xt7rv11vff10 https://exploreuk.uky.edu/dips/xt7rv11vff10/data/mets.xml Wildcat News Company 1988 Volume 12 -- Number 24 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 (1987-1988) coaches Sutton, Eddie players Riley, Pat Davender, Ed University of Kentucky Football (1987) Claiborne, Jerry recruiting statistics schedules Cats' Pause Combs, Oscar The Cats' Pause,  "February 20, 1988" text The Cats' Pause,  "February 20, 1988" 1988 2012 true xt7rv11vff10 section xt7rv11vff10 'Cats Handle State Of AlabamaWhip Tigers, Tide. . .
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The Cats Pause
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Cats Starting To Peak?
. . .Big Tasks Await Them At Tennessee, Florida &7l& (jClOi'
Knoxville And GainesvilleToughest Test So Far
By the lime the UK Wildeats wake up Sunday morning, they should have an excellent idea of just how good their chances are of winning the regular-season Southeastern Conference championship.
Going into this week's action, the Wildcats owned a flashy 18-3 overall record and a 10-3 mark in the SEC after sweeping games last week over Auburn and Alabama.
But that's history.
Facing the 'Cats this week is perhaps Kentucky's toughest assignment of the entire season, a pair of games on the road to what has been the league's top team-Floridamost of the season after first journeying to Knoxville, the 'Cats' most dreaded city in the entire country.
For Kentucky to establish itself as the solid leader in the conference race with less than three weeks remaining, it must win both games because a couple of clubs, namely Vanderbilt and LSU, have suddenly crept into the picture.
Going into games over the weekend, UK's top three challengers were only down one game in the loss column. But there was a great assist last Wednesday when Georgia upset Florida in Athens.
Suddenly, Kentucky is not only back in the race, but the 'Cats are actually the chasee rather than the chaser.
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Of Kentucky's three losses this season, the 'Cats have already beaten two of the three teams and this Saturday they get the opportunity to even the score with the Florida Gators.
But first there is a small matter of the 'Cats making their annual trip to K-town.
Unlike trips to Knoxville during the Adolph Rupp, Joe B. Hall and early-Eddie Sutton eras, the Big Blue won't be playing in Stokely Athletics Center.
And that is welcomed news to both the 'Cats and their fans. Over the past 16 years. Kentucky has managed only two victories while taking on the Big Orange in K-town.
Kentucky did win two other games in Stokely, believe it or not, but only once in each of the last two decades. First. UK defeated Florida State in the Mideast Regional on the way to their 1978 NCAA national championship. The second victory came over the Indiana Hoosiers in the semifinals of the Mideast Regional during the 1982-83 season.
For Kentucky, the 'Cats hope to launch a new beginning in Tennessee's sparkling, new 25,000-seat arena.
Some people believe Tennessee won't enjoy as much of a homecourt advantage in the new arena because of its size. Some Kentucky fans agree that the Wildcats suffered a drop in homecourt advantage when the 'Cats moved from Memorial Coliseum to Rupp back in 1976.
UT coach Don DeVoe begs to differ. Says DeVoe, "I see it as an opportunity to have 25,000 fans screaming for Tennessee instead of the 12,700 in Stokely."  With that in mind, there are reports mat- Kentucky- may- see- the- largest, number
Stokley Center's Now History, But
of Big Blue fans at a Kentucky-Tennessee basketball game in Knoxville since the series began back in 1910. Reports are that Kentucky could have as many as 1.500 fans in the new arena.
Don't be surprised if the new arena enjoys its largest attendance of its young history.
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Looking back at the history of Stokley Athletics Center, I'm reminded of some of the most memorable games involving the Kentucky Wildcats.
Perhaps the biggest game of the Joe B. Hall era didn't even involve the Tennessee Vols. The game would have to be the Florida State (then coached by Hugh Durham), in the 1978 Mideast Regional when Hall's 'Cats were trailing at the half and he put his entire career on the line by benching three starters and inserting reserves Dwane Casey, LaVon Williams and Freddie Cowan to start the second half.
The gamble paid off as the 'Cats fought back and went on to win the national championship. Had UK lost that game, there are some who say Hall would not have been around to retire in 1985.
The most memorable game for me as a reporter with this publication came in 1981-82 when Melvin Turpin poured in 28 points and UK still lost 70-66 in a game which I didn't think Kentucky would ever lose.
Turpin simply was phenominal. throughout the 40 minutes, but it was at that point that I realized that Kentucky truly was jinxed in Stokely.
That all changed in 1985 when Eddie Sutton took his charges into Knoxville with Kenny Walker. Roger Harden & Co. and escaped with a 62-60 victory.
Then last year, reality returned as the Vols won a 75-68 decision. I guess it was only a fitting way to close the Kentucky-Tennessee series in Stokely.
Even with all those games, the most disappointing loss in history had to be the 69-62 loss suffered by Rupp's Runts in 1966 at a time when the 'Cats were bidding for an undefeated season.
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What About The Knoxville Jinx?
perfect 23-0 record and had been pushed only twice by SEC teams. In fact, Kentucky had beaten the Vols a week earlier in Lexington by a score of 78-64. It was one of only two losses for the 'Cats, the other being the 72-65 defeat suffered at the hands of Texas Western in the NCAA championship game.
To say Kentucky fans anxiously await the first Kentucky-Tennessee game in the new arena would be an understatement.
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And then it will be a trip to the sunny South and the Florida Gators.
Just a couple weeks ago it appeared Norm Sloan's Gators were about to make a rout of the league race. Then Florida dropped three of its next four, including a stunning homecourt upset at the hands of Auburn.
Hopes ran high for the Gators during the preseason and dreams of their first-ever SEC title only heightened when Florida won the preseason Big Apple NTT. After that, there were some hot and cold moments.
But the low point definitely came last week when the Gators lost back-to-back games against Auburn and Georgia.
For Florida, this Saturday's battle with Kentucky will definitely be a win-or-else situation. A loss to Kentucky and the Gators can forget even a piece of the SEC title. In fact, a victory over Kentucky won't insure Florida of the title because the Gators still have to close the regular season on Sunday, March 6 in Baton Rouge, the same place they'll return four days later to play the SEC post season tournament.
For Florida, it would be a dream come true to get back in the driver's seat and enjoy a two-game regular season sweep over the 'Cats, something they haven't done since 1972.
For Kentucky, nothing would be sweeter than to put a lock on the league race by doing it the hard way, with a pair of victories over two of their most-hated rivals and on the road.
Stay tuned.
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Coach Jerry Claiborne and his staff corralled one of their largest and finest recruiting classes since their arrival to the Bluegrass state six years ago according to recruiting coordinator Dick Redding.
Claiborne said he was very pleased with this year's crop, saying that they have great size, both height-wise and scale-wise. Claiborne also said he is very pleased with his signees out of junior college.
There are some who say this year's crop of Bluegrass state products are down from the past couple years. And even with that observation, Kentucky failed to sign several who opted to leave the state to pursue their goals elsewhere.
On that subject, Jerry said only he was pleased with those who signed with UK and that he wasn't interested in worrying about those not wearing the Big Blue.
The biggest disappointment had to be the loss of Kentucky's Mr. Football. Kurt Barber of Paducah Tilghman. who decided to head west and play for Southern Cal.
It is the second year in a row that the state's top player has decided to go elsewhere. Last season, Newport Catholic's Frank Jacobs signed with Notre Dame.
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HITS AND MISSES . . . With basketball recruiting starting to heat up again, it appears that Kentucky's wish list is pretty short, perhaps only Californian Don MacLean and perhaps Clay County's Richie Farmer . . . Entering last week's game against Auburn, Kentucky's top three free throw shooters were Ed Davender, Rob Lock and Rex Chapman, and they were all hitting within one-tenth of a percentage point of each other and all three were over the 83 percent mark. Then guess what happensthe 'Cats hit only 11 of 21 against Auburn . . . Someone should tell SEC color analyst Jor-dy Hultberg that Georgia led the entire second half and actually beat Florida last week in the game he worked with Tom Hammond. If I didn't know better. I'd swear he must have played for Norm Sloan rather than Dale Brown and LSU . . . My vote, if it were taken today, for the SEC Coach Of The Year, would have to go to Vanderbilt coach CM. Newton. What he had done with a bunch of players (some would say they don't qualify as players because of certain basketball cliches) in winning 15 of their first 20 games has been nothing less than fantastic and I'm sure those rabid Vandy fans will agree. And Vandy is making sure the basketball world is aware of the three-point shot . . . When the going got tough, the tough got going for the 'Cats in the final five minutes against Auburn last week as they turned to an underclassmen combination. Frosh Eric Manuel and sophomore Rex Chapman scored all of UK's points in the final stretch. Chapman finished the game with 4> season-hjgh 25 points and Manuel add-ed'lQ-.'T.v."".'-*"*'/ * * **,j.t i j * * 4>V (It/AC
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Letters To The Editor
Mail All Letters To: VIEWPOINT, The Cats' Pause, P.u. Box 7297, Lexington, KY 40522
Bragging Rights
Dear Sir:
I would like to take this time to say that this is my first year as a subscriber of 77ie Cats' Pause. This newspaper has got to be the best newspaper published in the country.
I have been a Wildcat fan ever since I knew what basketball was. Living only five miles from the Kentucky state line, a lot of people in my town can't understand why I support the 'Cats and not the Vols. My answer to that is that watching and listening to the Kentucky Wildcats basketball games and knowing the history background of the teams in the past are no doubt the best in the nation. In the Kentucky romp over the Vols on Jan. 16, 1988,1 have a lot of bragging rights for who I root for. People just don't know what they are missing by not being Big Blue fans.
In closing, I want to wish the best to the 'Cats as they finish the season and upcoming years in basketball. Keep up the good work guys.
Brent Callicott Union City, Tennessee
Colorado 'Cat
Dear Sir:
I am a subscriber to 77k? Cats' Pause and am living in the Colorado Springs, Colo., area. I am grateful for you publication as it keeps me informed about University of Kentucky basketball. I hope you will publish this letter as I am looking for other Big Blue fans in the area to join in watching the 'Cats. I presently don't know any 'Cats (I'm not sure there is such a thing as a Colorado Buffs fan).
What games are not broadcast on the networks or cable I receive from a friend in Kentucky on video tape. Perhaps there are Kentucky fans that would like to see these games. If there are, my telephone number is (303) 687-2190. Also, I got to see the Pan Am Trials last May and we all know that (Rex) Chapman made the team. I just want to say that I thought that Ed Davender looked sensational with his defense there as he does this season. Now he's scoring, driving, handling the ball. He's great and we need him badly if we are to have a shot at the SEC, Southeast Regional and Kansas City.
Gregg Carter
Woodland Park, Colorado
Roadcourt Advantage?
Dear Sir:
I have noticed something rather strange this year as far as the 'Cats go, and I wonder if I am the only one. It seems that the 'Cats play more loose and less tense when they are on the road than they do at Rupp Arena. I believe there's more pressure on them to perform well at home than on the road, and their road record would indicate the same. .Except .for
Vandy, the 'Cats have played good basketball on the road. It isn't easy for a "Kentucky" team to go into Baton Rouge and pin Dale Brown's ears down the way they did, especially after LSU had recently handed Oklahoma a stunning loss. With the SEC coming down to the nitty gritty, I believe the fans at Rupp and around the state that call themselves 'Cat fans should get behind this team and not on them. Wildcat fans are the best in the country, bar none, and it is time to show it. We are all hungry for that crown in March and everyone wants it bad, but it is hard for a young player out there to make that big play or critical shot when he has his shoulders burdened with pressure. I am almost certain that nobody wants to win for the fans for than coach (Eddie) Sutton and each of his players do, they also are hungry. The players we have are very good basketball players and the freshmen, LeRon Ellis and Eric Manuel, will only get better, but we must realize that these players are human also and they know when fans are behind them or on them. There is a big difference between a high school gym with a few thousand fans and Rupp Arena with about 23,000 fans.
So come on, 'Cat fans, let's show this team that we are behind them all the way. Someone said of the 15 wins we have that a few of those games we just barely won. Which would you rather have, a narrow win, or a narrow loss? they are both Ws and Ls, whether it is one point or 25. This team can and will play to their potential and they are making progress now to do that, so let's get behind our 'Cats and show them that we are the best fans in the nation. Go 'Cats.!
A True Blue Wildcat Fan,
Johnny Kinser Chevrolet, Kentucky
Behind Enemy Lines
Dear Sir:
I am one of those people fortunate to be a native Kentuckian! Lexington, in fact, is my birthplace. I hope to come home soon.
I have been a Wildcat fan as long as I can remember. I have had several members of my family, on both sides, who attended UK. At this time, two second cousins. One of them, Joel Lipscomb, gave me one of his shakers. Thanks, Joel.
Like all loyal fans, I wear the Blue and White when I watch the games on TV. Even though I have not had the great opportunity to see a game in person, that does not affect my loyalty. I have resided in Alabama for more than 10 years, and I have not become an elephant or war eagle. No disrespect to those who are.
I have a Kentucky sticker in the back glass of car, so, there is no dispute as to my allegiance.
I have seen the Wildcats do their best and have seen them not, in my opinion, do as well as they could have. However, I love them anyway. I feel that Eddie Sutton has that love for UK and his players that coach (Adolph) Rupp had. It takes an intelligent coach to know what positions each member of the . team.is.best suited-for. We are fortunate.to
get him.
A loyal fan.
Carol Collette Saraland, Alabama
P.S.My boss, who is an Alabama fan, allows me to put my UK material on the wall of the office.
Vitale Was Wrong
Dear Sir:
Hello up there in Big Blue Land! It has been awhile since I have written to Tie Cats' Pause because so many of you have been handling everything OK.
However, Mr. (Dick) Vitale's remarks during the UK-Notre Dame telecast concerning coach (Eddie) Sutton's longevity due to the "pressure" has moved me to offer a few coments.
(Vitale apparently questioned whether Sutton would be at Kentucky in five more years during the telecasteditor.)
The so-called pressure that surrounds the UK basketball program could be more aptly described as the following:
"Love," for we certainly love both the sport and the Wildcats.
"Dedication," for we are dedicated to excellence both on and off the court.
"Caring," now this is a biggie!! We "Care" for our program. "We" meaning all Wildcat fans scattered here, there and yon, young and old, sane or. . .well, anyway, we care. The alternative to caring is apathy.
Those timid souls who don't like "pressure" would be happy here in Austin. The Texas gym is one of the few places you could have a baksetball game and a skeetshoot simultaneously, with small chance of anyone getting hurt.
I think Eddie would prefer the "pressure" of this situation.
Actually, this so-called "pressure" means only that UK has more fans who are more concerned, more involved, more discerning, and more supportive than any other school that takes the hoop game seriously.
Many of us Wildcat fans understand the "pot-shots" taken at UK. People hated the New York Yankees for the same reasons. Jealous of their years of winning and being No. 1 for years and years.
I know this is a family-type publication, so I can't really express myself, but I would say this to the Vitales, the Musbergers, and all you other crybabies: "Eat your hearts out, you envious illegitimates."
I think it is a tremendous endorsement to our product at UK the way other folks regard us and "get up" for us. Like any UK fan, I suffer hurt, shock and disbelief whenever we lose. But I follow the basketball scene fairly close and dadgone it, these little setbacks are going to happen now and then. To revise an old saying: "When you're hot you're hot, and when you're not, the other guys are."
Your friend and fan,
Fred Williams
' -Austin-, -Texas." *      nnamra -.-rtmammtm
Vitale Was Right
Dear Sir:
Kentucky fans arc making a big, big mistake by talking incessantly about reaching the Final Four beginning each year in November. It does no good and surely places additional pressure on the players and coaches. Face it, despite the overall excellence, the 'Cats have only peached that elusive goal four times in the past 30 years, thus it isn't something to reasonably expect on an annual basis. Such talk should be postponed until the team has won at least two games in the NCAA tournament.
Now that big-time coaches are hired to produce and move on, it is unquestionably foolish from another standpoint. If you have a "top five" coach such as Eddie Sutton, he obviously knows that he's expected to win a national championship eventually. If he doesn't do so in the first few years, he may decide the pressure and frustration aren't worth the money and move on to greener pastures where the big bucks are available, minus the pressure in Lexington.
The more I think of it, the more I'm convinced Dick Vitale was right when he said Sutton wouldn't stay more than about five years at Kentucky.
And in case you haven't noticed, it might be wise to cast an eye four hours south to observe which way the wind is blowing. If I were Doug Dickey looking for a man who could fill the seats at the new "Thompson-Boling Alley" I'd know exactly who I'd pursue."
Gene A. Russell Manchester, Tennessee
Don't Forget Adkins
Dear Sir:
Oscar, I was a caller on your Monday night call-in radio show recently regarding Paint-sville's Keith Adkins. You and (co-host) Earl (Cox) acted like you didn't believe me. Here's the proof!
(Enclosed was an article saying that Adkins, who is averaging in excess of 32 points per game, is being hotly persued by Indiana, Notre Dame, Vandy, Michigan State and Auburneditor.)
So tell Earl not to rate (Richie) Farmer as the best player in the state until he has seen Adkins this season. Once he's seen Adkins, there will be no doubt who's the best. The media has made Farmer Mr. Basketball, just as they have already made Allan Houston Mr. Basketball for next season.
Please make mention of Keith on next Monday's radio show. And please have Earl eat his words that Keith will probably end up with a Southern Conference school. This kid is going to be a super college player. Please give him a little credit.
If you or Earl haven't seen him play, at least give him a little recognition based on this article I have enclosed. Believe me, there are many more I could enclose. This is just a sample. If Kentucky is looking for the best, ' iCdrtflhVed W Page 22] 9v6raart/'20, /?dd
Pat Riley Never Could Tame Florida's Gators
'Alligator Alley' Unkind To UK All-American
If I could have my druthers this weekend, I'd be sipping a cold one (tea, of course) in Pat Riley's living room while the Los Angeles Lakers' coach and I tuned our antenna in the direction of the satellite that was picking up the Kentucky-Florida basketball game being played in the Stephen C. O'Connell Center in Gainesville.
Russell Rice
Cats' Pause Columnist
For the uninformed, a rare breed indeed among TCP readers, Riley was an All-American forward with the beloved "Rupp's Runts," UK's NCAA runner-up team of 1966. The O'Connell Center, completed in 1979 at a cost of $14 million, has become a showpiece for college basketball in the state of Florida.
"Wouldn't it be something," I'd say to Pat as the NBC commentators began their pregame analysis, "if we could set our time machine back 23 years, take O'Connell Center with us, and replay those three games in Gainesville in which you were, well let's face it, less that terrific in the old Florida Gym?"
Then I'd remind him that as a sophomore making his first trip to Gainesville in 1965, he described that awful facility as a "Lion's Den."
"Gators, Pat, not Lions," I'd say, "as in Alligator Alley.' Remember those exposed rafters, which were interspersed with huge heating ducts? And how about those small, slit-like windows which were located high up near the roof and through which light was filtered in a wierd fashion? Perhaps that's why you couldn't hit the side of a barn there. . .oops, jurors, disregard that remark." Sustained.
"ALL RIGHT, PAT, ISN'T IT A FACT that in those three games, you hit only two of 25 from the field and eight of 12 from the line for a 4.0 ppg. average, which is a far cry from your UK career average of 17.9 ppg.?" I'd continue.
Pat undoubtedly would want to change the subject, but I'd like to ask if he remembers how it felt to run onto the floor for the first time and be greeted by 6,000 Gator fans, shirtsleeves blending with colored blouses, squeezed into a space designed for 5,000 and shouting "Gator Bait?" And how those fans were seated so close to the playing floor that their knees were in the backs of UK's radio announcers.
I bet Pat didn't know that Florida officials feared a