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Three cheers for the Kentucky basketball All-Time Walk-On Team


Lately, there’s been a lot of talk about the characteristics of a good walk-on player. At Kentucky, we’ve seen the spectrum: cocky chest puffers (Steve Masiello), hard-nosed hustlers (Mark “Clappin'” Krebs), and baby-faced Backstreet lookalikes (Jarrod Polson). While we love to scream “SHOOOOOOOOT” at each of them equally, some stand out a little more for their passion and pride in the Blue and White.

Since the first walk-on I can remember in earnest is Masiello (no wonder I hate hair gel on men), I had to dip into the dusty history books to attempt a fair assessment of Kentucky’s unsung heroes. And man, what a delightful research topic (thank you bigbluehistory.net, for your wonderful resources, by the way).

Here’s where I would rank the walk-ons, in terms of a) Big Blue pride b) on-court performance and c) legacy:

FIRST TEAM

cameron-mills
Cameron Mills
Years: 1994-1998
Career Points: 365
Mills is one of the most memorable walk-ons in Kentucky history due to his super sweet three-point shot and tendency to step up in big games. Case and point: the three to give the Cats the lead against Duke in the 1998 Elite Eight. That clip still gives me chills. Fewer players have had more passion for the blue and white than Mills, who turned down a scholarship at Georgia to play for the Cats. Mills is now an evangelist who travels the state, speaking to churches, youth groups, and schools.

ravi-moss
Ravi Moss
Years: 2002-2006
Career points: 376
Many people forget that Moss was a walk-on, which is understandable considering he was a starter for a while. Ravi was one of Tubby Smith’s best athletes and quickly became a fan favorite because of his unselfish, gutsy play. Unfortunately, Ravi ran into some trouble with the law after college, but his hustle and flat out effort should endear him to Cat fans for life.

junior-braddy
Nehemiah “Junior” Braddy
Years: 1989-1993
Career Points: 327
I’ll admit, I’m too young to remember Junior Braddy, but the more I read about him, the more I like him. Braddy, also a member of the baseball team, brought a spark off the bench and helped the program emerge from its darkest hours. What did being a walk-on mean to Braddy? In his own words, from the 1991-1992 season:

Chance of a Lifetime by Junior Braddy
Every child in America dreams of becoming someone famous or just doing something special that sets you apart from the rest of the world. It is impossible not to dream. Every time we go to sleep at night or just daydream in class, we enter another world where no goal or achievement is impossible. Most of us wake up, but a select few dream on, until one day they realize that their dream has come true.

Fifteen people share the same dream, with each person striving to make that dream come true, but knowing that with one mishap or twist of fate you can be rudely awakened never to dream that dream again. But with determination and hard work we can dream on, until truly we become one of the select few on this earth. We have the chance of a lifetime, and I believe that we can do it. Not by might or by power, but by faith. And I do believe.

preston-lemaster
Preston LeMaster
Years: 2002-2006
Career Points: 30
Why include LeMaster? Sure, his stats aren’t as flashy as some on the list, but Preston LeMaster was the quintessential Kentucky boy that fans could connect with through shared childhood dreams of playing for the Cats. That’s why we all went wild when LeMaster, son of former Cat Jim LeMaster, scored a career-high 12 points on 4-5 shooing from behind the arc in an 80-40 victory over Ole Miss.

todd-svodoba
Todd Svoboda
Years: 1992-1993
Career points: 24
“But, Tyler,” you say, “This guy only played ONE YEAR. Why does he deserve a place amongst the fan favorites?” His three-pointer to send Kentucky to the Final Four over Florida State, that’s why. Svbododa took a big risk by transferring to UK from Northern Kentucky his senior season, especially considering Rick Pitino told him he wouldn’t get a single minute of playing time. That’s not that unusual for a walk-on to hear from his coach, but Svoboda took the chance anyways, and it paid off. Svoboda reignited the hopes of a team and fan base recovering from probation and the dreams of young Cat fans across the Bluegrass.

SECOND TEAM

chris-gettelfinger
Chris Gettelfinger
Years: 1977-1981
Career Points: 28
Perhaps more infamous for his bright red curly hair and last name than the points he scored, Gettelfinger will always be a fan favorite. Unselfish and almost proud of the role he played for the team, he chose to play for Kentucky over his hometown Tennessee Volunteers, which should make you love him no matter what.

mark-krebs
Mark Krebs
Years: 2007-2010
Career Points: 12
Future walk-ons could learn a thing or two from Mr. Krebs (and I’m not just saying that because he’s part of the KSR family). Like Gettelfinger and others before him, Krebs embraced the role of walk-on, working hard to help the team in practice and supporting from the sidelines (although Stacey Poole is giving him a run for his money for best cheerleader).

mark-coury
Mark Coury
Years: 2006-2008
Career Points: 65
Ah, the Coury Flurry. Exactly as awkward as he looks, Mark Coury is lovable for many reasons. First and most obvious, his freakin’ sweet good looks. Who can forget the rec specs picture (obviously not me, since it’s the one I chose to use)? Even more bizarre was his brief stint as a starter under Billy Gillispie and his career at Cornell after he transferred. Godspeed, Mark Coury.

matt-heissenbuttel
Matt Heissenbuttel
Years: 2000-2004
Career Points: 21
Another homegrown Kentucky boy, Heissenbuttel naturally grew up loving the Cats. He was even a ball boy for Rick Pitino back in the day. He may not hold any scoring records at Kentucky, but he does hold a record for the longest last name of any current or former player. Take that, Matt Scherbenske!

pmasiello
Steve Masiello
Years: 1996-2000
Career Points: 42
I really didn’t want to put Masiello on this list because he’s such a you-know-what, but like it or not, he’s one of Kentucky’s more memorable walk-ons. After doing a little bit of reading about Mr. Masiello, it turns out that my alma mater, Davidson, rejected him (see, we ARE smart), which led Rick Pitino, a close family friend, to give him the chance to be a walk-on at Kentucky. So there you go. The admissions office at Davidson was the catalyst for Steve Masiello’s journey from Knicks ballboy to Kentucky walk-on/victory cigar to assistant coach/Molly’s regular to Manhattan College head basketball coach. You’re welcome?

I know I’ve left several favorites off the list, but it’s a start. Who did I miss? SHOOOOT!

Article written by Mrs. Tyler Thompson

No, I will not make you a sandwich, but you can follow me on Twitter @MrsTylerKSR or email me.

76 responses to “Three cheers for the Kentucky basketball All-Time Walk-On Team”

  1. Mr Schwump

    Uhhhh, dude….Anthony Epps.

  2. 2duece

    Epps…leave it to a girl to leave off the best one ever

  3. BrianK

    another one I’d add is Landon Slone, I know he wasn’t one of our best walk-ons, but i loved his attitude and hustle when he was in a game!!

  4. cats

    DAYLEN HALL TACKLES SECURITY GUARD INTO A SWIM POOL

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=l3bEavNcHYw

  5. Mike Allen

    Two words: Michael Yang.

  6. JR

    What trouble with the law did Ravi Moss run into? I never heard anything about that.

  7. LeRoy Byrd III

    Was I a walk on? I cant remember.

  8. Jonah Hex

    Daylen Hall- that video is awful and makes all of the “502” look bad. Not as bad as X looked every time they played Trinity this year but bad nonetheless.

  9. Zach7369

    Yeah what happened to moss??

  10. Richie's Flat Top

    Dwight Perry!

  11. Manchester

    Matt Jones has a huge head.

  12. Nassau65

    4. Morehead

  13. E Cat

    No qualms with this list. Bo Lanter was pretty popular in his day.

    Can’t recall if Epps initially walked on? Pitino pulled an offer to him in high school, but then gave it back. He was on scholly most of his career.

    Leroy Byrd transferred from UNLV. Pretty sure he was on scholarship.

    Terry Shigg (1988-89) is my favorite UK walk-on name.

  14. Ukato80

    Wasn’t Bo Lanter a walk-on…going off in his last game at Rupp when he went 3 for 3 scoring 8 pts.

  15. Houston_Matt

    Moss was arrested in 2007 for domestic assault of his baby mama

  16. CRD

    One of my favorite memories as a UK fan was totally annihilating Tennessee in ’93 101 to 40. I despise UT & relish in anything that makes UT miserable (I’m pretty happy these days, by the way.) Loved it when Todd Svoboda came in & outscored Allan Houston 4 to 3 for the game. Svoboda had 24 total career points and Houston scored 2801! And he was also probably the best ‘victory cigar’ player we’ve ever had as we steamrolled our way to the final four that year.

  17. neil

    todd svoboda was the original cigar man as announcers liked calling him

  18. Steve Masiello's slogan at UK

    “Don’t you know who I AM???”

  19. bunge

    what about dusty mills and his crazinesss

  20. neil

    epps was never a walk on

  21. green giant

    josh carrier…seemed like it with his weak ass play

  22. truBLU

    19. Yeah I remember that, what a prick haha.

  23. GoCats2

    I was at the game at Charlotte when Svoboda hit the three at the end. That might have been the most fun I have ever had at a UK game home or away. It was an amazing show of domination in both games there. Wake Forest and then Florida State it was absolutely wonderful basketball.
    Oh and Junior Braddy stole my girlfriend and I am still pissed.(dont tell my wife that it still bothers me).

  24. rizzo

    didn’t Estill start as a walk on?

  25. BCG-RedRaider

    #20) Dusty if thats you then you better not be laughing….

  26. GoCats2

    I dont know if you could classify Coury’s starting role as brief. Didnt he start every game one year?

  27. Bob Loblaw

    #24 I was there too. Great game.

  28. Chuck

    From Pitino’s first year-Skip McGaw and Mike Parks.

  29. parker

    saul smith?

  30. Philthy Phil

    Football player Darryl Bishop back in the 70s.

  31. UK Wildcat

    This time next year Twany Beckham will be on this list. He’ll have a good story to go along with it. Kentucky kid leaves scholarship at another SEC school for the chance to walk-on at Kentucky. Not to mention he’s probably going to be one of the most talented walk-ons we’ve ever had.

  32. Philthy Phil

    Darryl Bishop was the first African-American to play BB at UK. He was a football player who walked-on in 1969.

  33. Justified

    My suggestions are : the Brothers Mills – Cameron, Dusty, and Chris.
    Everyone knows about Cameron and his heroics, a few have forgotten the Billy Clyde vs Dusty episode….(you don’t laugh during a Billy Clyde game unless it is a game of golf in Lawrenceburg @ 2 in the AM and you are buying/driving)….
    and most important of the Mills walk-ons – Chris. Whats that you say, he wasn’t a walk on? Then how in the world of Emory Freight and Ag Commissioners did his existence result in such talent as was to follow until the 15 Second Legend arrived? (Argue all you want, and I loved those “Unforgettables”, but they earned their place for a reason)….The last 3 players on the team named MILLS, turned out to be “walk-ons” in the description of the name……so in that respect, Chris is a HOF WO @ UK…..but Dusty is definitely on the 1st team just because Billy Clyde said you can’t laugh at him……(but admit it, w/o the name “MILLS”, many a punchline would have been replaced by un-sobering jokes about an old Drunk and his pill-head son)….what a boring 20 or so years that would have been……

  34. Delkforthree

    Wasn’t Delk a walk-on orginally

  35. ukwildcatwildfan

    Man, if everyone comes back next year we should press the life out of the other teams. Imagine pressing for 40 minutes and every time someone needs a break you sub in one of our 9-14 reliable players. That would be crazy awesome!

  36. Cousin Eddie

    Steve Bruce from The Woodford Co High School!!

  37. JPS

    Darryl Bishop was also a basketball Parade All-American in high school.

    Terry Shigg was the Gatorade Player of the Year in South Dakota coming out of high school.

    Jon

  38. ESPN hates UK

    #11 has it. Nobody was better at holding back the bench than Perry.

  39. UK

    Dwight Perry, hands down!

  40. JeffCat

    I’m kind of sorry to see Eddie Munster grow up and leave the Dirty Birds nest. He was a source of great jokes for BBN. Speaking of jokes, at least we still have Fiftino.

  41. Ukclassof93

    Wasn’t Wall a walk on?

  42. blueblue

    ?

  43. jaybruce

    Estill had a scholarship originally but gave it up his junior year(which was his last year) because his family was well off enough to make it work so that tubby could bring in all of the recruits he signed that year.

  44. echo 1

    Uh, yeah, get Masiello off of the list. Any good he did at UK has been tarnished. The rest of your list is OK, but hold the Masiello. He is a tool. He didn’t play for UK. He played for Pitino. As we all know, that is quite a difference. Oh, and Free SexnNursin just in case he has done something lately.

  45. Transfers

    how about best transfers?

    obviously number 1 in Jorts. Antwain Barbour has to be in there somewhere. but who else?

  46. Old man sleeping in lower arena

    Didn’t Sheperd go walk-on 1 year? I know someone gave up a scholly at the time for a recruit.

  47. For reals

    Who cares? These guys were all scrubs except for Ravi, though Mills gets props for his big shot against Duke.

  48. UK_Spunk

    LeMaster… French for: The Master.

  49. Date Dyslexia

    Wow, that’s interesting about Gettlefinger: He was a freshman in 1997 and then graduated in 1981. I’ve heard of four-year players before, but Chris was the first negative-sixteen-year guy. Talk about the best walk-on of all time!!!

  50. Buddy

    Mark Halsell
    UK ‘s all time leader in 3pt fg%

  51. Hang8Cal

    Was Oliver Simmons a walk on?

  52. old_school

    46 – When it comes to Transfers – barbour pales in comparison to guys like Heshimu Evans, Dale Brown, Travis Ford and Patrick Sparks

    But the best transfer ever for UK was KYLE MACY.

  53. Texaswildcater

    Best transfer: Macy, Ford or Anderson.

  54. Makersnseven
  55. JMac88

    Derek Anderson by far the best transfer, in my time anyway.

  56. JVice

    It’s “case in point”, not “case and point”.

  57. ctafan8

    If your talking transfers #46 Heshimu Evans, Dale Brown, and Derrick Anderson would have to top my list! With DA being #1 of course!!!

  58. ctafan8

    Ford, Macey are right there too!

  59. inside info

    Knight-Jones-Liggins I poored my heart out about what Kentucky Basketball means to alot of us. If you scroll down I think one post #43 and just take a minute to read what I wroye to you guys, that would be awesome. It is What out of conference game do you want to win the most, or something like that. GO BIG BLUE

  60. inside info

    wrote sorry

  61. The Legend Killer

    What about Derrick Ramsey and Art Still? I was there in Memorial Coliseum when they made their debut. I cant remember, it may have only been a one game career for the pair of football stars.

  62. warren deaton

    Where’s Nazr Mohammed. I believe he walked on fat and out of shape. Easily the best walkon ever at UK!

  63. old_school

    oops – terrible ommission on my part to leave out Derrick Anderson among top transfers. Clearly he was one of the best of the 90s without a doubt. He and Ford are top two.

    However, Macy remains top transfer of all time at UK

  64. MillerCats

    Kyle Macy was the best transfer of my time…Mr. Cool!! Whle we’re reminiscing about the past, I found this website that is selling the old Memorial Coliseium floor. Blue pieces available too. Pretty Cool!!
    http://www.longwoodantiquewoods.com/index.php/specials-mainmenu-17

  65. Big Blue

    she just went all BTI on us…that just happened…

  66. i like kentucky

    polson is on scholarship. everyone seems to forget that.

  67. BLUnWHITE

    Shepard agreed to redshirt a year, not walk on. Nazr was on the JV team, but was on scholly.

  68. Jack

    longest whole name???? Abraham Lincoln Collinsworth??? dad to Chris Collinsworth former WR for Bengals… just asking if that is the longest whole name, someone once told me this I never looked it up before.

  69. Tebkats

    No body mentioned Saul Smith, wasn’t he a non scholarship player?

  70. Electric

    69.) I think Jules Camara’s full name would probably be the longest of all time

  71. david

    RAVI MOSS come on guys

  72. Mdawg4uk

    Dwight Perry was the best at holding everyone back from rushing the court… second only to poole as the best hypeman for UK

  73. Whisker Biscuit

    I believe Travis Ford was a GREAT transfer!

  74. All 65" of me

    Leroy “Baby Magic” Byrd

  75. chris gettelfinger is not walking through that door

    *sniff*
    This post makes me so happy!!!