NCAA Tournament 2012: The 10 Greatest Kentucky Wildcats That Never Won a Title

Vinny Hardy@ IApril 2, 2012

NCAA Tournament 2012: The 10 Greatest Kentucky Wildcats That Never Won a Title

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    The Kentucky Wildcats are one win away from claiming their eighth national championship banner.

    The Commonwealth was well represented in  this year's Final Four. So now seems like a good time to look at some of the great UK players who, for one reason or another, weren't able to win a championship.

    To all the Kentucky fans, especially those a generation older than me, feel free to agree, disagree, debate or just plain "straighten me out." 

    Let the countdown begin!

    All stats via

10. Bob Burrow

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    Bob Burrow played at UK from 1954 to '56.

    He was definitely before my time, but the junior college transfer from Texas put up some serious numbers.

    Burrow was a two-time All-American. 

    He averaged 20 points and 16.1 rebounds in his 51 games for the Wildcats and went on to be drafted by the Rochester Royals.

9. Cotton Nash

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    Nash, a native of Lake Charles, LA was listed at 6'5" and 220 pounds.

    He played much bigger.

    A three-time All-SEC First Team member and three-time All-American from '61 to '64, Nash was a walking double double.

    He averaged an impressive 22 points and 12 rebounds a game during his time in Lexington.

8. Jodie Meeks

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    Being one of the lone bright spots of the Billy Gillispie era was enough in itself to get Jodie Meeks on the list.

    Hanging 54 on Tennessee and breaking Dan Issel's single-game scoring record just sealed the deal.

    Meeks bounced back from an injury-plagued sophomore season and averaged 23.7 points per game as a junior in '08-09, his final year at UK.

7. Mike Casey

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    Mike Casey, the first Kentucky native on the list, turned the Dan Issel-Mike Pratt duo into a formidable trio.

    Casey was often overshadowed, but this didn't diminish his value.

    He missed the '69-70 season after injuring his leg in an auto accident. Many believe his absence cost Kentucky another championship.

    A three-time All-SEC First Team player, Casey averaged 18.7 points, 6.8 rebounds and 3.1 assists a contest.

6. Mike Pratt

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    In much the same way kids think John Madden is just the guy on the video game, Mike Pratt is just known as the color man alongside Tom Leach on the UK IMG Sports Network broadcasts.

    Then our dads told us that he was Issel's tag team partner, and he's been seen in an entirely different light ever since.

    The 6'4" forward from Dayton, OH averaged a healthy 16.7 points, 8.8 boards and 3.4 assists a game from '67 through '70.

5. Rex Chapman

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    King Rex, the second Kentuckian on the list, did his thing in his two seasons at Kentucky.

    Chapman was the first big-time player I can really remember at Kentucky.

    His No. 3 jersey was a popular item in school back then.

    When he got drafted by the Hornets in 1988, after his sophomore year, suddenly there was certain teal color that became part of everyone's wardrobes.

    Rex put up a solid 17.5 points, 3.6 assists and 1.4 steals a game as a Wildcat. 

4. Louie Dampier

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    Marquis Teague isn't the first Indianapolis guard to head south and play for the Cats.

    Louie Dampier put up big numbers from '64 to '67. He never let the fact that he was only 6'0" stop him, either.

    Dampier was a three-time All-SEC First Team player and averaged 19.6 points a game for UK.

    He went on to enjoy a long professional career in the ABA with the Kentucky Colonels and San Antonio Spurs, where he continued to fill it up.

3. Kenny Walker

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    Kenny "Sky" Walker.

    The name says it all. His game backed it up.

    Walker was named to the All-SEC First Team from '82 to '86.

    He averaged 15.7 points and 7.1 boards a game for his career.

    Like a fine wine, Walker got better with over time. He averaged 22 and 10 as a junior, 20 and seven as a senior.

    He won back-to-back SEC Player of the Year awards for his efforts.

    Oh, and who can forget the show he put on in the '89 NBA Slam Dunk Contest

2. Jamal Mashburn

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    "Monster Mash" was the first big-time recruit Rick Pitino landed after arriving at Kentucky.

    He was the foundation for the team that, along with The Unforgettables, made the famous valiant Elite Eight run in '92 as well as the Final Four trip the following season.

    Masburn's inside-outside game allowed him to stuff the stat sheet on a nightly basis.

    His 18.8 points, 7.7 rebounds, 2.2 assists and 1.5 steals a game don't fully tell how versatile he really was.

1. Dan Issel

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    It's been more than 40 years since Issel played a game for the Cats.

    However, he's still firmly entrenched in the record books.

    His career totals of 2,138 points and 1,078 rebounds are still tops in UK history.

    The 25.7 points and 12.9 boards per game speaks to how hard he was to handle.

    Imagine if the three-point line had been used when he played. The same things that were said about Pete Maravich could be applied to Issel.

    Imagine how much tougher he would have been to deal with if opposing defenses had to focus on guarding the arc as well instead of just packing it in to try to keep him in check.

    Scary thought.

    So that's the list, Big Blue Nation. Feel free to voice your opinion. 

    In a few hours the Cats will do battle with the Jayhawks, and if all goes well there are several great players who won't have to worry about their place on this list.

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