Mark Story

Ten Kentucky men’s basketball records that will (probably) never be broken

No Kentucky men’s basketball player has more career points (2,138) or career rebounds (1,078) than Dan Issel, No. 44, compiled in three varsity seasons (1967-70).
No Kentucky men’s basketball player has more career points (2,138) or career rebounds (1,078) than Dan Issel, No. 44, compiled in three varsity seasons (1967-70). Lexington Herald-Leader file photo

It has been almost nine full years since Jodie Meeks used a trip to Tennessee to shatter one of the most revered records in the storied history of University of Kentucky men’s basketball.

On Jan. 13, 2009, Meeks hit 15 of 22 field goals, 10 of 15 three-pointers and all 14 of his free throws to hang 54 points on UT. In so doing, Meeks shattered Dan Issel’s single-game UK scoring record of 53 points (vs. Mississippi) that had stood since Feb. 7, 1970.

With the Wildcats again visiting Knoxville on Saturday, it got me thinking about other all-time Kentucky men’s hoops records.

Here are 10 UK men’s basketball records that, for various reasons, will be near impossible for anyone to ever break.

10.) Forty-two field-goal attempts in one game

On Feb. 18, 1950, Kentucky 7-foot center Bill Spivey attempted 42 field goals in Alumni Gym against Georgia Tech. To this day, no UK player has ever tried more shots in a game. Spivey made 16 of the 42 against the Yellowjackets en route to 40 points in a 97-62 Wildcats win.

In the current era, UK players do not get that number of shots in games. In his 47-point game against North Carolina last season, Malik Monk tried 28 field goals.

1951Bill Spivey
No Kentucky basketball player has ever taken more shots in a game than the 42 that center Bill Spivey, No. 77, took against Georgia Tech on Feb. 18, 1950. Associated Press

9.) 186 blocked shots in one season

In his one season in Kentucky blue-and-white, Anthony Davis obliterated the UK record for blocked shots. The 6-10 center from Chicago averaged 4.7 blocks a game while leading UK to the maximum number of games possible, 40, and the 2012 NCAA championship.

That came out to 186 blocked shots for Davis in 2011-12. No one else in UK men’s basketball history has ever blocked more than 106 shots in a season.

111203UKNCmc867
Of the 186 shots Anthony Davis, No. 23, blocked in his one season (2011-12) at Kentucky, the most famous is probably his block of the last-second shot attempt by North Carolina forward John Henson which preserved UK’s 73-72 win over UNC in Rupp Arena. Lexington Herald-Leader file photo

8.) 34 rebounds in a game

Twice in UK history, a Wildcat has claimed 34 boards in a single game. Bill Spivey did it against Xavier on Feb. 13, 1951. Center Bob Burrow matched that number against Temple on Dec. 10, 1955.

In 21st Century basketball, there are not enough shots taken and missed in games for an individual to get 34 rebounds. Kentucky’s top nine single-game rebounding efforts all came before 1977.

7.) 369 made field goals in a season

In Dan Issel’s spectacular senior season (1969-70), the Batavia, Ill., product averaged a robust 33.9 points per game. That came from 369 made field goals on 667 attempts.

Kevin Grevey (303 made field goals in 1974-75) is the only other UK men’s hoops player to ever make as many as 300 baskets in a season.

6.) 646 career assists

In the 123 games in which Dirk Minniefield wore the Kentucky uniform from 1979-83, the Lafayette High School product averaged 5.3 assists per game.

That might not sound overwhelming, but it comes out to 646 career assists — 102 more than UK’s second all-time distributor, Anthony Epps (544), accumulated.

minnefield dunk
Dirk Minniefield’s career mark of 646 assists is 102 more than any other Kentucky Wildcats men’s basketball player has ever accumulated. University of Kentucky Athletics Department

5.) A 13.4 career rebound average

In his 77 games as a Kentucky Wildcat (1950-52, 1953-54), Cliff Hagan grabbed 1,035 rebounds. No UK player has ever topped the 6-4 Owensboro product’s career average of 13.4 rebounds per game.

Since 1973-74, only two Wildcats — Kenny Walker (10.2) in 1984-85 and Julius Randle (10.4) in 2013-14 — have even averaged in double figures in rebounding for a season.

4.) 843 made field goals in a career

Because he played after freshman eligibility was enacted, Jack Givens (843 made field goals from 1974-78) edged Dan Issel (825 made field goals in three varsity seasons 1968-70) as UK’s all-time leader in made baskets.

In the one-and-done era, anyone good enough to score field goals as prolifically as Givens and Issel did would not be in college long enough to break a career record.

3.) 1,078 career rebounds

For his Kentucky career (1968-70), Dan Issel averaged 13 rebounds per game. Over 83 career contests, that translated to 1,078 rebounds, the most in UK history.

Only four Kentucky players — Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Famers Issel, Frank Ramsey (1,038) and Cliff Hagan (1,035) plus Fiddlin’ Five star Johnny Cox (1,004) — went over 1,000 rebounds in their careers. No UK player who has played since 1970 has reached 1,000 career boards.

Cliff Hagan
At Kentucky, Cliff Hagan, No. 6, averaged 13.4 rebounds a game for his career. Only two Wildcats have even averaged double-figure rebounds for a season since 1973-74. Lexington Herald-Leader file photo

2.) 108 team rebounds in one game

Amazingly, in Kentucky’s 102-59 victory over Mississippi on Feb. 8, 1964, the Wildcats grabbed a staggering 108 rebounds. In setting the NCAA single-game record for team rebounds, all five UK starters — Cotton Nash (30), Ted Deeken (17), Larry Conley (12), Terry Mobley (12) and Tommy Kron (11) — had double-digit boards.

To create a game in which one team claimed 108 rebounds, it took a fevered pace with some horrible shooting. UK took 125 shots and made but 47; Ole Miss made only 24 of 84 shots.

In college basketball as it is played now, teams don’t get that number of shots on the rim.

1.) 129 straight home wins

Kentucky lost 45-40 to Ohio State in Alumni Gym on Jan. 2, 1943.

UK next lost a game in Lexington on Jan. 8, 1955, falling to Georgia Tech 59-58 in Memorial Coliseum.

In between those two losses, Adolph Rupp’s Cats won an astounding 129 straight home games.

With so much parity in men’s college basketball now, UK will never again go 12 years without ever losing at home.

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