xt7t4b2x479k https://nyx.uky.edu/dips/xt7t4b2x479k/data/mets.xml Wildcat News Company 1984 Volume 9 -- Number 16 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 (1984-1985) coaches Hall, Joe B. players Walker, Kenny (Sky) Bennett, Winston Baesler, Scotty University of Kentucky Football (1984) Claiborne, Jerry statistics schedules Cats' Pause Combs, Oscar The Cats' Pause,  22-Dec-84 text The Cats' Pause,  22-Dec-84 1984 2012 true xt7t4b2x479k section xt7t4b2x479k University Archives
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The Cats' Pause
'SPOTLIGHTING UNIVERSITY OF KENTUCKY AND SOUTHEASTERN CONFERENCE"
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Fans' Point Of View
When your team is losing, the faithful and loyal backers tend to abandon the ship - right? Though this year when the ship started sinking in Big Blue land the Wildcat fans around the Commonwealth are still aboard.
Before the Wildcats' confrontation with Louisville last Saturday, UK fans by the thousands entered the Freedom Hall doors to watch the Cats practice.
Practice?
That's right, practice.
Nick Nicholas
Cats* Pause Columnist
About six thousand supporters were on hand at 10 a.m. to watch Coach Joe B. Hall's team, with a record of 1-3, tune up their skills before their date with the Cards that evening.
Top-caliber UK teams of the past which were led by the Greveys, Robeys, Givens, Macys, Bowies, and Turpins drew the big pregame crowds in Louisville, and deservingly so. Before their game with the Cards this squad had a winning percentage of .250 percent, had been outscored 257-241, and had shot 43 percent in their first four contests. Anyway you look at it that's not too promising.
However, the statistical information doesn't matter to the UK fans when it comes to loyalty. You see when you're a Kentucky basketball fan you learn to love the Blue and White - even if they are in a slump.
Fans around Bloomington (Indiana), Chapel Hill (North Carolina) or Iowa City (Iowa) may think they have a monopoly on fan support these days. But after talking to some of the people Saturday morning I have to feel the overall Bluegrass tradition and support is just as popular, if not more.
For the most part you couldn't get many arguments from the 6,000 or so who witnessed the early Wildcat practice.
"Kentucky's tradition will always last," said UK fan Walter Foster of Louisville. "It's like in baseball, the Yankees will always be the Yankees. The Wildcats will always be No. 1.
"They (UK) don't get to come to this area very often. Everybody loves to get out there and see them. I even go up to Lexington if I can get tickets, which isn't very often. But I still love to go up and see them."
Foster's response was not unfamiliar as many of the supporters on hand are still very positive about the Wildcats this season.
"They just haven't gotten it together yet," indicated Louisville resident Norman Morgan. "They're all good ballplayers but they're just not playing as a group."
Morgan's comment on the Wildcats was a very mature one. Fans of other teams have a tendency to vocally rip the players and coaches in a losing situation. Though for the most part the UK fans were not of the complaining type, at least not yet.
"I think it shows tremendous enthusiasm that the citizens of Kentucky has for the University of Kentucky," said James Woodrow, a 1949 graduate of UK. ' 'This particular crowd is a show of force for what all the publicity U of L is getting over here. Just because they're down, I think the crowd (this year's practice) has come out even bigger than it was last year (for Purdue)."
"I think the tradition is still as strong as it ever has been," said Wildcat fan Tom Luckett. "Anytime they hit the floor they have a chance. As time goes on I think this team will mature and come along."
In a lot of instances the Wildcat basketball tradition is embedded in the hearts of many families. For example, Luckett attended the practice session with his two sons - Todd and Brian - and his father Roy Luckett.
"We live in Louisville and we all pull for the Blue," claimed Tom Luckett. "We've got more blue in Louisville than red," said Roy Luckett.
Meanwhile one college basketball fan, who was neither rooting for the Cats or the Cards, gave her speculation on the current Kentucky team.
"I'm afraid they don't have the players this year that they've had in the past," noted Indiana fan Mary Duitz of Jeffersonville, Ind. "But they may come along, you never know. It's too early in the season (to predict), I think they'll improve.
This particular Hoosier fan was probably so impressed with the Wildcat fan enthusiasm that she couldn't write-off this year's Kentucky squad. That's the college spirit.
The Wildcats put on an excellent show for the crowd Saturday morning. During on$ stretch the players were running the fast-break drill in which many resulted in some pretty fancy dunks. Freshman Richard Madison
received the biggest cheer with his flashy stuffs.
After their performance Coach Hall introduced each player and handed the microphone to each one. One by one the players thanked the fans for coming and also encouraging them for their overall support the rest of the season.
Junior guard Roger Harden said it best, "you're the ones that make our program the No. 1 program."
Coach Joe B. Hall hands the microphone over to co-captains Kenny Walker and Winston Bennett during Saturday morning's practice at Freedom Hall. The head coach and all the UK players expressed their gratitude as they were introduced to the 6,000 UK fans on hand. Later that night Kentucky fell to the Cardinals 71-64 before more than 19,000 Cardinal followers in the same arena. TkceMkn,22.19Z4
Kosair - Children's Hospital
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Before their game against Louisville Saturday night Coach Joe B. Hall, Kenny Walker, and Winston Bennett did a very special and heartwarming
thing early that afternoon.
While most teams would be getting prepared for an important showdown, such as the UK-UL matchup, the three men from the University of Kentucky had something else in mind. Hall, Walker, and Bennett visited 13-year old Jimmy Key at the Louisville Kosair-Children's hospital. Key is paralyzed from the neck down which resulted when the youth was hit by an automobile while walking to a nearby store earlier this year.
Key was glad to see Coach Hall and his two co-captains come to visit him. "There's Coach Hall, and Kenny, and Winston," said Jimmy with a smile when the three men walked in his room.
Their appearance was a total surprise to Key, and avid UK fan. "I told him something special might happen tomorrow (Saturday), said Ms. Hogan Emrich, director of volunteer services at the hospital. "But I didn't want to say for sure because I didn't know if they were coming."
The three signed pictures and a yearbook for Key and also dedicated the Louisville game to him. Said Coach Hall, "even if we don't win this (game) we will be dedicating the game to you."
After leaving Jimmy's room they visited a few more patients as well as signing a number of autographs. While signing the autographs the children thanked the two players and the coach and wished them well in their game against Louisville. There was even a sign up on one door that said "Go Wildcats."
III I.HAM,Wl%MI UK Dynasty Crumbling
People and things. For UK basketball fans, particularly longtime ones, a headline in the Dec. 17 issue of The Sporting News must have come as a shock. SOUTH: Is UK a Crumbling DynastyT
The story begins with a rhetorical question: "Is it possible that Kentucky, loser of three of its first four outings, is headed for its first losing season since 1926-27?"
Could be, but I don't think so. like Florida coach Norm Sloan said recently, "Wait and see, Kentucky's going to become a fine basketball team. Too much talent not to."
Key words here? Wait and see..
Bob Watkins
Cats' Pause Columnist
Another UK book
For Christmas shoppers searching for something special for that Kentucky fan in your life, the latest basketball book is now on sale. The Winning Tradition. A History Of Kentucky Wildcat Basketball is authored by UK history professor Humbert Nelli. It is only 145 pages, but offers good quality photos and, despite its flawsand there are someNelli's work has some interesting insights by way of interviews with former players and UK insiders.
Of particular interest to me was Chapter 7, The Afterglow. Sadly it is the dismantling of the legend of Adolph Rupp. Nelli unveils some of the cracks in the Rupp legend and depicts the coach late in his career as "a tragic figure."
Rupp was, Nelli says, in physical pain with diabetes. He was frustrated, bitter and jealous of John Wooden at UCLA. Rupp's assistant for so many years, Harry Lancaster, tells Nelli that Der Baron was not in control of his team during the last several years of his 42 seasons at Kentucky.
"In fact," Lancaster says, "Rupp didn't coach the last fifteen years he was here."
Nelli: Responsiblity for directing the team during the game, as several knowledgeable people have noted, fell to Lancaster.
I believe that many of us who watched from a distance had come to that conclusion long ago. Rupp had begun to drink more heavily by the late 1960s.
And, Nelli says, UK's decline from national contention was a direct result of Rupp's refusal to recruit black players.
Bill Russell, the Boston Celtics star wrote in his book Second Wind. The Memoirs of an Opinionated Man wrote of Rupp: "I know many players who had been coached by him at the University of Kentucky, I'd met him myself, and nothing I ever saw or heard of him contradicted my impressions that he was one of the more devout racists in sports."
In fact, Nelli writes that Rupp, rather than recruit black players, turned to searching out junior college prospects. One of the best was Bob Burrow, signed out of Lon Morris Junior College in Jacksonville, Tex. in 1955. Burrow had been the national JUCO leading scorer and player of the year in 1954.
Burrow followed Ail-American Cliff Hagan into the UK pivot and made the All-SEC team in both years at Kentucky and Ail-American in 1956. However, Burrow and Adrian Smith of the Fiddlin' Five in 1959, was the only success in Rupp's JUCO experiment.
While Uncle Adolph certainly had his shortcomings, one would like to think that, despite them, a man who contributed so much to the college game ought to be remembered fondly. Bowie/Turpin report
Former UK All-American Sam Bowie had his first NBA meeting last week with Akeem Olajuwon. Report card: Houston's Akeem had 21 points, 12 rebounds and four blocked shots to Bowie's eight points, seven rebounds and two blocks. Houston won at Portland 127-120.
In NBA games played through Dec. 8 here are figures for Bowie and Melvin Turpin from The Sporting News.
Bowie: In 16 games  6.2 ppg, 103 rebounds, 52.8 field goal percentage, 33 blocked shots and 34 assists.
Turpin: In 18 games  12.9 ppg., 131 rebounds, 49.5 field goal percentage, 27 blocked shots and 16 assists.
Comment: Not too bad...until one realizes the kind of money these performances are costing Portland and Cleveland.
20-20 hindsight
A quiz.
Question: Which Southeastern Conference basketball team has a backcourt scoring and leadership problem? Answer: Kentucky.
Question: Who was the SEC's leading scorer two weeks into the season?
Answer: Vanderbilt's senior playmaker and team captain Phil Cox.
Cox, Kentucky's Mr. Basketball four years ago and a youngster who openly expressed unhappiness that UK did not recruited him, is also second in the SEC in steals (11), third in foul shooting (30 of 33 for .909 percent), 10th in field goal percentage (62.5) and is in the top seven in the assists category.
Hindsight is 20-20, but it reminds me of something a UK fan said last week. "Trouble*with the staff at Kentucky is that they're so intent on getting superstar blue-chippers from out of state, they miss the good ones at home."
Radio call-ins
One of the best sidelights in a basketball season are radio call in shows.
Aren't they wonderful? No, no, wait a minute, not the coach's call-in types which are mostly heavy on propagandistic baloney, flag waving and "congratulations coach, we're behind you all the way." Coaches shows are devoid of any real substance and come to you live from the coach's bunker.
If a tough or even an abrasive second guess inquiry comes to Mr. Coach, it is a cue for the moderator to say, "Hey, we've got to go to a station break, thank you for calling."
No fun.
What is entertaining, and this is entertainment (isn't it folks?), for fans on both sides of the cheering section is the call-in show that some fans refer to as the "Let's All Hate Jock Sutherland Show." It's on WHAS Radio on Tuesday evenings and it's entertaining.
Jock, who does color analysis for U of L basketball games on WHAS-TV, was in good form last week. Said he had read the media guides from both Kentucky and Louisville from cover to cover and then he introduced a player's ratings system to compare the teams.
"Take the starting lineups of both teams," he said. "Like Kenny Walker versus Billy Thompson, and rate each of them 1 to 10. Then rate the benches of both teams and the coaches and then add up the totals and that will be what you think the final score is going to be. Then call and tell us."
It was an idea with some imagination and something listeners could get into. They did. And that's what it's about.
Before getting on with it however, Jock had a zinger for the UK camp. "Why on Earth, he said, "would a great high school guard want to go to Kentucky? "If you're a big man, then Joe does a pretty good job. But you got Roger Harden who averaged 26 points a game in high school...you have James Blackmon (who averaged 30+) everybody in the country recruited...and you've got Ed Da vender."
It is Jock's knowledge of the game stirred together with a disdain for Hall and UK, that makes the WHAS Radio show attractive. Louisville fans love it. Kentucky fans love to, well, hate Jock. So they listen too.
Jock and Van get top ratings for good, live and candid entertainment.
Kentucky's best?
Some basketball analysts, led by hoop entrepreneur Jock Sutherland, believe the Western Kentucky Hilltoppers might be the best among the bluegrass state's top three college teams.
Certainly the following view of one UK cage fan applies here. "Western has the kind of basketball team that a person could really get attached to," said John Roseberry of Elizabethtown after seeing the Wendy's Clas