We continue with our trip down Kentucky memory lane with the “Dinner Bell” Mel Turpin vs Richie Farmer matchup that the world has a hard time picturing. The results of our last round are in and…..well poor Randolph didnt fair so well.
Matt Jones: Riley
Rob Gidel: Riley
Larry Vaught: Riley
Gregg Doyel: Riley
With that out of the way and Dan Issel, Jim Master and Pat Riley having moved on, we go to today’s matchup:
The 5th seed in the Adolph Rupp region is one of the true characters in Kentucky basketball history, Melvin Turpin. Turpin was a player that couldnt help but make you smile, whether it was from a thundering dunk, a bizarre quote or a look at his ever-fluctuating waistline. Oh that waistline. Many remember that “Dinner Bell” Mel was a guy who was known to have a bit of an eating fascination, but that often overshadows what a player he was on the court. Turpin is the 15th leading scorer of all time for the Cats and was one of the leaders of the “Twin Towers” team that took Kentucky to the Final Four in 1984. Turpin was a beast in the paint, often scoring at will and earning the complimentary nickname “The Big Dipper.” His career had a number of accolades, including All-SEC three seasons and a senior year that found him a Consensus Second Team All American. His tenacity in the paint led him to be the 20th best rebounder in UK history and 2nd all time in block shots, which he made a priority while a Cat. Turpin now resides in Lexington and is one of those guys that everyone and their brother has a story about. His sense of humor is summed up by this quote: “In my day, they thought the big man was supposed to be thin. They didn’t know too much. It was medieval.”
What can you say about this guy? One of the greatest high school legends in Kentucky history, Richie Farmer is the Moustache known to every UK fan in existence. Some of my earliest basketball memories are of Middlesboro-Clay County games in person and listening to his epic battles with Allan Houston in the Sweet 16. Coming from the hollers of Clay County, Farmer came to UK with the hype and dreams of all Eastern Kentuckians and the support of a legion of fans who wondered “why dont they put Richeee in?” At Kentucky, Farmer’s career fluctuated, but steadily improved as he began to play with better players which allowed him to showcase his sharp shooting ways. His numbers were all over the map as he would score 28 one game against Notre Dame and then 0 against Arkansas. But he was always dangerous when left open and was known to knock down big shots throughout his career. He was a member of the defining Kentucky team of the modern era with the “Unforgettables” and the site of Coach K hugging Farmer at the end of the Duke game is the only memory that keeps Coach K on the positive side of many Kentucky fans’ minds. Richie took his basketball success to Frankfort, becoming Agricultural Commissioner without the jumpshot, but keeping the moustache. Quite simply, Farmer is a legend….and no UK tournament could be without him.
So there you go…..Mel versus Richie. Have at…..who is your pick and give any memories/stories below…..and for these two, I know you have them.