall by the Boston Celtics, where he would team up with former Kentucky star guard Rajon Rondo.
But even with all sorts of speculation surrounding the draft, Jones isn’t worried about his future. Jones said he will fly to New York today to prepare for the draft.
“I’m not nervous,” he said. “I’m just trying to just live day by day and trying to make the fans happy and give back to the fans right now. My world is definitely going to change. I’m real excited. It still doesn’t even feel real yet. I try not to think about it. I think I’m ready for the next chapter.”
Josh Claywell can be reached at (270) 505-1752 or email@example.com.