GEORGE BUCHHEIT coached the team from 1919-1925 and focused on defense with one player standing beneath the basket and three on the court. In 1921, they won the first-ever Southern Intercollegiate Athletic Association and the Wildcats became known as the “Wonder Team.”
ADOLPH RUPP coached the Wildcats from 1930-1972, an impressive 42 years, where he earned the nicknames “Baron of the Bluegrass” and “The Man in the Brown Suit.” A fierce competitor, Rupp was an innovator of the fast break and set offense. Under Rupp’s guidance, the Kentucky Wildcats appeared in 20 NCAA tournaments and won four NCAA Championships. In 1948 and 1949, the team won back to back championships.
After Rupp, the team went through a series of ups and downs, scandals, and many curious nicknames. In 1989, the Emery scandal involved sophomore Eric Manuel who was suspected of cheating on entrance exams and left the team reeling. They began to improve in 1991 with Sean Woods, John Pelphrey, Richie Farmer, Deron Feldhaus, Reggie Hanson, and Jamal Mashburn. The team went through a series of nicknames including The Untouchables, The Unbelievables, and The Tweakables.
JOHN CALIPARI is the current head coach and began the career in 2009. He began coaching with recruiting some of the best new players, including John Wall, DeMarcus Cousins, Daniel Orton, and Eric Bledsoe. Even though the Wildcats failed to reach the final four this year, they still remain an honored team.
SOME OF THE MOST HONORED PLAYERS INCLUDE:
- Alex Groza played from 1945-1949 and was the captain and center for the “Fabulous Five.” Groza was three-time All-American and All-SEC. He was also named twice for the NCAA Final Four Most Outstanding Player.
- Jamal Mashburn was on the Wildcats from 1990-1993. He was one of the leading scorers for the team and was an All-American.
- DeMarcus Cousins played from 2009-2010 on the Wildcats but almost played for Alabama. Cousins averaged 15.1 points, 9.8 rebounds and 1.8 blocks per game.
- Devin Booker played from 2014-2015 when he was quickly drafted by the Phoenix Suns. In the 38 games he played for Kentucky, Booker averaged 10 points, two rebounds, and 1.1 assists.
It takes a lot of hard work and determination to be on a team as successful as the Kentucky Wildcats. To keep up your game, sign up for a basketball camp with Mike Scott. Through drills and competitive tournaments, Mike Scott’s youth basketball leagues are quickly becoming a must for young basketball lovers.