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Karl-Anthony Towns was known for being confident, but this time he was bordering on bold. Cheap Nike Air Max Tn Womens .Although just a college freshman, Towns had already held his own against NBA superstars like LeBron James and Kevin Durant, and then-No. 1 overall pick Anthony Davis, in an exhibition game against Team USA at age 16. So while on the bus in The Bahamas for an international preseason series in 2014, including a game against Towns Dominican Republic, the 18-year-old burgeoning star let it be known to his new teammates and coaches that he was ready for more.At least thats how Kentucky assistant Kenny Payne remembers it.I cant wait to be on the team that plays against the Olympic team, Payne recalled Towns saying. Im gonna put it on KPs guys.Payne immediately pulled out his phone and called the number he has listed under My baby giraffe.Davis, a 2012 Olympic gold medalist fresh off his first All-Star season in the NBA, was on the other line.I forgot what was said, but I remember him calling me because Karl was talkin some crap while he was still at Kentucky, Davis said with a big smile. [Payne] will do that. Hell put you on the spot.The calls kept coming, this time with Davis doing the dialing.For over two months, even during the season, Anthony would call me at least three times a week [and say], I cant wait to play against Karl. Im going to demolish him, Payne said.Last December, in his first NBA game against Towns, Davis finished with 35 points, 7 rebounds and 2 blocks in a 114-99 victory. Towns, however, held his own, with 20 points and 13 rebounds.In their second and only other meeting, Towns had 19 points and 12 rebounds but Davis put up 27 and 8 in another Pelicans win.It was fun to see them play against each other and to see Karl battle, to see Karl earn Anthonys respect as a player, Payne said. They respect each other. And for me, thats the greatest thing in the world to see because its not fake. Its real. Its not talked about. You can see it when they play each other on the court.That doesnt mean he stopped needling his two former protégés. Payne, a top assistant for Kentucky head coach John Calipari since 2010, has become well-known among Wildcats alumni for gassing up their NBA matchups.Towns said he couldnt remember specifically what he said in The Bahamas to spark the call to Davis, but he knows the broad strokes well.You can say one simple word, and he takes it to a whole other level, Towns said.Im an agitator, Payne said with a laugh.The head-to-head competitions of their former players has become a point of pride for the Kentucky coaching staff, even as they become increasingly tougher to track as Wildcats multiply on NBA rosters like honeybees. Theyre of particular significance to Payne, who says his goal in his short time with the nations elite teenagers is to build a foundation for their professional careers and for the adversity that inevitably comes with them.Sometimes I think when youre so gifted as a high school player, you expect it to be easy, he said. And then the true test is when you find out its not easy. That youve got to go through hard times. That you fight through it. And thats whats going to make you great.Davis battle is one Payne calls one of the most unique in all of sports. Payne says Davis, a high school guard who famously shot up seven inches between his junior and senior year at Perspectives Charter School in Chicago, was so self-conscious about his body when he got to Kentucky that he asked the strength coach if he could lift weights by himself.He could only lift the bar and 10 pounds on each side, Payne said.That, combined with a relentless approach, earned him a set of nicknames from Payne, ones that, even now, the 23-year-old forward who checks in at a muscular 253 pounds cant escape.I used to call him Madagascar, because his mentality is, in [the film] Madagascar, there was a baby giraffe or giraffe that thought it was a pit bull or a lion or a tiger, Payne said. And thats how he is, thats how hes wired. He didnt care that he was 190 pounds. Did not care. He felt like he was 220, 240. And he played that way. His mentality was not, Im fragile, Im thin. His mentality, even though he was thin, was Im a pit bull.Said Davis: I went from a nanny goat to baby giraffe. And every now and then when I play well on both ends of the floor, an all-around game and we get the win, hell call me a pit bull. Most of the time its baby giraffe.To bring it out of him, Payne, whom both Davis and Towns affectionately refer to as Uncle Kenny, turned to another branch of the animal org chart.We have a philosophy here: We play like a guard, and we finish like a bee, he said.For Davis, who often brought the ball up the court and fired away from the perimeter in high school, that meant a crash course in playing the post, one that began with a harsh lesson. Payne says he warned Davis before the season that if he didnt work his post moves, Calipari was going to stop practice after one of his weak moves and tell the rest of the team that theyre not allowed to toss it to him with his back to the basket, that he could be a finisher only on lobs and on the boards.He looked at me, he laughed, Payne said. Cmon, Uncle Kenny. I got this.OK, Payne said he told him.First day of practice, I think Doron [Lamb] threw him the ball in the post, he went to crab-dribble middle, somebody bumped him and then he fell down and threw the ball up and missed the shot.?He looked at me, and I could see it in his eyes, like, OK. I got it. I surrender. And from that day on, and even to this day, I cant be more proud of any player thats been in this program -- thats been in my life -- than that kid.Towns entered college with a body better built for staycations on the blocks, but Payne said the young big mans advanced outside shooting made him even more reluctant to embrace a life spent pounding away in the post.All he did was shoot 3s in high school, Payne said. I never saw him do a post move. And so when he got to Kentucky, we, again, similar to Anthony, we got to give you a foundation. We know you have an unbelievable touch. But lets take that unbelievable touch and dominate this paint.But Towns, a straight-A student, said his inquisitive nature would sometimes lead to questions about the plan.One of the first things I had to learn was, the kid is highly intelligent and he loves to debate and loves to analyze and talk through, Payne said. So I had to tell him, Look, Karl. Youre smarter than me. I get it. Youre smarter than me. But if you ever question what were doing with you to help you get better, well just go to the treadmill and run your questions out.From that day on, he never questioned anything. He came in and was like a sponge.The light-bulb moment wasnt immediate. While never discouraged, Towns struggled, according to Payne. But when things clicked for the eventual first overall draft pick around midseason, the Kentucky team was again gathered for an important lesson centered on its all-world big man.Heres an example of a kid that struggled, Payne recalled telling them of Towns. Whose confidence could have been rocked. Whose self-doubt could have creeped in, and most of this is confidence. But his never wavered. [Had] any of you went through what he went through, would your confidence have wavered? Because we all think were invincible as players. And when we get rocked, it knocks us for a loop and it changes who we are and our demeanor and how we look at ourselves.And this kid, it never wavered.With his first game of the season against Towns on Wednesday (9:30 p.m. ET, ESPN), Davis said he expected to hear from Payne soon. Payne, however, says his role in the friendly rivalry is now on autopilot.I dont have to gas it up anymore, he said. Theyll let me know.But their dialogue is ongoing. Davis says he talks to Payne twice a week just to check in on each others lives. When former Kentucky teammate and Charlotte Hornets forward Michael Kidd-Gilchrist suffered a torn labrum in his right shoulder last year, Davis first call was to Payne.As soon as it happened, Anthony called me and was in tears, Payne recalled. Like, Is he all right? Is he in the hospital?Davis played a similar role for Payne years before.I lost my mother right before the [2012] season, Payne said. If it wasnt for Terrence Jones, Anthony Davis and Michael Gilchrist, I dont know how I would have made it through that year. I love him. At the lowest point of my life was also professionally the greatest point because I got to hands-on be a part of Anthonys life and a major foundation into what he is today.Said Davis: He meant a lot to me, especially on the floor and off the floor. When his mom passed, it was a tough situation for anybody. I just tried to be there for him as much as possible -- the whole team was. Theres no guy who went to Kentucky while he was there who doesnt respect him.Towns agrees.Hes my uncle, Towns said. Hes family. Im real close to him, and Id do anything for him.While he may not be as vocal these days, Payne is just an instigating phone call away.They know Ill be watching. Cheap Nike Tn Shoes Wholesale . -- If this was Aaron Gordons final home game at Arizona, and it almost certainly was, then he went out in style. Cheap Nike Shox Shoes Online .ca looks back at the stories and moments that made the year memorable. . Team physician Dr. Steve Traina performed the surgery Friday. Robinson was injured in a spill underneath the Nuggets basket during the first quarter of Wednesday nights loss to the Charlotte Bobcats. Australia have claimed the inaugural womens rugby sevens gold medal with a 24-17 victory over New Zealand in the final in Rio.The Australians entered the womens competition as raging gold medal favourites and they didnt disappoint despite a nervy start in the final.The Kiwis started the stronger as they kept Australia inside their own half with some robust defence. The pressure eventually told as Kayla McAllister forced her way over to score out wide after four minutes.Australia looked to hit back immediately and they very nearly did so as Emma Tonegato broke free deep inside New Zealand territory. The Aussie flyer was cut down in a fine covering tackle, but she would not be denied a short while later as she crossed out wide. There looked to be some doubt about her grounding of the ball, but the referee and her assistants awarded the try after a brief consultation.The Aussies had the momentum from tthere and they would go into halftime at 10-5 up after New Zealands Portia Woodman was sent to the Sin bin for a deliberate knock down. Nike Air Max Tn Uk. Evania Pelite then rubbed salt into the wound as she raced to the corner to give the Pearls their five-point advantage.The Australians were first to score after the break as Ellia Green finished off a sweeping move to extend the lead to 17-5 after the conversion was successful.Charlotte Caslick then put the game beyond doubt as she took a quick tap and had too much speed for the New Zealand defence.McAlister crossed for her second and then Portia Woodman added another consolation try for New Zealand, but the damage had already been done with Australia claiming trans-Tasman bragging rights in their first Olympic rugby showdown. Cheap Jerseys 2020 Cheap NFL Black Jerseys China NFL Jerseys White Discount NFL Jerseys Stitched NFL Jerseys Cheap Nike NFL Jerseys Cheap Jerseys 2020 ' ' '