Kentucky Basketball: 5 Pieces of Trivia Every Wildcats Fan Should Know

Bobby ReaganFeatured ColumnistAugust 15, 2013

Kentucky Basketball: 5 Pieces of Trivia Every Wildcats Fan Should Know

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    Kentucky basketball is arguably the most storied NCAA program, full of history stretching back to the early 1900s. There is a plethora of trivia questions you can ask about the Wildcats from any decade due to their success.

    For those die-hard members of Big Blue Nation, they may want to be challenged and be asked a question that involves Kentucky playing its home games in Buell Armory Gymnasium.

    The following five questions though, are not meant to be brain-busters. In fact, even the most junior member of Big Blue Nation should be able to get these answers correct. 

Who Was Famously Drafted Before Michael Jordan in the 1984 NBA Draft?

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    It's commonly regarded as the biggest draft mistake in the history of sports. The Portland Trailblazers passed on arguably the greatest player of all time in Michael Jordan for an injury-prone player in Sam Bowie. 

    Bowiewhen healthywas one of the best players in college basketball. Standing at 7'1", Bowie was an intimidating presence for the Wildcats and averaged 10.5 points and nine rebounds during his final year in Lexington, good enough for Second Team All-American. 

    Bowie, though, battled leg problems his entire life, which caused him to miss a year in college and famously cut his NBA career short. 

    While Bowie is considered a bust and the Blazers are looked at as being stupid for drafting him over Jordan, it made sense at the time. The previous year, Portland drafted Clyde Drexler, had Jim Paxson and needed help in the post. With Hakeem Olajuwon going to Houston with the first pick, it left Bowie as the second-best big man in the draft to go to Portland. 

Which Wildcats Have Been Drafted No. 1 Overall Since 1947?

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    Only two players have been drafted No. 1 out of Kentucky since 1947, and maybe not shockingly, they have come under the tutelage of John Calipari

    Those two players are John Wall and Anthony Davis. 

    Wall became the first Wildcat to go No. 1 in 2010 when the Washington Wizards took him after just one year in Lexington. However, Wall made his name known quite well during his one year of college ball. He led Kentucky to a No. 1 ranking and trip to the Elite Eight before being upset by West Virginia.

    Wall averaged over 16 points and six assists in 37 games for Kentucky, including setting the single-game record with 16 assists against Hartford. 

    Davis was drafted first by the New Orleans Hornets in 2012 after winning everything possible at Kentucky. Having led the team to its eighth national title and being named the Final Four Most Outstanding Player and Player of the Year, Davis was a no-brainer to go first.

     

Who Is the Only Former Wildcat to Coach the Team to a National Title?

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    The man who had the toughest job in Kentucky basketball historyreplacing Adolph Ruppholds this title. That would be Joe B. Hall, who won the 1949 NCAA title as a player before returning to his old Kentucky home and taking over for Rupp.

    Hall first led the Wildcats to the championship game in 1975, resulting in a loss to UCLA. However, Hall made a name for himself by upsetting heavily favored Indiana in the Elite Eight that year. 

    Three years later, Hall raised a banner for a second time—this time as a coach, as he led Kentucky to the 1978 title by defeating Duke thanks to Jack Givens' scoring outburst in the title game. 

    Hall would go on to make another Final Four appearance in 1984 before retiring the next season. His overall record at Kentucky was 297-100, which included the 1976 NIT championship and eight SEC crowns. 

     

What NBA Executive Played in the Famous 1966 Championship Game?

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    Before becoming a top NBA executive and great NBA coach and coining terms like "three-peat," Pat Riley was one of the best players in Kentucky's history. 

    The New York native was on the court and a star for Kentucky when it was upset by Texas Western in the famous 1966 championship game. As a junior that year, he was named First Team All-SEC, NCAA Regional Player of the Year, SEC Player of the Year and Third Team All-American. 

    Riley would go on to be drafted seventh overall by the San Diego Rockets as well as being drafted as a wide receiver in the 11th round of the NFL draft by the Dallas Cowboys. 

    Riley spent three years in San Diego before being selected by the Portland Trailblazers in the 1970 expansion draft, after which he was immediately traded to the Los Angeles Lakers. He would go on to win the 1972 championship as a player.

    He spent five years with Los Angeles before playing his last year in Phoenix. 

    Riley would go on to win five championships as a head coach, most notably coaching Magic Johnson in Los Angeles, before becoming NBA's top executive for Miami. 

Everything About the 1992 East Regional Finals

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    Arguably the proudest moment in Kentucky's history came in a loss. Pretty unusual for a team that has the most wins in college basketball's history. 

    However, the Unforgettables helped make Kentucky basketball what it is today. Four seniors, three of whom hailed from the Commonwealth, joined forces with a star in Jamal Mashburn to bring glory back to the name of Kentucky. 

    Those players that you need to know are Sean Woods, Deron Feldhaus, Richie Farmer and John Pelphrey. 

    Every Kentucky fan should—and probably does know that Woods famously hit the runner to give Kentucky a one-point lead with just seconds on the clock in overtime against Duke.

    The other names that are on the list that need to be known include the villain himself in Christian Laettner and Grant Hill. Hill made the open, full-court pass to Laettner, who drilled the shot from above the free throw line to give Duke a 103-102 victory in arguably the greatest game ever played.