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BTI’s Rants and Ramblings: Kentucky and the NBA, Cal turning the tide


Is Rondo the best UK pro players since Frank Ramsey?

Kentucky’s success on the collegiate level really can not be argued.  It’s as great as any program in the country.  But despite all the talent that has come through UK in the past 70 years, it is amazing that UK has not produced a greater plethora of NBA talent.  It’s not that Kentucky has not put TONS of players into the league.  It’s that those players have seemed to struggle in great numbers. 

Which is why I think you can argue that Cal’s most unique trait that no other UK coach had was the ability to put quality NBA players through the program.  Even Pitino, who put a bunch of players into the league, only really has Jamal Mashburn and Antoine Walker who had really good NBA careers.  Nazr Mohammed has stayed in the league for quite a while, but never has been more than a role player.  But Calipari is putting what appears to be NBA high level players through the program.  Just a quick glance at the players that each coach since Rupp put into the NBA.  Only players who were drafted in the Top 50 are included.  Those highlighted in blue played in at least 1 all-star game (since 1951).  Those in bold are in the Basketball Hall of Fame.:

Adolph Rupp
Ralph Beard: Suspended for life for point shaving
Alex Groza: Suspended for life for point shaving
Wah Wah Jones: Played 3 seasons for Indianapolis before team folded
Frank Ramsey: Played 11 seasons for Celtics, Hall of Famer
Cliff Hagan: Played 14 seasons for 2 teams, Hall of Famer
Lou Tsioropoulos: Played 3 seasons
Vernon Hatton: Played 4 seasons, averaged less than 5ppg
Johnny Cox: Played 1 season for Chicago
Sid Cohen: Drafted by Boston, never made roster
Bill Lickert: Drafted by Los Angeles, never made roster
Cotton Nash: Played 1 season in NBA and 1 in ABA
Tommy Kron: Played 3 season in NBA and 1 in ABA
Pat Riley: Played 9 seasons, averaged 7.4ppg for career (NBA Hall of Fame Coach)
Louie Dampier: Played 10 successful seasons in ABA, played 3 seasons in NBA after that
Larry Steele: Played 9 seasons, averaged 8.1 ppg
Tom Payne: Played 1 season

Joe B. Hall
Kevin Grevey: Played 10 seasons in Washington and Milwaukee, averaged 11.0ppg
Jimmy Dan Conner: Played 1 season in ABA, never made the NBA
Bob Guyette: Never made an NBA roster, drafted by Kansas City
Larry Johnson: Played 4 total games in NBA
Rick Robey: Played 8 seasons, averaged 7.5ppg
Jack Givens: Played 2 seasons for Atlanta
James Lee: Never made an NBA roster, drafted by Seattle
Mike Phillips: Never made an NBA roster, drafted by New Jersey
Kyle Macy: Played 7 seasons for Phoenix, Chicago, and Indiana, averaged 9.5ppg
Dwight Anderson: Played 5 total games in NBA for Denver
Dirk Minnefield: Played 3 NBA seasons for 4 different teams, averaged 4.5ppg
Sam Bowie: Played 10 seasons in NBA, averaged 10.9ppg
Mel Turpin: Played 5 seasons in NBA, averaged 9.3ppg

Eddie Sutton
Kenny Walker: Played 7 seasons, averaged 6.9ppg
Rex Chapman: Played 12 seasons, scored 9,700 points

Rick Pitino
Jamal Mashburn: Played 11 NBA seasons, scored over 11,000 points (1 all-star game)
Rodney Dent: Never played in the NBA, drafted by Orlando
Rod Rhodes: Played 3 seasons on 3 teams, averaged 5.2ppg
Antoine Walker: Played 12 seasons in NBA, averaged 17.5ppg (3 all-star games)
Tony Delk: Played 10 seasons in the NBA for 8 teams
Walter McCarty: Played 10 seasons in the NBA for 4 teams
Ron Mercer: Played 8 seasons in the NBA
Derek Anderson: Played 11 seasons in the NBA
Nazr Mohammed: Still playing in the NBA, going into 14th season

Tubby Smith
Scott Padgett: Played 8 seasons, averaged 4.2ppg
Jamaal Magloire: Still playing in the NBA, going into 11th season (1 all-star game)
Tayshuan Prince: Still playing in the NBA, going into 10th season
Keith Bogans: Going into 9th NBA season
Rajon Rondo: Going into 6th NBA season (2 all-star games)

Billy Gillispie
Jodie Meeks: Going into 3rd NBA season

46 total players.  Only 4 have ever made an all-star game, and those 4 have only combined for 7 of them.  And of those 46 players, only 2 have ever made the Basketball Hall of Fame as players.  Riley made it as a coach.  The real problem is far too many of these guys have burned out of the league fairly quickly.  Only 22 of the 46 players lasted 5 or more years in the NBA.  Meeks will likely make that 23 of 46, or 50% for you math majors.  It has to be one of the great anomalies of the UK history.  Rondo may be the first STUD in the league since Cliff Hagan. 

But now we have Calipari and his guys.  Wall is absolutely a stud already.  Cousins certainly has the potential to be one.  Of his 9 players drafted, 4 of them appear to have long careers ahead of them.  Orton the jury is still out.  And you can’t imagine Knight and Kanter being washouts in the league.  So, AT WORST, Cal will have a 66% success rate among his drafted players, and that is without knowing how Orton, Liggins, and Harrellson will turn out.  So, hopefully, Kentucky can not only say it is dominating the college scene, but also the pro scene. 

As far as the Hall of Fame goes, Kentucky actually only trails North Carolina for players in the Hall because of their pro careers.  Although, as noted above, Kentucky hasn’t had a played inducted since Issel, while UNC has Worthy and Jordan.  Even still, the Hall of Fame is a very elite level and not an accurate protrayal of just how much success a school has had.  By the way, Duke has zero players in the Hall of Fame.
North Carolina: 4
Kentucky: 3
UCLA: 3
Houston: 3
Ohio State: 3
Cincinnati: 2
Indiana: 2
LSU: 2
St. Johns: 2
San Francisco: 2
Kansas: 1 (only Wilt Chamberlain)

Article written by Bryan the Intern

50 Comments for BTI’s Rants and Ramblings: Kentucky and the NBA, Cal turning the tide



  1. btowncatfan
    9:11 am July 11, 2011 Permalink

    Excuse me, but DAN ISSEL.



  2. Jim Boyken
    9:18 am July 11, 2011 Permalink

    Dan Issel?



  3. Ron Benningfield
    9:25 am July 11, 2011 Permalink

    Chuck Hayes?



  4. VandyCat
    9:34 am July 11, 2011 Permalink

    How do you leave UK’s all-time greatest, Dan Issel, off of the list?



  5. AbG
    9:38 am July 11, 2011 Permalink

    I’ll fifth that: DAN ISSEL WTF.



  6. Buckets
    9:38 am July 11, 2011 Permalink

    Rondo is certainly the best former Cat right now. That will change. I think BTI forgot someone.



  7. Biglaw Dawgin'
    9:39 am July 11, 2011 Permalink

    If someone would’ve told me that Magloire would make as many all-star teams as Mashburn, I would’ve called them an idiot and slapped them in the face. Mind boggling.



  8. joe waters
    9:41 am July 11, 2011 Permalink

    The absence of Dan Issel is a “glaring omission”, he would qualify as a stud in both ABA and NBA



  9. j-murph
    9:45 am July 11, 2011 Permalink

    I think BTI is saying that Issel wasn’t a top 50 pick.



  10. Buckets
    9:46 am July 11, 2011 Permalink

    7 – Totally agree. Too bad Monster Mash’s knee blew up. Career averages of of 19.1 points, 5.4 boards and 4.0 assists. Still pretty good numbers.



  11. kscarter
    9:48 am July 11, 2011 Permalink

    BTI said players drafted in the top 50 and Issel and Hayes weren’t drafted then. Issel went #122 and Hayes undrafted.



  12. Carl
    9:48 am July 11, 2011 Permalink

    #1, ya I agree. wtf? Mondy morning head-up-azz syndrome I guess.



  13. Carl
    9:49 am July 11, 2011 Permalink

    No mention of Tayshaun shutting down Kobe to win an NBA championship? I think Mr. BTI mailed this one in.



  14. btowncatfan
    9:53 am July 11, 2011 Permalink

    Take it back. Don’t know why you only include on the top 50, but whatever.



  15. cpacat
    9:53 am July 11, 2011 Permalink

    BTI, I’m going to quit defending you if you don’t stop making these rather glaring omissions!

    Dan Issel, 15 Rro Seasons [ABA(6)/NBA(9)], 7 All-Star Games [ABA(6)/NBA(1)], NBA Hall of Fame inductee as a player 1993.



  16. cpacat
    9:55 am July 11, 2011 Permalink

    OK, I missed the top 50 limiter, but why would you not include players outside the top 50 who went on to become NBA All-Stars and NBA HoF players????



  17. TrinityPills
    9:55 am July 11, 2011 Permalink

    Issel was drafted in the 8th round (wtf?) at number 122 of the 1970 draft according to Wikipedia. This would put him outside the top 50 criteria BTI used.



  18. cpacat
    9:58 am July 11, 2011 Permalink

    BTW, since Issel was the 122nd pick, did he wear Jersey #121??



  19. cracka
    9:58 am July 11, 2011 Permalink

    the last paragraph says issel is in the hof …



  20. Catsantonio
    10:02 am July 11, 2011 Permalink

    How many times can this post be made?



  21. Sinja
    10:19 am July 11, 2011 Permalink

    What about Patterson?



  22. Happy...
    10:23 am July 11, 2011 Permalink

    Dude….how about Paul Noel played five seasons and lead his team (Rochester Royals -now the Kings) to a Championship. Ralph Beard stated ” Noel was one of the best he ever saw multi dimensional”. And thats not even mentioning the obvious everyone else is screaming……come on.



  23. Scottie Smalls
    10:27 am July 11, 2011 Permalink

    Who is Dan Issel?



  24. Holden McGroin
    10:33 am July 11, 2011 Permalink

    BTI, does your head ever hurt? damn, that’s a lot of data. Good stuff though.



  25. Carolina Blue is past tense for CAROLINA BLOWS
    10:37 am July 11, 2011 Permalink

    Cotton Nash also played pro baseball. I believe for the Angels and a couple other teams. Someone with more time on their hands can verify that.



  26. 2020
    10:42 am July 11, 2011 Permalink

    Another dumb convulted post by BTI… trying to be too smart when he’s clearly not. If you’re evaluating good NBA players, do your job and evaluate them. Don’t set up phony criteria like “only Top 50 drafted”. Why not use criteria like “players who played in the NBA”? When your criteria leaves out the greatest UK player ever in the NBA, then everything you write is worthless. You just wasted your day writing a worthless post.

    FYI, Issel was a 1st round draft pick in the ABA by Dallas, who sold their rights to the Kentucky Colonels. The NBA draft came later, and it was a foregone conclusion that Issel would not sign with the NBA, depressing his draft stock and setting up a situation where BTI debates the greatest UK player ever in the NBA and ignores the greatest UK player ever in the NBA.



  27. Mark
    11:05 am July 11, 2011 Permalink

    Kalenna Azubuike?



  28. Yroc53
    11:15 am July 11, 2011 Permalink

    I think you should have added the side note that Cal has the unfair advantage of the 1 and done rule which most of the all stars were able to skip college. Cal has been coaching at others places and before the 1 and done who besides Camby was his big name?



  29. JackB
    12:22 pm July 11, 2011 Permalink

    Mark Pope also played in the NBA a few years. He may be outside the top 50 criteria (who had time to read that crap and why bother with it?)

    BTW, what #26 said!



  30. JackB
    12:23 pm July 11, 2011 Permalink

    Dujaun Wagner was 1ndone for Cal before the 1ndone rule.



  31. Trimble
    12:25 pm July 11, 2011 Permalink

    Jack Tingle….???? First UK player ever drafted to the NBA (19th overall).



  32. Theghostofbillspivey
    12:36 pm July 11, 2011 Permalink

    Can I just say yeeeeeaa !!!!! We beat dUKe at something again….

    Does anyone else notice the amount of NBA flops that rupp and sutton put out……,,,,



  33. Theghostofbillspivey
    12:38 pm July 11, 2011 Permalink

    Oops ment rupp n Joe b



  34. BTI is a moron
    12:52 pm July 11, 2011 Permalink

    My name says it all



  35. Johnny Boy
    12:55 pm July 11, 2011 Permalink

    How the f*ck can you leave out Dan Issel?

    WTF!!!!



  36. LindaS
    1:11 pm July 11, 2011 Permalink

    Yep, little error here, how can you leave Issel out ABA and NBA Career as well as coaching. Seems you made a big omission. DUH.



  37. BigKatHead
    1:54 pm July 11, 2011 Permalink

    Mark Pope was taken in the 2nd round by Indiana – way do perform your due dillgence, BTI – At KSR, quality is…optional!!



  38. Flyrock
    1:56 pm July 11, 2011 Permalink

    How does Gillispie get Meeks? He did not recruit him. He was no longer coach when he departed.



  39. delongez
    2:27 pm July 11, 2011 Permalink

    Tayshaun went to an all-star game if I’m not mistaken.



  40. duckzula
    4:23 pm July 11, 2011 Permalink

    if you’re gonna put rod rhodes up there, you gotta put bradley on there.



  41. Rob Lock
    4:30 pm July 11, 2011 Permalink

    You mean I missed the cut? Ugh. I gotta find a way to get more Google results.

    Sincerely,
    Rob Lock
    51st Pick, 1988 NBA Draft



  42. Tom Heitz
    4:31 pm July 11, 2011 Permalink

    Remember when the NBA draft had 8 rounds?



  43. Jay Shidler
    4:35 pm July 11, 2011 Permalink

    I definitely remember 9 rounds in 1980. Then I went out and got hammered.



  44. Don Mills
    4:43 pm July 11, 2011 Permalink

    Thank God there wasn’t ESPN in 1960. Totally embarrassing to sit in the green room for 17 rounds. When my name was finally called in the 18th round, I sent up my little brother to shake hands with the commish.



  45. Dumb&Dumber
    6:15 pm July 11, 2011 Permalink

    Tayshaun has made 4 All-defensive teams, won an olympic gold medal, and a starter on a championship team. BTI has really blown it on this post.



  46. goodsam
    6:16 pm July 11, 2011 Permalink

    Beard and Groza each played two years in the NBA with the Indianpolis Olympians until they were suspended by the commissioner. Their team won the West division in the first year. Bob Cousy has been quoted that Beard was the best player he ever played against.



  47. Jeff Mobley
    7:05 pm July 11, 2011 Permalink

    Adrian “Odie” Smith. He was MVP of NBA All-Star game one year.

    Didn’t Pitino give Reggie Hanson a cup of coffee/temporary roster spot on Celtics?

    Mike Pratt played in ABA.



  48. coldspringmike
    10:16 pm July 11, 2011 Permalink

    Adrian Smith, 6’1″ guard from Farmington, Kentucky. Member of Cincinnati Royals. MVP of NBA 1965-66 All Star game played in Cincinnati, scored 24 points. Now lives in suburb of Cincinnati and still has the Corvette he won as MVP. Even takes it out for a ride every now and then.



  49. Brific
    12:47 am July 12, 2011 Permalink

    Issel has to be included in this list. The list should be simply the best pros period. If they were to combine aba/nba points, which I believe they should, Issel would rank 8th on the all time scoring list with 27,482 points. He is and always will be the best pro to come out of UK.
    Thanks.



  50. Don't Nobody Bother The Mayor
    5:37 am July 12, 2011 Permalink

    Good god, how some of you get paid to do things baffles me. Please read the post in it’s entirety before racing into a tirade devaluing someone’s intelligence.

    Don’t feel safe knowing some of you operate automobiles now. Frankly, I’m curious if you can even operate a spoon properly.