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BTI’s Rants and Ramblings: Who Produced Low Numbers But Still Became Fan Favorites?


Credit: bigbluehistory.net

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:

Article written by Bryan the Intern

17 responses to “BTI’s Rants and Ramblings: Who Produced Low Numbers But Still Became Fan Favorites?”

  1. Blueblueblueblue

    Hint, they’re usually white. UK fans sure do love obscure white boys for some reason.

    1. WatchutalkinboutWillis

      Hint: You’re an idiot. Half of the list is black.

    2. Blueblueblueblue

      Obviously this site is smart enough to no put exclusively white guys on the list, but the cheer at Rupp when a bench-sitting white scrub enters the game don’t lie; you boys sure do love your white heroes.

    3. WatchutalkinboutWillis

      We love all our players…almost as much as you love saying things that are stupid.

    4. runningunnin.454

      Yesterday this guy said Ky players go to UK because they have a character flaw; and, want comfort and to be a big shot rather than improving as a player and a person. This comment tops even that!
      Did Cat’s Paw abdicate? We seem to have a new Idiot King…..long live the king.

    5. Blueblueblueblue

      No, I said great football players (4 or 5 star guys) going to UK indicates that they aren’t interested in competing or being as good as they can be. If they were, they’d go to a football school. See: Elam, Matt.

    6. runningunnin.454

      I quoted your comment verbatim….character flaw, big shot, doesn’t care to improve as a player OR A PERSON. Anyone who cares can find it under “The Good, Bad, and Ugly….and evidently Stupid.
      Your comments of yesterday and today are the most inane I have ever read on here. I challenge anyone to find more ludicrous comments!

    7. Blueblueblueblue

      You still haven’t explained why they aren’t true. If you pick UK and have options to play at true football school, you are likely a kid that likes being a big fish in a small pond and getting your ego stroked or you are scared of going and competing for a job against the best of the best. Do you disagree? Or do you just wish this wasn’t true?

    8. WatchutalkinboutWillis

      “Proving” that sweeping, ignorant statements aren’t true is a giant waste of time. You are making giant assumptions about players intentions and fans acceptance of races. You think that you speak for every person in every situation. That makes you not worth trying to prove wrong because chances are you won’t accept any logic anyway. If you actually have an observation and want to discuss it then you are going about it the wrong way. If you are just trying to make irrelevant, ignorant comments and making yourself look foolish then you are succeeding.

    9. Blueblueblueblue

      Observation, UK fans cheer very loud when a white player (likely a scrub) does well.
      Observation, UK isn’t as good at football as Alabama or anyone else in the SEC except Vandy.
      Observation, kids like Damien Harris seem to fair much better than kids like Elam. Is that because Alabama is better at developing talent? Probably. But I also think it’s because kids self select based on personal factors and self-knowledge (knowing you are soft, un-coachable, lazy, etc)

  2. mepete4

    Darius Miller

  3. Sentient Third Eye

    Don’t forget Woo. His numbers were low, but like Cameron Mills, he came up big during a few memorable moments. Who can forget his double-digit rebounding game to beat Louisville. And then he officially became a fan favorite in his post-game interview when he, in broken English, proclaimed his hatred for Louisville.

    1. catdaddyd

      Woo was not comparable to Mills. Mills came up big in 2 ncaa tournaments, championship and national runner up.

  4. WatchutalkinboutWillis

    Interesting list. Are the stats from their best season or an average of their four years of production? That could make a big difference.

  5. BlueDeuce

    Reggie Hanson…not necessarily an unsung hero since we was a key part of the team in his junior and senior year but, still my “fan favorite” from over the years. He was the guy who stayed when UK was placed on 2 years probation. He spent his last 2 years on a team that had no TV coverage his junior year and during his senior year, they weren’t eligible for post season play (SEC or NCAA).

  6. rosquirto

    Jorts!!!

  7. catdaddyd

    I have never ever heard anyone say anything about Alan Edwards being a fan favorite or a favorite player. He wouldn’t make my top 200 uk players list.