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The 1979 UK Recruiting Class > Best Ever?

The 1979 HS class is considered by many observers to be the best group ever. 

Joe Hall and his staff landed several of the very best from that class and just missed on a couple of others.

Sam Bowie was National POY (by some) and ranked #3 by Gibbons.

Derrick Hord was 2-time HS All-American and ranked #5 by Gibbons.

Dirk Minniefield was UK's 3rd McDonalds A-A in the class (Mr Basketball in KY) and rated #20 by Gibbons.

Charles Hurt was Parade HS All-American (UK's 4th HS A-A in that class) and rated #36 by Gibbons.

Tom Heitz was a well regarded player from Indiana (hisnephew Brad Miller is now playing in the NBA) who rounded out the class.

As many know, UK nearly landed Ralph Sampson that year. Sampson was rated #1 by Gibbons and was the consensus POY in 1979. He picked Virginia over UK at the end.

UK also finished #2 for Steve Stipanovich (#10 Gibbons), Jimmy Braddock (#17 Gibbons), Clark Kellogg (#2 Gibbons), and Howard Carter (#50 Gibbons).

Melvin Turpin (#79 Gibbons that year) eventually became a Cat after a 5th year in Prep School.

Gibbons called the class, "Tops by a mile!" and "... perhaps the best recruiting year ever!" in his year end evaluation.

(Note: I rank the 1965 UCLA class as the best ever - Alcindor, Allen, Shackelford, Heitz. They were undefeated as Frosh and 88-2 on the Varsity winning 3 straight NCAA titles)

How did the 79 Cat recruits do at UK? Well, not as well as you might have expected.

The Cats were 96-28 (24-7 average) over 4 seasons. They won several SEC titles but no SECT championships. Overall 2-4 in SECT and 3-4 in NCAA games. A big reason why that class "underachieved" was that Bowie was injured and missed 1982 and 83 seasons entirely.

So just fair (in terms of results) but still the most highly rated UK recruiting class. 

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