Jay Williams, Knight, Horford to Chat with Fans

Jay Williams, Al Horford and Brandon Knight will all be chatting it up with fans tonight and Monday during the NCAA Championship game. Here are the details from our friends at PlayUp:

NEW YORK CITY (March 30, 2012) – PlayUp, the first social network app exclusively for sports fans, socializers and gamers, announced today it has teamed up with college basketball legends Jay Williams of Duke University, Al Horford of the University of Florida, and Brandon Knight of the University of Kentucky, for the 2012 Final Four commencing on Saturday. The three stars have selected PlayUp as their preferred social media platform to engage with college basketball fans as four elite basketball programs battle for NCAA supremacy and the right to cut down the nets in New Orleans Monday night.

Williams, Horford and Knight will be connecting with fans all over the world in their interactive virtual hangout rooms in the recently released PlayUp 2.0 app. Williams will be chatting with fans in real-time on Saturday during the Ohio State-Kansas semifinal matchup, and Horford and Knight will be conversing during the NCAA Men’s National Championship Game on Monday.

“March Madness is always a memorable time for sports fans and one of the biggest events of the sports calendar. We are thrilled to give basketball fans a way to connect with some former NCAA Tournament stars,” said Dennis Lee, PlayUp USA CEO. “The great moments in tournament history last forever and are always being replayed, and this year PlayUp users can hang out with the guys who made these moments happen. Jay is one of the greatest college basketball players of all-time, Brandon had one of the best freshman seasons ever, and Al won back-to-back national championships – for a diehard sports fan, it doesn’t get much better than that.”

Williams, the former Blue Devil superstar PG from 2000-2002, had one of the most successful careers in college basketball history, helping Duke win a title in 2001 and earn Sweet Sixteen appearances in 2000 and 2002. The three-time All-American received the Naismith Award and Wooden Award in 2002 for the nation’s best college basketball player. Following his illustrious college career, the Chicago Bulls drafted him 2nd overall in the 2002 NBA Draft.

“There is nothing more exciting in sports than the NCAA Tournament and now we’re down to the Final Four. I’ll be chatting with fans during the Ohio State-Kansas game in the PlayUp app,” said Williams. “I’ll always remember what it was like playing in the 2001 Final Four and the buzz surrounding the game. I will be sharing some of my memories from my NCAA Tournament appearances with fans.”

Horford won back-to-back championships during his time at Florida as a starting F/C in 2006-07 and 2007-08 for the Gators. Horford, alongside Joakim Noah, Taurean Green, Corey Brewer and Lee Humphrey, became the first starting five ever to repeat as champions. As a junior, Horford was selected as an All-American for the 2007-08 season before leaving Florida for the NBA. He was drafted 3rd overall by the Atlanta Hawks and is a two-time NBA All-Star.

“I was fortunate enough to be a part of two of the best teams in NCAA history, and I know the importance of the Final Four,” said Horford. “This is the time where ‘good’ teams become ‘great’ ones, and we’ll be following the games and seeing which team makes the jump in PlayUp.”

Knight led the Wildcats to the SEC Championship title and an appearance in the Final Four in his prolific year at Kentucky, capping off a season in which he led all freshman with 18.3 points per game, shooting 47% from the field and 40% from behind the three-point arc. He earned SEC Freshman of the Week honors three times and was an All-SEC Freshman Team selection. The Detroit Pistons drafted Knight 8th overall in the 2011 NBA Draft. As the Pistons starting PG, Knight is averaging 12.5 points, 3.2 rebounds and 3.7 assists per game so far in the 2011-12 NBA season.

“I’m looking forward to hanging out with some of college basketball’s most passionate fans in the PlayUp app on Monday,” said Knight. “Hopefully Kentucky will be playing for its eighth NCAA Championship and Wildcat Nation will be joining me in my hangout room. But, no matter which two schools make it, being able to connect with fans in PlayUp is going to make the game even better to watch.”

Connecting fans with former college basketball legends is PlayUp’s latest partnership within the collegiate space. Since the start of the 2011-12 NCAA basketball season, PlayUp became the “Official Fan Engagement Partner” of Fordham University Athletics, as well as “Fan Engagement Partners” of the America East, Southern and Sun Belt Conferences, both marking firsts in collegiate athletics.