Ranking UK's Top Cats
OF KENTUCKY'S seven NCAA title teams, the only one built around a single superstar was the 1951 squad led by Bill Spivey, the first dominant 7-footer in the college game. The other teams were deep with talent, meaning that the stars had to share the ball and sacrifice their stats. In picking the program's alltime Top 15 players, in order, versatility mattered. The Cats who had the ability to play different positions and excelled in more than one area of the game were ranked higher. Here's the complete list.
COTTON NASH, 1962-64
Nash was a standout in football, track and field, baseball and basketball in high school. He scored 1,000 points faster than any Wildcat, needing only 45 games.
KENNY WALKER, 1983-86
The Georgia native set the UK single-season record for most free throws made, 218 in 1984-85, and made 550 of 733 free throws to set the career mark.
BILL SPIVEY, 1950-51
As a junior, Spivey led Kentucky to the NCAA championship, averaging 19.2 points and 17.2 rebounds. He was named Most Outstanding Player after the title game.
DAN ISSEL, 1968-70
The man they called the Horse had a school-record 64 double doubles in his three years with the Wildcats before moving on to a 15-year professional career.
RALPH BEARD, 1946-49
The lightning-quick Beard led the Kentucky teams that won back-to-back titles in 1948 and '49. Beard also starred for the '48 Olympic gold medalists.
ALEX GROZA, 1945, '47-49
A 6'7" center, Groza played Mr. Inside to Beard's Mr. Outside. He still ranks 10th in scoring, eighth in field goals made and fifth in free throws made.
JAMAL MASHBURN, 1991-93
Rick Pitino's first signee as UK's coach, Mashburn made an immediate impact by starting all 28 games as a freshman. He won team MVP honors in '92 and '93.
CLIFF HAGAN, 1951-52, '54
A member of the Big Three (along with Frank Ramsey and Lou Tsioropoulos), Hagan was praised by Adolph Rupp for having "the best touch of any player I ever coached."