Former Kentucky forward Karl-Anthony Towns won NBA Rookie of the Year on Monday, and will represent the Minnesota Timberwolves at the NBA Draft Lottery drawing Tuesday night.
The former Wildcats star will also pay tribute to the man that drafted him, but never got to see him play an NBA game.
Towns will wear one of the wedding rings of former Timberwolves coach and president of basketball operations Flip Saunders, who passed away last October after a battle with cancer. Saunders death came just a few days before Towns’ inaugural season was set to begin.
It will be an honor to wear one of Coach Saunders' wedding rings tonight at the lottery. Thank you, Ryan & Debbie. pic.twitter.com/RrwD441JDV
— Karl-Anthony Towns (@KarlTowns) May 17, 2016
Last year, Towns was in the audience as a spectator at the draft lottery after a near-historic season at Kentucky ended with a national semifinal defeat to Wisconsin. He watched the Timberwolves get the No. 1 overall pick, which Saunders and his staff eventually decided to use on Towns.
He did not disappoint in his first season, averaging 18.3 points (first among rookies), 10.5 rebounds, two assists, 0.7 steals and 1.7 blocks per game. Towns became just the fifth player in NBA history to win the Rookie of the Year Award unanimously.
Now, Towns hopes Tuesday night will be the beginning of the path for the Timberwolves to secure another star. Maybe Saunders’ ring will bring him luck.