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Remembering Wes Unseld’s impact on Kentucky High School Basketball

Wes Unseld led Louisville Seneca to back-to-back state titles in 1963 and 1964, the only basketball titles in the school’s history. Seneca is one of only five Kentucky high schools to win back-to-back state championships. He is first and second all-time for rebounds in a state tournament. He grabbed 72 in 1963 and an eye-popping 88 in 1964, when he also scored 105 points. He made a key basket in the final minute and a free throw a few seconds later in Seneca’s 61-58 semi-final victory over Hazard in 1964. Many people (including me) consider him to be the best high school player in Kentucky history, and the 1963 and 1964 Seneca teams to be among the elite teams in Kentucky high school basketball.

Photo via Kentucky High School Basketball Hall of Fame

Unseld was named Mr. Basketball in 1964 after his teammate, Mike Redd, took home the honors in 1963 and went on to play for Kentucky Wesleyan. Redd scored 106 points in the 1963 state tournament. The only other time a school produced back-to-back Mr. Basketball winners was when Rick Jones and Scott Hundley did so for Scott County in the late 90s. Redd and Unseld were the first two African Americans to be named Mr. Basketball. Redd passed away in 2007 and Unseld passed away today. Prayers for the Unseld family.

Photo via @KYHSHistory

Article written by Troy Howell

Follow me on twitter @ teeroyhowell

6 Comments for Remembering Wes Unseld’s impact on Kentucky High School Basketball



  1. RexRox
    4:44 pm June 2, 2020 Permalink

    Great, great player. “With all due respect to Darrell G, Wes will always be the greatest U of L Cardinal.” – Dan Issel today



  2. Not Dan Issel
    4:46 pm June 2, 2020 Permalink

    I had the privilege of watching Wes Unseld play on numerous occasions. My father had been a Div. 1 basketball player at Tulane and he was a great student of the game. From the time I was in the 7th grade through my 2nd year of college, I did not miss a single game of the State Tournament. In addition, I attended many regular season games that involved star players in Kentucky throughout my school years. I will say without hesitation that Wes Unseld was the most dominant high school player I have ever seen (and I have had the privilege of seeing a lot of great HS players). He was the true “man among boys” player. No one could stop him from playing his game. He had a great determination to win, and played an aggressive, but very clean game. He has always been one of my favorite players, even though sadly he did not attend UK.



  3. runningunnin.454
    5:59 pm June 2, 2020 Permalink

    Unseld was the master of the outlet pass after a rebound. Saw him play in an exhibition against the Colonels. Also saw Mike Redd play for Ky Wesleyan. Both terrific players.
    Unseld was the first African-American Adolph Rupp recruited. Seems like Redd only played at Wesleyan for one year; there were some problems I recall, but have forgotten what they were.
    Both are among the greatest to ever play the game in Kentucky.



    • Not Dan Issel
      6:30 pm June 2, 2020 Permalink

      I had the pleasure of watching Mike Redd play as well. A great player, but not Unseld class.



  4. Rowinguy1
    8:05 pm June 2, 2020 Permalink

    As a 5th grader, I saw the 1964 State Tournament where Big Wes led Seneca to the title, beating my Breckinridge County Bearcats by about ten points (66-56 I think, without looking it up). I had two cousins playing for Breck Co and one of them, about 5’10’ and maybe 150 lbs took a charge from Wes. I thought Bobby Ray was dead.

    Next season, the Bearcats won the Sweet 16 behind Butch Beard and he and Wes had great careers at UL, both having been unsuccessfully recruited by Coach Rupp.



  5. Rowinguy1
    8:05 pm June 2, 2020 Permalink

    As a 5th grader, I saw the 1964 State Tournament where Big Wes led Seneca to the title, beating my Breckinridge County Bearcats by about ten points (66-56 I think, without looking it up). I had two cousins playing for Breck Co and one of them, about 5’10’ and maybe 150 lbs took a charge from Wes. I thought Bobby Ray was dead.

    Next season, the Bearcats won the Sweet 16 behind Butch Beard and he and Wes had great careers at UL, both having been unsuccessfully recruited by Coach Rupp.