UK Men's Basketball

Edwards, Padgett are at head of ex-Cats coaching pack in 2016-17

Samford Coach Scott Padgett, the former Kentucky forward, shook hands with Florida State head man Leonard Hamilton, right, a former UK assistant. Samford is 12-6, 3-2 in the Southern Conference, so far this season.
Samford Coach Scott Padgett, the former Kentucky forward, shook hands with Florida State head man Leonard Hamilton, right, a former UK assistant. Samford is 12-6, 3-2 in the Southern Conference, so far this season. Associated Press

Fast-break points from the peaceful transfer of power:

21. Ex-Cats as coaches. With Sean Woods’ midseason resignation at Morehead State, the list of ex-Kentucky Wildcats players coaching men’s NCAA Division I basketball is down a man.

20. Allen Edwards. In his first season as Wyoming head man, the ex-UK swingman has the Cowboys 12-5, 2-2 in the Mountain West Conference.

19. Wyoming’s most impressive result. It is probably a neutral-court 94-92 overtime loss to then-unbeaten Southern California (which was 13-0 at the time) in Las Vegas.

18. Scott Padgett. After two losing seasons as Samford head coach, the former Kentucky power forward has the Bulldogs 12-6, 3-2 in the Southern Conference.

17. Help from Kentucky. One of Padgett’s best players is former Henry Clay guard Christen Cunningham, who is averaging 10.6 points and 6.6 assists.

16. Mark Pope. In his second season as Utah Valley coach, ex-Wildcats center Pope had the Wolverines at 8-8, 0-1 in the Western Athletic Conference going into Thursday night’s meeting with Chicago State.

15. An epic victory. Among Pope’s victories, the Wolverines went to BYU and hit 18 three-pointers in a 114-101 victory over the Cougars. It was the first time Utah Valley had ever beaten its intrastate rival.

14. Steve Masiello. After two NCAA Tournament trips in his first four seasons at Manhattan, the former Kentucky walk-on could be headed for a second straight losing season. After going 13-18 in 2015-16, the Jaspers are currently 6-11, 1-5 in the Metro Atlantic Athletic Conference.

13. A win over an old friend. Manhattan’s best moment so far in 2016-17 was an 81-54 shellacking of Eastern Kentucky, coached by Dan McHale, a basketball manager at Kentucky when Masiello was a player.

12. Travis Ford. The ex-UK point guard’s first season as Saint Louis Billikens head coach has been a slog — 4-12, 0-4 in Atlantic 10 games.

11. Reinforcements coming. An able recruiter, Ford has already landed transfers Ty Graves (Boston College), Javon Bess (Michigan State), D.J. Foreman (Rutgers) and Adonys Henriquez (Central Florida) plus two well-regarded high school prospects to bolster next season’s Saint Louis roster.

10. Louisville-Mississippi State “trade.” In one of the stranger turns of the college football coaching carousel, U of L and Miss State essentially swapped defensive coordinators Wednesday. Todd Grantham left Louisville for Starkville, while Bobby Petrino hired Peter Sirmon off the Bulldogs’ staff.

9. Impact on Kentucky. Since UK plays Mississippi State and Louisville each year, there’s ample reason for Wildcats’ backers to be curious about the effects of the “trade.”

8. UK vs. Sirmon’s “D.” This past season, Kentucky scored 40 points and amassed 554 total yards and beat Mississippi State on a last-second Austin MacGinnis field goal.

Video from the student section of Austin MacGinnis' game-winning, 51-yard field goal to lift UK over Mississippi State on Saturday night.

7. UK vs. Grantham’s “D.” This past season, Kentucky scored 41 points and amassed 581 total yards and beat Louisville on a last-second Austin MacGinnis field goal.

6. Bob Gain. The Kentucky Wildcats’ star two-way tackle, winner of the 1950 Outland Trophy, died Nov. 14 at age 86.

5. Babe Parilli. Along with Gain and Coach Bear Bryant, quarterback Parilli, fourth in Heisman Trophy voting in 1950 and third in 1951, were the faces of Kentucky football’s golden era.

4. Parilli and Gain. After his Kentucky days, Parilli went on to play 15 seasons of professional football. “In all that time, no one ever hit me as hard as Bob Gain used to in (UK) practices,” Parilli told me recently.

3. Carl Edwards. Count Kentucky Speedway General Manager Mark Simendinger among those who were shocked by Sprint Cup star Edwards’ announcement this week that he would not drive in 2017.

2. Long history at Kentucky. “Carl did a lot for us here in terms of media events, supporting our charity,” Simendinger said. “He’s someone I’ve had a lot of good experiences with and zero bad ones.”

1. First back flip in Sparta. Edwards first performed what became his signature post-victory back flip after a NASCAR win when he won a trucks race at Kentucky Speedway in 2003. Says Simendinger: “We have a picture on our wall that I walk by every day of Carl in our victory lane here when he was in braces.”

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