I spent a little over an hour today listening to Oscar Combs’ interview with former UK great Cotton Nash on the Conversations With Oscar Combs podcast.
Nash was a dual-sport star at UK dominating on the basketball court and for the baseball team. He was a three-year consensus All-American for UK basketball from 1961 to 1964. He signed both NBA and MLB contracts and played both at the same time.
He spoke with Combs about how he ended up at Kentucky, playing for Adolph Rupp, his basketball and baseball careers and updates us on his former UK teammates.
It’s a must listen for any Kentucky fan but here are a few highlights:
- His passion growing up was baseball and it’s still his passion.
- He attended three different high schools in three different states (Indiana, Texas and Louisiana)
- Didn’t know anything about basketball until moving to Jeffersonville, Ind., in 6th grade.
- His dad moved him to Louisiana because he was going to be ineligible in Texas. In Louisiana he was unable to play high school baseball because there was such a focus on football in the south. He was able to play basketball.
- He details visits to UCLA and meeting with John Wooden. He says Wooden or someone from UCLA would call every night.
- He didn’t pick a college until a month before school started and picked UK because if he was going to play basketball he wanted to be in the SEC and Lexington was the place to be if you were a basketball player. Some things never change.
- He lived at Haggin Hall. Tough break, Cotton.
- He talks about how trainers handled injuries in the 60s. It didn’t seem great.
- He details how college athletics were different in the 1960s and quite frankly it was refreshing hearing how great things used to be. He talks one-and-dones, John Calipari and the state of college basketball. He’s not a doom-and-gloomer, but he has an interesting take.
- He speaks highly of the current state of UK’s baseball program.
- He talks about playing sports for 18 months. NBA and professional baseball. That’s absolutely wild stuff.
- He has a phenomenal Pat Riley story.
- Plenty more that I didn’t detail here.
I don’t think you all will regret listening to it and I appreciate Oscar and Cotton taking the time to detail UK basketball in the early 60s.