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BTI’s Rants and Ramblings: Who is Your Ultimate Starting 5?

In 2009 when John Calipari came to UK, the greatest players in UK history hadn’t been threatened for quite a while.  But with this 6-year of incredible talent, I wonder if your ultimate UK Starting 5 has changed.  I want to know who you would WANT on your starting 5.  Whether it be because of a guy’s actual game or because you loved his effort.  I am interested in how you would compose a starting 5 and what eras you would pull your players from.  I am not looking for the best player at each position, but rather who you would want.  Maybe that is the best 5, but for me it wouldn’t be that.

And I want 1 more thing from you: YOUR AGE.  I am especially interested in if the older generation pulls guys from the 1950’s and 1960’s.  You will notice no Dan Issel on my team.  No Wah Wah Jones or Bill Spivey.  I didn’t even come close to watching those guys, so I have no real love affair for them.  But maybe fans in their 60’s do.  So, give me your starting 5 and your age. 

Here is my team:


-An electric leader who could take over a game at any point.  His talent was only half of his appeal as his personality brought the fans to a new level of excitement.  Plus, unlike most stars, he enjoyed passing more than scoring, which is what I want in a point guard.


-Maybe the best mid-range game of any UK player in my lifetime.  Never saw a player able to stop Mercer on the offensive end.  Was the only consensus 1st team All-American at UK from 1997 through 2010.  Underrated defender.


-Every team needs a star left hander.  Clutch shooter.  Versatile.  Great rebounder for his size.

POWER FORWARD: Jamal Mashburn

-Undersized for this position but athleticism makes up for it.  Purest scorer in UK in 30 years.  Inside-out game makes him a mismatch at any position on the floor.  Can handle himself on the boards against bigger power forwards.

CENTER: Anthony Davis

-He is going to go down as the best player to ever play at UK.  He didn’t have the best career.  That still goes to Issel.  But Davis is the best talent to ever play at the school.

Article written by Bryan the Intern

79 Comments for BTI’s Rants and Ramblings: Who is Your Ultimate Starting 5?

  1. Noah H
    8:23 am August 24, 2015 Permalink

    PG- John Wall
    SG- Brandon Knight
    SF- Goose Givens
    PF- Anthony Davis
    C- Demarcus Cousins
    Age- 17

    • Dr. Landon Martin
      1:54 pm August 24, 2015 Permalink

      The John Wall worship on here is just comical — his ’09-’10 team played a historically weak schedule and never won a single game against a top 20 team. Not one. The only Top 10 team they played beat them handily because it played solid defense, which confounded John and Eric and quite frankly made us look like a high school team. Missing 22 shots in a row is not a freak accident — it is the result of a great defense completely rattling a couple of teenaged kids (who needed overtime to beat a Miss. St. team with 12 losses, and who lost to a South Carolina team with 16 losses, a losing record, and a year so bad it got their coach fired).
      While he was here John was merely a tremendously gifted athlete with a great deal of potential that was never realized (until the NBA).
      Look at the Pomeroy statistics for that year: John did not place in the top 25 for point guards in any statistical category, and placed in the Top 200 in only one: Assist %.
      Putting him on the All Time UK team is just comical. Jimmy Dan Connor is laughing somewhere with Travis Ford.

    • Duff
      4:38 pm August 24, 2015 Permalink

      Dr. Landon – Riggghhhtttt…and the Wizzards took Wall No. 1 overall because of those Pomeroy statistics??? Your logic is comical. Wall got to the hoop, he was not a shooter. He took too many shots at UK. You are out of your mind if he is not your point guard.

  2. CatsBy80
    8:25 am August 24, 2015 Permalink

    This is going to provoke some serious conversation this morning….

    PG: John Wall
    SG: Derek Anderson
    SF: MKG
    PF: Mashburn (sub in big cuz)
    C: Anthony Davis

    Now I’m only 26, so my memory of the mid 90s cats is pretty vague. I remember guys like Mercer, Mashburn, Anderson, Delk etc. etc. but to be quite honest, if you took a starting 5 from the Cal era alone, you could beat 98% of “all-time” teams from individual universities.

  3. kyle heavy
    8:26 am August 24, 2015 Permalink

    1 – John Wall
    2 – Derek Anderson
    3 – Ron Mercer
    4 – Anthony Davis
    5 – Demarcus Cousins

    28 years old.

  4. warrior
    8:28 am August 24, 2015 Permalink

    PG-Macy SG Dampier SF Mashburn PF Issel C Davis Thus sayeth the Warrior.

    • symphonist41169
      8:12 am August 26, 2015 Permalink

      Great team, may possibly put in Larry Conley, though. 51 y/o here.

  5. Floridian Wildcat
    8:32 am August 24, 2015 Permalink

    1 – John Wall
    2 – Tony Delk
    3 – MKG
    4 – Anthony Davis
    5 – Sam Bowie

    • Floridian Wildcat
      8:32 am August 24, 2015 Permalink

      – 18

  6. Kevin Reams
    8:36 am August 24, 2015 Permalink

    PG- John Wall
    SG- Tony Delk
    SF- Prince
    PF- Mashburn
    C- Anthony Davis

    I’m 38. I am huge Antoine Walker fan, but it is just too tempting to have Prince and Davis together running down and blocking shots. Plus with Prince, Mashburn, and Davis you have three guys that can shoot, rebound, and post. You add in Delk who was not only a great scorer and shooter and a underrated defender and could you imagine John Wall with all of this options. Mashburn was the best that I had ever seen at UK until Anthony Davis came along. I don’t remember Goose Givens or Dan Issel. It was difficult to leave Kenny Walker and Sam Bowie off the list as well.

    • UKsuperdave
      8:53 am August 24, 2015 Permalink

      I’m 36 years old. I like this team.

    • ciphercomplete
      11:23 am August 24, 2015 Permalink

      Yes, this team is unbeatable. I’m 37.

    • Charlie
      12:14 pm August 24, 2015 Permalink

      This is the team I would pick. 29 Years young.

  7. Sorry charlie
    8:37 am August 24, 2015 Permalink

    Anthony Davis was no where near the greatest player to ever play at UK. Much like Micheal Jordon, he was just a good player while in college with the greatest POTENTIAL of anyone on the team. While he was great defensively, scorers win games and Anthony’s offensive game was nearly non-existent while at UK.

    • UKsuperdave
      8:51 am August 24, 2015 Permalink

      Gotta disagree with this one. Davis was a TOTAL game changer. Offense wins games, defense wins championships.

    • CATandMONKEY
      9:19 am August 24, 2015 Permalink

      Sorry Charlie, Charlie. I hate to call someone flat-out wrong but…there it is.

    • MattBPoole
      9:29 am August 24, 2015 Permalink

      Issel’s the best, but I’d put Davis close

    • Delk for 3
      9:29 am August 24, 2015 Permalink

      Anthony Davis was the greatest to ever play at UK. Truth.

    • Sorry charlie
      9:30 am August 24, 2015 Permalink

      Think what you wish….but I certainly have never heard anyone say that Michael Jordan was the greatest college player ever! If Anthony would have tanked in the pro’s, his legacy at UK would not be nearly what it is today. There was a lot of talent on the team that won that championship. Calling the man that took the 5th most shots the greatest talent ever is a long shot

    • CATandMONKEY
      9:43 am August 24, 2015 Permalink

      There WAS tremendous talent on that team. Had the team been Davis , surrounded by role players, Davis would NOT have been fifth in shots taken. He would have had much greater personal numbers out of necessity but we would not have won a championship that year.

    • Sorry Charlie
      10:18 am August 24, 2015 Permalink

      So you’re saying that a player that was only good enough to be a role player (5th most shots and defense) is the greatest player in UK history? Interesting.

    • Charlie
      12:22 pm August 24, 2015 Permalink

      I think in scenarios like this, two teams have to be made. One before 1970, and one after integration, which changed the complexion of basketball forever. No offense to Wah Wah, Cliff Hagan, Dan Issell, Alex Groza, Dampier, etc etc but the competition they faced was inferior, incredible players in their respective eras, but their sizes and skill sets don’t translate the same way as Goose, Kenny, Sam, Dirk, etc.

    • Dr. Landon Martin
      1:44 pm August 24, 2015 Permalink

      Only very ignorant people claim guys like Dan Issel and Frank Ramsey weren’t really that good, but only looked good because they played against supposedly interior competition. That’s nonsense. The NBA was integrated in 1950, and both men are in the Hall of Fame. Issel even played in the NBA at the same time as Michael Jordan, so anyone who says his skills “wouldn’t translate to the modern era” (by which they mean can’t play against physically gifted black athletes) is just plain talking silly. Ignorant people say the same thing about Honus Wagner and Babe Ruth. The truth is that these old school guys would be just as effective today, and if guys like Issel and Ramsey and Wah Wah had the same nutritional, medical, and facility support the modern guys do, they would b even better.
      No All Time Team would be complete without Issel and Ramsey.

  8. Duff
    8:40 am August 24, 2015 Permalink

    1. John Wall
    2. Tony Delk
    3. Derek Anderson
    4. Julius Randle
    5. Anthony Davis

    Age – 29

  9. GA Wildcat
    8:47 am August 24, 2015 Permalink

    1 – JP Blevins
    2 – Rashad Carruth
    3 – Bobby Perry
    4 – Jules Camara
    5 – Mark Coury

    – 23

    • dubowski
      9:13 am August 24, 2015 Permalink

      Get out.

    • Poon Escavator
      9:20 am August 24, 2015 Permalink

      Thats what I’m talking about!

  10. Poppschmidty
    8:49 am August 24, 2015 Permalink

    1) Saul Smith
    2) Ed Davender
    3) Gimel Martinez
    4) Oliver Simmons
    5) Rob Lock


    • Poppschmidty
      8:52 am August 24, 2015 Permalink

      But Seriously:

      1) Cliff Hawkins (defense and passing)
      2) Rex Chapman
      3) Ron Mercer
      4) Patrick Patterson
      4) Karl Anthony Towns

  11. Thebigguy29
    8:50 am August 24, 2015 Permalink

    Age: 29

    PG: John Wall
    SG: Derek Anderson
    SF: mashburn (the sole reason I became a cats fan)
    PF: Walter McCarty
    C: Anthony Davis

    • Thebigguy29
      8:53 am August 24, 2015 Permalink

      I’m an idiot.

      Tayshaun over Walter. Brain fart by me. No contest there

  12. Tommy
    8:51 am August 24, 2015 Permalink

    Point Guard – John Wall: Wall was just so electric to watch. He renewed my love for the program that had been wavering from the “Gillespie Years” Wall was a pass first PG and in today’s basketball that is a rare find.

    Shooting Guard – Tony Delk: Delk is my all time favorite Cat so this was an easy decision. I grew up watching Delk drain 3 after 3.

    Small Forward – Tayshaun Prince: I never really appreciated Tayshaun while he was here but looking back on his time here he was a great defender and scorer and probably Tubby’s greatest player in my opinion.

    Power Forward – Patrick Patterson: Patterson is my 3rd all time favorite Cat. I know he was never really the greatest player but the heart that he had, the effort and intensity he always played with was enough to push his teammates to the next level.

    Center – Anthony Davis: This one is easy. He was a game changer who never had to touch the ball on the offensive side to make an impact.

    Age:29(Turning 30 in a month)

    I went with the people that played that specific position. I would like to have put WCS in as PF because he is my 2nd favorite Cat but I wanted to put players in at what I feel is their natural position. WCS would for sure be my 6th man. GO BIG BLUE!

    • spookykim
      1:32 pm August 24, 2015 Permalink

      I completely agree & I’m almost double your age.

  13. Don
    8:56 am August 24, 2015 Permalink

    Mashburn was not undersized. He was 6’8 235-240 lbs and strong. Thought you said you followed UK.

  14. wildcat502
    9:02 am August 24, 2015 Permalink

    Dan Issel – Power Forward, although he was a center
    Kevin Grevey – Shooting Guard
    Kyle Macy – Point Guard
    Jamal Mashburn – Small Forward
    Anthony Davis – Center


    • SADmaninKY
      11:34 am August 24, 2015 Permalink

      I like this team. Kevin Grevey was a pure shooter, and would have scored a lot more points if the three point line had been in effect. They would have won another title if he hadn’t jumped over that bicycle, slipped and fell on the ice and gotten those stitches. He was a decent pro for a number of years.

  15. Supa-D
    9:05 am August 24, 2015 Permalink

    1 John Wall
    2 Tony Delk
    3 Kenny Sky Walker
    4 Jamal Mashhburn
    5 Anthony Davis

    age: 46

  16. Shelby
    9:05 am August 24, 2015 Permalink

    Age 51
    1: wall
    2: knight
    3: MKG
    4: davis
    5: cousins

    I really struggled leaving off mash, walker, and patterson

    • dubowski
      9:17 am August 24, 2015 Permalink

      51? you mean 15?

      Love MKG, but there are so many better options out there.

    • Flipper
      9:34 am August 24, 2015 Permalink

      Agree Dubowski. MKG was the most over rated player to ever wear the UK jersey

  17. john augspurger
    9:09 am August 24, 2015 Permalink

    PG – Kyle Macy. Unflappable and always clutch. Doesn’t have athleticism of Wall, but perfect PG play. Give him the ball down the stretch.

    SG – Louie Dampier. What would he have done with 3 point line? Lights out.

    SF – Goose Givens. Every team needs a Garbage Man and Goose was the best. Always in the right place at the right time.

    PF – Mashburn. Simply a beast.

    Center – Davis. Amazing game changer. Did whatever coach asked him to do.


    • MattBPoole
      9:26 am August 24, 2015 Permalink

      Louie would’ve had 2,000+ with a 3 pt shot. Goose 2,500

  18. @BallBlog_Chad
    9:13 am August 24, 2015 Permalink

    Anthony Davis
    Karl Towns
    Jamal Mashburn
    Brandon Knight
    John Wall

    36 … hard to believe I couldn’t fit Derek Anderson in there

    • Poppschmidty
      10:17 am August 24, 2015 Permalink

      I struggled with that choice too, but I chose King Rex instead.

  19. Adam21
    9:14 am August 24, 2015 Permalink

    PG – John Wall
    SG – Derek Anderson
    SF – Jamal Mashburn
    PF – Anthony Davis
    C – Demarcus Cousins

    • Adam21
      9:14 am August 24, 2015 Permalink


  20. android guy
    9:21 am August 24, 2015 Permalink

    PG – John Wall
    SG – Louis Dampier
    SF – Wah Wah Jones
    PF – Dan Issel
    C- Anthony Davis

    • android guy
      9:22 am August 24, 2015 Permalink


  21. Dan Jenkins
    9:36 am August 24, 2015 Permalink

    All under-rated team that I’d put up against anyone

    PG Wayne Turner
    SG Gerald Fitch
    3G Doron Lamb
    SF Heshimu Evans
    PF Chuck Hayes

    Yes I know – no size and not a lot of talent…I’m obviously going with small-ball here but these guys are all winners…everyone but Lamb was an exceptional rebounder for their size/position

    BTW I’m 40 next month

  22. kentuckyrld
    9:36 am August 24, 2015 Permalink

    PG-John Wall
    SG- Louie Dampier
    C- Bill Spivey
    PF- Dan Issel
    SF- Kenny Walker

    Age- 62.

  23. Delk for 3
    9:40 am August 24, 2015 Permalink

    I am 35 years old.
    C — DeMarcus Cousins
    PF — Anthony Davis
    SF – Jamal Mashburn
    SG — Tony Delk
    PG — Brandon Knight

    Second team:
    C — Sam Bowie
    PF — Julius Randle
    SF — Tayshaun Prince
    SG — Keith Bogans
    PG – John Wall

    **I know many will disagree with me in regards to John Wall/Brandon Knight, but I just loved Knight’s ability to shoot and will his team to the next level. I love Wall, but losing in the Elite 8 disappointed me greatly w/ such a great team, and I feel a lot of that falls on the PG’s shoulders.

    • Delk for 3
      9:43 am August 24, 2015 Permalink

      I also would throw in Wayne Turner as somebody who could be included here. As a college PG, he was an absolute winner.

  24. Ep
    9:47 am August 24, 2015 Permalink

    Age 44

    SG – Macy/Mercer
    PG – Wall/Knight
    Center – Davis/Cousins
    PF – Mashburn/Issel
    SF- Givens/Gilchrist

    Subs – Chuck Hayes, Rex Chapman, Winston Bennett

  25. Joe
    10:08 am August 24, 2015 Permalink

    Had this argument in my upcoming book (with Ryan Clark), The Kentucky Wildcats Fans’ Bucket List.

    My 5: Ralph Beard, Tony Delk, Goose Givens, Mashburn, Davis.

    Ryan’s 5: John Wall, Delk, Mashburn, Dan Issel, Davis.

    I’m 34, he’s 35.

    It’s part of a chapter in the book on choosing your all-time UK Dream Team. We went with full 13 man rosters. Good argument to have. Book out on or about 11/1.

  26. Michael Stewart
    10:33 am August 24, 2015 Permalink

    Bryan, Hard to argue your picks, but as a follower of UK basketball for over 70 years, I have seen
    some great talent play basketball. It is a different game today than back in the Stone Age. I am 78 years old and my all time five is:
    SF – Johnny Cox, best pure shooter in Kentucky history
    PF – Cotton Nash, best athlete in Kentucky History
    C – Anthony Davis, tough pick over Issel
    PG – John Wall, tough pick over Waw Waw
    SG – Louie Dampier
    I left off Pat Riley, Vern Hatton, Goose Givens, Kyle Macy and several great ones. I am 78.

  27. Young Fart
    10:36 am August 24, 2015 Permalink

    pg- John Wall

    SG- Tony Delk

    SF- Jamal Mashburn

    PF- Anthony Davis

    C- DeMarcus Cousins

    I am 21 years old.

  28. Not Chester
    10:53 am August 24, 2015 Permalink

    pg – rondo
    sg – rex
    sf – tayshaun
    pf – mash
    c – a. davis


  29. seth
    11:00 am August 24, 2015 Permalink


  30. Charlie Waite
    11:08 am August 24, 2015 Permalink

    1. John Wall
    2. Derek Anderson
    3. Jamal Mashburn
    4. Anthony Davis
    5. Dan Issel

    Age: 37

  31. BlueNotes
    11:37 am August 24, 2015 Permalink

    Age 57

    PG John Wall backed up by Dirk Minniefield
    2G Louie Dampier backed up by Tony Delk
    SF Kevin Grevey backed up by Tayshaun Prince
    PF Dan Issel backed up by Jamal Mashburn
    CF Anthony Davis backed up by Sam Bowie

    Scrubs – Kyle Macy, Goose Givens, DeMarcus Cousins

  32. lexslamman
    11:44 am August 24, 2015 Permalink

    Age 34
    1 Todd Svoboda
    2 Todd Svoboda
    3 Todd Svoboda
    4 Todd Svoboda
    5 Todd Svoboda

    Beat that team, people.

    • lexslamman
      11:49 am August 24, 2015 Permalink

      But seriously:
      1 – Rajon Rondo
      2 – Tony Delk
      3 – Dan Issel (yes, at the 3)
      4 – Anthony Davis (yes, at the 4)
      5 – Sam Bowie

      First three off bench: Kyle Macy, Jamal Mashburn, Tayshaun Prince (shooting at four positions off the bench, good-to-great backup ball handler)

  33. Music City Cat
    11:45 am August 24, 2015 Permalink

    36. And I’m only going to put guys on here that I got to watch. Full games, seasons and careers. Much respect to the past but I cant make a decision based on stories and rough black and white you tube clips.

    PG- Wall
    SG- Delk
    SF- Mash
    PF- Davis
    C- Boogie


  34. Sean
    11:48 am August 24, 2015 Permalink

    39 and only us My guys I saw play. Been a fan since 1991.

    PG – John Wall
    SG – Tony Delk
    SF – Antoine Walker
    PF – Anthony Davis
    C – Demarcus Cousins

    Cliff Hawkins
    Brandon Kight
    Jamal Mashburn
    Derek Anderson
    Karl-Anthony Towns

    And leaving off so many good players. This is hard. Can’t go wrong with any “real” 5.

  35. Kymike
    11:50 am August 24, 2015 Permalink

    PG John Wall
    SG. Kyle Macey
    SF. Jack Givens
    PF. Dan Issel
    C. Anthony Davis
    I am 63 and saw all these guys play. I imagine if I had seen the the Beard, Jones, Groza team, my picks might have been different.

    • Music City Cat
      12:25 pm August 24, 2015 Permalink

      Because i didnt get to see the older guys, what do you think was the strength of each of those guys? What about them got them on ur list?

  36. peas and carrots
    11:54 am August 24, 2015 Permalink

    1. Wall
    2. Booker
    3. Prince
    4. Towns
    5. Davis

    Age 24

  37. guindage
    12:24 pm August 24, 2015 Permalink

    PG – Wall
    SG – Delk
    SF – Mashburn
    PF – Davis
    C – Cousins

    40 years old.

  38. Flippy23
    12:30 pm August 24, 2015 Permalink

    PG: John Wall
    SG: Tony Delk
    SF: Jamal Mashburn
    PF: Anthony Davis
    C: Dan Issel

    • Wampus Cat
      2:49 pm August 24, 2015 Permalink

      Perfect! I’ll take those 5 against anybody. Ever.

  39. UKBlue1!
    2:00 pm August 24, 2015 Permalink

    48 yrs old. Starting 5 back ups

    PG John Wall Brandon Knight
    SG Tony Delk Louie Dampier
    SF Antoine Walker Kevin Grevey
    PF Anthony Davis Dan Issel
    C Cousins Bowie

    Issel, I remember from Kentucky Colonels and Denver. He is still one of top scorers in NBA history-Top 25. They guy could play in any era. Dampier is in the same boat remember him from Ketucky Colonels. He could flat shoot the basketball. Grevey is one of UK’s top scorers and was the Senior leader on the 75 Runner-up team with a bunch of Freshman….unheard of during this time period. Sam Bowie freakish athlete….the Anthony Davis of his era.

  40. Dog
    2:12 pm August 24, 2015 Permalink

    PG- Macy
    SG- Delk
    SF- Mashburn
    PF- Davis
    C- Bowie

    I got my five.. Anyone want to play?

  41. scr3amingeagle
    2:39 pm August 24, 2015 Permalink

    PG – Wall
    SG – Delk
    SF – Prince
    PF – Mashburn
    C – Davis
    Bench – Cousin, Bledsoe, Meeks, and Issel

  42. Wampus Cat
    2:47 pm August 24, 2015 Permalink

    Just for fun – let’s name an All-Walk-On Team.

  43. Coury the Flurry
    2:48 pm August 24, 2015 Permalink

    PG. Derrick Jasper
    SG. Alex Legion
    SF. Razor Ramon
    PF. Prairie Dog
    C. Woo

    Age: Present

  44. catfan1951
    4:34 pm August 24, 2015 Permalink

    dampier pg

    delk sg

    mashburn sf

    issel pf

    davis c


  45. CalvaryCatFan
    4:44 pm August 24, 2015 Permalink

    pg- Wall / Ford
    sg- Delk / Meeks
    sf- Prince / Mashburn
    pf- Patterson / Hayes
    c- Davis / Boogie
    I would platoon. I’m 33.

  46. Scott Popp
    8:32 pm August 24, 2015 Permalink

    PG – John Wall — I believe he is the best Point Guard of my time.
    SG – Derek Anderson — There are numerous guys that were better at the position, better shooters and scorers. But I think he is the most athletic SG, a GREAT team player and I always loved his upbeat attitude and the smile he always had on his face.
    SF –
    PF – Karl Anthony Towns — One of many “kids” that I wish we could have watched in a UK uniform for at least 2 years. He got better with each game it seemed. Great on both ends of the floor.
    C – Anthony Davis — No explanation/reasoning needed.

    Because there are so many greats, and so many personal favorites if mine, I’m including a Second Team and Honorable Mentions(any positions).

    PG – Rajon Rondo
    SG – Tony Delk
    SF – Jamal Mashburn
    PF – Demarcus Cousins
    C – Sam Bowie


    Chuck Hayes, Wayne Turner, Eric Daniels, Rex Chapman, Ron Mercer, Antoine Walker

    • Scott Popp
      8:33 pm August 24, 2015 Permalink

      Sorry, I forgot to include my age. I am 40 years old.