Wednesday, July 18, 2012

Kentucky Mr. Basketball 1980s

The 1980s produced a wide variety of players from legends like Rex Chapman, Richie Farmer and Ervin Stepp to NBA superstars like Allan Houston. Here's the list:
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1980: Ervin Stepp (Phelps)
Arguably the most prolific scorer of all time in Kentucky high school history. He averaged 47.2 points per game as a junior, and he sped up as a junior averaging 53.7 points per game. After winning the 1980 Kentucky Mr. Basketball award Stepp was never able to repeat his high school success. Stepp played three seasons mainly on the bench for Eastern before transferring to Alice Lloyd for a year.

1981: Phil Cox (Cawood)


Cox is considered as one of the best shooters to ever come out of the Kentucky mountains. He's also considered an all time SEC great, as he starred at Vanderbilt after winning the 1981 Kentucky Mr. Basketball award. Before Cox left Vanderbilt he'd become the schools leading scorer with 1,724 points. Cox was also a prolific free throw shooter averaging 86.3% for his career, he even had a streak of 47 straight at one point. Cox currently serves as the assistant principal at Jefferson Middle School in Oak Ridge, TN.

1982: Todd May (Virgie)


May is the third straight Kentucky Mr. Basketball from the mountains and he may have been the most talented. May was a 6'8" forward from Virgie, Kentucky with interest from nearly every school in the county. However, he didn't have to go far as he signed with the University of Kentucky. He never quite felt at home there though and only played 4 games for the Wildcats before transferring to Wake Forest. Wake Forest never worked out either though as May broke his foot after sitting out a year, he thus returned home where he eventually joined the Pikeville College Bears. There he broke out averaging 42.2 points per game as a senior. May would be selected in the 4th round of the 1987 NBA Draft by the San Antonio Spurs. He never suited up in the NBA.

1983: Winston Bennett (Male)

Bennett is one of the greats on a long list of Male High School stars. Following his senior year he was named Kentucky Mr. Basketball, a Parade All-American and a McDonald's All-American. Bennett would go on to star at the University of Kentucky. He averaged 10.5 points, 6 rebounds and 1.15 assists for his career. Following his senior year Bennett was drafted in the second round by the Cleveland Cavaliers in the 1988 NBA Draft. Bennett played 4 seasons in the NBA and totaled 648 points and 414 rebounds in 136 games. Winston Bennett is currently the head coach of Mid-Continent University in Mayfield, KY.

1984: Steve Miller (Henry Clay)

Miller was named 1984's Kentucky Mr. Basketball over Fred Tisdale of Logan County. Miller played all four years at Western Kentucky. He averaged 6.4 points per game and 4.54 rebounds per game.

1985: Tony Kimbro (Seneca)

Kimbro was considered one of the top 5 seniors in the country when he won the 1985 Kentucky Mr. Basketball award. He was named a McDonald's All-American and chose to attend the University of Louisville. Kimbro helped UofL win the 1986 national championship as a freshman and was named to the Metro Conference All-Freshman Team that year.

1986: Rex Chapman (Apollo)




Chapman is widely regarded as Kentucky's greatest high school basketball player of all time, for many reasons. Chapman was known not only for his shooting but also for his flair that he brought to the game. Chapman chose Kentucky over Louisville and would star for two years as a Wildcat. In only two season Rex still managed to score 1,073 points and play in 61 games. Chapman would declare for the 1988 NBA Draft after his sophomore year, he was taken 8th overall by the Charlotte Hornets. Chapman would go on to play 12 seasons in the NBA averaging 14.6 points, 2.5 rebounds and 2.7 assists for his career. Chapman currently lives in Scottsdale, AZ and previously worked for the Denver Nuggets.

1987: John Pelphrey (Paintsville)



On his way to being named 1987s Kentucky Mr. Basketball John Pelphrey led Paintsville to a 32-5 record, and the semifinals of the state tournament. Pelphrey would go on to play 4 years at the University of Kentucky. Pelphrey was part of the UK team know as "The Unforgettables" and is one of only 29 former players to have their jersey retired. Pelphrey went on to a successful coaching career including head coaching stops with South Alabama and Arkansas. Pelphrey is currently an assistant coach at the University of Florida.

1988: Richie Farmer (Clay County)

Rex Chapman may go down as the best Kentucky high school basketball player of all time, but Richie Farmer is probably the most beloved. Farmer was listed at 5'11" but is probably shorter, yet he twice led tiny Clay County to the state title game in epic bouts with Ballard and Allan Houston. Farmer and Clay County won the first meeting, but lost the second despite 51 points by Farmer. After winnin the 1988 Mr. Basketball award Farmer would head on to UK. He too was part of "The Unforgettables" and his number is also retired. He scored 898 points in 118 games for the Wildcats.

1989: Allan Houston (Ballard)


Houston led Ballard to many state tournament runs in his time at the school including the 1988 title over Clay County and Richie Farmer. Houston was named the 1989 Kentucky Mr. Basketball and headed to Tennessee with his dad Wade Houston who became their head coach. Houston would become one of the most prolific Volunteers of all time and left as the school's leading scorer and had his jersey retired later. Allan was then drafted 11th overall by the Detroit Pistons in the 1993 NBA Draft. Houston played three seasons with Detroit before moving to the Knicks in 1996. Houston played 9 seasons with the Knicks and is considered one of the franchises greats. Houston was a two time All-Star with the Knicks and averaged 17.3 points, 2.9 rebounds and 2.4 assists for his career. Houston is currently the assistant general manager for the New York Knicks.

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Like I said a very diverse group which arguable includes the best Kentucky high school player of all time, the most beloved of all time and the most prolific scorer of all time.

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Links to Other Decades:

2010s





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