Ex-Cats

Dan Issel: ‘Anybody who can dribble and chew gum at the same time’ leaves school early

Former UK great Dan Issel, gave the "Y" as #18 Kentucky defeated LSU 77-76 in overtime on Saturday February 22, 2014.
Former UK great Dan Issel, gave the "Y" as #18 Kentucky defeated LSU 77-76 in overtime on Saturday February 22, 2014. Herald-Leader

Former University of Kentucky star Dan Issel talked about his career scoring record in college, his recruitment to the University of Kentucky, and his decision to join the ABA over the NBA in an interview with the Basketball Hall of Fame as part of its “60 Days of Summer” series.

Issel scored a school-record 2,138 points in three seasons at UK. He began his pro career in the American Basketball Association with the Kentucky Colonels, with whom he won an ABA title in 1975. Prior to the 1975-76 season, Issel was traded to the Denver Nuggets, which remained in operation after the ABA-NBA merger. He spent the rest of his career with Denver until retiring after the 1984-85 season; he is the franchise’s second-leading scorer and later was a head coach for the team.

UK’s all-time leading scorer thinks that record may stand for a while.

“I graduated in 1970 ... and that is still the record for the most points scored in a career at Kentucky,” Issel said. “And now, with the rules being what they, anybody who can dribble and chew gum at the same time leaves after his freshman year. So, that record might last for a while.”

Issel was asked about what it was like to have Adolph Rupp, one of the coaches im the Hall of Fame, come to his home in Illinois.

“I went to the University of Kentucky kind of as a compromise,” Issel said. “I wanted to go to the University of Wisconsin, which had been recruiting me, and my folks wanted me to go to Northwestern because it’s a great academic school and was only about a 45-minute drive from my hometown.”

Choosing UK “seemed to make everybody happy,” Issel said with a grin.

The Basketball Hall of Fame has been interviewing people who have have played in, are currently playing in or have been involved with the NBA in some capacity. Former UK star Michael Kidd-Gilchrist was interviewed last month.

Josh Moore: 859-231-1307, @HLpreps

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