In celebration of International Left-Handers Day, let’s take a look back at some of the best lefties to wear the Blue and White at Kentucky.
We’ll start with the best left-hander in UK basketball history…
Jack “Goose” Givens
An NCAA champion and the Final Four’s Most Outstanding Player in 1978, the Goose is a legend in Kentucky lore with over 2,000 points scored in his career. He is one of only three players to hit the 2,000-point mark in the program’s history, and 41 of those points came against Duke in the championship game:
Four spots down from Givens on the all-time scoring list with 1,801 career points scored, is Kevin Grevey, a two-time All-American and two-time SEC Player of the Year. Grevey and his 1974-75 teammates fell just shy of winning a title for the program, dropping the 1975 championship game to John Wooden’s UCLA Bruins. But his #35 jersey hangs in the Rupp Arena rafters among all the other UK basketball legends.
One place beneath Grevey on UK’s career scoring list, you’ll find Tayshaun Prince, another great lefty. Of all the great things Prince did in his four seasons at Kentucky from 1998-2002, nothing will top his five three-pointers to open the game against North Carolina in Rupp Arena:
Prince played with another great lefty, Cliff Hawkins, his point guard. Hawkins’ crossover against Louisville was filthy:
Hawkins played four years with another good lefty in Erik Daniels. Daniels scored 1,000 points with over 500 rebounds for UK, plus this dramatic game-winner in Starkville:
When I shared this post last year, I left off James Lee. Inexcusable mistake on my part. My bad. But he’s here now, Henry Clay’s own, the Freight Train, an All-SEC forward and an irreplaceable member of the 1978 national champion Kentucky Wildcats… James Lee.
Another omission from last year, left-handed Tom Parker was a two-time All-SEC selection and the 1972 SEC Player of the Year. For his career, Parker averaged 15.5 points and 8.5 rebounds per game over three seasons for the Wildcats. He’s currently ranked 36th all-time in scoring and 27th in rebounding and he’s from the era when freshman couldn’t play.
You can’t make a list of left-handers without including Heshimu Evans, a key contributor off the bench in UK’s 1998 championship season. A transfer from Manhattan, Evans only played two seasons in Lexington, but he was a fan favorite for doing things like this:
Another left-handed, NCAA champion forward at Kentucky is Terrence Jones. He also liked to dunk:
When we’re talking about left-handed dunkers at Kentucky, it’ll be tough to top James Young’s slam on the entire UConn team in the 2014 championship game in Dallas. But Young’s best play in his one season at Kentucky was the three-pointer that helped end Wichita State’s undefeated season and sparked the improbable run through the 2014 tournament:
As good as Young was for that 2013-14 team, he wasn’t the best lefty in UK’s starting rotation. Julius Randle was also a lefty and one of the 10 semifinalists for the Naismith College Player of the Year. In one standout year for the Wildcats, Randle had 24 double-doubles, the second most double-doubles in school history, behind only Dan Issel’s 25, and the most double-doubles by a UK freshman, more than previous record-holders DeMarcus Cousins and Anthony Davis.
Randle’s left hand beat LSU in the final seconds:
Lonzo Ball is right-handed, but his dad, De’Aaron Fox, is a lefty. Fox provided plenty of fun moments in his one season as Kentucky’s point guard in 2016-17, including the school’s first triple-double in almost 30 years and the time he dropped 39 on Ball in the Sweet 16:
And our favorite lefty to ever suit up for Kentucky did it on the football field…
We’ll never see another one like him.