Former Kentucky stars Rick Robey and Bobby Watson were inducted into the Kentucky Athletic Hall of Fame Thursday night at the Crowne Plaza Hotel in Louisville. Robey starred for Joe B. Hall's 1978 title team, earning All-America honors in 1977 and '78. Watson started at guard for Adolph Rupp's 1951 championship squad, where he brandished an exquisite two-hand set shot. Watson, who was tabbed a first team All-SEC selection in 1951, was named an All-America in 1952, his senior year. Watson, an Owensboro native, also played tennis at UK.
Watson played one year in the NBA (with the Milwaukee Hawks), and later got into coaching, winning not one but two Kentucky high school basketball state championships; the first in 1972 and again in 1980, as he guided Owensboro High School to twin Sweet 16 titles. He was named Kentucky High School Basketball Coach of the Year in '80.
Watson's most notable pupil was Kenny Higgs, who played for Owensboro from 1971 to 1974. Higgs matriculated to LSU and played for Dale Brown on some of Brown's best Tiger teams (for two years Higgs played alongside another Kentucky native, Shawnee High School's Rudy Macklin). He played three seasons in the NBA, ending his career with Denver in 1981.
Another name familiar to Kentucky fans was also inducted: Homer Rice, a Bellevue, Ky. native and former UK assistant football coach (1962-1965, offensive coordinator under Charlie Bradshaw), who later went on to a very successful career as an athletic director at both North Carolina (1969-1975) and Georgia Tech (1980-1997).
Inducted alongside Robey, Watson, and Rice, were former Florida State basketball star and long-time college head coach Hugh Durham, former Louisville Lady Cardinal Angel McCoughtry, former U of L and Indiana head football coach Lee Corso, Claiborne Farms owner Seth Hancock, and yes, Churchill Downs.
The Lexington-Herald Leader's Jennifer Smith has the full story.
In other news:
SportsIllustrated.com's Luke Winn has been thinking about balance. After watching UK run relative roughshod over its NCAA tourney foes, and doing so with such outstanding scoring balance, Winn began to wonder just how balanced the 2012 Kentucky squad was compared to other national champions of this era. Winn not only wondered, he did something about it.
In this very interesting piece, Winn breaks down how he applies the metrics he uses which allows him to quantify how balanced a team is, and then ranks, from first to last, the most balanced national title winners since 1997.
It should not come as a surprise to Kentucky basketball fans that the 2012 team ranks high on Winn's list. Outside of the 'Cats great defensive play, and unusual team chemistry, the squad's balanced scoring -- knowing any night, any one of six players could explode for 20-plus points -- was its strong suit.
Give Winn's piece a read, it's worth the time.