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 warrant 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:
Kevin Galloway (2008-09)
Career (30 games): 1.8 ppg, 1.8 rpg, 1.7 apg
Why?:Galloway benefited from two things: lack of playing time and poor play from others at his position. Michael Porter started at the point that year and obviously was not a fan favorite. Deandre Liggins also played a decent amount of point guard that season, but was a turnover machine. Galloway was recruited as a point guard, but Billy Gillispie couldn’t seem to figure out if that’s where he wanted to play him. Galloway was athletic, long, and showed flashes of being a very good point. But in reality, Galloway never really did much when he got some minutes. He only scored more than 4 points in one game. But, the fans wanted to cheer for SOMEONE to be able to handle the point guard spot, so Galloway was where they turned their attention.
Shagari Alleyne (2003-06)
Career (70 games): 1.9 ppg, 1.3 rpg, 0.9 bpg
Why?:Well, 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. We now know that Shagari and Tubby were never on the same page academically, and eventually that led to his leaving school.
Ravi Moss (2002-06)
Career (104 games): 3.6 ppg, 37.3% 3P
Why?:To me, Ravi Moss embodiedwhat 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.
Steve Masiello (1996-2000)
Career (70 games): 42 career points
Why?:Say what you want about him now and his job choices, Masiellowas an absolute fan favorite during his time in Lexington. He was the human victory cigar for both Rick Pitino and Tubby Smith, and he has a national championship ring to show for it. In the 70 games Masiello appeared in, the team went 65-5. What is kind of interesting about Masiello’s career is that he scored LESS points in each season he played in Lexington (20-11-10-1). But he was the energetic guy on the end of the bench, who you knew if he was coming into the game, it likely meant a win.
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.
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.
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 likeablepersonality with an all-time great set of facial hair. Hell, he spawned a fake writer on this site.
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 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: