xt72ng4gn38x https://exploreuk.uky.edu/dips/xt72ng4gn38x/data/mets.xml Wildcat News Company 1987 Volume 11 -- Number 29 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 (1986-1987) coaches Sutton, Eddie players Chapman, Rex NCAA Men's Basketball Tournament (1987) University of Kentucky Football (1987) Claiborne, Jerry recruiting statistics schedules Cats' Pause Combs, Oscar The Cats' Pause,  "March 28, 1987" text The Cats' Pause,  "March 28, 1987" 1987 2012 true xt72ng4gn38x section xt72ng4gn38x -1
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Kentucky Hoop Statistics
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Date: 03-16-1987
Final 1986-87 Statistics  (29 Games)
(18-11 Overall; 10-8 SEC [tied for 3rd]) (13-2 Home;  5-6 Away; 0-3 Neutral)
UNIVERSITY OF KENTUCKY WILDCATS G       CS     Mln     Avr       FG    FGA     Pet      3PT 3PTA   Pet      FT    FTA     Pet < Reb Avg CHAPMAN, REX
29       28     962   33.2     173   390   44.4       68    176   38.6   50     68   73.5|
PF   D   Ast     TO   Blk Stl
29       29     987   34.0     160   357 44.8
29       24     943   32.5     109    197 55.3
29       28     833   28.7       90    197 45.7
29       26     635   21.9       91    161 56.5
15     59   25.4 107 145 73.8
-       1        -   46 79 58.2
33     88   37.5   32 58 55.2
-   35 71 49.3
66 2.3
29        -     383    13.2       55    141    39.0       35     81   43.2     6     14 42.9
29        8     466    16.1       37     75 49.3
24 2     327    13.6       19     39 48.7
22     47 46.1
2   50.0 6
242 10.5 10     29 34.5
8 2.0 14 25.0
31 3.4 2       5 40.0
8 2.0 - 2
15     18 83.3
88 3.0 216 7.4
89 3.1 155 5.3
56 1.9
86 3.0
37 1.5
49 2.1
- 5825    200..    747 1597    46.8      152    409    37.2 319    509 62.7
- 5825   200.      737 1550   47.5       83   228   36.4 387   545 71.0
51 1.
903 31.1
963 33.2
55 2 103 70 15 36
64 1 101 77 1 47
70 3   38 51 6 16
69 1    67 43 6 50
95 3' 12 55 31 16
32 -   18 22 3 8
83 5   22 48 6 18
25 -   18 18 - 9
34 1     7 11 8 5
3 - 1111
531  16 387    398      77 206
532 23 381    458     72 183
Pts Avg
464 16.C
442 15.2
264 9.1
245 8.4
217 7.5
151 5.2
96 3.3
45 1.9
35 1.5
2 .5
4 .4
1965 67.8 1944 67.0
Date		Record		UK	Opp	Opponent	Margin	Top	Scorer	Top	Rebounder	Attendance	
Nov.	29	1-	0	71	69	Austin Peay	2	20	Davender, Ed	6	Madison,Richard	22,630	(H)
Dec.	02	2-	0	66	60	Texas Tech	6	23	Davender, Ed	7	Thomas, Irving	21,805	(H)
Dec.	06	2-	1	66	71	Indiana	-5	26	CHAPMAN, REX	10	THOMAS, IRVING	17 ,232	(A)
Dec .	13	3-	1	71	56	Lamar	15	16	DAVENDER, ED	7	MADISON,RICHARD	23,123	(H)
Dec.	19	4-	1	75	59	Iona	16	19	LOCK, ROB	11	LOCK, ROB	22,723	(H)
Dec .	20	5-	1	81	69	Boston	12	26	CHAPMAN, REX	15	MADISON,RICHARD	23,240	(H)
Dec.	27	6-	1	85	51	Louisville	34	26	CHAPMAN, Rex	17	MADISON, Rich	19,513	(A)
Dec.	30	6-	2	65	69	Georgia	-4	16	DAVENDER, ED	9	MADISON,RICHARD	20,053	(H-L'ville)
Jan,	03	7-	2	63	60	Auburn	3	24	CHAPMAN, REX	11	LOCK, ROB	12,347	(A)
Jan.	07	7-	3	55	69	Alabama	-14	15	MADISON,RICHARD	7	MADISON,RICHARD	23,220	(H)
Jan.	10	7-	4	68	75	Tennessee	-7	29	DAVENDER, ED	8	MADISON,RICHARD	12,700	(A)
Jan.	12	8-	4	57	49	Mississippi State	8	16	CHAPMAN, REX	8	LOCK, ROB	4,714	(A)
Jan.	14	9-	4	67	62	Florida	5	16	CHAPMAN, REX	13	LOCK, ROB	23,215	(H)
Jan.	18	9-	5	41	76	LSU	-35	14	BLACKMON, JAMES	6	BLACKMON, JAMES	23,285	on
Jan.	21	10-	5	71	65	Vanderbilt	6	16	DAVENDER, ED	6	MADISON,RICHARD	15,626	(A)
Jan.	25	11-	5	80	69	Navy	11	22	CHAPMAN, REX	6	MADISON,RICHARD	23,275	(H)
Jan.	29	11-	6	65	76	Ole Miss	-11	23	CHAPMAN, REX	13	MADISON,RICHARD	5,915	(A)
Jan.	31	12-	6	50	36	Mississippi State	14	18	BLACKMON, JAMES	7	MADISON,RICHARD	22,831	on
Feb.	04	13-	6	75	71	Auburn	4	27	BLACKMON, JAMES	7	LOCK, ROB	23,100	(H)
Feb.	07	14-	6.	70	69	Alabama	1	29	DAVENDER, ED	8	MADISON,RICHARD	15,043	(A)
Feb.	11	15-	6	91	84	Tennessee	7	26	CHAPMAN, REX	10	MADISON,RICHARD	23,002	(H)
Feb.	14	15-	7	56	74	Florida	-18	22	DAVENDER, ED	6	LOCK, ROB	12,018	(A)
Feb.	19	16-	7	65	54	Vanderbilt	11	19	CHAPMAN, REX	11	MADISON,RICHARD	23,013	on
Feb.	21	16-	8	52	65	Louisiana State	-13	24	CHAPMAN, REX	7	LOCK, ROB	10,782	(A)
Feb.	25	16-	9	71	79	Georgia	-8	15	DAVENDER, ED	7	MADISON,RICHARD	11,200	(A)
Feb.	28	17-	9	64	63	Ole Miss	1	19	DAVENDER, ED	9	MADISON,RICHARD	23,265	on
Mar.	01	18-	9	75	74	Oklahoma	1	21	DAVENDER, ED	12	MADISON,RICHARD	23,991	on
Mar .	06	18-	10	72	79	Auburn	-7	17	CHAPMAN, REX	6	MADISON,RICHARD	13,279	(SEC)
Mar.	13	18-	11	77	91	Ohio State	-14	23	DAVENDER, ED	5	LOCK, ROB	15,128	(NCAA)
5555 c77i& (Data' ^oua&
Who Was That, Sam Bowie's Clone?
The basketball season is history as far as the current University of Kentucky Wildcats are concerned, but future Wildcats are still on the hardwoods and some of them are good reason why there's great optimism for the future. 
Thanks to the world of television satellites, we had the opportunity to watch prep Ail-American LeRon Ellis do his thing late Saturday night in the championship game of the CIF Tournament in Oakland, Calif.
The 6-11 Ellis scored 28 points, pulled down eight rebounds and had six assists along with three blocked shots in leading his Mater Dei High School to a convincing 69-51 decision over Ygnacio Valley in the title game.
Without doubt, it was one of the finest prep performances I've seen in some time. The Monarchs were amazing, to say the least. Coach Gary McKnight had his team playing full-court pressure defense. When the defense collapsed around Ellis in the low post early in the game, McKnight simply brought his big star outside so he could get the ball.
Several times 1 had to shake my head just to make sure I wasn't dreaming. I mean this kid Ellis reminds me so much of Sam Bowie that it's scary. He runs the floor like Bowie. He jumps like Bowie. He shoots like Bowie. He even smiles and talks like Bowie.
The first and only time I'd seen Ellis play prior to Saturday was in a summer all-star camp. He was impressive then, but nothing like Saturday night.
A week earlier, Ellis led Mater Dei past Los Angeles Fairfax which was ranked the nation's No. 2 team at the time. Mater Dei wasn't about to let this victory escape it.
For McKnight. who has been coach at Mater Dei for five years, it was a sweet, sweet victory. This was his first state championship and adds to a glittering personal record of 147-7 over that period.
After the game, Ellis (who was chosen the Most Valuable Player), was interviewed by former UCLA star Brad Holland.
"What can be said about LeRon Ellis that hasn't been said about him this year," said Jeff Woodsure in the postgame commentary. "He's just a great, great basketball player and should have a very nice college career at Kentucky."
Added Hollon, "Kentucky got a great player in LeRon Ellis and I predict a great career for him at Kentucky."
Asked why he opted for Kentucky, Ellis told the statewide television audience, "they've got great support out there and the people are real nice. I'd like to go to a different environment. I'm a little outgoing and I'd like to see a different part of the country. It is a great program and I think it's going to be good for me."
For the next few weeks, Ellis will be participating in several all-star basketball classics. First, he'll play in the annual Dapper Dan Classic in Pittsburgh next week.
Then in mid-April Ellis will play in the Derby Festival Classic at Freedom Hall in Louisville. You won't want to miss this one.
The Greatest Show On Earth.
That's how Kentuckians view their annual
boys' state high school basketball tournament I and if early predictions are accurate, an all-time attendance record could be in the offing this week at Rupp Arena.
Fans from all corners of the commonwealth will flock to Lexington to see which team succeeds defending state champion Pulaski County.
And it should be a dandy. If there is one thing which most Kentuckians prefer, it is a champion residing from any place other than the big cities.
There's a good chance the new champion could be a Cinderella type. No Lexington school is in the Sweet Sixteen this time and the two Louisville schools are located in the extremely tough upper bracket along with the likes of Owensboro. Madisonville. Paintsville and Mason County.
Clay County is the early favorite to emerge as the finalist from the lower bracket while experts are divided on the upper bracket. Some like Paintsville while others like Owensboro. Mason County certainly isn't ready to throw in the towel.
And never count out the Louisville schools.
It looks like one big week of prep basketball in Lexington.
Champions Against Drugs.
That's the theme of a rally scheduled for Heritage Hall at Rupp Arena at 4:30 p.m. Wednesday and two of the biggest names in college basketball are lending their names to promote this event.
David Robinson, everybody's college basketball player of the year from the U.S. Naval Academy, will kick off the rally along with CBS-TV color analyst Billy Packer.
Robinson and Packer are flying in for the event Wednesday afternoon and will attend the gigantic rally.
The rally is a kick-off point for a 22-week promotion which will begin in April by a long list of sports celebrities with Kentucky ties.
Many top sports personalities around the state will be at the Wednesday rally including Kentucky Gov. Martha Layne Collins. The public is invited to the free rally.
There'll be plenty reason for University of Kentucky fans to get involved in the boys' state tournament this week.
Fans will have the opportunity to see UK-bound Deron Feldhaus perform. He's been on a tear recently and is the big reason why the balanced Mason County club is back and in the thick of the race for the state crown.
Wildcat football fans also have a deep interest as some future UK football stars will be suiting up in the hoop uniforms, players like Paintsville's Joey Couch and Shawn Evans of Madison Central.
All the while, fans will also be checking out stars such as unsigned John Pelphrey of Paintsville, one of the state's top Mr. Basket-balll candidates. Pelphrey has enjoyed a great senior year, but his No. 1 goal right now is to lead the Tigers to the state crown, which would be the first for a mountain school since Carr Creek in 1956. unless you count Ashland, which won it all in 1961, as a mountain team.
The prestigous Parade Magazine prep All-American basketball squad has been released and three University of Kentucky signees are among the nation's finest.
Eric Manuel, LeRon Ellis and John Pitt-man all made the team which was announced Sunday.
What a start!
Keith Madison's Kentucky baseball Wildcats are off to a great 13-4 start after taking two of three in a weekend series with Alabama in Tuscaloosa.
Madison's troops are preparing for an all-important three-game set this Saturday and Sunday at home against Tennessee.
It's important because it will be Kentucky's best chance of sweeping a three-game set and moving up the ladder in the Southeastern Conference.
After last weekend's games, the 'Cats were in a tie for fifth place with Alabama and Vanderbilt. 'Bama holds a 4-4 league mark while UK and Vanderbilt are 3-3 each. In a first-place tie with identical 6-2 marks are Florida and Georgia. Third place is held down by LSU at 3-2 with Auburn in fourth place with a 5-4 mark.
Ole Miss is in No. 8 with a 2-4 worksheet while Mississippi State is struggling at 1-4 in No. 9 and Tennessee is winless in five outings.
Should the Wildcats sweep the Volunteers, Kentucky could take a giant step toward a top-three spot.
The league's top six teams, according to won-loss percentages, will advance to the postseason SEC Tournament. It will be played at the home field of the SEC champion.
After this weekend's action, Kentucky will have two three-game series against conference
teams at homeAuburn and Mississippi State. The 'Cats will travel to co-leaders Florida and Georgia, and then to Ole Miss. You can see why a sweep over the Vols could come in mighty handy by the first of May.
HITS AND MISSES . . . Congratulations are certainly in order to coach Dale Brown and his LSU Tigers for their great showing in the NCAA. The Tigers were certainly overachievers this March and had it not been for an errant shot in the final 10 seconds, the Tigers would be in New Orleans this weekend. While Brown is indeed a strange character at times, he's certainly refreshing when compared to some of his colleagues in the business. And he was certainly a gentleman in defeat on Sunday. Did you notice how professional he was at the game's end when the Tigers lost the heartbreaker? Wonder what his coaching opponent's reaction would have been if Nitika Wilson's shot at the horn had went in? . . . Kentuckians are taking over the airwaves! During the NCAA regionals last week, at least four Kentuckians were involved in the NCAA radio and television broadcasts. UK play-by-play voice Cawood Ledford was calling the radio action for the NCAA network while ex-Wildcats Jack Givens and Larry Conley and former Lexington television anchor Tom Hammond were calling the action for NCAA Television Productions . . . Tickets are still available for the annual Kentucky Derby Festival Classic in Louisville. More information can be obtained by calling the Kentucky Derby Festival Committee in Louisville . . . Speaking of all-star games, this year's Kentucky-Indiana series should be a dandy. And unlike the past couple years, the Kentucky stars will be the underdogs. Kentucky will most likely have the services of such stars at Deron Feldhaus, Desmond Porter, Sean Sutton. Kevin Ellery, John Pelphrey. LaMonte Ware. Mike Hall.  David Hogg and Terry North, among others. The Hoosiers will be led by the likes of Lyndon Jones, Jay Edwards, Jerome Harmon and Rick Fox, among others . . . And the classic which pits the Kentucky state champion against the Indiana high school champion will really be something. Look for Marion High to emerge as the Indiana representative and you can bet someone from Kentucky will have to pay for the loss Marion suffered at the hands of Lexington Lafayette back in December at Rupp Arena. One thing is for sure, it won't be Lafayette. Madison Central eliminated the Generals in the 11th Region. On top of that, the game will shift to Indianapolis for this year's event and that's something which won't help the Kentuckians' chances. Nevetheless, I can think of 16 schools right now, off the top of my head, who would love to be the sacrifical lambMarshall County, Madisonville, Owensboro, Warren Central, LaRue County, Louisville Doss, Louisville Ballard,  Oldham County,  Ft. Thomas Highlands, Mason County, Madison Central, Monticello, Clay County, Hazard. Paintsville and Rowan Countyand a few more who are no longer around. Thanks James, Paul
Dear Sir:
Let's all give a word of thanks and a big hand to James Blackmon and Paul Andrews for their contributionsblood, sweat, tears, aggravationand for what all they encountered in their four years at UK. I think we're all knowledgeable of the situation each faced and their hanging tight and hanging tough endears them even more to us.
Thanks fellows! You both were special to the program at a very critical time.
Now, let's get our minds directed toward next season. Most, if not all, of the new recruits have either completed the regular season and some tourney play, or are gearing up for their state tournaments. We've heard precious little in 77?e Cats' Pause concerning these young men and how their seasons have gone. Now would be a great time to enlighten us. UK's season is over, the staff needs new material and interest in these new fellows and who's returning is at a fever pitch. It's been a long time since we've had such a high-potential group coming in.
We're hungry, Oscar! Feed us! A little blue over Big Blue, but the sun is coming from behind the cloud!
Ray Roberts Ashland, Kentucky
Beef? Where's The 'D'?
Dear Sir:
I'm enclosing my check to renew my subscription. I was raised in the great state of Kentucky and have followed the 'Cats since I was a small child.
I've just watched the 'Cats against Ohio State in the NCAA. What a disgrace! I've never seen a Kentucky team that is so undisciplined and plays with such little (or no) intensity. I really believe the honeymoon is over for coach Eddie Sutton. He has the best job in the country where being mediocre is not acceptable. At least Joe Hall had Kentucky ties and understood the meaning of hustle and dedication.
Coach Sutton says he believes in the three D's, well maybe he better start teaching the first which is defense. And this man is supposed to be great defensive coach. Well, defense starts with hard work and I've yet to see this group work hard. I think maybe the NCAA did the fans an injustice by inviting the 'Cats to the dance.
Well, at least the 'Cats weren't disgraced by Georgetown on Sunday.
Bill Sexton Reckville, Maryland
King Of Hoops?
Dear Sir:
It won't be long now, UK football fans around the state and elsewhere, until people in the basketball arena are saying, "Wait 'til football season."
This business of "Basketball is King at Kentucky," "We're the epitome of college basketball" and "Best program in the country" has been further verified as a myth. A myth obviously created by UK administrators, supporters and most of the media (go through a few copies of The Cats' Pause during the football and basketball seasons).
If you lose FIVE postseason games to the [Continued On Page 21]
Look For SEC Hoops To Only Get Better
Will Be The Land Of The Giants In '88
For a so-called "football league," the Southeastern Conference fields some pretty good basketball teams.
This stuff about the Big Ten being the best conference in the country or the Big East as the nation's dominant league is just that, "stuff." and you know what kind.
Every section has outstanding players but no one has more than the SEC. Our conference has something else that makes a difference when NCAA Tournament time comesthe 18-game round-robin schedule followed by the league tournament. You only learn to play against strong teams at the end of the year
Stan Torgerson
Cats' Pause Columnist
by playing against them during the year.
The coaches can complain, as many do, about having both the double round-robin and the SEC Tournament but it gets them ready to play the best when year-end time comes.
Not everyone agrees, of course. We notice the Big Ten may jump nto the postseason tournament business, but the sentiment up there is to cut down the number of conference games if the tournament is played.
That idea has popped up in the SEC from time to time. Divide the league into two parts, the critics say. Play the four opponents in your division twice a year and those in the other division once a year. In other words, play 13 conference games instead of 18 and fill the five open spots with patsies who you know you can beat. Five more wins mean job security for coaches. At least that's the theory.
The problem with that logic is will the strength of the two divisions be equal? This year four of the six NCAA teams came from what would likely be the Eastern DivisionFlorida, Georgia, Auburn and Kentucky. Only two came from the Western Division LSU and Alabama. Mississippi, Vanderbilt and Mississippi State are the probable other three Western teams with Tennessee certain to be No. 5 in the East. The balance of power is obviously in the East.
In addition, what would happen to traditional rivalries such as Alabama-Auburn or LSU-Kentucky?
Everyone wants to play Kentucky because the Wildcats guarantee a full house and a good payday. It would cost the Western schools good money to have the 'Cats come to town only every other year.
For those and other reasons the Southeastern Conference will probably leave well enough alone regardless of what the Big Ten or anyone else does.
Now what about the competitive future of the SEC? In other words, let's look at next year.
Next Year, SEC Will Be Land Of The Giants'
Traditionally this has been a league of guards and power forwards. It has not been a good league for big centers, the 6-foot-ll or 7-0 kind.
Look at the all-conference teams of recent years. Alabama's Derrick McKey in 1986, and the Tide's Bobby Lee Hurt in 1984 and '85. Both are 6-9 and use finesse rather than muscle. In 1983 you did have Melvin Turpin of Kentucky and in 1981 Sam Bowie of the same team but other than those two and Rick Robey, also a Wildcat, you must go back to 1976 and Alabama's Leon Douglass to find a legitimate all-star big man.
But next year it will be a whole new world. Every team except Auburn and Alabama will have at least one giant playing in the middle. People such as Vanderbilt's Will Perdue and Florida's Dwayne Schintzius are back. Ole Miss has coach's son Sean Murphy eligible at 6-11. LSU returns Zoran Jovanovich who is 7-1 and Jose Vargas, listed at 6-10. Kentucky recruited several of them. Georgia got two. Tennessee's 6-11 Doug Roth will be only a junior. Mississippi State returns 6-10 Hubert Henderson and has recruited another tall man.
Next season the year of the big center will come to the SEC and the league's already high talent level wil be higher yet.
This year the NCAA chose six SEC teams for its annual tournament. At the rate the conference is going, next year it may be 10.
Not For Broadcast
Despite not being chosen for either the NCAA or NIT tour-
naments the Tennessee Volunteers (14-15) posted victories over six postseason tournament teams. The Vols beat Florida (NCAA), Kentucky (NCAA), Georgia (NCAA). Auburn (NCAA). Louisiana Tech (NCAA) and Vanderbilt (NIT). The Vols ranked 37th nationally in the end of the season computer ratings published by USA Today and that was a higher ranking than any team selected to play in the 1987 NIT. . .With all their troubles two Volunteer players earned statistical first places at season's end. Tony White was the SEC's leading scorer and Dyron Nix was the league's besl rebounder. . .Florida's press department says the Galois' 111S7 football schedule may be the toughest in the country. UF plays Miami, Alabama, LSU, Auburn, Georgia and Florida State among others. All appeared in bowl games last year. The "others" include Tulsa, Mississippi State, Cal State-Fullerton, Temple and Kentucky. Thanks to the 1984-86 probation period the Gators start spring practice with only 58 returning scholarship players. . .Chris Morris of Auburn wins this year's "all-scowling" award. No basketball player since Kenny Higgs of LSU in 1977 can match his facial expressions when, in his opinion, things go wrong. . .Derrick McKey gets more accomplished with less apparent effort than any player we have seen in years. The Alabama star seems to be just standing around watching the game until the Tide needs a rebound or blocked shot or a basket and then there he is. . .Nothing happened in the conference tournament to change our mind. Don Rutledge is the best offical to work in the Southeastern Conference, during the past 20 years. . .Speaking of officials, the boys in stripes have apparently rescinded the three-second rule on their
UT's Dyron Nix Led SEC In Rebounding
own. In nine SEC Tournament games a three-second violation was called only once despite the fact that most of the post players camped out in the lane. . .Lord, we're sick of "two bits, four bits. . ." as a yell. Hey, gang, let's have something new like "Who are you for.
it's time to tell, if you're for_, stand up and yell!" Corny.
yes, but worn out, no. . .If you believe the attendance figures for the various sessions at the Southeastern Conference Tournament in Atlanta, then you believe in Santa Claus, the Easter Bunny and the Governor of Texas saying he was against cheating at SMU. .Why does the SEC Tournament list tourney starting times as two hours apart?.The teams get 30 minutes to warm up and no one ever played a TV basketball game in an hour and a half. Two and a half hours is much more realistic. . .Alabama won the tournament but Kentucky won the battle of the cheerleaders. The Wildcat girls and boys were the best. . .Kentucky coach Eddie Sutton has taken 10 teams to the NCAA Tournament but no team of his has ever appeared in the NIT. . .The Georgia Bulldogs seem to go to the NCAA in odd numbered years and the NIT in even numbered years. Hugh Durham's clubs were invited to the NCAA in 1983 '85, '87 and to the NIT in 1982, '84, '86. . .Only two Southeastern Conference football teams have an early TV booking for this fall CBS has booked the Ohio State-LSU game on Sept 26, Alabama at Notre Dame on Nov. 14 and Alabama at Penn State on Oct. 17. More will follow, of course, but these three games already have been listed. WTBS will continue to telecast SEC games in
[Continued On Page 22] Rex Takes Blame For Poor Performance
Chapman Feels He Let The Seniors Down
It would have been easy for Rex Chapman to make excuses after hitting only four of 16 shots in Kentucky's season-ending 91-77 loss to Ohio State in the NCAA Southeast Region.
Chapman could have talked about being nervous in his first NCAA Tournament game. Or he could have mentioned that he had got sick at practice a day earlier. He could have even noted that Ohio State used All-America senior Dennis Hopson to stop him.
Instead, he put the blame for his subpar 13-point perfor-
	Larry Vaught Cats' Pause Columnist
mance squarely on his own shoulders.
"I was pretty pumped up and so was everybody else," said Chapman. "I thought I was playing hard but my shots just wouldn't fall in. I couldn't help it. I got good shots but I just missed them. I was disappointed that I let the seniors on our team down. I learned a lot from James Blackmon and Paul Andrews."
Chapman learned his lessons well. He became the first Kentucky freshman ever to lead the team in scoring by averaging 16 points per game.
Chapman, though, became a celebrity before his senior season at Owensboro Apollo when he picked UK over Louisville and North Carolina.
"Things are a lot different for me now than they used to be," said Chapman, who is considered one of the nation's premier freshmen. "Once I played my first game in a UK uniform my life really changed.
"I can never really get away from things unless I'm in my own house. If I go out people are looking for autographs, wanting to talk or maybe even criticizing my play. But everywhere I go people notice."
He created that excitement when he pumped in 26 points at Indiana in his third game. Later he scored 26 at Louisville. By January he had become a teen idol and the subject of more fan and media attention than any Wildcat since Kyle Macy.
"People forget that Kyle transferred here from Purdue and had a year to sit out," said UK assistant coach Dwane Casey, a former teammate of Macy's. "He had time for things to blow over.
"Rex walked right into the spotlight. He handled it well, though, and kept his head."'
"Rex has had pressure on him all season long," said UK coach Eddie Sutton. "I don't think that really bothered him. Rex sometimes just tried to do too much. But he had some great games for us this year and he's going to become an even better player."
The freshman guard learned one valuable lesson this year. "I learned that you have to get up for every game," said Chapman. "You can never lose your intensity.
"In college even the practices are intense. You have to get up every day and you go hard every day from Oct. 15 to the end of the season.
"In high school you get days off and there were even some games I didn't have to play hard. But not here."
Chapman also had to learn to deal with being a 19-year-old hero. "Most days Rex got more fan mail than coach Sutton," said Casey. "That's hard for a freshman to handle."
So were the rumors. One story had teammates denying him the basketball because they were jealous of his success. Another rumor questioned his choice of friends.
"You just have to brush those things off," said Chapman. "Coach Sutton told me that I had to be thick-skinned."
Maybe that's why he never hid from the media or avoided tough questions. At times he may have even been too open and too willing to share his feelings with the public.
At least now Chapman should have a few weeks out of the limelight and pressure.
"I'm going to take a few days off before I begin lifting weights," said Chapman. "I need a break. It has been a great feeling to be known but I need time away from things."
Facing defenses designed to stop you and unrealistic expectations from fans every game would do that to any player. "Rex is a unique player," said UK senior Paul Andrews, who roomed with Chapman on road trips. "Just seeing what he goes through is unreal. I don't know how he did it.
"He was under pressure all season. No matter what he did it seemed like people expected more.
Andrews: Expectations Too High For Rex
"Before he leaves UK he will be one of the greatest ever to play for the Wildcats. He just had too much expected this year."
Those expectations ended for this season against Ohio State. But Chapman, an intense competitor, vowed not to forget the disappointment he felt at the end.
"I've learned a lot this year and it was not a disappointing season," said Chapman. "But I want this to be the last time we leave the tournament early while I am at Kentucky."
Rough Start Put UK Behind 8-Bail
NO COACH is happy when his team loses in the first round of the NCAA Tournament. However, Sutton still knew that his team accomplished more this year than most people expected.
"The fact that we won 18 games is a credit to these young men," said Sutton. "We had a lot of problems to overcome."
Trouble started last spring. Recruit Harvey Grant had a brush with the law and Sutton told him to look for another school. He started for Oklahoma this season.
Another recruit, Reggie Hanson of Pulaski County, became an academic casualty.
The crushing blow came in early November. Senior for ward Winston Bennett, the team leader, was lost for the season with a knee injury.
"If you had told people we would win 18 games after losing Winston they would have all been happy," said Andrews.
"Losing Winston not only hurt us in games but it hurt us in practice," said Sutton. "He would have made his teammates better in practice.
"A lot of people were ready to write us off when he went down. If Winston had played we would probably have won at least four or five more games."
The Cats also lost Andrews and junior center Cedric Jenkins to injuries. That left UK with only seven healthy players in December.
"Looking back I think the time we couldn't go five-on