Ken Howlett's Top 50 College Players since '78-'79

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In an effort to counter-balance our good friend Dick Vitale's upcoming list of the Top 50 college basketball players since the '78-'79 season, I thought I would put together a list of my own.  Vitale has issued a warning to UK fans via the Herald-Leader's own Jerry Tipton by stating that he "wouldn't be so sure" that UK will place any players on his list ( or is he just yanking our collective Big Blue chain?).  Well, since none of UK's players perform in the ACC, I guess that doesn't come as a shock. 

We'll assume that the winners of the Naismith Award ( no UK player has ever won the Naismith ), given annually since 1969 to the best college basketball player, will take up thirty of the fifty spots.  So I'm left to rank the remaining Top 20.  And away we go:

1.  Kenny Walker '82-'86, UK --  Two-time All-America '85 and '86, two-time SEC Player of the Year '85 and '86, three-time 1st team All-SEC '84-'86.  Walker averaged 15.8 points per game for his career ( he averaged 22.9 and 20.0 respectively in his junior and senior years ).  He averaged 7.1 rebounds per game for his career, and shot 57.1% from the field for his career.

2.  Jamal Mashburn '90-'93, UK -- Two-time All-America '92 and '93, two-time 1st Team All-SEC '92 and '93, SEC Player of the Year in '93, All-NCAA Final Four - '92, SEC Tournament MVP '92, All-SEC Tournament Team '91. Mashburn average 18.8 points per game in his three year career ( he averaged 21.3, and 21.0 ppg respectively his sophomore and junior years ).  He made 51.6% of his field goals, and 37.6% of his three-point attempts for his career.

3.  Kyle Macy '77-'80, UK -- DISCLAIMER -- Macy played one year at Kentucky ( and one year at Purdue before transferring ) prior to the beginning of the time period ( '78-'79 to '07-'08 seasons ) for these ratings -- Three-time All-America '77-80, three-time 1st Team All-SEC '77-'80, SEC Player of the Year '80, SEC Tournament MVP '79, two-time All-SEC Tournament Team '79 and '80.  Macy averaged 14.4 points per game for his UK career.  He also averaged 4.8 assists per game.  He shot 52.1% from the field, and 89% from the free throw line ( 91.2% in senior year ).

4.  Tony Delk '92-'96, UK -- All-America '96, three-time All-SEC, SEC Player of the Year '96, All-SEC Tournament Team '94, All-NCAA Final Four Most Outstanding Player '96, NCAA Regional Most Outstanding Player '96, All-NCAA Regional Team '95 and '96.  Delk averaged 14.2 points per game for his career ( 17.7 senior year, 16.7 junior year, 16.6 sophomore year ).  He made 39.7% of his three-point attempts for his career ( 44.0% his senior year ).

5.  Tayshaun Prince '98-'02, UK -- Two-time All-America '01 and '02, three-time All-SEC '00-'03, SEC Player of the Year '01, SEC Tournament MVP '01.  Prince averaged 13.1 points per game in his career ( 16.9 and 17.5 his junior and senior years ).  He made 46% of his shots for his career, and averaged 5.6 rebounds per game.

6.  Sam Bowie '79-'81, '84, UK -- Two-time All-America '81 and '84, three-time All-SEC '80, '81 and '84, All-SEC Tournament Team '80.  Bowie averaged 13.4 points per game for his career ( 13.0 and 17.4 his freshman and sophomore years ).  He made 52.2% of his shots, and averaged 8.8 rebounds for his career.

7. Melvin Turpin '80-'84, UK -- Two-time All-America '83 and '84, three-time All-SEC '82-'84, All-SEC Tournament Team '84, All-NCAA Regional Team '83 and '84.  Turpin averaged 12.3 points per game for his career ( 15.1 and 15.2 for his junior and senior years ).  He made 59.1% of his shots, and averaged 5.9 rebounds per game for his career.

8. Ron Mercer '95-'97, UK -- All-America '97, SEC Player of the Year '97, SEC Tournament MVP '97, NCAA Regional Most Outstanding Player '97, two-time All-NCAA Final Four Team.  Mercer averaged 13.3 points per game for his two year career ( he averaged 18.1 his sophomore year ).  He also averaged 4.1 rebounds per game for his career.

9. Scott Padgett '94-'95, '96-'99, UK -- All America '98, two-time All-SEC '98 and '99, SEC Tournament MVP '99, All-SEC Tournament Team '98, two-time All-NCAA Final Four Team '97 and '98, two-time All-NCAA Regional Team '97 and '98.  Padgett averaged 10.3 points per game over his career ( 12.6 his senior year ).  He made 38.1% of his three's his senior year, and 5.3 rebounds for his career.

10. Keith Bogans '99-'03, UK -- All-America '03, two-time All-SEC, SEC Player of the Year '03, SEC Tournament MVP '03, All-SEC Tournament Team '01.  Bogans averaged 14.2 points per game for his career ( 17.0 and 15.7 his sophomore and senior years ).  He made 38.3% of his three-point attempts his senior year, and 4.1 rebounds per game for his career.

11. Rex Chapman '86-'88, UK -- All-America '88, two-time All-SEC, SEC Tournament MVP '88.  King Rex averaged 17.6 points per game for his two career.  He made 40% of his three-point attempts for his career, as well as 48% of all shots for his career. 

12.  Dirk Minniefield '79-'83, UK -- Three-time All-SEC '80-'83, SEC Tournament MVP '82.  Minniefield's 646 career assists ranks #1 in the UK records books.  Minniefield made 52.4% of his shots for his career ( 55.0% and 54.3% his sophomore and senior years ).

13. Winston Bennett '83-'86, '88, UK -- Two-time All-SEC '86 and '88, All-NCAA Regional Team '86, All-SEC Tournament Team '88.  Bennett averaged 10.5 points per game for his career ( 15.3 his senior year ), as well as 6.0 rebonds per game ( 7.8 his senior year ).  He made 48.4% of his shots for his career ( 51.3% his senior year ).

14.  Chuck Hayes '01-'05, UK -- Two-time All-SEC '04 and '05,  All-SEC Tournament Team '04,  NCAA Regional '05, SEC Defensive Player of the Year '05.  Hayes made 50.3% of his shots for his career.  He also averaged 6.8 rebounds per game for his career ( 8.1 and 7.7 his junior and senior years ).

15.  Travis Ford '91-'94, UK -- Two-time All-SEC '93 and '94, two-time SEC Tournament MVP '93 and '94, NCAA Regional Most Outstanding Player '93.  Ford made 44.4% of his three-point attempts in his three year career at UK ( he transferred from Missouri after his freshman year ).  He averaged 9.5 points per game for his career (13.6 and 11.3 his junior and senior years ).  Ford averaged 5.8 assists per game his senior year.

16. Wayne Turner '95-'99, UK -- All-NCAA Regional Team '97, NCAA Regional Most Outstanding Player '98, SEC Tournament MVP '98, All-SEC '99, All-SEC Tournament Team '99.  Turner played in three straight Final Fours.  For his career he made 49% of his shots, and he averaged 4.4 assists per game his junior year.

17, 18, 19, 20.  The Unforgettables -- John Pelphrey, Sean Woods, Deron Feldhaus, and Richie Farmer '88-'92 ( Pelphrey and Feldhaus red-shirted the '87-'88 season, and Woods was ineligible the '88-'89 season ).  These four players are responsible for resuscitating Kentucky basketball from the probation induced near-death experience.

So there you have it.  My Top 50 best college basketball players since the '78-'79 season.  Hopefully, Dickie V will consider some of these great players for his list instead of including Chris Collins, Cherokee Parks, and Steve Wojciechowski.

Thanks for reading, and Go 'Cats! 

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