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WHERE DEY IS NOW? Alumni report: Keith Bogans

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Not that many people probably remember this now, or rather even know it existed, but this site actually grew out of a blogspot blog I started for my rantings and ravings.

The name of that blog was Bogans' Heroes, named for my favorite Tubby Smith recruited player, and a guy who may be the best all-around player in school history, though few give him much credit.

Keith Bogans' non-participation in a Final Four probably excludes him from the Rafters at Rupp (or new Rupp ... or Fifth Third Arena et al, ad nauseum), but that shouldn't diminish that he was the only player in UK history to score 1,700 points, amass 500+ rebounds and dish out 300+ dimes. He also added 150+ steals.

So it is with some pride and a little positive nod to former Coach Tubby Smith that I post a little NBA update on Mr. Bogans, who will open this season as the starting two-guard for the Orlando Magic.

From the article and from following my former fave Cat, it's clear Bogans took a lot from his college days, and it's paid off. While many of his McDonalds All-American peers were scoring at will in college and doing little else, Bogans was busting his hump learning aggressive man-to-man defense. And now, while he isn't exactly the star that he might have expected he be at age 18, Bogans is starting in the NBA, not for a rec league or some Turkish also-ran. Whither Joe Forte, hmm?

"Whether I'm starting or not I know I bring something to this team," he said. "I play defense first and I want to guard the best guy every night. Whether he gives me 40 points or I shut him down, I want that challenge of guarding the best guy."

Turns out, Bogans' transformation from a junior year flop to a senior year leader was more formative than we initially believed. And good for him.

As much as we UK fans have raked Smith over the coals for his perceived lack of player development -- and for turning the few high profile recruits' offensive skills into mush -- the defensive whiz's track record for churning out guys who get at it defensely is impressive. Tayshaun Prince, Rajon Rondo, Chuck Hayes, Bogans, Kelenna Azubuike and even new Knick Randolph Morris all are making the grade defensively and doing the little things coaches love. Sure, we could harp on how most of those guys didn't light it up offensively, but they're all in the league. And while some of those lottery picks finish out their guaranteed contracts and fade away, look who's starting in the NBA now? (Hint: all of those guys not named Morris).

So as you scan your box scores over breakfast, remember that while the familiar Wildcats names might not have impressive scoring numbers after their names, they are exceptional all-around talents, whose will and hard work make them invaluable to their teams.

Exactly as Tubby would have wanted.  Bravo, gentlemen.