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BTI’s Rants and Ramblings: Jersey Rafters Week, Part 1: Tony Delk and Wayne Turner

I really enjoyed putting my argument out there on why Tubby Smith should absolutely be in the rafters at Rupp Arena.  A national championship winning coach with a higher winning percentage than Joe B. Hall and a piece of an SEC title in 7 of his 10 years.  But, what about the players?  Certainly, since Jamal Mashburn was put up there, no player has received the honor.  UK changed it’s rules a bit on the qualifications to earn a retired jersey, but for the sake of this post, we will ignore that.  So, what I am going to do each day this week is make an argument FOR 1 player and AGAINST 1 player on who I think should be in the rafters.  Here is what the schedule is looking like:

TODAY: Tony Delk and Wayne Turner
TUESDAY: Tayshaun Prince and Rex Chapman
WEDNESDAY: Keith Bogans and Chuck Hayes
THURSDAY: Patrick Patterson and Rajon Rondo
FRIDAY: Anthony Davis and John Wall

Now, before we get into today’s 2 players, I feel like I should clarify what I consider important to getting your jersey retired.  My criteria are fairly simple:

-I think individual stats and accolades are significantly more important than team success.  It doesn’t mean that winning a title doesn’t help some, but if you were an average player on a title team, I don’t think it boosts you into legend status.  I call this the Cameron Mills argument.

-Whether or not a player was well liked by the fanbase carries no weight for me.  Which is why Keith Bogans gets in and Chuck Hayes does not for me.

-NBA success has NO EFFECT whatsoever.  If had an effect, then we would have to also take out the NBA busts.  I don’t think Ron Mercer should be damaged by what he did after UK.

With that said, let’s look at the 2 players for today: TONY DELK AND WAYNE TURNER

LET HIM IN: Tony Delk

The Individual Numbers
Points: 1,890 (5th all-time)
Steals: 201 (2nd all-time)
Field Goals: 683 (5th all-time)
3-pointers: 283 (1st all-time)

The Team Numbers
Titles: 1 (1996)
Final Fours: 2 (1993 and 1996)
SEC Titles: 2 (1995 and 1996)
SEC Tournament Titles: 3 (1993, 1994, 1995)

1st-team All-SEC: 1995 and 1996
1st team All-American: 1996
SEC Player of the Year: 1996
Final Four MOP: 1996

OK, I shouldn’t really have to convince anybody about Delk.  He has the individual numbers, the team success, the awards and accolades, and was loved by fans.  He’s what a retired jersey resume should look like, and his recent induction into the UK Hall of Fame means he is very likely to be the next up in the rafters.

KEEP HIM OUT: Wayne Turner

The Individual Numbers
Points: 1,170 (42nd all-time)
Assists: 494 (4th all-time)
Steals: 238 (1st all-time)

The Team Numbers
Titles: 2 (1996 and 1998)
Final Fours: 3 (1996, 1997, 1998)
SEC Titles: 3 (1995, 1996, 1998)
SEC Tournament Titles: 3 (1995, 1997, 1998)

SEC Tournament MVP: 1998

I’d love to know if there was a player that will split the fanbase on this topic more than Wayne Turner.  And it usually revolves around what you find most important to earn this honor.  For those that think great team success is most important, you can make a case for Turner.  He was incredibly key in the 1998 title run and had an iconic game against Duke that season.  In 1996, Turner played a little over 13 minutes per game, which was 9th on that team.  Did he play?  Sure.  Was he instrumental?  Not really.  Look, his ring is the same size as Tony Delk’s from 1996, but I think people have skewed his role on that team some as the years have passed.

Now, as I said, individual accomplishment and stats are the most important thing for me.  Turner does hold the school record for steals in a career, but in the grand scheme of stats, that one ranks behind points, rebounds, assists, and maybe blocked shots.  Delk’s 5th overall in points is more impressive than Turner’s 1st in steals.  But the thing that sways me most to voting no on Turner is the little bit under the heading AWARDS.  If Turner was such an amazing player, why was he never voted higher than 3rd team All-SEC?  Why was he not a Final Four MOP?  He doesn’t have the kind of individual accomplishment that I think it required.

Turner was a very good player.  But he benefited greatly from the talent around him.  I would argue that if you put that kind of talent around Cliff Hawkins, he could have had some pretty decent stats too.  I think earning recognition is the rafters at Rupp should be a VERY DIFFICULT thing to accomplish.  It fact, there are 6-10 players there now that probably don’t deserve it, but simply were a part of championship teams.  If that is the standard, then allow Jeff Sheppard, Antoine Walker, Walter McCarty, Doron Lamb, and Terrence Jones into the rafters too.  I would not, and because of my higher standards, I would keep Turner out.

OK, now you have the chance to fight it out over Delk and Turner in the comments (mostly Turner).  And throw some other guys out there too.  I love this topic.

Follow me on twitter at @BryantheIntern or @mysports790.  And if you would like a non-UK sports blog to mess around with each day, I would highly recommend The Sports Pit.

Article written by Bryan the Intern

50 Comments for BTI’s Rants and Ramblings: Jersey Rafters Week, Part 1: Tony Delk and Wayne Turner

  1. Ah
    9:06 am June 10, 2013 Permalink

    Thanks BTI, I can always count on your threads to get the old colon moving after a big beef dinner the day before. Ahhhh

  2. Melvit
    9:17 am June 10, 2013 Permalink

    Delk and Turner should have their jersey’s in the rafters. There shouldn’t be any argument against it.

  3. ukinhc
    9:25 am June 10, 2013 Permalink

    Bad idea. Nothing like an ex player coming to one of the most popular UK sites and reading how he doesn’t belong in the rafters. It is a UK site, why be negative towards beloved players for absolutely no reason?

  4. Come on
    9:27 am June 10, 2013 Permalink

    Turner should be in. Top five in Assists and Steals! Points aren’t everything. If team numbers don’t matter, then don’t list them. How many UK plays went to back-to-back-to-back Final Fours? Not many. Hard to top his total number collection and with one-and-done, even if someone could, they probably won’t. Put Turner in the rafter. Delk, too. No argument needed.

  5. JRHop
    9:28 am June 10, 2013 Permalink

    Long and Malone should have their jersey’s in the rafters. There shouldn’t be any argument against it.

    It was hard to not correct the grammar for you.

  6. slo
    9:28 am June 10, 2013 Permalink

    Uh the 97 team was an overtime away from winning another title and turner was an important piece to that team. You can’t really make a valid argument and leave that team out. Nor are you giving that duke game the attention it deserves in terms of the context to the times. We really needed that win over duke after 92. Turner pasted Wojo time after time to bring us back from 17 down in the second half. Wojo will most likely be the next duke coach which weights it even more. Did you even watch UK back then?

  7. Rockfield, KY
    9:33 am June 10, 2013 Permalink

    Delk is a no-brainer. One of the best to ever wear the blue and white.

    Turner, while not as cut and dry, I think deserves it because he was the catalyst for the 97 and 98 runs. I actually think he garners more individual awards during his time if he isn’t surrounded by a crazy amount of talent at UK. He had to be a part of a team to win and he was on a team with 9 NBA’ers. If not for that, his point would be much higher with more awards.

  8. Blue in Bama
    9:35 am June 10, 2013 Permalink

    Delk deserves it simply for the fact that when the game was on the line he wanted the ball and would go get it and stick the jumper. His heart and leadership was tremendous. Turner was great in his own right but Delk deserves the nod here.

  9. NotSatire
    9:35 am June 10, 2013 Permalink

    Ok, so point guards have no shot with you. Absolutely, Turner should all be in the rafters.

  10. ukinhc
    9:39 am June 10, 2013 Permalink

    #9, exactly. Turner actually showed exactly how the point guard position was meant to be played. Ran the team perfectly and maximized the teams efficiency.

  11. The Dude
    9:41 am June 10, 2013 Permalink

    I agree, having your number in the rafters should be a very hard thing to achieve, we can’t just put someone up there because they played on a NC team, otherwise it will diminish in as an accomplishment. Delk did what was a great player, one of the best to ever play here. Turner was good, but not rafter worthy.

  12. jhcopperhead
    9:43 am June 10, 2013 Permalink

    Didn’t Turner (until just recently) also hold the NCAA record for games played?

  13. bringiton
    9:46 am June 10, 2013 Permalink

    BTI,,your an idiot.Turner was the man!

  14. Herb Sendek
    9:49 am June 10, 2013 Permalink

    Tell all those players Turner dished out assists to he doesn’t belong.

  15. Lance
    9:49 am June 10, 2013 Permalink

    And let me get this straight, tomorrow we get to hear how either Prince or Chapman shouldn’t be in the rafters? Wow, that will be interesting.

  16. Musehobo
    10:03 am June 10, 2013 Permalink

    Don’t get me wrong, I really liked Turner, but having a jersey retired should be for the ELITE UK players, not just the really good ones. If Delk’s jersey isn’t retired yet, there shouldn’t even be a discussion on any other player until it’s up. The “00” should be priority #1 to get retired.

    10:04 am June 10, 2013 Permalink

    How do you let the guy in the rafters with 2nd most steals? When the guy that had the most steals in your opinion doesn’t belong there explain that

  18. Archie Goodwin
    10:06 am June 10, 2013 Permalink

    I belong in the rafters! I could take Delk and Turner to the rack at the same time. Take them socks and shoes off and break out the salt and pepper. It’s time to eat yo feet!

  19. Marj
    10:08 am June 10, 2013 Permalink

    Why are you even mentioning some of these players on your list – One criteria for jersey retirement at UK is you must graduate.

  20. Irwin R. Fletcher
    10:35 am June 10, 2013 Permalink

    Hayes wasn’t beloved by the fanbase?? I’m not saying he should be in the rafters, but the kid might just be my all time favorite.

  21. Lonnieb
    10:38 am June 10, 2013 Permalink

    Graduating from uk should not have anything to do with being in the rafters. Neither should how long a player played…. I think Davis is only player to ever when POY at uk… obviously he was one of the best players to ever play at uk….their will never be any player put up there anymore if graduating is a criteria because if you are actually good you will play in NBA after a year or two

  22. Real UK Fan
    10:50 am June 10, 2013 Permalink

    Delk, yes. Turner, absolutely not.

  23. Delk for 3
    10:57 am June 10, 2013 Permalink

    If Delk makes it, then Turner should as well. They both were extremely valuable players who made a major impact on the program. Tony Delk may very well be the most skilled scorer I’ve seen at UK since 1996. He could flat-out shoot it from outside and he was fantastic at putting the ball on the floor and getting in the lane and finishing. While not as much a scorer as Delk, Wayne Turner was under-rated by the media because of his awkward shot but was as good as any point guard in the NCAA during his last two seasons. You hint that Cliff Hawkins was as good as Wayne Turner. That notion is completely laughable. Regardless of statistics, Wayne Turner was a much better PG than Cliff Hawkins. I love Cliff, but Turner was consistently good and, most importantly, had the ability to dominate and take over a game.

  24. Mash
    11:42 am June 10, 2013 Permalink

    19) Mash hadn’t graduated when his jersey went up!

  25. Michael F. Jox
    11:44 am June 10, 2013 Permalink

    The fact that you have ANYTHING bad to say about my all time favorite player makes me not be able to stand you. Saying that Cliff Hawkins could of done the same with the same talent makes me depsise you.

  26. Michael F. Jox
    11:45 am June 10, 2013 Permalink

    And it makes me not be able to type the word “despise” out right. ugh!!!

  27. Wayne's A Beast
    11:46 am June 10, 2013 Permalink

    Look at Turner’s assist to TO ratio and get back at me.

  28. jaxcats8503
    12:58 pm June 10, 2013 Permalink

    I cannot stress enough how much I appreciate having BTI back. He actually does independent research and produces, at the very least, thought-provoking work. Corey Nichols did neither.

  29. Buddha
    1:12 pm June 10, 2013 Permalink

    I don’t condone fighting…

    However, if we could make BTI & Corey Nichols duel with bazookas I’d watch with a bright and delightful smile.

  30. Epps
    1:30 pm June 10, 2013 Permalink

    I like Turner as much as anyone and I wouldnt complain if his jersey was hung, but if you what to go assist to turn overs how about Epps. I don’t think Epps is a all time great but I will say he played the PG position better then any I’ve seen at UK. I’m sorry but Epps was the one who lead the 1997 team not Turner. Cal should make every new PG watch tapes of Epps when they come in. He all ways made the right play and was in the right place!

  31. Epps
    1:34 pm June 10, 2013 Permalink

    Hard to believe now but Delk was the other guy in his recruiting class. Most of the buzz was around Rhodes, prickett, and McCarty.

  32. Marc
    1:47 pm June 10, 2013 Permalink

    Can’t stand you BTI. Wish you didn’t write for KSR.

  33. David Elswick
    2:13 pm June 10, 2013 Permalink

    There should be a lot of jerseys hung in the rafters for players from the mid/late 90s including Wayne Turner. He was a valuable backup in 96, a key cog in 97, and UK would never have won the 98 w/o Wayne’s play and heroics in the Duke game particularly – when he took Wojo to school.

  34. Charlie
    2:47 pm June 10, 2013 Permalink

    12. – WT was until Darius broke the record

    20 – I think BTI was implying Hayes as the fan favorite, not Bogans

    Maybe both of these guys are given the honor, but if there was one spot between the two of them, the spot goes to Delk. The longer, and frankly more impressive career, speaks for itself. Wayne Turner was a big piece of the ’98 team and a role player on a national runner-up.

  35. MillerTime
    2:53 pm June 10, 2013 Permalink

    Sooo how long before we discuss our guy Darius Miller being raised to the roof?

    -2008 Kentucky Mr. Basketball.
    -2-Time SEC Tournament Champion
    -2011 SEC Tournament MVP
    -**2012 NCAA Champion.**-

    –1st in career games played in a Kentucky uniform.
    –34th in career points: Ahead of the likes of Chuck Hayes, Wayne Turner and Rex Chapman.
    –22nd in career assists: Ahead of Jack Givens, Tayshaun Prince and Tony Delk.
    –27th in career steals: Ahead of Prince and Deron Feldhaus, and just two spots behind Kenny Walker.
    –19th in career blocked shots: Ahead of Scott Padgett, Jared Prickett and John Pelphrey.
    –38th in career field goals made: Ahead of Feldhaus, Padgett and Pelphrey.
    –10th in career 3pt field goals made: Ahead of Pelphrey, Anthony Epps and Padgett.
    –21st in career 3pt field goal %.
    –18th in career free throw %.

    -Not to mention a huge personal and fan favorite! lol

  36. bart edwards
    3:16 pm June 10, 2013 Permalink

    The numbers definitely favor Turner over Delk. Tony was okay, but Wayne gets the nod.

    More games played in a UK uniform. More national championships. More national championship games. More NCAA tournament games. More steals. More assists. Better Assist-to-Turnover Ratio. More Final Fours. Better leadership. Better defender. Cooler head when the chips were down.

    In fact, the only thing Delk did better was score, and he wasn’t even a paticularly good shooter. He is not even in the UK top ten for three-point shooting accuracy, even though that was supposed to be his forte. Hell, Mark Pope and Walter McCarty both were better shooters from three than Tony was. And he’s not even close to the UK top 25 from the free throw line, which is a joke from a shooting guard.

    Delk was a run and gun contributor who looked good because he had guys like Epp and Turner around him making him look good.
    Give him a Ryan Harrow and his shooting would look no better than BTI’s analysis about whose jerseys should be in the rafters.

    played inMost steals by ANYBODY. Three consecutive Final Fours. Top five all time in assists.

  37. CatBlue in LR
    3:16 pm June 10, 2013 Permalink

    The pictures in this post are from two different games. The uniforms are different. Obviously, the picture of Delk is of him nailing one of his record-setting threes in the ’96 championship game. But when was the Turner picture taken? I think that was the ’97 home uni, but it might have been ’98. And it doesn’t appear to be in Rupp. Where and when was it?

  38. Joe
    3:17 pm June 10, 2013 Permalink

    I agree with some. Promote the one’s like Tony. But don’t degrade others. Although Turner should be in.

  39. CatsFanFrankfort
    3:27 pm June 10, 2013 Permalink

    This is an interesting topic, but not a very good comparison because these two players should probably BOTH have their jerseys be put up into the rafters. Delk, I dont think anyone can argue. Turner was a HUGE part of a championship team, a very large part of a runner-up team, and a key cog in a different championship team. He also played the most NCAA games of ALL TIME (on any team) before Darius Miller (who also should ABSOLUTELY get his number retired) beat him by one with the 2012 ‘ship, and Turner also leads UK all time in steals. Why choose two of the more deserving players in a comparison that eliminates one? I also agree with #3 slightly; we shouldnt diminish the accomplishments of one of our best players on a UK fan website by saying he doesnt deserve to have his jersey retired.

    And as I already mentioned above, I am a HUGE proponent of retiring Miller’s jersey! I would be first in line to argue that one any day!

  40. Maxbps8
    3:41 pm June 10, 2013 Permalink

    This is not even debatable. BURNER-TURNER was one of the best to ever put on a UK uniform. THREE Championship games in a row! Greatest Comeback of the history of UK Basketball. The fact that this is even being discussed in this manner w/ BTI/KSR taking the stance that Wayne Turner is “OUT” makes me seriously question the legitimacy of this site-writer. RIDICULOUS.

    WAYNE TURNER is in the TOP TEN of ALL-TIME UK and maybe even the ncaa’s based on the #’s. I repeat: THREE Nat’l Championship GAMES in the modern era!

  41. Tony's Mom
    3:44 pm June 10, 2013 Permalink

    Turner gets the nod in part because he was better when the pressure was on. Tony tended to freak out under pressure. BTI points to Tony’s MOP award for the 96 tournament, but the truth is that Tony was not that great, especially for a senior, even in the tournament. I mean, yeah, we beat Utah by 31 points, but Delk went 2 for 7 from three and scored only 14 points — and that’s our SHOOTER! He was 3 for 13 from the three-point line in UK’s final national championship run, as a senior, against Utah, Virginia Tech, and U Mass. That’s almost as bad as what John Wall did against West Virginia. Where is the argument for retiring a jersey based on that kind of performance? And he had as many turnovers as he did assists that year, which for a guard is not good at all.

    I love 00, but retiring a jersey should be for very special players, and Tony was just a role player and an okay shooter, not one for the ages.

  42. Maxbps8
    3:44 pm June 10, 2013 Permalink

    #1, #10, & #14 are right on target. Unlike bti. I now know why all the enmity toward the clueless one.

  43. Michael F. Jox
    3:44 pm June 10, 2013 Permalink

    #40 – God bless you

  44. Dose of Reality
    3:49 pm June 10, 2013 Permalink

    Delk was a ball hogging shooter whose tendency to choke almost cost us the ’96 championship. Our toughest game was against John Calipari’s U Mass team, against whom we managed to squeak out a 7 point victory, despite our “great” shooting guard Tony Delk committing four turnovers and missing three out of his four attempts from the three-point line. Tony was good, but not great, and his career not rafter worthy. Turner you can’t argue. One of greatest ever to lace ’em up here.
    I sometimes wonder whether BTI ever even watched Delk and Turner play.

  45. facts
    3:58 pm June 10, 2013 Permalink

    Facts are important. His sec tournament titles were 97 98 and 99. He played at UK 95 through 99 starting with the 95-96 season.

  46. warren
    6:28 pm June 10, 2013 Permalink

    No way Turner’s jersey should be hung in the rafters. He does not even come close to earning that honor. Do not put Turner’s jersey in the rafters.

  47. David Elswick
    10:09 am June 11, 2013 Permalink

    37 – The picture of Wayne Turner is from the 96-97 season in the Great Alaskan Shootout where UK beat Syracuse by 32 or 34.

  48. Bunny
    2:30 pm June 11, 2013 Permalink

    Not bad for a lowly intern…

    Turner should’t be in the rafters because he had absolutely, without a doubt, THE WORST free throw shooting form for a Ky player – EVER! And he was a point guard for crying out loud!!

  49. Isabel Marant Dicker Boots
    6:13 pm June 11, 2013 Permalink

    Can I just say what a reduction to search out somebody who truly knows what theyre speaking about on the internet. You definitely know the right way to deliver a problem to gentle and make it important. Extra individuals need to read this and understand this side of the story. I cant imagine youre no more in style because you definitely have the gift.

  50. JackB
    9:37 am June 12, 2013 Permalink

    Some of you wouldn’t say no to anyone. The rafters would not be able to hold all the jerseys from the players put up there. Admit it – you know its true.

    I agree with BTI on this one. Two of Turner’s three Final Fours were playing back up behind Epps. Cliff Hawkins was a great comparison. Turner was great in the ’98 tourney, but he is not a rafters guy.

    Delk is almost a no brainer.