Jan. 28, 2002
LEXINGTON, Ky. -
Press Conference Quotes
No. 10/11 Kentucky Wildcats (13-5, 3-3)
No. 5/6 Florida Gators (15-3, 4-2)
Jan. 29, 2002
9 p.m. ET
Stephen O'Connell Center (12,000)
UK Radio Network (90+ stations): Tom Leach, Mike Pratt and Dave Baker.
ESPN: Brad Nessler and Dick Vitale.
CATS VS. GATORS
Series Record: UK leads 76-24
In Lexington: UK leads 39-6
In Gainesville: UK leads 27-16
At Neutral Sites: UK leads 10-2
Last Game: March 4, 2001 - UF 94, UK 86
Tubby Smith (High Point '73)
Overall (11th) 247-100 (71.2%)
at UK (5th) 123-38 (76.4%)
SEC Tourney (6) 13-3 (81.3%)
NCAA Tourney (8) 18-7 (72.0%)
vs. Florida 8-4
Billy Donovan (Providence '87)
Overall (8th) 152-79 (65.8%)
at UF (6th) 117-59 (66.5%)
vs. Kenyucky 4-7
Record 13-5 15-3
SEC Record 3-3 4-2
Scoring Offense 80.4 86.7
Scoring Defense 66.8 68.1
Scoring Margin +13.7 +18.6
FG % 46.7 48.7
FG % Defense 39.4 40.8
3FG % 31.7 33.3
3FG % Defense 30.2 32.7
Free Throw % 65.2 71.2
Rebound Average 42.1 40.4
Opp. Rebound Average 34.9 34.0
Rebound Margin +7.2 +6.4
TO Average 15.7 15.7
Opponent TO 17.4 20.3
TO Margin +1.7 +4.7
Blocks Average 4.8 5.3
Steals Average 7.9 11.5
No. Name Pos. Ht. Wt. Cl. Ppg Rpg Hometown Last Game
21 Tayshaun Prince F 6-9 215 Sr. 16.5 6.3 Compton, Calif. 14 pts, 4 rebs
40 Jules Camara F 6-11 225 Jr. 4.6 3.5 Dakar, Senegal 0 pts, 1 reb, 13 mins
4 Gerald Fitch G 6-3 185 So. 8.9 5.6 Macon, Ga. 11 pts, 8 rebs
10 Keith Bogans G 6-5 205 Jr. 12.3 5.0 Alexandria, Va. 5 pts, 4 rebs
1 Cliff Hawkins G 6-1 185 So. 7.7 *4.4 Dumfries, Va. 3 pts, 3 rebs, 3 assts
No. Name Pos. Ht. Wt. Cl. Ppg Rpg Hometown Last Game
15 Matt Bonner F 6-10 237 Jr. 15.9 7.3 Concord, N.H. 13 pts, 7 rebs
50 Udonis Haslem C 6-9 246 Sr. 16.3 9.4 Miami, Fla. 19 pts, 13 rebs, 5-6 FG
10 Brett Nelson G 6-4 182 Jr. 16.1 2.2 St. Albans, W.Va. 23 pts, 2 rebs, 6 3FG
01 Orien Greene G 6-4 200 So. 5.1 2.4 Gainesville, Fla. 13 pts, 5 rebs
12 Justin Hamilton G 6-3 207 Jr. 8.8 *3.6 Sarasota, Fla. 14 pts, 5 rebs, 5 stls
Wildcats, Gators Looking to Rebound in East Battle
With 10 games remaining in regular-season play, Kentucky ends its January schedule at No. 6 Florida for a Super Tuesday battle on ESPN. The Wildcats are third in the Southeastern Conference Eastern Division, one game behind Florida and 1.5 games behind division leader Georgia. The Cats enter the contest following a home loss to SEC Western Division-leader Alabama on Saturday, 64-61. It's Kentucky's third road trip in four games and its second straight ranked opponent. The Cats' strength of schedule by collegerpi.com ranks No. 2 nationally through Sunday's games.
Florida has suffered back-to-back losses for the first time since last January when the Gators lost consecutive home games to Georgia and Vanderbilt. On Saturday, UF was beaten in overtime at Arkansas and a week earlier, the Gators fell to Georgia at home. Florida hasn't lost three straight games since 1998, when it finished the regular season with five straight defeats.
Florida and Kentucky lead the league in scoring this season. The Gators are led in scoring by a trio that pours in more than 48 points per game. Udonis Haslem (16.3 ppg), Brett Nelson (16.1 ppg) and Matt Bonner (15.9 ppg) rank among the SEC leaders in scoring, while Haslem leads the league in rebounding (9.4 rpg).
Kentucky is 1-1 against Eastern Division teams this season after beating South Carolina and falling to Georgia. Florida is 3-1 against the East.
Series HistoryThis is the 101st meeting between the two teams with UK claiming a 76-24 advantage. The teams are an even 4-4 over the last eight games. Kentucky holds a 27-16 overall advantage in Gainesville, but hasn't won in the O'Connell Center since Feb. 18, 1998, a 79-54 rout.
Tubby Smith is 8-4 overall against the Gators including a 4-4 mark at UK. Billy Donovan is 4-8 against the Cats, including a 4-6 mark as the Florida coach.
Kentucky/Florida ConnectionsBoth Tubby Smith and Billy Donovan coached at Kentucky under Rick Pitino. They were on Pitino's first UK staff (1989-91), Smith as an assistant, Donovan as a graduate assistant. The next year, Smith served as Pitino's associate coach while Donovan became an assistant. Smith left to become head coach at Tulsa after two seasons at UK while Donovan stayed on the UK staff for five years before accepting the head coaching job at Marshall.
Florida assistant coach John Pelphrey was a four-year letterman at Kentucky and has his jersey retired in the rafters of Rupp Arena. "Pel" was a member of UK's "Unforgettables," who battled Duke in one of college basketball's greatest games during the 1992 NCAA Tourament, nearly 10 years ago. He has served on Donovan's staff at Marshall and Florida.
Kentucky and Florida have three common opponents and hold identical records in those games.
Opponent UK UF
Tulane W, 101-67 W, 81-65
South Carolina W, 51-50 W, 69-60
Georgia L, 84-88 L, 79-84
Florida and Kentucky will meet again on the Wildcats' Senior Day, March 2. It's the final regular-season game for both teams. This is the third straight season the teams have played prior to the SEC Tournament. Kentucky won the Senior Day battle in '00 while Florida captured the victory last March.
Tayshaun Prince and Keith Bogans have been highly successful against Florida during their UK careers. The senior Prince has averaged 11.8 ppg and 5.5 rpg in his six contests against the Gators. The junior Bogans has averaged 19.0 ppg and 3.0 rpg in four games, highlighted by his 29-point career performance against the Gators in the O'Dome last March.
Only 10 regular-season games remain on the Kentucky slate. The NCAA selection committee places a certain importance on a team's final 10 outings, including conference tournament play, when making its choices for the "Big Dance." Kentucky closed out its last 10 regular-season games last year with an 8-2 record, then won the SEC Tournament to earn a No. 2-seed in the NCAA Tournament.
Vs. Ranked OpponentsKentucky will look for its first win over a ranked opponent this season when it plays No. 6 (ESPN/USA Today) Florida. The Gators are the third nationally ranked team the Wildcats have faced. UK fell to No. 1 Duke, 95-92, in overtime on Dec. 18 in the Jimmy V Classic and dropped a close battle to Alabama, 64-61, in Lexington on Saturday. Last season, UK went 8-5 against ranked foes, 10 of which were road games.
Florida is the fifth team that UK has played this season that is ranked in this week's Coaches' poll.
Gerald Fitch continues to set the tone for the Wildcats this season. Pound-for-pound (6-3, 188), he may be the best rebounder in the nation.
He totaled 11 points and eight boards against Alabama on Saturday. In the last six games, he's averaged 10.8 ppg, 5.3 rpg and 2.0 apg. In the last two games, he's shot 5-for-11 from 3FG range (45.5%).
The sophomore guard recorded his second double-double of the season against Ole Miss on Jan. 15, totaling 13 points and 11 rebounds in 30 minutes. With the injured JP Blevins out of the rotation, Fitch has seen quality time at point guard backing up Cliff Hawkins.
In SEC play, he's second on the team in scoring (11.2 ppg) and leads UK in rebounding (6.3 rpg).
For the season, Fitch is fourth on the team in scoring (8.9 ppg), second in rebounding (5.6 rpg) and second in steals (25).
No. 2 Schedule
Kentucky is ranked among the top teams in the nation in two popular power polls. To start the week, UK's schedule was rated No. 2 in the nation by CollegeRPI.com. Strength of schedule ratings are listed in parenthesis:
Kentucky 6th (2nd) 10th (4th)
Florida 18th (45th) 6th (60th)
The Southeastern Conference is rated as the nation's toughest conference by CollegeRPI.com and Sagarin. All but one team has a winning record.
MilestonesMarquis Estill needs three rebounds to top 200 in his two-year career while sophomore Gerald Fitch needs 10 points to top 400 in his career.
Tayshaun Prince scored 14 points against Alabama, moving him past Melvin Turpin (1981-84) and into 13th on UK's all-time scoring list. Prince currently has 1,512 points, just 63 short of UK's top 10. He needs five points to tie legend Ralph Beard (1946-49) at 12th.
Keith Bogans' five points against Alabama moved him past Rodrick Rhodes (1993-95) and into 33rd place. Bogans currently has 1,210 career points and with three more can tie Bill Spivey (1950-51) for 32nd.
Prince and Bogans are high on UK's list of all-time 3FG attempts. Prince's eight attempts against the Tide moved him into second place with 536. Bogans ranks fourth with 463 attempts. Bogans' five made threes against the Irish moved him onto UK's list of made 3FGs. He is currently tied for seventh with 153, while Prince is fourth on the list with 174.
Prince and Jules Camara have each cracked UK's top-10 list for career blocks this season. Prince is eighth on the list with 116 swats while Camara ranks 10th with 105.
After its loss to Alabama Saturday, Kentucky has dropped its Rupp Arena record to 7-3 this season.
Now in its 26th season in the building, UK has posted a 335-39 (89.6%) record in Rupp.
The Wildcats have won 15 national attendance titles in the building, including the last six.
This season, the Cats have played in front of seven of the top 10 crowds in the nation, including four at home. Statistics courtesty of the NCAA and include all games through Jan. 21:
Game (Site) Attendance
1. UK-Indiana (N) 29,379
2. UK-Louisville (H) 24,330
3. UK-North Carolina (H) 23,153
4. Missouri-Illinois (N) 22,153
5. UK-Georgia (H) 21,707
6. UK-Western Ky. (H) 21,104
8. UK-Ole Miss (H) 20,540
10. UK- Duke (N) 20,029
Cats in the NCAA
In the NCAA statistics released Jan. 21, the Wildcats ranked 11th in scoring (82.4 ppg) and 11th in scoring margin (+15.1 ppg). UK was 13th in the nation in rebounding margin, outrebounding opponents by 8.6 rpg.
Cats in the SEC
In the latest Southeastern Conference rankings for all games played, UK's Tayshaun Prince is sixth in the league in scoring (16.5 ppg) while Cliff Hawkins ranks fifth in assists (4.4 apg). Jules Camara ranks second in blocked shots (1.7 pg) while Marquis Estill follows in third (1.5 pg). Prince also ranks 10th in rebounding (6.3 rpg).
The Wildcats are second in scoring (80.4 ppg) and rebounding margin (+7.2 rpg) and first in rebounding (42.1 rpg) and offensive rebounds (16.2 orpg). The Cats rank third in blocks (4.8 pg).
In SEC games only, Hawkins is second in the league in assists (4.8 apg) and is tied for seventh in steals (2.2 spg), while teammate Gerald Fitch is ninth (2.0 spg). Camara leads the league lead in swats with 2.2 bpg, while Estill is second with 2.0 bpg. Estill is fourth in FT shooting (89.5%) and freshman Chuck Hayes is second in assist-to-turnover ratio (3:1).
In 10 of the 18 games this season, UK opponents have shot less than 40% from the field. The Cats are 9-1 in those outings. Overall, UK opponents have combined to shoot 39.4% from the field. Indiana and South Carolina both shot 32.1% from the field, the best defensive efforts of the season for the Wildcats.
Georgia (54.1%) was the only team to shoot better than 50% against the Cats since Southern Cal (52.8%, 3-22-01) upset the Wildcats in the NCAA Tournament last year.
In SEC play only, UK leads the league in FG percentage defense (39.2%) and in blocks (5.8 bpg) while ranking third in scoring defense (67.0 ppg).
Despite scoring just 52 points against Western and 51 against South Carolina, the Cats are averaging 80.4 ppg this season, the most since the Cats averaged 82.4 ppg during the 1997 NCAA runner-up season.
Gerald Fitch had his second double-double of the year with 13 points and 11 rebounds against Ole Miss after a 16-10 performance against Tulane in early January. He has recorded three double-doubles in his career.
Tayshaun Prince posted his third double-double of the season against the Hoosiers with 17 points and 11 rebounds. He had back-to-back double-doubles in December against VMI and North Carolina.
Jules Camara had his best effort of the season against Duke, scoring 10 points while grabbing 11 rebounds for his first double-double of the season and the fourth of his career.
Current Wildcats who have recorded double-doubles in their career include:
Cat Career Doubles
Keith Bogans 2
Jules Camara 4
Marquis Estill 1
Gerald Fitch 3
Jason Parker 2
Tayshaun Prince 10
The Florida game marks the third of three straight apperances on ESPN by Kentucky. It's also the Cats' ninth appearance on national television this season and the fifth in a series of five consecutive national broadcasts. All totaled, Kentucky will appear six times on ESPN and a record seven times on CBS, according to 17-year veteran producer Bob Dekas.
Tubby Smith has a deep roster this season which allows him multiple lineups. In the first eight games of the season, Smith used four different lineups. The lineup has remained the same since the Duke game when Camara got the starting nod at center.
Only Tayshaun Prince, Gerald Fitch and Keith Bogans have started all 18 games. Cliff Hawkins has started 15 games at the point while injured running mate J.P. Blevins has three starts. Jules Camara (11), Marquis Estill (5) and former Cat Marvin Stone (2) have all split time inside.
Kentucky has hit a three-pointer in 459 consecutive games. UK trails UNLV, Vanderbilt and Georgia Tech, which all have similar streaks. UNLV, Vanderbilt and Princeton have hit a three-pointer in every game since the rule was adopted in 1987, but Princeton has yet to play 450 games.
The Wildcats' last game without a three-pointer came 13 years ago against Seton Hall on Nov. 26, 1988, a "three-point" loss in the Great Alaska Shootout.
Marquis Estill, who gave up his scholarship before the season to allow the Wildcats to meet the NCAA limit of 13, had another outstanding performance last week. The 6-9 junior totaled 21 points and five rebounds in 30 minutes of action off the bench against Auburn. Estill was 8-of-12 from the field, 1-for-1 from 3FG range and canned all four of his free throws.
He followed that with a nine-point, four- rebound performance in the loss to Alabama. He is shooting a sizzling 67.0% from the field this season which would lead the SEC if he averaged 5.0 made FGs per game. He averages 4.2 made FGs per game.
Midway through the season, the Wildcats' defense is averaging 7.9 spg. That's up from last year's 6.7 spg and the best at UK since the '98 champs averaged 8.7 spg.
UK in January
The Wildcats hold a 509-176 all-time record in the month of January for a .743 winning percentage. Last season, UK went 7-2 in the year's first month for a .777 mark.
Kentucky looks to sweep South Carolina for the fifth straight season when the Wildcats return home to play the Gamecocks on Saturday. USC fell to Ole Miss, 71-53, in Oxford on Saturday and plays host to Georgia on Wednesday.
Last Time Out
Kentucky suffered three four-minute scoring droughts en route to a 64-61 loss to Alabama. Tayshaun Prince shot just 5-of-15 from the field, while the Tide used 21-of-29 shooting from the charity stripe to remain in first place in the SEC race.
UK fell to No. 11 in the Coaches poll this week. It marks the second time the Wildcats have fallen from the top 10. The AP poll was not complete at the time this note packet was compiled. UK began the season ranked fourth in both major polls.
After losing its season opener, UK dropped to a season-low 13th in the AP poll and 14th in the Coaches poll.
The Wildcats have played two overtime games already this season, losing to Duke, 95-92, and Miss. State, 74-69.
Kentucky has now played 80 overtime games in 99 seasons, and owns a 44-36 record in those contests.
In the Tubby Smith era, the Cats won their first seven overtime games but have lost their last three.
The most OT games UK has ever played in one season was five -- 1978-79.
SEC DominationKentucky is in its 69th season of SEC play. A charter member, the Cats have been the most dominant team in the league through the years, recording a 773-209 mark (78.7%). No other team has won more than 640 games (Alabama) and no other team has a better winning percentage. UK has averaged 11.3 wins and 3.0 losses per season during its SEC tenure.
The Wildcats have won 41 SEC titles and 23 SEC Tournament Championships, more titles than the other teams combined.
Kentucky has won eight of the last 10 SEC Tournament titles.
TUB-BEE, TUB-BEE!In the past four seasons, since Orlando "Tubby" Smith took the coaching reins at Kentucky, the Wildcats have won three SEC Championships and three SEC Tournament titles. While the tournament success continues a string of titles the past decade, UK's success in winning the regular-season crown hasn't been achieved since the Wildcats won three of the four titles between 1983-86.
Smith is 52-18 (74.3%) in SEC regular season play since taking over at Kentucky.
Smith has an amazing 13-3 (81.3%), record in the SEC Tournament which includes his two seasons at Georgia.
Last season, Smith's Cats captured a share of the SEC Eastern Division crown, his third in the last four years and the second straight.
Mr. Clutch Strikes Again
Tayshaun Prince has a laundry list of clutch performances during his four-year career at Kentucky. Against Auburn on Jan. 22, he struck again. Prince canned a three-pointer to curtail Auburn's 14-4 run and give the Cats' a 57-50 lead. The shot boosted UK on an 8-0 run that iced the game.
Other clutch performances by Prince include a game-winner against Florida last season, scoring 16 of the Cats' final 23 to lead a comeback at Vanderbilt, a double-clutch three against St. Bonaventure in the 2000 NCAA Tourney and a runner in the lane with 23 seconds to go that lifted UK to a win at Miami that same season.
Keith Bogans broke out of a four-game shooting slump when he hit 8-of-12 shots from the field including 5-of-7 three-pointers to total a season-high 23 points in the Wildcats' win over Notre Dame on Jan. 19. The junior had hit 11-of-33 from the field the previous four outings. He hadn't totaled 20 this season since the Morehead State game on Nov. 24.
He followed the Irish performance with a 13-point game at Auburn on Jan. 22, including 10 in the first half. He continued to contribute across the board, totaling three boards and four assists in the win.
Eight in a Row
Kentucky continued its dominance at the UCA Cheerleading Championships on Jan. 12 when the Wildcats took the title for the eighth consecutive year. It was the 12th title overall for the team. The UK squad is coached by Saleem Habash with advisor T. Lynn Williamson.
Central Florida finished second in the event which was held at MGM Grand Studios in Orlando, Fla.
Kentucky has won the event in 1985, '87, '88, '92, '95, '96, '97, '98, '99, 2000, '01 and '02.
Kentucky set a school record when nine different Wildcats made a three-point field goal in UK's win over Tulane on Jan. 2. Since the three-point shot was implemented in 1987, no UK squad had ever had nine different Cats can a three in the same game. The nine different "lives" splashed in 16 total treys against the Green Wave, the most in a game in the Tubby Smith Era at Kentucky. It also marked the most since UK canned 16 against UNC Asheville in Dec. 1996.
Prince Named SEC Player of the Week
The Southeastern Conference named Kentucky senior Tayshaun Prince its Player of the Week for Dec. 24-Jan. 1.
The 6-9 senior was very consistent in late December, tallying 17 points and nine rebounds against Duke, 17 and 11 against the Hoosiers and 18 and nine against the Cardinals. The double-double against Indiana was his third this season and the 10th of his career.
It was his first SEC Player of the Week honor this season and the first by a Cat. Prince won the award once as a sophomore and twice last season.
Point guard J.P. Blevins broke his right wrist against Indiana on Dec. 22. UK physicians successfully inserted a screw in his right wrist Dec. 27.
Blevins suffered the injury during a lay-up attempt in the first half against the Hoosiers.
He has played in seven games this season with three starts, averaging 2.7 points and 1.4 assists per game. He missed the first two games of the season - the NABC Classic - with a severely sprained right ankle that he injured in the Athletes in Action game (exh.) on Nov. 11.
Marvin Stone was dismissed from the Kentucky men's basketball team on Dec. 27. The 6-10 junior failed to return from the holiday break and became the first player to be dismissed from the Wildcats' basketball team in Smith's five seasons.
Stone averaged 5.3 points and 4.0 rebounds per game. He saw action in all nine contests, starting the first two, and averaged 13.9 minutes per game.
The Huntsville, Ala., native totaled 397 points and 314 rebounds in his career after playing in 75 games with 11 starts.
He transferred to Louisville.
Prince On Wooden List
Tayshaun Prince was among the Top 30 candidates for the Wooden Award in its midseason poll released Dec. 28. Prince was a Wooden All-American last year. This year's honors will be announced March 26 and include the 10-member All-America team and college basketball's Most Outstanding Player.
The new floor at Rupp Arena was named "Cawood's Court" in ceremonies before the Louisville game. The tribute honors Cawood Ledford, who was the beloved "Voice of the Wildcats" for 39 years (1953-92). Ledford passed away in early September following a long battle with cancer.
The ceremony included the unveiling of a logo courtside not far from where he called ll the action and a donation by two area businesses to the Cawood Ledford Scholarship Fund at UK. The fund was established in 1992 to assist former student-athletes in completing their degrees.
Hawk's Shooting Eye
Cliff Hawkins recorded back-to-back career highs in December.
The sophomore tallied 15 points against Duke including nine of the Cats' first 11 in overtime. He then returned to score 17 points against Indiana four days later. For the week, he averaged 16 ppg and 4.0 apg.
Within the Borders
Kentucky's 20-point win over Louisville closed out a four-game schedule this season with state schools. UK finished with a 3-1 record in those games. It was the most games with instate schools since the 1920-21 season.
The Cats fell to Western Kentucky and defeated Morehead State, Kentucky State and Louisville. They faced Kentucky Wesleyan, Cumberland, Georgetown and Centre during the '21 season, posting a 5-1 record in the meetings.
Carruth Burned Devils
Rashaad Carruth broke out against Duke, taking control of the offensive end during the first half to total 14 points in the period after scoring 12 all season.
He finished the game with 19 points on 7-of-10 shooting and set or tied career highs in every category.
Carruth missed the first month of the season with a high ankle sprain and played in only three games prior to the Duke contest.
Cats vs. No. 1 Teams
After falling to top-ranked Duke, 95-92, in overtime on Dec. 18, Kentucky fell to 4-9 against No.1-ranked teams in the AP poll since 1949.
The Wildcats played Duke two other times when the Blue Devils were ranked No. 1 in the country. Duke won both games, 80-55 on Nov. 19, 1988 and 104-103 in overtime on March 28, 1992.
Kentucky's last win over a top-ranked team was an 81-74 victory against UMass at the Meadowlands in the NCAA Semifinals on March 30, 1996.
December to Remember
Kentucky kicked off a highly anticipated December schedule of great rivalries on Dec. 8 with a 79-59 rout of North Carolina. After 118-63 win over Kentucky State, the Wildcats lost a thrilling overtime game to No. 1 Duke, 95-92, in the Jimmy V Classic. After holding Indiana to 32.1% shooting in a 66-52 win in the RCA Dome, the Cats finished off the Rick Pitino-coached Louisville Cards, 82-62.
Tayshaun Prince's effort vs. UNC won't soon be forgotten. Along with his three-point shooting display, Prince totaled 31 points, 11 rebounds and four steals. He matched his career scoring and steals totals. It was his second consecutive double-double, the ninth of his career.
Prince's streak of five three-pointers on five straight possessions to start the North Carolina game were the first of seven for the game, all coming in the opening half. His fifth, just a few inches inside the "U" at center court, measured nearly 30'.
His seven 3FGs in a half tied Derrick Miller for the most threes scored in a half at Kentucky. Miller also drained seven to start the Kansas game on Dec. 9, 1989 before finishing with eight threes in the game.
Prince's seven, however, were the most treys recorded by a Wildcat in Rupp Arena as Miller's came in the Jayhawks' storied Allen Field House.
Queen City Mark
In November, Kentucky played its fifth consecutive season at the Firstar Center in Cincinnati, defeating Kent State, 82-68. The Wildcats are now 6-1 all-time in the arena.
Kentucky is 81-18 in season openers after its loss to Western Kentucky in the NABC Classic. Last season, the Cats were upset in New York by St. John's, 62-61. Tubby Smith is 8-3 in season openers during his head coaching career.
Kentucky is 84-15 all-time in home openers after the loss to WKU. Nine of those losses occurred before Adolph Rupp began coaching in 1930. The Cats are 65-6 since 1930, losing the home opener in 1955 to Temple, 1962 to Va. Tech, 1972 to Iowa, 1988 to Northwestern State, 2000 to Penn State and this season to Western Kentucky.
UK now stands at 23-3 in home openers at Rupp Arena.
AP Names Prince All-American
Forward Tayshaun Prince added yet another honor to his resume in November as he was named to the The Associated Press Preseason All-America team, the only senior on the list.
Prince joined Duke's Jason Williams, Stanford's Casey Jacobsen, Missouri's Kareem Rush and Illinois' Frank Williams.
Prince is just the second Wildcat to earn the preseason honor from the AP since the national news organization began naming a preseason team in 1985. Jamal Mashburn was a preseason All-American prior to the 1992-93 season.
Prince also was named first-team Preseason All-America by collegeinsider.com, Athlon Sports, Blue Ribbon Basketball, The Sporting News and Basketball News.
He was a second-team selection by AP at the end of last season.
Prince, Bogans on Wooden List
Tayshaun Prince and Keith Bogans were both named to the preseason Wooden Award Candidate list for 2001-02.
Only 50 college basketball players make the prestigious list, which culminates in the presentation of the Wooden Award for the nation's best collegiate basketball player each April.
The award was started in 1976 and has seen past winners that include Michael Jordan, Larry Bird and Tim Duncan. No Kentucky Wildcat has ever claimed the honor.
Jason Parker underwent his second ACL surgery on his right knee in four months when he had a patella tendon autograft performed by team physicians Darren Johnson and Scott Mair on Nov. 1. Parker injured the knee June 24 in a pickup basketball game and had his initial surgery July 2. He retore the ligament prior to introductions for Big Blue Madness on Oct. 12.
Parker will miss the 2001-02 season as a redshirt. He will have three years of eligibility remaining.
Kentucky lost one senior from last year, returning 12 lettermen and four starters from a team that finished as co-champions of the Southeastern Conference and won the league tournament. With the loss of Jason Parker for the season, the numbers change to three returning starters. The statistics below reflect the returning production, excluding Parker:
Points - 80.6%
Rebounds - 82.4%
Assists - 71.4%
Blocks - 83.4%
Steals - 72.1%
Their Old Kentucky Home
This season's roster boasts six products from the Bluegrass State, the most since the 1991 season.
J.P. Blevins (Edmonton), Marquis Estill (Richmond), Cory Sears (Corbin), Matt Heissenbuttel (Lexington), Josh Carrier (Bowling Green) and Adam Chiles (Louisville) all hail from within the state's borders.
In '91, Reggie Hanson, Richie Farmer, John Pelphrey, Deron Feldhaus, Michael Parks and Todd Bearup all came from Kentucky. Much like Sears and Heissenbuttel, Parks and Bearup were both walk-ons 11 seasons ago.
Fans attending UK home games will recognize changes at floor level. In addition to the new floor that was purchased last summer, courtside fan seating has been added as well. Currently, 20 new "scholarship seats" have displaced some traditional media seating and been installed on press row. The 20 seats were sold for $313,000 a pair and the revenue generated will go to endow all 13 men's basketball scholarships. There are still four pairs remaining to be sold.
Kentucky celebrated its 25th season in the first built-for-basketball arena last year, playing for a quarter of a century on the original floor. Pieces of the original floor were auctioned off prior to the charity game, "A Night of True Champions," on Aug. 11, raising more than $38,000. The money was split between the UK Basketball Museum, the KHSAA and the Lexington Civic Center for the purchase of the new floor.
The new floor was designed by UK in conjunction with Lexington Civic Center officials. It was constructed by Robbins, Inc., in Cincinnati, Ohio at a cost of $125,000.
BIG BLUE MANIA
Back In Town
Several former Wildcats have appeared back in the Bluegrass in recent weeks. Heshimu Evans, Kentucky's spark off the bench in the Cats' drive to the '98 title, has been playing this season in Portugal. He was home at the end of January on a one-week break and was spotted participating i nthe "Y" cheer at UK's game with Alabama on Jan. 26.
Jeff Sheppard, the 1998 Final Four MVP, is back from his professional playing career in Italy. He was spotted updating his resume in CATS a few weeks ago. He's living in London, Ky., with his wife Stacey, a former star of the women's team, and their daughter, Madison.
Allen Edwards, a teammate of Sheppard's, is back in school on the Cawood Ledford Scholarship fund. He's one of three Wildcats taking advantage of the fund, which allows former student-athletes to return to school after their eligibility has expired to complete their degree requirments. Also enrolled is Derrick Miller ('90) and Dale Brown ('93).
Jared Prickett ('97) returned from his professional career in Argentina due to the South America country's severe recession. He's hoping to return to Europe later this season.
Keightley In 41st Season, Works 1,250th Game
Equipment manager Bill Keightley is in his 41st season in the UK program. Against Auburn, the beloved Mr. Wildcat worked his 1,250th UK game, after serving on the Wildcats' staff since 1961-62. He's watched the Cats roll to a 957-294 record during that era.
Keightley, who has a jersey retired in the rafters of Rupp Arena, has worked under five different head coaches at UK -- Rupp, Hall, Sutton, Pitino and Smith.
Wiggins Passes 1,200
Big Blue fan Bob Wiggins continues his amazing streak of following the basketball Cats. In all, he's in his 49th season watching Kentucky play in person and through his own record keeping, has attended 1,209 UK games.
Wiggins, who is retired and lives in Falmouth, Ky., saw 615 consecutive games -- home and away -- from 1977 until he suffered a heart attack just before the 1996 Great Alaska Shootout. It's the second-longest streak on record at UK.
The illness forced him to miss four games, but he has since returned to see every contest in person, a streak of 195 games.
Meanwhile, his home court streak is still intact. Wiggins has not missed a home game in 41 years, a streak spanning 585 games. During that period, which dates back to 1960-61, UK has a home record of 519-66.
UK's NBA Players
To start the 2001-02 NBA season, the following Wildcats were active:
Derek Anderson Portland
Tony Delk Phoenix
Walter McCarty Boston
Jamaal Magloire Charlotte
Jamal Mashburn Charlotte
Ron Mercer Chicago
Nazr Mohammed Atlanta
Scott Padgett Utah
Mark Pope Milwaukee
Antoine Walker Boston
In addition, former UK assistant coach Jim O'Brien is the head coach of the Boston Celtics while former UK All-American Pat Riley coaches the Miami Heat.
-- Go Cats --