Over the course of the summer, Ky Cat Stats will be taking an in-depth, analytical look at the top 25 basketball players in the history of Kentucky basketball. There will be six categories and points awarded for each category, ranging from stats, awards, wins/championships, post-UK success, impact, and influence.
Today, let’s take a look at who the statistics say are the top 25 players in UK history.
Let me preface all of this by saying this is in no way our opinion when it comes to the top 25. There will be some categories on this list subject to some subjectivity, but this is not one of them.
To compile the list, we started with the top 25 in career points, rebounds, assists, rebounds, and steals. The issue with this is two things. One, it rewards players who play all 4 years, and two, there is no way to weight which statistic may be deemed more important than any other. Ultimately, we have to start with the assumption that each stat is created equally.
From there, we assigned points based on each rank. Here are the top 5 for career statistics.
1- Chuck Hayes (7th in rebounds, 17th in assists, 13th in blocks, and 8th in steals)
2-Kenny Walker (2nd in scoring, 6th in rebounds, 15th in blocks, and 25th in steals)
3-Ed Davender (11th in scoring, 8th in assists, 4th in steals)
4-Dan Issel (1st in scoring, 1st in rebounds)
5-Keith Bogans (4th in scoring, 14th in assists, 12th in steals)
So, yeah, obviously a few surprises. Namely, that somehow Dan Issel isn’t #1, and there’s no Jamal Mashburn. So in order to offset the total careers of some players (note: Saul Smith was #25 on this list), we added in a similar scoring system that just took in to account single season records in statistics. This was similarly based, but took more in to account how a player performed each season. In this instance, we see players who were able to jump in to the top 25 in multiple years in statistical categories are rewarded.
Here’s the top 5:
1-Dan Issel (1st in scoring, 4th in scoring, 7th in rebounding, 10th in rebounding, 21st in rebounding)
2-Anthony Epps (4th in assists, 9th in assists, 25th in assists, 7th in steals, 25th in steals)
3-Rajon Rondo (1st in steals, 6th in steals, 11th in assists)
4-Wayne Turner (2nd in steals, 16th in steals, 23rd in steals, 10th in assists)
5-Jamal Mashburn (3rd in scoring, 8th in scoring, 12th in steals)
Now in order to come up with the top 25, we took the two lists, both career and season, and combined the point totals from each to form the final list. So without further adieu, here are the top 25 players in the history of Kentucky basketball, according to the stats:
Let me just say, I’ve always thought Anthony Epps was underrated, but maybe not THAT underrated. Some other surprises include Jamaal Magloire at #11 and Wayne Turner at #3. It may be important to note also though that players who dominated in a single statistic category for multiple seasons were likely to be high on the list. For instance, Jamaal Magloire (blocks) and Frank Ramsey (rebounds) do not make either the career or season ranks in any other statistical category.
So there you have it. Now, again, this is not who we think is the best, or even most talented. This is just a hard look at the stats, both for individual seasons, and for their entire careers.
What do you think?
Go Big Blue!
*All stats courtesy of bigbluehistory.net
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