We now come to the fourth position of the Kentucky Wildcats post-1977 All-Final Four team -- That of power forward or big forward. This is a position that has some truly great nominees.
Rick Robey, 1978 -- Robey was the second leading scorer and leading rebounder for the NCAA Tournament champion Kentucky Wildcats in 1978. He was largely hidden by the huge, 41-point shadow cast by Jack "Goose" Givens in the 1978 championship game versus the Duke Blue Devils, but Robey had an outstanding game with 20 points and 11 rebounds on 8-11 shooting against the Duke zone. Robey was Mr. Basketball in Louisiana, two-time all-American and three-time all-SEC. Robey was drafted #3 overall in 1978 by the Indiana Pacers.
Sam Bowie, 1984 -- Nobody will forget what a great player Sam Bowie was, nor how much greater he could have been absent all the injuries he suffered at Kentucky, as well as later on in his pro career. Much like Rick Roby and Mike Phillps played a twin towers game, Melvin Turpin and Sam Bowie were the later version. Bowie could move really well without the ball and shot it like a guard. Bowie was a Parade and McDonalds all-American, three time all-SEC and two-time all-American. He was drafted #2 overall in the 1984 NBA Draft, the highest NBA draft choice by a Wildcat ever until John Wall went #1 in 2010.
Jamal Mashburn, 1993 -- Nobody will ever forget the "Monster Mash," Rick Pitino's first truly outstanding player. Mashburn was perhaps the archetype of the modern college power forward, a player who had incredible hands, great size, could post up players much bigger than him, and one of the softest shooting touches ever to grace Kentucky hardwood.
There was nothing that Mashburn could not do -- shoot, dribble, pass, rebound -- he was everything you could ever want in a four player, and then some. Mashburn was Mr. Basketball in the State of New York, a Parade all-American, 3-time all-SEC, 2-time all-American, SEC Player of the year and all-NCAA Final Four. Mashburn was drafted #4 overall by the Dallas Mavericks after leading Kentucky to the Final Four his junior year.
Antoine Walker, 1996 -- Walker may have only played two years at Kentucky, but in those two years he made some serious statistical hay and helped Kentucky win the NCAA Tournament championship. Walker was a power player who thought he was a finesse player, and he had a propensity for shooting untimely threes,and shooting them rather poorly. He attempted 103 threes in 2 years, making only 25.2% of them. Walker's strength was post play, and rebounding, and in particular, offensive rebounding.
For his career, Walker averaged almost 39% offensive rebounds, enabling him to shoot a very high percentage close to the basket. Walker was the Gatorade Player of the Year (a la Brandon Knight), a Parade and McDonalds all-American, SEC Tournament MVP, all-SEC, and all-SEC Tournament. Walker entered the 1996 NBA Draft after his sophomore year and was drafted #6 by the Boston Celtics.
Scott Padgett, 1997, 1998 -- Padget had ups and downs at Kentucky, particularly his freshman year. After being sparsely played in 1994-95, Padgett ran into attitude and academic difficulties that rendered him ineligible for the 1995-96 season. He got his act together and was the starting power forward for two trips to the NCAA Tournament finals, one of which ended in a title.
There have been many great teams at Kentucky but very few players made as much of an impact on Kentucky history as Padgett did, and even though he was a below average rebounder for a 4-spot player, he was an outstanding shooter and passer. Padgett was 2-time all-Final Four, 2-time all-SEC, 2-time Academic all-SEC, 2-time all-NCAA Regional, SEC Tournament MVP. Padgett was drafted #28 overall in the first round of the 1999 NBA draft by the Utah Jazz.
Terrence Jones, 2011 -- Jones is the only current player to be considered for the Kentucky all-Final Four team, and as such, his chapter in the glorious history of the Wildcats is still being written. However, for the purposes of this selection, we have to consider only what he has done so far. Jones had an outstanding freshman season last year, and gaging his impact is easiest by percentages: Jones had 25% or more of the team's free throws (made and attempted), defensive rebounds, and blocks. He was a major contributor to offensive rebounding, field goals made and attempted, and points scored. He can only get better next year.
Jones was Mr. Basketball of the State of Oregon, Parade and McDonalds all-American, and all-SEC his freshman year. Jones declared for the 2011 NBA Draft, but decided not to stay in.
There it is, ladies and gentlemen of the Big Blue Nation -- your power forward nominees. Vote away.