There were plenty of reasons to be excited about the Kentucky vs. Indiana 2011 All-Star Classic, the annual home-and-home event that features the best that two of the country's most hoops-mad states have to offer. Yet, all that hype was outdone by something that happened before either team even made it to the first of the two games, in Louisville, Kent.
According to Twitter updates from Indianapolis Star high schools reporter Kyle Neddenriep, the Indiana all-star team's bus broke down en route to the Friday night game in Louisville. With the bus and all of its air conditioning power out of commission, the Indiana team had little choice but to tough out a hot early summer day on the side of a highway as it waited for alternate transportation to the game.
Here's how Neddenriep reported the incident via Twitter after first spotting the broken down bus on the side of the road, which you can see a photo of above, via the Indiana All-Stars squad's Facebook page:
Just drove past the Indiana All-Stars on the side of the road on I-65 about halfway to Louisville. Bus broke down.
That was a bizarre scene. Bunch of tall guys in red shirts on the side of the road. Then, "Hey wait, is that Cody Zeller?"
RT @inallstars Guys from ISP lend a hand to our All-Stars, stranded in side of road, North of Seymour. http://bit.ly/j9Yhx1
Perhaps most entertainingly, there was this Tweet from Fox 59 sports reporter Chris Hagan:
@KyleNeddenriep in the words of Lloyd Christmas, "Pick 'em up!"
Yet, amazingly, Hagan's pleas weren't far off what actually happened to get the Indiana All-Stars to Louisville on time. As it turns out, a handful of Indiana state troopers and other vehicles were called into action, speeding the stars across state lines to the site of the game.
First ride in a cop car and we're going 95! This is CRAZY! Our bus broke down on the way to the game
That's right, a state trooper sped 95 miles-per-hour down the highway with an enormous basketball player in the back of his car, all to make sure an inter-state showdown got off the ground on time. It might be a questionable use of publicly allocated funding, but evidently it was a more than efficient enough mode of transportation, as the Friday game got started without a hitch, eventually culminating in the final shot you see above.
Of course, when the games did get under way, they lived up to the hype. In the first game on Friday night, the Indiana All-Stars escaped with a win thanks to a final shot by a future Kentucky star, Marquis Teague. A night later, back in Indiana, Zeller himself (26 points) led the Hoosier State to a somewhat surprising sweep of the series.
Still, neither of those memorable games could match the drama that was needed to just get the Indiana team to the first game, and make sure the series got off at all.