xt70cf9j4403 https://exploreuk.uky.edu/dips/xt70cf9j4403/data/mets.xml Wildcat News Company 1986 Volume 10 -- Number 30 athletic publications  English Wildcat News Company Contact the Special Collections Research Center for information regarding rights and use of this collection. The Cats' Pause UKAW University of Kentucky Men's Basketball (1985-1986) coaches Sutton, Eddie Crum, Denny University of Louisville players Hanson, Reggie Chapman, Rex Koier, Rena University of Kentucky Women's Basketball (1985-1986) ABC Sports shot clock University of Kentucky Football (1986) Claiborne, Jerry statistics schedules Cats' Pause Combs, Oscar The Cats' Pause,  "April 12, 1986" text The Cats' Pause,  "April 12, 1986" 1986 2012 true xt70cf9j4403 section xt70cf9j4403 APR
Eddie Sutton
Goes Hunting, Eyes 1986-87
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The Cats' Pause
ferry Claiborne
Eddie Sutton
Mark Higgs Impressive In Spring Workout PUBLICATION NO. USPS 707340 Published By WILDCAT NEWS COMPANY P.O.Box 7297 Lexington. Kentucky 40522 Second Class Postage Paid at Lexington. Kentucky 40511 and additional Mailing offices -
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Redshirts Aplenty As Spring Drills Begin On UK Campus
By Nick Nicholas
In five months Jerry Claiborne's Kentucky Wildcats will be ready to entertain the Scarlet Knights of Rutgers. Though, during these spring and summer months the UK gridders will be getting themselves ready for battle.
Tracing back a couple of Wednesdays ago (March 26th to be exact) the Wildcats started working toward opening day with the beginning of spring practice. This season's spring drills feature 22 redshirt freshmen who'll be gunning for spots on the first team.
Overall the atmosphere on the practice field is good. The 'Cats are coming off a dismal 5-6 slate which included a season-ending 42-0 disaster to visiting Tennessee.
"It's too early to tell," said defensive back coach Chip Garber about the promising red-shirts. "Some of them are going to be good players but they've got a lot of growing up to do this spring.
"That's what spring practice is all about  you learn your position for the fall in spring practice. That's what a lot of 'em are out here doing, they're fighting to make the team. They've been running the scout team for a year or two years and now they realize it's their turn to step in and contribute.
Learning the fundamentals are the keys for the younger players during this time. "They've just got to learn through experience," Garber said. ". . .the fundamentals are the BIG things we've got to get down with the younger guys  stepping in the right direction, hitting with the right arm, taking correct steps on stunts, and (having the) running backs and offensive linemen taking their correct steps.
"We're getting a good effort. The en thusiasm and effort that they're giving us is as good as any year we've been here. We can't ask for any more."
Spring practice will conclude with the annual Blue-White game which is set for Saturday, April 26 at Commonwealth Stadium. Kickoff is at 7 p.m.
Leading up to the Blue-White showdown, where each squad is carefully divided by the coaches and the seniors, the football team will have had 20 days of practice under their belts (barring bad weather).
"They probably won't start looking forward to that until the last week," Garber said in reference to the players' anticipation of the Blue-White scrimmage. "They know they've got a lot of work to do. It's sort of a light at the end of the tunnel-type of thing.
"It's really become a real fun affair for them as far as the dinner they get. Whatever the losers eat (usually beans and wienies) is not the tough part to stomach. The verbal abuse the winners give them is the tough part."
One face Wildcat fans would love to see in the spring game, but won't, is Wildcat freshman-to-be Al Baker. He'll get his chance along with 13 other promising freshman recruits when fall practice gets underway in late August.
Listed as the No. 1 prep prospect in the South by the Atlanta Journal and Constitution, the future Kentucky running back and Trigg County product could make a significant impact as early as the upcoming season. Time will only tell.
Last month at the Bluegrass prep weightlif-tine competition in Louisville, Baker cap-
Garber Faced With Young Secondary
tured the 215-pound class. He bench pressed 350 pounds and lifted 565 pounds in the dead lift. "I expect Al's going to be one of the strongest players they've ever recruited," said Trigg County weightlifting coach Dixie Jones.
Overall, his 915 total was 85 pounds higher than any other competitor, including weight classes above Baker's.
Baker is listed as a Kentucky Wildcat "Promising Newcomer" on a fact sheet handed out by UK's sports information department. Others mentioned are of the freshman red-shirt variety. They are  Mike Pfeifer (offensive tackle), Oliver Barnett (defensive tackle), Tony Massey (defensive end), Ron Robinson (defensive back), Tom Smith (defensive back), Dee Smith (wide receiver) and Craig Benzinger (defensive end).
The spring session gives coaches a chance to experiment.
Two big moves have Pfeifer and Mark Logan making position adjustments.
Pfeifer, 6-foot-6, 276 pounds was listed as a defensive tackle. In order to beef up the offensive line, which lost four starters from the '85 team, the Louisville Trinty product will be featured at offensive tackle.
"We feel Pfeifer is one of the better looking physical linemen," said Claiborne. "He is not the only person who will be switched. We are going to try to get the best people at different positions."
In order to get Logan and speedster Mark Higgs in the lineup together the staff has swit ched Logan to fullback. It will also help balance a backfield which also includes Ivy Joe Hunter, Anthony Gardner, Andy Murray, John Groves , Greg Baker and probably Al Baker.
Kentucky may have one of the rare backfields in the country where its starting fullback (Logan) is quicker than the tailback (Higgs or Hunter). Last March, Logan's best time in }^^SSS>^S^iS^M^S
Higgs' was 4.55 and Hunter's 4.44.
Some other experimental moves have: Tony Massey from defensive back to defensive end, Ron Robinson from corner back to safety and Mark Sellers from wide receiver to safety.
Rebuilding the offensive line may be the biggest challenge for the coaches. However, new faces will also be aplenty in UK's defensive secondary for the 1986 season.
Gone are starters Maurice Douglass (defensive back) and Russell Hairston (safety), plus vital backups, Carmichael Caldwell (defensive back) and Gary Sexton (safety).
"Davey Johnson and Tony Mayes contributed quite a bit last season," said Garber. "Tony was a starter and we're expecting big things from him. Johnson came on at the end of the year and did a real good job for us.
"We've moved Dave over to the left hand side and Tony to the right, so we've got some experience at the corners.
Raynard Gover, is the only Wildcat with any experience at safety. Gover adds height
 6-3  weight  197 pounds  and speed
 4.6/40 yards to the safety position. Backing up the sophomore-to-be are
Robinson (6-3, 187 lbs., freshman) and Sellars (6-3, 196 lbs., sophomore-to-be), both of whom are new to the area.
"Gover has got to be the leader right now just because of his experience," Garber said. "But, Ron Robinson is coming on good and Mark Sellers is doing a good job.
"It'll be interesting. Other than Mayes everybody else is going to be a redshirt freshman or sophomore. I feel like going home at night and bringing back some of my son's diapers and give them to those kids because they are so young."
Spring practice, though, gives "those kids" needed experience and should help them grow up.
"We try to put them into situations which are the toughest type of situations they'll have to see in the Southeastern Conference." It's Recruiting Time, All-Star Hoops
The NCAA Final Four is still warm, but the big news is still on the recruiting front where Kentucky may or may not have signed some blue-chip talent by the time you read this column.
As this issue went to press earlier in the week, Coach Eddie Sutton and assistant James Dickey were hot on the recruiting trails, hoping to land a couple more prep players to go with those  Rex Chapman and Reggie Hanson  already in the bag.
The best bets to sign with UK appeared to be juco star Harvey Grant of Independence, Kansas and guard Derrick Miller, a prep senior out of Savannah, Georgia.
One of UK's recruits, Oklahoma's Kevin Pritchard, announced last week he would sign with Kansas on national signing day.
Kentucky is also beating the bushes in Texas, Oregon, and on the juco circuit.
At latest report, some of those still on the UK want list included juco 6-7 SF Gerald Paddio of Oklahoma, and juco 6-6 guard Ledell Eackles of Texas among others.
Several others are still being contacted, but Sutton has indicated he'd rather leave a scholarship open unless he can fill it with quality.
Coaching honors have been mounting for Eddie Sutton as a result of the super job he did this past season, taking the Wildcats to the NCAA final'eight and compiling a 32-4 mark along the way.
During the Final Four in Dallas, Sutton was named the winner of both the Associated Press and National Association of Basketball Coaches Division I coaching honors.
It was the first time a Southeastern Conference coach had won either honor.
Sutton, who accepted the awards in Dallas, no doubt would have traded both honors for a spot in the Final Four.
Nevertheless, Sutton turned in one heckuva job at the Wildcat post and the future looks even brighter.
Speaking of the Final Four, congratual-tions to Denny Crum and his Louisville Cardinals who won all the marbles after a slow start back in December.
Crum's teams in recent years have become known for getting their act together in February and being a very tough team down the stretch run. They certainly were in Dallas.
For Crum, it was his second national title and his fourth trip to the Final Four in the last seven years, a feat no other coach or school can match.
The Cards lose Billy Thompson, Jeff Hall and Milt Wagner, but probably have better returning talent than anyone in America next season.
With freshman Purvis Ellison having a full year under his belt, the Georgia plum will no doubt make life tougher next season. The Cards also will get seven-foot Fehon Spencer and big Barry Sumpter will be returning after
a year's leave of absence due to academic difficulties.
Then there are Keith Williams, Tony Kim-bro, Herbert Crook, Mike Abrams, Kevin Walls and Mark McSwairi, not to mention others. To say Louisville is loaded for the future would be an understatement.
When the season opens next November, everyone will be looking up to the Cards who most likely will be ranked No. 1 preseason.
How long has it been that one state has enjoyed two coaches who earned Coach of the Year honors in the same season?
You'd have to go back a long ways, perhaps never, but Kentucky turned the trick this season as Eddie Sutton collected two such awards and Denny Crum was named coach of the year this week by The Sporting News.
Sutton's two awards were selected on the basis of regular season play only while the TSN's honor was awarded after the Final
One of the very few first-team All-American squads Kenny Walker failed to make was The Sporting News which instead named Len Bias of Maryland and Walter Berry of St. John's as forwards to the first team.
It's interesting because this publication waited to see post season action before selecting their teams, hence Cram's selection as coach of the year (and certainly a legitimate criteria).
But how did Walker get left off the first team when he led the Cats to the final eight after both St. John's and Maryland were knocked out in the second round?
There are some who insist that TSN is still holding an old grudge against the UK program because former UK coach Joe B. Hall refused to allow one of his players to appear in a cover photo with a Louisville player several years ago.
That's hard for me to believe, knowing some of the people at TSN, but I have to admit that TSN appears to have its own list of untouchables and its own hate list.
Throughout the season, TSN was the one major publication which consistently ranked Kentucky lower than other major publications.
For years, Notre Dame's Gerry Faust was TSN's whipping boy. He was a narrow winner over Joe B. Hall. Better watch out Ed-
die, you could be a candidate for yet a No. 1.
Speaking of high school recruiting, this is the season for all-star games and two big ones are on tap this weekend and next weekend.
In Detroit this weekend, the annual East-West McDonald's All-Star game will be staged and among the players will be Owensboro's Rex Chapman.
The game will be televised on a tape delayed basis at 4 p.m. Saturday over ESPN.
On Saturday, April 19, the annual Derby Festival ClassicwiW be played at Louisville's Freedom Hall.
Among the stars in that game will be Chapman, Louisville Eastern's Felton Spencer, Highlands' Scott Draud, and Pulaski County's Reggie Hanson.
Ticket information can be obtained by contacting: Kentucky Derby Festival, Inc., KFEC Ticket Office, P. O. Box 37130, Louisville, Kentucky 40233.
Spring football drills are in full swing at the Shively Sports Center and early reports have it that winter conditioning saw a marked improvement over the past couple months.
In other words, it wasn't to difficult to get the players' attention after a disappointing 5-6 mark and a total collapse against Tennessee in the season finale last November.
Coach Jerry Claiborne promised UK fans they would not see a repeat of the 1986 campaign and that one little speech pretty much set the tone for winter workouts.
The 'Cats went to the practice field a couple weeks ago and Owensboro's Mark Higgs is again showing signs of brilliance after a year of recuperating.
It was this time a year ago when the sensational running back underwent the knife after suffering what could have been a career-ending knee injury.
His return to action in less than six months defied almost all odds, but it was clear in October than Higgs wasn't the same Higgs of a year earlier.
This spring, it's a different story. Mark is making cuts only the old Mark Higgs could make two years ago. And he's performing without a hint of fear. Mark Higgs is close to being back one hundred percent.
Important Notice To TCP Subscribers
The next issue of The Cats' Pause will be dated April 26 and subscribers should receive this issue by the last week of April.
Our regular weekly schedule concluded with the issue of March 29. There was no issue published for the week of April 5.
This issue and the one on April 26 will lead us into the regular monthly editions beginning with the May edition and continue through August for your full 35 issues. Our regular weekly issues will begin the weekend of the first 1986 football game, September 13.
Our next issue will include a wrap-up of basketball recruiting, the spring football drills and the annual UK basketball banquet.
While Kentucky's football recruiting class missed the nation's top forty for the fust time since Jerry Claiborne returned home four years ago, the 'Cats did enjoy the distinction of landing the South's top player.
In his just released final national rankings, superscout Max Emfinger awarded the national recruiting prize to Michigan with UCLA number two followed by Iowa, Southern Cal and Ohio State.
Alabama was the top SEC school at No. 6 while Florida (who says probation hurts?) was No. 12 and LSU No. 18. No other SEC school made the top twenty.
However, all but three SEC schools made the top forty. The only three missing out were Kentucky, Mississippi State and Vanderbilt. Even Ole Miss ranked No. 38.
Kentucky's top recruit, of course, was Trigg County's Al Baker who also made Em-finger's first-team All American list. Nationally, Baker finished No. 6 of all prep senior football players.
While Kentucky's recruiting ^finitely suffered an off-year, Louisville and Howard Schnellenberger apparently didn't make the headway some had earlier predicted.
According to Emfinger, Louisville signed none of the Southeast's top 75 players and only two of the top 110 players in the region.
Lousiville's two big catches were Walker Wise, a 5-11, 170-pounder from Ft. Laud Aquinas, Florida who is listed as "athlete" and Daviess County's Colburn Clark who first verbally committed to UK than changed his mind and signed with U of L.
Louisville was hoping to make big inroads by going to junior college route, but not a single member of Emfinger's Top 90 jucos listed Louisville as a winner.
Emfinger's Top 90 Juco list was compiled by taking the top players at each position so the nation's fourth best juco quarterback, for instance, didn't make his squad since he listed only three quarterbacks.
Penn State's No. 13 finish nationally can be attributed to its success in signing two blue-chip players which Kentucky thought it would sign until the final week.
Joe Paterno's top two signees were offensive linemen Dave Szott of new Jersey and Eric Jonassen of Baltimore, Maryland.
Kentucky had a private verbal committment from Szott but the youngster was overwhelmed by the presence of Paterno in the latter recruiting stages.
HITS AND MISSES ... The Kentucky Wildcats will be going to Japan again this summer and the tour will cover a period from June 11 til July 4. Kentucky made the same tour four years ago. NCAA regulations allow college teams to make one foreign trip every four years. 97w Gate'
Sutton ys First Year Leaves Bluegrass Buzzing
UK Fans Have Past And Future To Dwell On
In one year we've seen Eddie Sutton strut his stuff for the University of Kentucky. There's been such a positive carry-over that it has Wildcat fans itching for more. . .even with the 1985-86 collegiate hoop scene history. Yet, during the upcoming summer Kentucky fans will be looking back joyously on a 32-4 campaign as well as predicting what Rex Chapman and Reggie Hanson will add to next year's ballclub.
But Sutton's Stumps (remember, you heard that here first), Smurfs or whatever you want to call them went beyond expectations of most experts.
In less than 12 months the man with the funny hair style: won 32 games (including 21 against SEC opponents), lost only four games, selected Coach of the Year by AP and Kodak (coaches' poll), named SEC Coach of the Year and took Kentucky, the
Nick Nicholas
Cats" Pause Columnist
SEC regular season and tourney champions, to the Southeast Regional finals.
Heck, with those list of achievements even a 'Mr. T', 'Don King' or 'Tiny Tim' look wouldn't bother the most conservative Wildcat supporter.
At his last weekly press conference with the local media Sutton seemed a little stunned. That's understandable being that this version of "Meet the Press" was assembled less than 72 hours after his Wildcats were upset in the finals of the Southeast Regional.
Sutton, meanwhile, was in a jolly enough mood to talk about. . .well, anything anyone asked about he responded to  mostly questions revolving about his first Wildcat team to next season's possibilities.
To say the least, an abundant of issues were touched upon during a Tuesday afternoon at Wildcat Lodge.
Here's some of the things you might be interested in on what the former first-year UK coach had to say about college basketball in general.
(Don't worry folks, he's not leaving. . .former meaning that he's now recognized as Kentucky's second-year mentor).
Upcoming Agenda  Looking For An Assistant
Question: What about Eddie Sutton's schedule for the next three or four weeks?
Sutton: We've already signed two quality players in Rex Chapman and Reggie Hanson. We do need to sign a couple more young men that can take up some of the slack that we lost. After that I will be trying to find an assistant coach to replace Leonard Hamilton. I'm so pleased that he will now be coaching my alma mater (Oklahoma State). I told Leonard that if you don't win then I'm going to be an alumni that's going to get on your case (Sutton laughs). I'm happy for Leonard. We've had many applications but we've not talked with anyone; I will as soon as we get the recruiting out of the way.
Question: Will Roger Harden be on the bench next season as a graduate assistant?
Sutton: Our commitment to the University of Kentucky, just as it has been everywhere I've been, is to make sure that all young men that perform as a student/athlete receive their degrees. Roger will not be able to fulfill his academic requirements by the ('86) spring semester. If he doesn't make it in the NBA and decides to come back here as a student assistant then we would be most happy to have him, because he would be an asset to our coaching staff and I do want him to get his degree.
Question: Having already signed Chapman and Hanson, what's the maxium amount of players you could sign during the spring period?
Sutton: We would have six scholarships available, with the loss of our three seniors. I don't think we'll sign six players unless we got a chance to sign a 'Godzilla', and they're aren't too many of them around. But if we can find quality human beings and quality players then we'll sign everyone we can this spring. I would hope that we could sign a couple more players.
Sutton Says Godzillas Are A Rare Species These Days
Question: Are there any centers, or as Al McGuire calls them 'Air Craft Carriers', available? Sutton: I call them 'Godzillas.' Question: Are there any Godzillas out there?
Sutton: Not to my knowledge. There are some quality players still that have not committed, and we're working very hard to try and convince them that Kentucky would be a wonderful place for them to further their education.
Question: How do you feel about recruiting players from outside the United States?
Sutton: I have mixed emotions. It seems there is a trend to recruit players from foreign countries to programs, not only in basketball but you've seen it probably in the beginning in track and field more so than anywhere else. If we were able to recruit someone that I felt would fit in with our program then I'm not opposed to it. But at the present
time there are no players like that on our recruiting list. I've had coaches in the past that wanted to take recruiting trips outside our country to see if they could find one. (Sutton smiles)
Question: Were you surprised with Hanson's performance  earning MVP  in the Sweet 16?
Sutton: Not really. Reggie Hanson will be a very fine player for the University of Kentucky. I was very pleased that Pulaski County won because of Reggie and because Coach (Dave) Fraley is a very fine coach. All the teams that made it to the final 16 should be congratulated. We were pleased that Pulaski County won because of Reggie.
Question: It's been mentioned that the NCAA 'stacked' the deck against your team in the NCAAs. Wliat are your thoughts on the pairings?
Sutton: I don't think the tournament committee stacked it intentionally. It just worked out that: here's Davidson which hasn't been in the NCAA for many years and they were on an emotional high; Western Kentucky hadn't played the 'Cats since 1971 and
Roger Harden
Eddie Sutton
it was a very important game for them; then to turnaround to play Alabama for a fourth time and they are an outstanding ballclub; and then have to play LSU. It was just one of those breaks of a tournament draw. No one, in the history of the NCAA to my knowledge has ever had to play 23 teams from their league in one season. You can only go to the 'emotional well' so many times. I don't think you'll ever see it again  a team having to face 23 teams in a league which would rather beat Kentucky (than anyone else). It would be like North Carolina in the ACC, Georgetown in the Big East, Indiana in the Big Ten, or Louisville in the Metro  if they had to play 23 times against (conference) teams. . .that's tough. And, in my opinion, that certainly did wear on us a little bit in the NCAA Tournament. I had to root for LSU (against Georgia Tech) because they are a member of the (SEC) institution, but we might have faired better had we played Georgia Tech, just to see some new faces.
'Cats Were Ready For Bengal Tigers
Question: Could you sense that your players weren't emotionally ready for LSU in Atlanta?
Sutton: No, no. Our team was ready to play and they played very hard. I could never fault this basketball team, in the 36 games we played, ever not being prepared  emotionally or physically  in any way. They played hard. There's days where the ball doesn't go in the hoop; (and) we made some mistakes defensively down the stretch. When we got ahead 51-47 I thought we had the game won. LSU took a couple of shots that I'm sure Coach (Dale) Brown would term 'marginal'. They got away with it because we didn't do a good job of boxing out on the defensive boards, and they were able to convert two baskets. But, our ballclub was ready to play.
Question: Have you given any thoughts about next season's team?
Sutton: I do believe we'll have a good basketball team next year. It will be a different type of ballclub, the personality of the team will be different. But you have to believe with three starters returning and with players like (Cedric) Jenkins, (Robert) Lock, (Richard) Madison and (Paul) Andrews being a year older, they can take up some of that slack left by our graduating seniors. And, we'll hope that some of the newcomers can also do that. I'm optimistic about next year; I'm not sure we can win 32 games but I do believe we will be a force in the SEC.
Question: Some coaches have qualms of starting underclassmen ahead of up-perclassmen. Do you have any qualms about that?
Sutton: I have no reservations whatsoever. Everything we do is determined on the practice court. If a freshman can convince the coaching staff that he's better than an upperclassman then he'll get his rightful role as a starter. I'm sure you're leading up to Rex Chapman. He will be given his opportunity to play. Without a doubt he will be a great player for Kentucky if he'll continues to work like he has at the high school level. When you start October 15th, if you put five players out there and if you ask me I'm going to put five upperclassmen ahead of him. I'm not going to put him out there in the starting lineup when we've got guys that have already given one year to
[Continued On Page 18] ^7i& (ja6>i<' ^ai(A&
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Complete satisfaction guaranteed. No ifc: ands or buts. UK And First-Year Coach Strutted To Success
Though No Title, A Lot To Be Thankful For
All season Kentucky baffled the college basketball world.
The Wildcats, picked in the preseason to finish only third in the Southeastern Conference, entered NCAA Tournament play ranked third in the nation.
But the dream of a national championship disappeared when LSU sturined the Cats 59-57 in the Southeast Region finals in Atlanta.
Kentucky's overachievers simply picked the wrong game to become underachievers. Losers don't get a second chance in the NCAA. LSU had lost
Larry Vaught
Cats' Pause Columnist
three times to the Cats this season but it got the victory in the biggest meeting of the campaign.
Kentucky expected to beat LSU just as it had 32 other opponents. All season UK believed it could win no matter what happened. That confidence was the key to turning Eddie Sutton's first year at UK into a Cinderella story.
Unfortunately, the clock struck midnight in Atlanta, not Dallas, for Kentucky. But next week or next month the UK players will realize that only one of the 64 teams that started NCAA walked away a winner.
The UK season ended in heartache for the players, coaches and fans. The Cats seemed to be a team of destiny but the magic that had carried the squad all season was missing against LSU.
Still, look at what a team without a starter over 6-8 accomplished during the 1985-86 campaign :
 In December the Cats beat rivals Indiana and Louisville.
 UK won the regular season Southeastern Conference championshp, matching the best-ever league record of 17-1. Only the 1980-81 LSU Tigers and 1969-70 Wildcats had finished league play 17-1.
 Kentucky won the SEC Tournament, becoming only the second regular season champion to manage that feat. The first was the 1984 UK team that went to the Final Four
 Walker, perhaps the best all-around player ever to wear the blue and white, finished his distinguished career with 2,080 points. The only name in front of his on the all-time UK scoring list now is Dan Issel, who had 2,138 points.
 Harden, the team's inspirational leader who made everyone believe Kentucky could win the national title, dished out a school record 232 assists. It's a mark that should stand for years.
 Kentucky won 30 or more games for only the sixth time in the school's historv
The year ended on sad note for Kentucky but don't make the mistake of judging an outstanding season on one game.
Sutton couldn't have predicted a 32-4 season. No one could, especially after a preseason story by the Lexington Herald-Leader quoted 31 former Wildcats as saying thev knew of improper cash payments or gifts that had been given to players
But Kentucky fans across the stare rallied around Sutton's team after that. Instead of destroying the team the Herald-Leader story brought the Cats closer together. And that laid the foundation for the inc