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BTI’s Rants and Ramblings: Who Are The Forgotten Players Of Each Decade?

Image result for kelenna azubuike

I don’t know why but I am feeling sentimental but I’ve been thinking back to the good ‘ol 2000’s Kentucky Wildcats.  I think part of me sees the writing on the wall for Tubby Smith at Memphis and feels bad.  Tubby’s time here only improved the history of this program.  National title and conference titles plus a couple of the most beloved teams in history.  Nonetheless, 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 90’s, I always feel like that guy was would be Allen Edwards or maybe Walter McCarty.

For example, I feel like those who watched UK basketball in the 1980’s mention DWIGHT ANDERSON a lot but he really doesn’t get included much in the lore of UK greats.  I watched a lot of 1990’s UK basketball and I don’t think Walter McCarty or Nazr Mohammed will never get the credit for just how good they were.  Talk about the greats of the 90’s and those guys are not mentioned much.

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 and 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 2000’s.  Would you agree or do you have another player who goes underappreciated (in that decade or any other)?

Article written by Bryan the Intern

28 Comments for BTI’s Rants and Ramblings: Who Are The Forgotten Players Of Each Decade?

  1. runningunnin.454
    8:23 am April 11, 2017 Permalink

    In my opinion, Dwight Anderson was the fastest player to ever wear the Kentucky uniform; faster than John Wall, and faster than De-Aaron Fox. He was called the Blur, and I seem to remember he scored 7 points in something like 18 seconds to beat Notre Dame.
    But, he had problems with drugs, and was asked to leave UK; he transferred to Southern Cal, and I lost track of him after that; but I think drug use limited his NBA career.

  2. DwightTheBlur
    8:25 am April 11, 2017 Permalink

    Reggie Hansen was a player that was critical to the rebuild, but wasn’t on The Unforgettables, so I think he is certainly underappreciated by those that didn’t watch him play.

    Azubuike was a monster. I remember the “looks like Tarzan plays like Jane” comment that Tubby used to motivate him.

    • runningunnin.454
      8:53 am April 11, 2017 Permalink

      Your name is certainly apropos considering my first comment about Dwight Anderson!!!

  3. Willis Wolf Tattoo
    8:30 am April 11, 2017 Permalink

    Micheal Bradley was a great talent- was a shame to lose him to transfer. He averaged 20 & 9 for Villanova in his Junior season.

  4. DrewP
    8:38 am April 11, 2017 Permalink

    Patrick Sparks! Can we get an update on him?

  5. runningunnin.454
    8:45 am April 11, 2017 Permalink

    I’ll throw one out there from the mid-’70’s…Jimmy Dan Conner.
    He played on the team that ended no.1 Indiana’s undefeated season in the NCAA tournament, and played in the championship game against UCLA.
    He was the leader on the floor, and had all the fundamentals.
    One thing I’ll never forget….he would shoot deep on the wings, shots that would be 3 pointers now, and he would bank them in….on purpose. You don’t see players that can do that any more.

  6. Sentient Third Eye
    8:50 am April 11, 2017 Permalink

    For the eighties, how about Roger Harden? He was never flashy, but he was clutch when we needed him to be (that game-winner at LSU is still memorable).

  7. secrick
    8:51 am April 11, 2017 Permalink

    I agree with you on this one. He was a great player .

  8. CatManDo
    9:00 am April 11, 2017 Permalink

    Joe Crawford and Terrence Jones.

  9. az1006
    9:04 am April 11, 2017 Permalink

    I feel like those TEAMS get overlooked, in general. I guess a lot of it is because of the way Tubby’s tenure ended, and that it’s been followed up by Cal and his unprecedented success, but from 2003-2005, we were as good as anyone in the country. Not to mention the fact that the SEC was WAY better during that time. Kentucky, Florida, and Alabama were all ranked #1 at least once, and I remember as many as 7 or 8 teams being ranked in the Top 25 at any given time. Needless to say, navigating conference play was far more difficult than it has been for Cal, and the 2003 team STILL went undefeated. I guess since they failed to make the Final Four, they don’t get remembered like they should.

  10. the ghost of Bill Hicks
    9:08 am April 11, 2017 Permalink

    Cliff Hawkins

  11. ukspanky
    9:18 am April 11, 2017 Permalink

    BBN has SO many great Wildcats to remember that some, by shear attrition, become less well remembered. Anthony Epps has never received the praise he deserves. Pitino wanted for multiple seasons to have someone else at point guard but Epps was always too important to the teams on which he played. While most of his teammates were much “higher profile”, he was the straw that mixed the greatness. Tony Delk, at one of the reunions, mentioned how important Epps was to the ’96 team and how much Epps had sacrificed to make Delk and others better players. My forgotten favorite: ANTHONY EPPS.

  12. 4everblue
    9:23 am April 11, 2017 Permalink

    I’ll never forget how Wayne Turner schooled Wojo when we beat dUKe in 98′.

    • doobie brother
      9:43 am April 11, 2017 Permalink

      Turner…burner…and one!

  13. nybrasky
    9:51 am April 11, 2017 Permalink

    Erik Daniels. Daniels was very fun to watch and was over-shadowed a bit by Fitch and the underperformance of the late Tubby years.

    • CATandMONKEY
      10:17 am April 11, 2017 Permalink

      Daniels defined ” interior passing” on both the receiving and giving ends. One of my favorites from the Tubby era.

  14. MattRice
    9:58 am April 11, 2017 Permalink

    I was always dumb founded by Azubuike’s arms. They were absolutely massive for a basketball player. The only player I’ve seen to rival him since is Eric Bledsoe.

    I was really sad to see him get hurt in the NBA I always liked watching him, he was one of my childhood favorites.

  15. silverado
    10:56 am April 11, 2017 Permalink

    Gerald Fitch. Georgia Mr. Basketball and All-SEC guard! Played with fire in his belly. 40% shooter of 3s. Had more career rebounds than McCarty. I remember Fitch hammering Florida to seal the SEC East championship on his Senior Day. Just an awesome Wildcat!

  16. mattcash33
    11:43 am April 11, 2017 Permalink

    Here’s what I remember about Kelenna, Looked like tarzan, played like Jane.

  17. HillbillyInBC
    12:37 pm April 11, 2017 Permalink

    Jim Andrews, Larry Stamper, Mike Flynn, and Ed Davender are four that come to mind who haven’t been mentioned already.

    • CatBlue in LR
      5:35 pm April 11, 2017 Permalink

      Don’t waste your breath on Matt and his crew. If it happened before their lifetimes, it doesn’t count. 🙁

      I would throw in Jimmy Dan Conner, Phil Argento, Ronnie Lyons, Jim Dinwiddie, Larry Steele, Tom Parker… The list is endless.

  18. kentuckyjoe
    4:44 pm April 11, 2017 Permalink

    Jason Parker was a total stud until knee injuries did him in. And Joe Crawford. Tubby Smith limited Joe. I wish he could have played for Cal.

  19. CatBlue in LR
    5:07 pm April 11, 2017 Permalink

    “Tubby’s time here only improved the history of this program.”

    Naw, man, not even close. Here’s the first ten items on a list of 30 compiled after he left:

    –First UK coach to go 8 straight years without a final four.
    –First UK coach to have to play on Thursday in an SEC tournament since the expansion to the current 12 team format. (This marks the second straight year.)
    –The First UK coach to lose 10 or more games two years in a row. He did it three times in a row (2000-2002), and then two more consecutive years — 4 of the last 7 years
    –Most Double Digit loss seasons of any UK coach (including one previous coach who was there for 42 years)
    –The first UK coach to lose to Vandy in Rupp
    –The first UK coach to be swept by Vandy in a season in 32 years
    –The first UK coach to lose 4 straight to an SEC opponent in 30 years
    –Only UK coach to lose 6 straight to an SEC opponent ever (Fla.)
    –Only coach to lose to Ole Miss at Rupp
    –Only coach to lose to Vandy twice at Rupp

    Lots and lots of others where these came from. Let’s not lose our sharp focus on history through the soft, rosy lenses of time. Tubby orchestrated the descent of this program from three straight championship game appearances to the point a first-weekend tournament exit was accepted as the new normal. Most of his time was intolerable for Kentucky fans who had learned to expect greatness. After three straight years at the pinnacle, we went 13 years without a Final Four, mostly thanks to his mediocrity.

  20. CatBlue in LR
    5:30 pm April 11, 2017 Permalink

    Here’s ten more, just for the heck of it:

    –Only coach to lose 4 home games to SEC Opponents
    –More Home losses than any previous UK coach
    –1st UK coach to not finish at least 2nd in the East since the SEC expansion
    –Most transfers and problem players of any UK coach
    –Never recruited a player to play in a final four in 26 years as a head coach
    –Fewest NBA draft picks of any coach with at least 5 years (only 2 1st rounders in 10 years)
    –47% of his recruits don’t make their senior year
    –Only coach with the overall #1 seed in the NCAA to lose in the 2nd round (as of ’07)
    –Lowest Average Points Scored Per Game since the 3 point shot was introduced
    –Worst loss to Indiana ever (26 points)

  21. kentuckyjoe
    5:45 pm April 11, 2017 Permalink

    Wow, those are impressive lists! Impressive lists of unimpressive ‘accomplishments’. I only thought Tubby was awful; now I’ve got stats to back me up.

  22. CatFan-n-volcountry
    5:51 pm April 11, 2017 Permalink

    When I see a photo of Azubuike, Tubby comes to mind with his “Looks like Tarzan plays like Jane” comment. I’ve used it a few times.

  23. silverado
    12:31 pm April 12, 2017 Permalink

    Here we have a thread about forgotten stars.
    Years later, some people won’t leave Tubby alone.
    I wonder why?