ELIZABETHTOWN — Here they were together again, just like their days as roommates back when they played basketball at the University of Kentucky.
Only for Travis Ford and John Pelphrey, their reunion at The State Theater in Elizabethtown had nothing to do with their college days playing for the Big Blue and everything to do with their days as prep legends in the Commonwealth.
Ford, a star guard at Madisonville North Hopkins High School (Class of 1989), and Pelphrey, a star forward at Paintsville High School (Class of 1987), were among those honored as part of the 2015 Centennial Class of the Kentucky High School Basketball Hall of Fame.
Joining them were Winston Bennett (Male, 1983), Coach Ron Bevars (North Hardin), Jermaine Brown (Fairdale, 1991), Jimmy Dan Conner (Anderson County, 1971), Ukari Figgs (Scott County, 1995), Coach Earle Jones (Maysville), Lillie Mason (Olmstead, 1981), Jeff Mullins (Lafayette, 1960), Dickie Prater (Pikeville, 1950), Bobby Rascoe (Daviess County, 1958), Mike Silliman (St. Xavier, 1962), Coach Jock Sutherland (Lafayette), Jerry Thruston (Owensboro, 1972) and Coach John Bill Trivette (Pikeville).
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"Somebody asked me, did I dream of this growing up? It was almost too big to dream of," said the 45-year-old Ford, now the head coach at Oklahoma State. "When I was first told of it, it makes you go back and think, how did you get to this point?
"Obviously my mom and dad and the people of Madisonville and Madisonville North are the only reason I'm being inducted into this. And there were a lot of long hours in my backyard and driveway."
It's the same for Pelphrey, 46, who grew up in a different part of the state but shared Ford's love of the game and civic sport.
"It's pretty amazing, it really is," said the former South Alabama and Arkansas head coach who just completed his second stint as an assistant at Florida. "As a kid growing up in the state, you just want to be a part of high school basketball and have a chance to be good enough to go to a Sweet 16 and maybe compete for a state championship. Some of these things don't even come on your radar."
Their college paths met in Lexington. Pelphrey was part of "The Unforgettables," who helped restore the Kentucky program in the early 1990s after probation. Ford spent one year at Missouri before transferring to UK where he roomed with Pelphrey.
"John was always somebody I looked up to," Ford said. "He was kind of a mentor to me coming up through the ranks."
With Billy Donovan leaving Florida for the NBA's Oklahoma City Thunder, Pelphrey said Saturday he will more than likely step out of coaching for a year to watch his kids play high school basketball before deciding his next career move.
Ford is coming off an 18-14 season at Oklahoma State in which the Cowboys made their third NCAA Tournament in a row and fifth in his seven years in Stillwater.
There were some rumblings about Ford's job security, but "We've got a lot of returning players," he said. "I think we could have a very good team. We've got one of the top point guards in the country coming," he said of Juwan Evans, a 6-foot guard out of Dallas. "We got a really good group of guys."
You could say the same thing about Saturday's group — males and females — which joins the previous three classes leading up to 2017 when the 100th inductee will complete the six-year journey to the Centennial celebration, marking the official start of the Hall of Fame.
Having played and coached all over, Ford said it isn't difficult to see what sets Kentucky high school basketball apart.
"Just the love of the game and the importance of the game that it plays in the state of Kentucky is like no other place I've ever seen," he said. "Playing (here) has afforded me so many opportunities in life that I don't know if it could have happened if I hadn't played high school basketball in the state of Kentucky."