We continue on our journey through history, reaching the 1970s. A decade of long hair, Led Zeppelin albums, and Goose Givens – three of my favorite things. Let’s see who cracks the All-Decade team. Here’s the list of players.
The end of an era occurred in the 1970s. Adolph Rupp finally resigned after the ’71-72 season, starting the decade off at a combined 43-13. His final two seasons ended as SEC champions, but fell short of a national title. Joe B. Hall, an assistant coach since ’65, took over and led the team to a 3-peat as SEC champs, ending ’72-73 at 20-8.
Joe B.’s second ended up being his worst at 13-13 in ’73-74. After this season, the no freshman on varsity rule disappeared, and UK was National Runner-Up in ’74-75. The next season, the Cats won the NIT. Then, in ’76-77, they returned to form with a 26-4 record and final #3 ranking. That team fell short in the NCAAT, but…
UK won the National Championship in 1978, giving Joe B. his first and only title. This was a perfect send-off for Jack ‘Goose’ Givens, one of my favorite all-time players. That 30-2 season was phenomenal. The next season wasn’t as great (19-12), finishing unranked. The decade ended with the Cats giving a good showing and ending #4 overall in ’79-80.
The 1970s saw another national title, a coaching change of epic proportions, and several stars comes through the door. UK welcomed its first African-American basketball player in Tom Payne, an All-American high-schooler from Louisville. Rick Robey was drafted #3 overall. Goose Givens won National Player of the Year. There were successes, down years, and plenty of excitement, as fans had come accustomed to for UK basketball. The future of Wildcat basketball transferred to deserving hands in Joe B. Hall, and he ensured that Rupp’s great tradition would continue on.
1970s All-Decade Team:
– Jack ‘Goose’ Givens 15.44 ppg
– Kevin Grevey 21.44 ppg
– Mike Casey 18.82 ppg
– Kyle Macy 14.4 ppg
– Rick Robey 13.29 ppg
Honerable Mention: Tom Parker, Larry Steele, Jim Andrews, Ronnie Lyons, Jimmy Dan Conner, Mike Phillips, Sam Bowie, and Dirk Minniefield (mostly for this)
1970s All-Name Team:
– Jimmy Dan Conner
– Elmore Stephens
– Truman Claytor
– Chuck Aleksinas
– Dirk Minniefield
– Tom Payne