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via SI

The Kentucky Wildcats are one of the most polarizing programs in the NCAA. Mentioning the name alone tends to invoke strong feelings. Wildcat Fans tend to use a popular phrase from 2014’s The Interview, “They hate us because they ain’t us.” In reality though, Kentucky doesn’t win all that often; actually, sustained success in the modern NCAA is a rarity. Teams like Kentucky, Duke, Michigan State, UNC remain relevant year to year in terms of tournament appearances but winning year to year… not so much. The ‘One and Done’ rule facilitates a short term cycle of elite teams retooling; an annual rotation of high-end talent attempting to achieve as much as they can within a one year window. Arguably, Kentucky excels at this process better than any other program.

Every fall Kentucky deploys a revamped roster centered around the newest group of McDonalds All-Americans. During the 2009-2010 season John Wall and DeMarcus Cousins lead the Wildcats to the Elite 8 then left. Brandon Knight ran the (championshipless) show in 2011 then quickly ran himself into the NBA Draft. Coach Calipari followed the same formula coming into the 2011-2012 season but this time, he perfected the process.

via SI

Anthony Davis lead Coach Cal’s #1 ranked recruiting class comprised of four freshman starters. Davis’s Wildcats satisfied fans’ thirst for another championship. The squad was straight up nasty on defense and offense – capped off with a NCAA Tournament win, a record setting 38-2 record and the Nation’s top individual player. To celebrate Davis’s 25th birthday yesterday we decided to take a look back at his 2012 Championship season. Tell us in the comments section if you were a fan of the 2012 Wildcats and which kicks you’d rock.

via USA Today

Davis didn’t switch up his kicks like a lot of recent NCAA stars. He rocked the Air Jordan 10 Retro Old Royal. Simple white leather accompanied by royal blue and grey matched the Wildcats’s uniforms so perfectly that we can understand why he didn’t mix it up. Fun fact: there’s a barely noticeable strip of white patent leather across the upper. Some promotional images show AD in Nike models like the Hyperfuse and Hyperdunk.

via USA Today

Defense was Davis’s calling card in college, winning the S.E.C. DOP and National DOP (defensive player of the year). Offenses couldn’t function correctly with him on the court. Being able to handle, defend and score (a little) led to David’s selection as the number 1 pick in the 2012 NBA Draft.

2011-2012 squad via UK

U.K. players tend to be laced up proper. In this team pic you can see AD in some 2011 Hyperfuses. Other kicks include: Military Blue Jordan 4’s, Kobe V’s, Hyperizes and Hyperdunks.

Photo via Robert Hanashiro , USA TODAY

On more than one occasion teammate Terrance Jones would rock the Old Royal Jordan 10’s too. En route to his Most Outstanding Player of the NCAA Tournament award, Davis and the Wildcats easily defeated Kansas. It’s funny to see how skinny AD was as a teenager, now at 25 he’s grown into a two-way monster.

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