Every so often, a guy will come through Lexington, that for one reason or another, has nearly 100% fan approval, but doesn’t really have the production on the court to match such approval. But, each and every guy listed below played hard for Kentucky, and nearly all of them left on good terms. So this “team” is in no way meant to downplay the impact these guys had on the program, but rather to highlight that these players were somehow able to endear themselves to the fanbase in other ways. Here is the All-Fan Favorite Low Production Team:
Center: Shagari Alleyne (2003-06)
Career (70 games): 1.9 ppg, 1.3 rpg, 0.9 bpg
Why?: Frankly a 7’3” person is always gonna draw attention to themselves. Shagari was one of the many “projects” that Tubby Smith brought into the program, but the thinking was if Shagari’s skills developed, who would be able to stop him. There were many times where UK would just throw the ball up at the rim and see what Alleyne could do, and often times he would dunk it. A common misconception is that Shagari was an excellent shot blocker, when in fact he averaged less than a block a game. But, Shagari was easily likeable on the court, and fans really wanted him to become successful because he could have become a real weapon. And the fact he became a professional ballroom dancer only expanded his legend with the fanbase.
Point Guard: Ravi Moss (2002-06)
Career (104 games): 3.6 ppg, 37.3% 3P
Why?: To me, Ravi Moss embodied what every UK player should have: a team first, school first mentality. Moss came to Lexington as a walk-on and played very little for two seasons. Then, despite the roster being loaded with talent, he was able to play his way into the normal rotation his junior season. And in his senior season, he was the first player off the bench. Moss was always playing hard, diving for balls, and doing what had to be done to win. He was a dependable shooter, scoring in double digits 10 times in his career. He was a kid who could have been happy sitting on the end of the bench for 4 years, but instead chose to become a contributor on the team, and I think the fans will always respect him for that.
Small Forward: Allen Edwards (1994-98)
Career (133 games): 6.1 ppg, 2.2 rpg, 43.8% FG
Why?: Allen benefited from playing on the 1996-97-98 teams that are so famous. He was a very, very good player, but often hoisted up on the levels of Padgett, Sheppard, and Turner for the 1998 title. In actuality, Edwards was never more than the 5th leading scorer on any UK team he played on. But scoring didn’t tell Edwards story because he was a very good defended and fit the Pitino athletic system very well. He was dependable, and played very well in the 1998 tournament. He was another guy who fans liked because he played hard all the time, and seemed to step up at the right times. He waited his turn in Lexington, and when it came time for him to start, he took advantage.
Shooting Guard: Cameron Mills (1994-98)
Career (84 games): 4.8 ppg, 47.4% 3P
Why?: There may not have been a more likeable player in the 1990’s than Cameron Mills. A Kentucky kid, born and raised, father played at Kentucky, came to the school as a walk-on, and literally sat the bench his first two seasons. The all of the sudden during the 1997 tournament run, Mills comes off the bench and scored in double digits in 7 of the last 8 games that year, including scoring 12 in the championship game against Arizona. Part of Mills’ appeal to the fans was his success on the court came from nowhere. The truth is, Mills senior season was not very good, but he had two amazing games/moments: 31 points and 8-three pointers against Florida, and the huge shot against Duke in the tournament. Those are fine memories to have for Mills, and he will forever be remembered for them. But often times, Mills will be called a key kog in the 1997 and 1998 teams, and that’s just not real accurate.
Power Forward: Gimel Martinez (1990-94)
Career (127 games): 5.6 ppg, 2.6 rpg, 49.4% FG
Why?:Nobody has ever benefited from a great mustache like Gimel. But, Gimel was also a very solid player in Lexington. He was on the Unforgettables team, played in a Final Four, and averaged more points in his career than anybody on this list except Edwards. On the court, he was a hard worker, versatile, and a key bench player on the teams that got Kentucky back to elite status. He is just the kind of guy you need on your team to fill the gaps when the stars of the team have off nights. Off the court, he was a likeable personality with an all-time great set of facial hair.
6th Man: Todd Svoboda (1992-93)
Career (13 games): 24 career points
Why?:Played on only one team at Kentucky, and that team made the Final Four. Was much like Steve Masiello in that when he came into the game, it likely meant a win. He appeared in 13 games, which were all UK wins. And then he had his one shining moment, a 3-pointer that UK fans will often call their favorite moment of that Final Four run: