Some sad news to pass along from the UK Basketball family: Billy Ray Lickert, member of the UK Athletics Hall of Fame and the Kentucky High School Basketball Hall of Fame, passed away today at the age of 78.
Lickert, a three-year letter winner (1959-61) under Adolph Rupp, became the 12th player in program history to amass 1,000 career points. He averaged 14.7 points per game over three seasons, earning All-SEC third-team honors in 1959, second-team recognition in 1960 and first-team honors in 1961. Lickert was inducted into the UK Athletics Hall of Fame in 2010 and was drafted by the Los Angeles Lakers in the fifth round of the 1961 NBA Draft.
“Billy Ray Lickert was a Wildcat in the truest sense,” UK Athletic Director Mitch Barnhart said in a release from UK. “He lived the dream that so many people in our state share in wearing the Blue and White and our program and university are better for it. We extend our deepest sympathies to his family and friends.”
In 1957, Lickert led Lafayette High School to the state title and won Kentucky Mr. Basketball. Recently, he told his friend Oscar Combs that he grew up dreaming of playing for the Cats.
“I was a Wildcat,” Lickert told Combs in the “Conversations with Oscar Combs” podcast. “Every kid back in those days, you had aspirations of being able to play for Kentucky. That’s what everybody – all my friends – then wanted to do.”
For more on Lickert’s life and legacy, listen to his conversation with Oscar Combs below. Our thoughts go out to his friends and family in this difficult time.