[Editor's Note: I had to issue a correction to this post as I erroneously listed Walter McCarty as the 1996 small forward. It should have been Derek Anderson. That's what I get for trying to do two things at once. Please re-vote if you have already voted once]
As we move along to selecting our All-Final Four team, the next position up for the consideration of the Big Blue Nation is the three spot, or small forward.
There have been some great players at Kentucky in this position. The three spot has historically been a high-scoring position for the Wildcats, and the position is often a pivotal one for team success. So without further ado, let me introduce the candidates for All-Final Four small forward, post-1977:
Jack Givens, 1978 -- Nobody will every forget the performance of Jack "Goose" Givens versus the Duke Blue Devils in the 1978 national championship game. His 41 points and 8 rebounds remains one of the all-time great NCAA championship game single-player performances ever. Givens' accomplishments and plaudits are too ling to list, but among them was three-time all-American, 1978 National Player of the Year, and Most Outstanding Player in the 1978 NCAA Final Four. Givens averaged 18 points and 6.8 rebounds for Kentucky in 1978, and was drafted 16th overall in the first round of the 1978 NBA Draft by the Atlanta Hawks.
Kenny Walker, 1984 -- It seems funny to think of Kenny Walker as a small forward, but that's the position he played for the 1984 Final Four team. Walker was mostly known as a power player, doing most of his damage inside. But compared to Melvin (Big Dipper) Turpin and Sam Bowie, Walker was the little guy on the front line. Walker was not an all-American in 1984, but he was in 1986, as well as the SEC Player of the Year. Walker averaged 13 points and 5.9 rebounds in 1984, and was drafted 5th overall in the first round of the 1986 NBA Draft by the New York Knicks.
Rodrick Rhodes, 1993 -- Rodrick Rhodes was ranked the #2 recruit in the nation, and was a Parade and McDonald's All American, the most decorated recruit of Rick Pitino's career at Kentucky at that time. Rhodes was a classic slasher, but struggled with his perimeter shooting throughout most of his career at Kentucky, but not his first year, where he shot 38% from long range. In 1993, his first year with the Wildcats, Rhodes was more of a role player as a freshman than a star. Rhodes averaged 9 points and 2.4 rebounds in 1993, and transferred to Southern Cal in 1995. Rhodes was drafted 24th overall in the first round of the 1997 NBA Draft by the Houston Rockets.
Derek Anderson, 1996 -- [Note -- an earlier version erroneously listed Walter McCarty in this spot] Derrick Anderson, originally from Louisville Doss, signed and played two years for the Ohio St. Buckeyes before transferring to Kentucky. Anderson was a sweet-shooting, athletic wing with a big smile and a dynamic transition game. Anderson was selected to the All-Regional team in 1996. He averaged 9 points and 3.4 rebounds, and was drafted #13 overall in 1997 by the Cleveland Cavaliers.
Ron Mercer, 1997 -- Ron Mercer was the first and only consensus national #1 high school player recruited by Rick Pitino during his tenure at Kentucky, a Parade and McDonald's all-American. Mercer was a dynamic player who could shoot, get out on the break, and rebound his position. Mercer was a consensus all-American in his sophomore and final year at Kentucky. Mercer averaged 18 points and 5.3 rebounds, and was drafted #6 overall in the 1997 NBA Draft by the Boston Celtics.
Allen Edwards, 1998 -- Allen Edwards was the starter in 1998 for the surprising Kentucky Wildcats. Edwards was Mr. Basketball in the state of Florida in 1994. Edwards was a solid but unspectacular small forward for Kentucky, although an underrated passer. Edwards averaged 9 points and 3.2 rebounds for Kentucky in 1998, and was not drafted.
Darius Miller, 2011 -- Darius Miller was the three man for last year's team, and a very good one. Miller was Kentucky's 2008 Mr. Basketball and a Parade all-American. Miller has developed into a good shooter and a dangerous scorer inside versus smaller players. In 2011, Miller was the SEC Tournament MVP, and averaged 11 points and 4.6 rebounds. Miller will return for his senior season in 2011-12.
Cast your vote for the favorite. The top two in the voting will be placed on the team.