Skip to content

Kentucky Sports Radio

University of Kentucky Basketball, Football, and Recruiting news brought to you in the most ridiculous manner possible.

BTI’s Rants and Ramblings: Honoring UK’s Fallen 6 Basketball Players

It seems odd to say because since 1970, only 2 UK basketball players have served in the military (Charles Hurt and Carlos Toomer), but pre-1960, it was a common occurance for UK players to also wear the fatigues of this nation, many of them fighting overseas.  In fact, many of the UK greats who have their numbers in the rafters at Rupp Arena also fought for this nation:

-Alex Groza
-Ralph Beard
-Cliff Barker
-Cliff Hagan
-Frank Ramsey
-Lou Tsioropoulos

But today, on this Memorial Day, we want to honor those men and women who gave the ultimate sacrifice in fighting for this nation.  And for UK, that list has 6 names on it.  5 of those men died while fighting in World War II and 1 during World War I.  Their names are:

Howard Kinne (played on the 1915 and 1917 teams)
-died in France in 1918 as a member of the Army Air Corps.  Was the first aviator from Kentucky to die while in action.

James King (played on the 1940, 1941, and 1942 teams)
-was a 2nd-team All-SEC player in 1941 and 1942.  Died when his plane was shot down in Germany in 1944.

James Goforth (played on the 1935, 1936, and 1937 teams)
-was killed in the Battle of Saipan in 1944.  Earned Bronze Star and Silver Star.

Melvin Brewer (played on the 1941, 1942, and 1943 teams)
-died while fighting in France in 1944

Kenneth England (played on the 1941 and 1942 teams)
-was killed in Italy in 1945.  Earned the Bronze Star and Silver Star

Walter Johnson (played on the 1944 team)
-died on the cruiser Indianapolis in 1945

Thanks to Jon Scott’s website for providing this information.  For a complete list of those players who also served, click here.

Article written by Bryan the Intern

10 Comments for BTI’s Rants and Ramblings: Honoring UK’s Fallen 6 Basketball Players

    9:08 am May 26, 2014 Permalink

    The Indianapolis… What a horrible way to die…

  2. BigOCAtFan
    9:24 am May 26, 2014 Permalink

    These guys should have a special banner hanging in the raftes

  3. BigOCAtFan
    9:26 am May 26, 2014 Permalink


  4. TheBigToe
    9:29 am May 26, 2014 Permalink

    BTI, you may suck at a great many things, but this was an awesome tribute. Thanks for this.

  5. Gary
    9:49 am May 26, 2014 Permalink

    Perfect post for today BTI. The military draft ended in 1973 so thats one reason for very few UK players in the services after 1970. Any links to football players who served?

  6. YT
    9:53 am May 26, 2014 Permalink

    Really good post. Heads up at noon. Uk baseball likely the 2 seed in Louisville this week. Lets keep this “Empire Strikes Back” year going. Drew needs to get with some photoshop!

  7. Megan
    10:07 am May 26, 2014 Permalink

    Memorial Day is not about those who served. We have another holiday, and countless events, for that. This day is about a special subset of veterans: those combat veterans who died in battle. Bless these players, and members of my family, who died fighting.

  8. Flag City Cat
    11:24 am May 26, 2014 Permalink

    A great post and tribute to these fine Cats and Great Americans!!!

  9. jaws2
    12:00 pm May 26, 2014 Permalink

    I really hate to do this but……….

    I really appreciate the recognition of these men, bit on a day like today, I wouldn’t have made this post without researching days before, ALL members of UK Athletics that have paid the ultimate sacrifice for this great nation. There have been many from other sports including my father, a football player.

  10. old blue
    12:16 pm May 26, 2014 Permalink

    Thanks for this post on Memorial day. As a Navy Vet myself, I salute these men and appreciate the sacrifice they made. May your memories live on forever…..