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BTI’s Rants and Ramblings: The Most Forgotten Man of the 2000s

I don’t know why but I am feeling sentimental  and thinking back to the good ‘ol 2000s Kentucky Wildcats.  Don’t you feel like in every decade there always seems to be that one guy who someday you will tell your kids “nobody mentions this guy but he was damn good”?  I feel like I hear Dwight Anderson’s name mentioned a ton by older fans.  In the 90s, I always feel like that guy was would be Allen Edwards or maybe Walter McCarty.

But I want to mention a guy during my teenage years that I don’t think got enough respect and will probably go down as the forgotten man of that decade 50 years from now: Kelenna Azubuike.  He was our Human Highlight Film but because he left school early and never really led a team, you forget just how good he was.  The guy is a Top 75 scorer in school history with nearly 1,000 points.  He scored 500 points in his final year at UK.  He was a part of two #1 seeded teams, 3 SEC Champions, and 2 Elite 8 teams.  But above all else, he could do this:

I just don’t know if people who didn’t see him play will ever truly appreciate just how good Azubuike was.  And for that, I am calling him the forgotten man of the 2000s.  Would you agree or do you have another player who goes under-appreciated (in that decade or any other)?

Article written by Bryan the Intern

17 Comments for BTI’s Rants and Ramblings: The Most Forgotten Man of the 2000s

  1. Wilfred Smith
    10:03 am May 4, 2020 Permalink

    One of my favorite Wildcats.

  2. lexslamman
    10:11 am May 4, 2020 Permalink

    Hayes, Fitch and Daniels celebrating from the bench. I miss Tubby. He put together some awesome teams and helped UK overcome much of the stigma from its racist history

    • 4everUKBlue
      10:47 am May 4, 2020 Permalink

      He did help overcome the racist stigma but I don’t miss him at all, Tubby ball was boring as hell and he never even got back to the final four after 98′.

  3. panicpat
    10:14 am May 4, 2020 Permalink

    I also feel like Eric Daniels gets overlooked from that era

  4. UKCatAttack
    10:15 am May 4, 2020 Permalink

    Those were some good teams. Azubuike should’ve been a superstar in the league. I think some knee injuries may have derailed his career. I saw him a couple of years ago at Southland Church in Nicholasville.

  5. TheNewOriginal
    10:16 am May 4, 2020 Permalink

    Definitely one of the top candidates. At one time, I thought he would be an NBA superstar.

  6. RealCatsFan
    10:25 am May 4, 2020 Permalink

    And who could ever remember possibly the funniest thing Tubby ever said, when referring to a game where Azubuike did not show up, “Look like Tarzan, play like Jane.” 😀

    • somerset bill
      11:54 am May 4, 2020 Permalink

      I looked this quote up, and I came across a good one by Calipari on the same topic. After the 2010-11 team got pushed around all game by Pikeville College, he made a tape of “soft plays” from the game. When asked to define “soft plays” he said: “You get pushed into the cheerleaders (and) you get sparkle on your face.”

  7. 4everUKBlue
    11:28 am May 4, 2020 Permalink

    Myron Medcalf: If we’re talking about championship squads, then it’s definitely the 2012 Kentucky team that, because of Anthony Davis, could weather mediocre offensive nights to win as a dominant defensive team. But the 38-1 Kentucky squad is still the best team I’ve ever witnessed in person.

    Nine players on that roster signed NBA contracts. That team started the 2014-15 season with a 32-point win over a Kansas squad that won the Big 12 outright, topped North Carolina by 14, outscored UCLA 41-7 in the first half of an 83-44 win and beat West Virginia by 39 points in the Sweet 16. The Wildcats fell short against a great Wisconsin team in the Final Four, but through 38 games, I’ve never seen a better team.

  8. Brutal Hustler
    11:29 am May 4, 2020 Permalink

    He was my first favorite player as a kid. I remember thinking he was the world’s strongest man with those guns. I won many a MVP with him in NBA Live 2007

  9. fashodo
    11:37 am May 4, 2020 Permalink

    Chuck Hayes is the most overlooked player that I can remember. He was unbelievable. Led the SEC in blocks as a 6’5″ PF and anchored an incredible Kentucky team. He was a fighter and brought it EVERY NIGHT. Nobody out-toughed us back then. Loved Erik Daniels, Kelenna, Fitch, Bogans, etc and people forget about Cliff Hawkins. He was a great point guard, never jumped out with stats and had bad health issues but was very quick and classic old-school PG. I miss those guys, its a shame they never got over the hump in the tournament. We easily could have won 2-3 championships if some things had gone our way down the stretch, but thats college basketball. Its unfortunate. If these guys had put it together and won the Tournament, theyd all be remembered as legends. Because they fell short, people tend to forget.

    • CrystalBall
      11:58 am May 4, 2020 Permalink

      I think Dirk Minnifield was the most overlooked player in Ky history. Was perhaps the countries best point guard as a senior.
      Never got the recognition he deserved. Was a lot like John Wall, but could hit the perimeter shot. Great playmaker.

  10. Double 00 Tony Delk
    1:22 pm May 4, 2020 Permalink

    Is Kelenna kin to the guy at Kansas? Asking for John Short.

  11. FloridaCat88
    3:36 pm May 4, 2020 Permalink

    The year dwade took us out of the tournament, almost singlehandedly, was one of my favorite tubby teams. I was a heartbroken teenager that year lol..

  12. FloridaCat88
    3:39 pm May 4, 2020 Permalink

    Another player that transferred in and definitely made a mark on my memory is good ol’patrick sparks..

  13. FloridaCat88
    3:42 pm May 4, 2020 Permalink

    The lville game that year was won by 3 clutch free throws by sparks, and I believe azubuike gave him the pass that got him fouled from 3..

  14. NKY Wildcat
    12:57 pm May 5, 2020 Permalink

    That video brings back some great memories, although the tape is fuzzier than my memory. Azubuike had the body of a god.

    The Tubby years were the most that I enjoyed watching UK BB. The Pitino teams scrambled too much until he got great talent at the end. The Cal teams don’t have the overall skill that was on display during the Tubby years, when we could be an NCAA tournament top seed without the greatest recruits. Tubby just got them playing well together.