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UK Basketball All-Decade Team: 1940’s Edition

This series delves into the depths of each decade of Kentucky , and it’s now the 1940’s turn. Every player to play in that era will be listed and a pretty darn good All-Decade team is formed Pretty keen, in my opinion.

leehuber1carl_combs1joe_hall1

Yes, that last fellow is Joe B. Hall.  Pics/info thanks to BigBlueHistory.net

After the 1930s, Adolph Rupp found himself already deeply entrenched in the Kentucky job.  While great success hadn’t hit by 1940, the rest of the decade saw an explosion of Wildcat basketball.  Kentucky had 4 NCAA berths: 1942, 1945, 1948, and 1949.  ’42 ended in a Final Four and ’45 ended in an Elite Eight.  Finally, Rupp got UK its first NCAA Nationall Championship in 1948, and repeated in 1949.  Kentucky also won the NIT in 1946, and finished second in 1947.  On top of that, the Cats won their conference in 1940, 1942, 1944, 1945, 1946, 1947, 1948, and 1949.  Needless to say, it ended up being a very successful decade for Kentucky basketball.

Here are the player lists for the 1940’s: (page 1) (page 2)

The 1940’s also had its downs.  World War II captured a few players from Kentucky in middle of the decade.  (Also, two stars, Groza and Beard, were eventually banned for possible point shaving, but we’ll ignore that).  Many others served, but let’s look at those who left the team because of WWII:

1940’s All-War Team (We Salute You): Walter Johnson (called up to Navy, went MIA), Don Whitehead (called up to Navy), Harry Gorham (called up to Marines), Glen Parker (called up to Armed Services), John Stough (drafted to Army), Alex Groza (drafted to Army)

1940’s All-Decade TeamMilt Ticco (1940-43, 5.96ppg), Bob Brannum (1943-47, 7.58 ppg), Alex Groza (1944-49, 14.53 ppg), Ralph Beard (1945-49, 10.91 ppg), Wallace Jones (1945-49, 9.06 ppg), Bill Spivey (1949-52, 19.25 ppg in 49-50)

There were way too many quality legends in the 1940’s to keep that list to just five players.  Bill Spivey only played one season in the 1940’s, but that season was enough to get him on the list.  Luckily, there were a lot of quality names, too.

1940’s All-Name TeamMulford Davis, Wes Cravens (you guys like scary movies?), Singleton Yeary, Chester Duff, Zeb Blankenship, Garland Townes, Guy Strong

You’ll notice a few UK legacy guys who weren’t known for their playing days on the list of 40’s players, too.  For example, Joe B. Hall and C.M. Newton.



Article written by Chris Thomas

26 Comments for UK Basketball All-Decade Team: 1940’s Edition



  1. mocha
    4:09 pm July 21, 2011 Permalink

    CM newton is the man.



  2. krmcats
    4:10 pm July 21, 2011 Permalink

    My first team would be:
    Ralph Beard
    Wah Wah Jones
    Alex Groza
    Bill Spivey
    Cliff Barker



  3. SweetTeaMob til I DIE
    4:19 pm July 21, 2011 Permalink

    I wish we would bring back those uni’s for this year! haha



  4. Mr Schwump
    4:20 pm July 21, 2011 Permalink

    Goog god, is this all you people have to do?



  5. C'mon maaannn
    4:21 pm July 21, 2011 Permalink

    1042 was a hell of a year. We were lucky to make it past Michael V and Byzantine in the quarters.



  6. Go Deep
    4:22 pm July 21, 2011 Permalink

    I wish I had been born in the 40’s, I would have been an all-american.



  7. goodsam
    4:42 pm July 21, 2011 Permalink

    Spivey should clearly be in the 1950s decade since he started at UK in the fall of 1949. His main contributions were in the 1951 season.

    Major UK players that should be considered for the 1940s team are Jack Tingle (two-time All-American, four-time all-SEC) and Jack Parkinson (one-time All-American, three-time all-SEC). Brannum was a good choice as he was an All-American, but he transferred to Michigan State when he couldn’t get playing time when Groza returned from the military.



  8. TheBurghCat
    4:53 pm July 21, 2011 Permalink

    Just a great post Chris!



  9. UKfanNKY
    4:57 pm July 21, 2011 Permalink

    2-hand set shot!!



  10. bung
    5:02 pm July 21, 2011 Permalink

    Chris, that was terrific…we have a GREAT history.



  11. bung
    5:04 pm July 21, 2011 Permalink

    Just think…without those guys we dont have 2000 wins and 7 Titles.



  12. BourbonBredCat81
    5:18 pm July 21, 2011 Permalink

    Ha, that’s my granddad in the top right picture! Hoot Combs. Not one of the players mentioned, but pretty cool that they used his picture nonetheless. He played football, basketball for Rupp, and was a graduate assistant for Bear Bryant while in law school at UK after the war. He had a lot of great stories.



  13. arlie
    5:25 pm July 21, 2011 Permalink

    What sack full of conference titles that was, they must have been awesome.



  14. Every Friday Is No Bra Day
    5:33 pm July 21, 2011 Permalink

    They should bring back the striped socks. Look fresh with long shorts.



  15. cats11
    6:47 pm July 21, 2011 Permalink

    What sport are they playing in those pictures?



  16. Real-Realist
    7:42 pm July 21, 2011 Permalink

    Wow…the 1940’s..when all the other SEC basketball teams were coached by assistant football coaches. Yes, the stats are padded.



  17. Jeff
    7:54 pm July 21, 2011 Permalink

    Another great player not to be forgotten is Lee Huber (the first pic Chris posted) who garnered All-American honors for the SEC Champions in 1941. The SEC Tournament was played in downtown Louisville at the Armory (Louisville Gardens) all through the ’40s. What a treat it must have been to watch all those great Kentucky teams wins SEC Championships right here in Kentucky.



  18. mudcreekmark
    8:21 pm July 21, 2011 Permalink

    The decade that started it all.Thanks for keeping everyone educated about the past. All too often we look at todays players and forget about the players that blazed the trails years ago. If not for the success we had in the 40’s would we be where we are now?



  19. Bledsoe's Biceps
    8:24 pm July 21, 2011 Permalink

    7) I agree with your post. Also have to consider Cliff Barker and Ken Rollins. I’d have Tingle before Ticco on the all 40’s team.



  20. RadioRon
    9:05 pm July 21, 2011 Permalink

    I started watching the CATS in 1946! I would only differ with you on a 1940s team by adding Jack Parkinson instead of Milt Tico. Coach Rupp welcomed the 1946-47 team including FOUR All-Americans..Ralph Beard, Jim Jordan, Jack Parkinson & Bob Brannum AND..Jack Tingle, Wah JOnes, Alex Groza, Cliff Barker and Kenny Rollins. Wow..what an aggregation of talent. That team went 34-3 !!!



  21. Will Stough Rush
    9:21 pm July 21, 2011 Permalink

    Very proud to see my grandfather John Stough listed.



  22. Trimble
    12:36 am July 22, 2011 Permalink

    How did you leave off Jack Tingle…again!?



  23. UKBlueBlood81
    8:49 am July 22, 2011 Permalink

    I couldn’t find on your list of players Kenny Rollins. He was the starting PG on the Fabulous Five of 1948 winning a NC and Gold Medal. He was arguably the MVP since he pulled together all of the tremendous talent around him.



  24. Psigoglin
    12:14 pm July 22, 2011 Permalink

    #7-1950 was the LAST year of a decade, not the first.



  25. Psigoglin
    12:16 pm July 22, 2011 Permalink

    #7: 1950 was the LAST year of a decade, not the first.



  26. BourbonBredCat81
    1:05 pm July 22, 2011 Permalink

    Okay, I was looking at the article on my phone. The right picture is not my grandfather, but Joe B. (as was already pointed out). Hoot is the guy in the middle.