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BTI’s Rants and Ramblings: Jersey Rafters Week, Part II: Tayshaun Prince and Rex Chapman

Hopefully you saw my post yesterday arguing for Tony Delk and against Wayne Turner having their jersey’s retired at Rupp Arena.  If not, the link is below.  Each day this week, I will argue for 1 player and against 1 player that are often argued for jersey retirement.  Here is the schedule for the week:

YESTERDAY: Tony Delk (IN) and Wayne Turner (OUT)
WEDNESDAY: Keith Bogans and Chuck Hayes
THURSDAY: Rajon Rondo and Patrick Patterson
FRIDAY: John Wall and Anthony Davis

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.

-A player’s “likeability” has no sway for me.  Rajon Rondo was not well-liked while at UK, but belongs up there more than Ramel Bradley does.

-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: TAYSHAUN PRINCE AND REX CHAPMAN

LET HIM IN (Tayshaun Prince)

The Individual Numbers
Points: 1,775 (8th all-time)
Blocks: 149 (9th all-time)
Rebounds: 759 (19th all-time)
Assists: 255 (30th all-time)
Steals: 111 (28th all-time)

The Team Numbers
SEC Titles: 2 (2000 and 2001)
SEC Tournament Titles: 2 (1999 and 2001)

1st team All-SEC: 2 (2001 and 2002)
SEC Player of the Year: 1 (2001)
2nd team All-American: 1 (2001)
3rd team All-American: 1 (2002)
SEC Tournament MVP: 1 (2001)

Much like Delk, I doubt I have to convince many people that Prince belongs there.  The only detractors would argue Prince never made the Final Four, and only made 1 Elite Eight as a freshman.  But, his individual career was SO good that there is no way you can keep him out.  Consider this, Prince is the only player in UK history to be Top 30 in all 5 major statistical categories.  You could argue that Prince was the most all-around player in UK history.  Plus, he had the iconic game against North Carolina.  Point is, it is just a matter of time for Prince.

KEEP HIM OUT (Rex Chapman)

The Individual Numbers
Points: 1,073 (50th all-time)
Assists: 220 (37th all-time)
Steals: 89 (38th all-time)

The Team Numbers
SEC Tournament Titles: 1 (1988, vacated by NCAA)

1st team All-SEC: 2 (1987 and 1988)
3rd team All-American: 1 (1988)
SEC Tournament MVP: 1 (1988)

People who argue Rex Chapman should be in the rafters do so with a cult hero mentality.  A Kentucky-grown boy who stepped on campus and immediately became the best player on the team.  And his freshman season, at the time, was probably the best in UK history.  But consider that 8 UK players have scored more in their freshman seasons since Chapman left.  Chapman played just as much in his freshman season as Brandon Knight and Terrence Jones, but those guys averaged as many or more points than Chapman.  Those guys are not going in the rafters.  I don’t say that to degrade Chapman’s freshman year, just to put it in perspective.

But I don’t even care too much about that.  The reason I keep Chapman out of the rafters is because he career doesn’t deserve it.  If Chapman had stayed 4 years, he would have been a SLAM DUNK for retirement.  He was on pace to be a 2,000 point scorer, and potentially challenge Issel’s scoring record.  BUT HE DIDN’T STAY.  He left after 2 years.  We can’t project what Chapman would have done with his junior and senior years and include that in his career here.  He played 2 great years.  But those 2 great years don’t compare to Prince’s 4 or Bogans’ 4 or Patrick Patterson’s 3.  If you look at Chapman from a 2-year perspective, his career just doesn’t deserve that honor.

That doesn’t mean that I don’t think 1 or 2 year players don’t deserve the honor.  As you will see on Friday, I think either Anthony Davis or John Wall belong in the rafters.  This is where team success comes into play for me.  Chapman’s resume would have been greatly improved had 1 of his 2 teams had NCAA success.  He lost in the 1st round his freshman season, and the Sweet 16 his sophomore year.  That’s not legendary.  When you look at Chapman’s career objectively, taking only the numbers into consideration, I wouldn’t include him in the rafters.  If only he had stayed 4 years.

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

41 Comments for BTI’s Rants and Ramblings: Jersey Rafters Week, Part II: Tayshaun Prince and Rex Chapman

  1. truthhurts
    9:06 am June 11, 2013 Permalink

    Cant argue that about Rex… Facts are Facts

  2. Blue in Bama
    9:07 am June 11, 2013 Permalink

    No brainer here. Tayshaun gets the nod. For all Rex meant to UK and the state, Tayshaun proved better in the end. Both are still great ambassadors and their work for BBN is appraciated.

  3. Big Blue 66
    9:16 am June 11, 2013 Permalink

    I was always disappointed in Rex for leaving when he did. At a point where the program needed him most, he bailed. I understand, but it wouldve been a huge statement and benefit if he had stayed.

  4. jpizzle
    9:16 am June 11, 2013 Permalink

    Two days in a row where BTI doesn’t suck. There should be no argument today and should have been little yesterday.

  5. bung
    9:18 am June 11, 2013 Permalink

    put up Rex…take down piteener and mail it to looavul…

  6. marc
    9:23 am June 11, 2013 Permalink

    not mad about todays post.

    but why are you comparing guards to forward/centers?

    Tayshaun definitely deserves to be up there.

    and per tomorrows selected players, Hayes is one of my favorite players, but Bogans is one hell of a player.

  7. Al/in/Indy
    9:31 am June 11, 2013 Permalink

    3, he wasn’t the only one who bailed. I remember after playing Syracuse at Rupp that year, Boehiem running up to Ellis whispering in his ear, and by george the next season he was sitting on the Cuse’s bench (sitting out a year of course), with Mills also transferring.

  8. Raylan Givens
    9:33 am June 11, 2013 Permalink

    Pretty funny article about Kansas and boobs… Someone want to start a twitter account for UK?

  9. jymbo
    9:39 am June 11, 2013 Permalink

    I totally agree, now let’s take Richie’s down.

  10. Musehobo
    9:40 am June 11, 2013 Permalink

    There’s not much room to argue if you accept your criteria. While I agree that NBA success should not be counted, I would suggest that “likability” be considered. Though I would word it as “legacy”. Every player brings a different amount of “off the court” involvement can can alter his legacy when he leaves. Not saying these guys are in, but Noel will be forever remembered by me as one of the most generous, selfless players to wear blue and white. Chapman, Patterson, and Mashburn each represent a similar legacy, merely for choosing to attend UK. Again, that doesn’t mean they “get in” on that. But it should be a factor. When you look up into the rafters, you should see the jerseys that anyone who knows UK basketball can tell you about.

    I think both Prince and Chapman should be in. Prince on his numbers. And Chapman on his legacy.

  11. Real UK Fan
    9:42 am June 11, 2013 Permalink

    I can’t see that either of these two deserve to be there.

  12. Big Blue 66
    9:48 am June 11, 2013 Permalink

    7. I understand hes not the only one that bailed….but he still bailed

  13. Plus size heffers
    9:56 am June 11, 2013 Permalink

    UK has some of the fattest female students
    Fat and fatter
    This summer the school is installing bigger desks to accommodate all Chuncky asses

  14. the Big Dog
    10:18 am June 11, 2013 Permalink

    I have always heard that it was Eddie Sutton and his drinking that caused Rex to leave (after Sutton missed a team plane). Also, with the NCAA problems there was really no reason to stay. Can’t say for sure, but his leaving may not have been just for money as is common today. He was a great ball player and may have been as athletic as any player in UK history. If we are mad at people leaving then it should be Meeks, Walker, Mercer, Orton, and Bledsoe. Each one of them cost us a title. Having said that, I can’t say that I disagree with the decision to leave him off just as long as we are consistent in judging other players.

  15. Big Blue 66
    10:24 am June 11, 2013 Permalink

    14. everyone that wants to put him in the rafters because of him being a kentucky boy etc….he could have really stood up for the program and really bridge the gap during our darkest hour, but he bailed too. Im not saying he shouldnt have, not saying he wasnt smart for doing it, just saying, he couldve been legendary to the BBN, and he chose to bail and look out for Rex.

  16. Puhleeze
    10:27 am June 11, 2013 Permalink

    LOL @ John Wall. One year player, no title, despite being part of the “Greatest Recruiting Class of All Time” (a phrase BBN has thrown around too liberally since Calipari arrived – see every season except 2012). This place is an echo chamber…

  17. Chief_cat
    10:36 am June 11, 2013 Permalink

    14- I understand your argument but can’t see how Mercer cost us a title. He was on the ’97 team that would have won a banner had Anderson been healthy. He nearly led us to victory anyway. He did leave after 2 years but we won the title the next year without him.

  18. GrampyBlue
    10:40 am June 11, 2013 Permalink

    BTI you are such an idiot. Rex should be in the rafters for the Big Brother game alone. I still have a newspaper photo from that game with all FIVE cardinals around him as he floated through the lane. Rex helped turn the tide against the cards more than anyother Cat. Rex still helps the Cats to this day. Rex Chapman has been more to Kentucky than any numbers you come up with. He was the original King not Lebron!

  19. race
    10:42 am June 11, 2013 Permalink

    make chapman black, would you guys still want to put him in? be honest…

  20. race
    10:45 am June 11, 2013 Permalink

    it’s hard to understand how chapman is even in this conversation. i, like many ky boys, loved him. however, his numbers are comparable to many guys that would make us laugh at the thought of retiring their jersey. it’s been over 20 years and ky hasn’t retired it, why would they now?

  21. the Big Dog
    10:46 am June 11, 2013 Permalink

    17. You are correct regarding Mercer.

  22. SheaDaddy
    10:49 am June 11, 2013 Permalink

    Rex Chapman has not place in the rafters! Especially, when compared to Prince. Chapman was good, but entirely self promoting and self centered. Prince was great, and about as unselfish as anyone to wear the UK uniform. If two years of college is not an adequate comparison, then look at their respective pro careers. No contest. They really don’t belong in the same conversation.

  23. Joe
    10:56 am June 11, 2013 Permalink

    Consider this: Player A played two years at UK, scored 1023 points, won a few All-American honors in his first year and a bunch (mostly 2nd and 3rd team) in his second year. He was All-SEC both years. His team won one SEC championship and he never played in a Final Four. Player B played two years at UK, scored 1073 points, won a few All-American honors in his second year and was All-SEC both years. His team won one SEC Tournament championship and he never played in a Final Four.

    Player A is Bob Burrow, a junior college player in the ’50s whose jersey is retired. Player B is Chapman.

  24. Come on now
    11:10 am June 11, 2013 Permalink

    #19 – Youre an idiot and Im being completely honest.

  25. millwooded
    11:38 am June 11, 2013 Permalink

    rex didn’t “bail” on UK…i’m sure he knew UK was in trouble with the ncaa…but, if i remember correctly, he suffered a potentially dangerous back injury during a game late in the season.. he probably would have been drafted even higher than #8 if he would have stayed another year

  26. millwooded
    11:39 am June 11, 2013 Permalink

    #19…thank you

  27. millwooded
    11:41 am June 11, 2013 Permalink

    #24 that was to you…#19 is an idiot

  28. Musehobo
    11:48 am June 11, 2013 Permalink

    So why is it when our freshman leave for the NBA we call it a “smart move”, but when Chapman leaves after 2 years we call it “bailing”?

    Also, according to USA Today Chapman was frustrated after the school discouraged his interracial dating. (

    Seriously read that article. Can you blame him? Why the double standard?

  29. Deacon
    11:55 am June 11, 2013 Permalink

    If my memory is correct, UK was going on immediate probation his last two years.Why hang around for that????

  30. rockatao
    11:57 am June 11, 2013 Permalink

    #7 Ellis did not have to sit out a year at Syracuse. Because UK was going on probation, players transferring out were allowed to play right away at new schools

  31. NotSatire
    12:08 pm June 11, 2013 Permalink

    All of this is so subjective. What exactly ARE the criteria for retiring your jersey? I’ve been a fan since 92-90 (surely you know what I mean), and everybody has a different list.

  32. rex's mullet
    12:22 pm June 11, 2013 Permalink

    Rex and I only stayed two years b/c of the probation. Say he would’ve stayed for 1 more year, his #’s/rankings would’ve looked like this:

    Points: 1,610 (12th all-time)
    Assists: 330 (11th all-time)
    Steals: 134 (21st all-time)
    Blocks: 47 (37th all-time)

    Two more years would’ve looked like this:

    Points: 2,146 (1st all-time)
    Assists: 440 (8th all-time)
    Steals: 178 (7th all-time)
    Blocks: 62 (28th all-time)

    Can you blame him? We were going on probation w/ no televised games or postseason play. He ended up being the 1st ever pick of the Charlotte Hornets at #8. Where would he have been if he played 1 or 2 more seasons at UK without being on tv or playing in the SEC/NCAA tourneys??? Forgotten. I believe he would’ve stayed at least 3, maybe 4 years if it wasn’t for the probation.

    Let him in!!!

  33. Larry M
    12:26 pm June 11, 2013 Permalink

    To say that arguably Tayshaun Prince was the most all around player in UK history is way off base as far as I am concerned….to me the one name that fits that bill is Jamaal Mashburn…..Scoring, rebounding, ball handling, 3 point shooting, defense, Mash had all the tools and used them magnificently….also had he stayed for his senior year, he would be the all time leading scorer in UK history….I challenge anyone to come up with anyone better qualified to be called the best all around player in UK history.

  34. WannaWriteForKSR
    1:00 pm June 11, 2013 Permalink

    Hanging jerseys in the Rupp rafters isn’t just about numbers. Also, comparing Chapman to recent freshman is apples/oranges. It was a different time when Chapman entered the scene. He changed the UK basketball landscape as a freshman and is one of the programs most memorable faces. A true comparison of recent vs. past would say that Chapman as a freshman is comparable to Patrick Patterson when he came to the program as a freshman. Both changed the landscape and pure stats doesn’t reflect that. Retiring jerseys is more about the impact players had on the program and less about stats. Based on impact, Chapman at UK was greater than Keith Bogans. Despite Bogans gaudy stats, he was forgettable, not to mention passive at times while at UK.

  35. tim
    3:16 pm June 11, 2013 Permalink

    Prince lost to WKU, had no NCAA tournament success. Underachieved at KY coming off 3 straight trips to final game. Great ROLE Player

    Rex is a KY legend and was s lottery pick after year 2 at a time when that was unheard of

  36. Chris
    4:34 pm June 11, 2013 Permalink

    BTI SUCKS! Get this clown off this site

  37. mudcreekmark
    6:53 pm June 11, 2013 Permalink

    34) I wouldn’t say that Prince underachieved while at UK. I would put most of the blame on Tubby. Tubby just didn’t make players better and didn’t know how to use their strengths. Prince for example was never used in the post. When he went to the Pistons, they posted him up and he became a point forward. If Tubby would have utilized him in this manner, we probably would have hung another banner or two. Another example is Rondo. Did he underachieve or did Tubby not know how to take advantage of his strengths? If Tubby would have just turned Rondo loose and let him run, he would have dominated the college game. Instead, he looked like an average player. Tubby wanted his to walk the ball up, look over at the bench, and run the play Tubby called. He goes to the NBA and gets to the basket any time he wants and gets his team mates shots that they want. If Tubby would have utilized Rondo the right way, we may have hung another banner or two.

  38. Dinner Bell Mel
    10:53 pm June 11, 2013 Permalink

    #23 – Did you look at Bob Burrows rebounding numbers?
    Burrow holds the UK records for:
    Highest single season rebounding avg: 17.7 per game!
    Best career rebounding avg: 16.1 per game (next highest is Issel with 13 – a huge difference!)
    #10 all-time in rebounds: 823 (in only 2 seasons!)
    Most rebounds in a game (tied w/ Spivey): 34!

    As for scoring, Burrow was a more prolific scorer than Chapman on a per game basis – he just played fewer games:
    #2 UK single game field goals made (tied w/ Issel x2): 19!
    #56 UK All-time Leading Scorer (Chapman is #50 but Burrow played fewer games in 55-56 & his 20 ppg is 3 pts higher than Chapman): 1023 pts, avg 20 ppg

    Burrow’s career 20 ppg avg ranks him just below Grevey & just above Spivey – pretty good company!

    Perhaps one of the biggest differences between Chapman & Burrow is that Burrow was a Juco transfer (I think Rupp’s 1st). He DID NOT leave early, playing all the games he was eligible to play at

    So – Burrow averaged 20 pts & 16.1 rebounds per game ranking just below Grevey in points & above EVERYONE in rebounds. He played for as long as he was eligible and graduated from UK.

    How could you keep from hanging his jersey in the rafters?

  39. Dee W.
    1:29 am June 12, 2013 Permalink

    I don’t know if a player that doesn’t stay and graduate should be eligible for the distinction of having a jersey retired for them…that’s not knocking the other players and their history and contributions to the program…but the banners go to the very few and should be those with not only great performance, but longevity with the program and have graduated as a player…ran through that banner (or whatever that is called) on senior night on top of being a top notch player. Prince and Delk are definitely candidates for that…Josh Harrellson should be another, as well as Darius Miller. Maybe even Patrick Sparks.

  40. Dinner Bell Mel
    1:53 am June 12, 2013 Permalink

    What if Michael Jordan played at UK rather than UNC? He left for the NBA after 3 seasons – would you hang a banner for him?

  41. JackB
    10:40 am June 12, 2013 Permalink

    #39 Your logic does not match your comment – Harrellson and Sparks were transfers to UK that played fewer than 4 years for UK. Plus, their contributions are no where even close to rafter requirements. If these guys belong in the rafters, there will be no four year players (assuming they were four year players, which they were not) left to exclude from the rafters.

    But if you want to limit rafters to multiple year players, I understand that. It is hard to compare careers in the age of one and done. It just is. The career stat line is hard to compare when some players didn’t play but one year v. four years, or three (which used to the be the norm before the 70’s) or two. But when you see Anthony Davis’s one year career, arguably the greatest one year of any college player and certainly in UK history, how do you say “no” to that? We have guys that played four years that can’t claim 5 college POY awards, FF MOP, 1st Team SEC/All-American; National Championship and Olympic Gold Medal, plus single season records in blocks for UK and NCAA (freshmen blocks).