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1960 UK Recruiting > Oh, What Might Have Been

UK signed HS All-American Cotton Nash as the headliner in its 1960 recruiting class. Ted Deeken of state champion Louisville Flaget was another signee. KY All-Star Charles Ishmael was a good addition to the class. Tom Harper and George Critz filled out the class but neither did much at UK.

But, oh, what might have been. UK missed out on HS All-American Jeff Mullins from Lexington Lafayette that year. Mullins went on to become a college All-American at Duke and led the Blue Devils to 1964 FF.

UK did sign 6-8 Gary Bradds from Greenview HS near Dayton. Bradds was an All-Stater in Ohio. He attended UK for 2 days then left to enroll at Ohio State. (Legal to do that in those days) Bradds became a high scoring All-American for the Buckeyes and played in 1962 FF.

Last but not least, UK signed 6-0 Buster Briley that year. Briley was HS All-American but ended up at Evansville due to grades. Clipped from an Evansville newspaper article:

Did the mention of Buster Briley bring back some memories about him! And his connection with UK.

Don “Quack” Butler worked as a recruiter for UK football coach Blanton Collier. When Adolph Rupp found out, he stormed into athletic director Bernie Shively’s office and demanded to know why he couldn’t hire Butler to recruit basketball players for him, too.

Shively gave Rupp the green light.

So Butler, who had won the title of Kentucky’s best jitterbug dancer, went to Madison to scout Briley. On his way back to his Owensboro home, he stopped in Louisville and visited me in The Courier-Journal Sports Department.

I knew that he was going to Madison, and I asked him how he did with Briley.

Butler pulled out a grant-in-aid form – signed by all of the right members of the player’s family!

“How about that!” he said. “Adolph didn’t send me up there for nothing.”

But that made Briley ineligible under rules of the Indiana High School Athletic Association.

When Madison coach Bud Ritter learned what had happened, he called coach Rupp and told him that he guaranteed that his star player would go to UK if Rupp would tear up the grant-in-aid. Rupp did as he was asked.

As it tuned out, Briley went to Evansville because of grades.

Almost a Wildcat

And one of these days I will tell you an even better story of one of basketball’s all-time college and NBA greats who wanted to be a Wildcat. It almost broke the heart of UK’s coach when he couldn’t get the Hoosier star in UK.


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