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Top 10 Kentucky Wildcats of all time: Where does Jamal Mashburn Rank?

Publish Date: 02/07/2024
Fact checked by: Simon Briffa

Today, we will look at the greatest Kentucky Wildcats of all time. Active players are not eligible, and it is hard always to rate one-and-done players, but we gave it a go! I know many more names exist that deserve to be on this top ten list. We would love to hear your social media comments. Let us know who you think should be on this list.

Criteria

Winning is very helpful, as is setting records. NBA career is not considered when making these rankings; this is strictly basketball played at the University of Kentucky! If you are a Kentucky fan, where do you think they rank all time when it comes to the Greatest College Basketball Programs?

10) Cotton Nash

Nash is Kentucky’s fastest player to reach 1,000 points, reaching that mark in just 45 games. Not only do his 1,770 points rank ninth all-time in school history, but his 22.7 scoring average ranks second among all Wildcats. A two-time second-team All-American (1962 and ’63), Nash averaged 24.0 points during his final season at Kentucky; it ranks fifth all-time for school history in terms of 962 career rebounds with a 12.3 average in that department.

Video: Cotton Nash - From The Rafters of Rupp

Cotton Nash – From The Rafters of Rupp

9) Tony Delk

At the time of Kentucky’s 1996 national championship under Rick Pitino, Delk led his team with 17.8 points and scored 24 in the title game to earn Most Outstanding Player honors. By the end of his four seasons at Kentucky, he had amassed 1,890 points and made 683 field goals – ranking fifth in school history. As 1996 SEC Player of the Year and first-team All-American, he also remains their all-time leader with 283 made 3-pointers; his 39.8% 3-point shooting percentage ranks among Kentucky’s top 10.

Video: 1995-96 Kentucky Wildcats: The Untouchables

1995-96 Kentucky Wildcats: The Untouchables

8) Cliff Hagen

Hagan was part of Kentucky’s 1951 national championship squad. He would have achieved even greater success had their program not been suspended for the 1952-53 season due to the point-shaving scandal. Nevertheless, Hagan still had an exceptional three seasons at Kentucky, earning two first-team All-American honors. His 1,035 rebounds rank third all-time at Kentucky, while his 1,475 points rank seventh all-time. Additionally, his 13.4 career rebounding average remains No. 1 at Kentucky, while his 19.2 scoring average ranks seventh nationally.

Video: Cliff Hagan Short Highlights Tribute

Cliff Hagan Short Highlights Tribute

7) Anthony Davis

Kentucky’s most recent national championship came in 2012, and Davis was a key factor. A unanimous choice for SEC Player of the Year and consensus national player of the year, Davis averaged 14.2 points, making 62.3 per cent of his shots while pulling down 10.4 boards per contest and recording 4.7 blocks per game. As for his lasting legacy on campus, Davis is its all-time single-season leader with 186 blocks (which ranks sixth on Kentucky’s career list) and 415 rebounds – sixth most for one campaign.

Video: Anthony Davis highlights: Top March Madness plays

Anthony Davis highlights: Top March Madness plays

6) Tayshaun Prince

Kentucky great Prince ranks eighth all-time with 1,775 career points, ranking among the school’s top 10. He made 648 field goals and 204 3-pointers during 2001-02, earning him the title of SEC Player of the Year and consensus second-team All-American. Throughout his illustrious career, Prince pulled down 757 rebounds, recorded 254 assists, 142 blocks and 110 steals – cementing himself as one of Kentucky basketball’s all-time greats.

Check out the Top 10 NCAA Final Fours of All Time!

Video: #TBT: Tayshaun Prince Highlights vs North Carolina (12/8/2001)

#TBT: Tayshaun Prince Highlights vs North Carolina (12/8/2001)

5) Louie Dampier

Dampier was a member of the 1966 Kentucky team that lost 72-65 to Texas Western in the national final, scoring 19 of his 1,575 career points in that contest. He ranks fifth all-time in Kentucky history with an impressive 19.7 scoring average and shot 50.8 per cent from the field throughout his career. Twice named a second-team All-American (1966 and ’67), Dampier earned himself widespread recognition during his time playing for Kentucky.

Video: Louie Dampier's Basketball Hall of Fame Enshrinement Speech

Louie Dampier’s Basketball Hall of Fame Enshrinement Speech

4) Jamal Mashburn

Mashburn is undoubtedly one of the greatest stars in Kentucky history. A gifted scorer, he finished sixth with 1,843 career points and twice averaged 21.0 or more points per game. Additionally, his 675 made field goals are sixth all-time at Kentucky; further adding to his stellar stats: 7.8 rebounds per game during his time there as well. When the 1992-93 season concluded, Mashburn earned himself both SEC Player and Athlete of the Year honors as well as being named a consensus first-team All-American.

The 2015 Kentucky Wildcats were among the greatest college basketball teams that didn’t win a National Championship.

Video: Kentucky Torches Wake

Kentucky Torches Wake

3) Jack “Goose” Givens

Twenty years after winning the 1958 national championship, Coach Joe B. Hall’s team in 1977-78 was led by Givens, who scored 41 points in their 94-88 final victory against Duke to become third all-time in Kentucky history with 2,038 points and won the tournament’s Most Outstanding Player and SEC Male Athlete of the Year for ’77-’78. Additionally, Givens holds all-time records for made field goals (843), shot 51.5 per cent during his time at Kentucky and averaged 6.4 rebounds and 2.2 assists per game during his tenure there.

Video: Kentucky's Jack Givens 41 vs Duke 1978 Championship

Kentucky’s Jack Givens 41 vs Duke 1978 Championship

2) Alex Groza

Groza was one of the stars on Adolph Rupp’s “Fabulous Five” team that won Kentucky its first national championship in 1948. A two-time consensus first-team All-American (1947, ’49), Groza helped the Wildcats repeat as champions the following year and was named Most Outstanding Player both times; his 1,744 points rank 10th all-time for Kentucky. Groza averaged 14.5 points during his time at Kentucky but was later banned by the NBA due to his involvement in the infamous NCAA point-shaving scandal of 1951.

1) Dan Issel

It’s been more than 50 years, but Issel is still the school’s all-time leading scorer with 2,138 points and 1,078 rebounds across three seasons. He’s also the Wildcats’ career leader in scoring average (25.8), single-season points (948), single-season scoring average (33.9), and single-season made field goals (369), and more. Issel, who starred in both the ABA and NBA, was a consensus All-American in 1970.

Video: Dan Issel - From The Rafters of Rupp

Dan Issel – From The Rafters of Rupp

Honorable Mention

Kyle Macy

A Wildcats’ 1978 national title squad member, Macy averaged 12.5 points on 53.6 per cent shooting and 5.6 assists that season – his first after transferring from Purdue. As a senior in 1979-80, he averaged 15.4 points, shot 52.5 per cent, and recorded 4.7 assists per game en route to being named SEC Player of the Year and first-team All-American.

Kenny “Sky” Walker

Kenny “Sky” Walker is best remembered for his incredible play above the rim and thunderous dunks, but the 6-foot-8 Walker was more than just a showpiece. In 1984-85, he averaged 22.9 points and 10.2 rebounds per season; then again the following season, with 20.00 points and 7.7 rebounds, respectively. With 2,080 career points to his credit – second only to Larry Bird’s 2,080 – and 550 made free throws that rank No. 1. He sits sixth all-time among Wildcats players with 942 career rebounds.

Pat Riley

Riley was one of the greatest college players of the 1960s. A Kentucky’s 1966 national runner-up squad member, Riley scored 19 points in their title-game loss and averaged 22.0 points that season – ranking ninth in school history – to earn SEC Player of the Year honors from The Associated Press. With an 18.3 career scoring average that ranks in the top 10 among all Wildcats, Riley also averaged 8.4 rebounds and 2.0 assists per game.

Kevin Grevey

Grevey is one of Kentucky basketball’s all-time great scorers, boasting 1,801 points in three seasons to rank seventh all time. His 21.4 career scoring average ranks third in school history and his 23.5 average in 1974-75 ranks sixth for all time. As two-time SEC Player of the Year (1973 and 1975), and first-team All-American (1975), Grevey scored a game-high 34 during their 92-85 loss to UCLA during John Wooden’s final national title contest as Bruins coach; John Wooden retired after that matchup.

Frank Ramsey

Teammate of Cliff Hagan, Ramsey earned second and third-team All-American recognition in 1951, 1952, and 1954 respectively. Throughout his collegiate career, he scored 1,344 points while averaging 19.6 during 1953-54; however, like Hagan, he was truly a monster on the boards with 1,038 rebounds – second most in school history – as well as his 11.4 career average which ranks fifth all time for Kentucky basketball; his 12.8 boards per game during their 1950-51 championship season is particularly notable as it marks his fourth-most at 12.8 boards per game throughout all time!

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