Butch Beard, who was in the Sweet Sixteen spotlight 46 years ago while leading Breckinridge County to the title, was back at the state tournament on Thursday.
Beard and several of his Breckinridge County teammates were introduced during a break in the Daviess County-Rowan County game
After finishing runner-up to Wes Unseld-led Seneca in the 1964 Sweet Sixteen, Breckinridge County won the title the next year by beating Covington Holy Cross 95-73 in Freedom Hall.
Beard had 30 points in the title game.
"It was quite an event," Beard said in recalling his title tournament. "It's something that, as a group, we all know what happened to us in the journey, but it's hard to explain."
Beard went on to star with Unseld at the University of Louisville and had a 10-year career in the NBA. He now lives in the New York area and evaluates NBA officials — who get the calls right about 94 percent of the time, he says.
Thursday marked his first visit to the Sweet Sixteen since 1995 when Breckinridge County made a surprising run to the championship.
"This is the greatest state in the world when it comes to high school basketball and the Sweet Sixteen," Beard said. "It's something that everybody should at least experience once. ... This is the original Hoosiers movie right here. It really is. Because you have big (schools) against small. It doesn't matter. You just have to be competitive and see what happens."
Perry County Central's Braxton Beverly had a game-high 23 points in the Commodores' loss to Wayne County on Thursday.
No official records are kept, but it's assumed that Beverly's total would be a state tournament record for seventh-graders.
O.J. Mayo was an eighth-grader when he had 25 points for Rose Hill against Ballard in the 2003 quarterfinals. No courtside observers could remember a seventh-grader making any kind of impact in the Big Show.
"It's mind-boggling," Perry Central Coach Allan Hatcher said. "Somebody asked me if (Beverly) would be nervous. I said no way. He has no fear."
Beverly, a 5-foot-8 point guard, averaged 10 points this season. He was MVP of the 14th Region Tournament after scoring 16 points in the finals.
"We knew he was good, but we didn't know he'd come along this fast," Hatcher said.
Beverly's uncle Heston Beverly led Dilce Combs to an All "A" Classic small-school title in 1993. "I owe him a lot for teaching me how to play," Braxton said. "I wouldn't be here without him."
As for playing in Rupp Arena, Beverly said, "It was a great experience to be here at a young age."
Vikings' QB prospect
Zeke Pike of Dixie Heights isn't the only highly touted quarterback prospect in the Sweet Sixteen.
Adam Wing, a 6-foot-4 junior at Rowan County, is drawing attention from college scouts because of his size, athleticism and arm strength.
Marshall has already offered him a scholarship. Coaches from Kentucky, Louisville and Western Kentucky have visited him at school. Ball State is in the picture, and Northwestern is interested if he can bump up his ACT score.
Wing's summer plans include one-day camps at UK, U of L and Marshall, and a showcase at Ohio State.
Wing has thrown for 2,732 yards and 23 touchdowns over the last two seasons.
"I like being in the shotgun and running some option, but I can work under center, as well," he said.
While college ball is in his dreams, Wing won't put that ahead of the Vikings next fall.
"I'm a member of the Rowan County football team, and I'm not going to let college stuff get in the way until after next season's over," he said.
Clark steps down
Franklin-Simpson basketball coach David Clark is calling it quits after 29 years on the sidelines. Clark has been the Wildcats' boys coach the last nine years and was the girls' coach before that. He had a combined record of 239-170 in 14 years.
As a girls' assistant at Union County, he was part of the Bravettes' 1996 state title team.