|-||Paul Jenkins (L)||F||Jr.||5-10||-||Louisville, KY (Manual)||-|
|-||James Sharp (L)||F||So.||-||-||Lexington, KY (Senior)||-|
|-||Ray Ellis||F||Jr.||-||-||Louisville, KY||-|
|-||Van Buren Ropke (L)||F-C||Jr.||-||-||Louisville, KY (Manual)||-|
|-||Edwin Knadler (L)||F||So.||-||-||Louisville, KY (Manual)||-|
|-||Frank Phipps (L)||F||Jr.||-||-||Ashland, KY (High)||-|
|-||C. Foster Helm (L)||C-F||Sr.||-||-||Lexington, KY (Senior)||-|
|-||Bill Heizer||C||So.||-||-||Lexington, KY||-|
|-||Claire Dees (L)||G||So.||6-1||-||Oblong, IL||-|
|-||Elmer Gilb||F||So.||5-8||-||Newport, KY (High)||-|
|-||Egbert Marshall||G||So.||-||-||Frankfort, KY (High)||-|
|-||Kenneth Polson||G||So.||-||-||Marion, KY||-|
|-||Ferdinand Wieman||-||So.||-||-||Lexington, KY||-|
| Schedule | Player Statistics |
Front Row (l to r): Jimmy Sharpe Claire Dees, C. Foster Helm, Capt. Paul Jenkins, Frank Phipps and Edwin Knadler
Season Review - Fans Little Remember (Or Care To) The Season When UK Cagers
Won Only Three of 16 Games by Lewis Donohew (Lexington Herald)
Nowadays when the University of Kentucky basketball team romps through a season -- winning nine-tenths of its games over big time opponents -- and then breezes through a national tournament, not even the most rabid fan will lift a eyebrow in surprise.
It is no more than is expected of the famous basketeers.
But how many fans can recall the days when basketball prospects weren't so bright. How many can remember the year in the Alumni gym era that the Cats won only three games during an entire season. That's right - just three victories out of a full schedule of 16 contests. The mark was posted in 1926-27 during the third year of play in the school's fine new Alumni gymnasium.
On Dec. 9 of this year Memorial Coliseum was dedicated to athletics at Kentucky and the veteran Alumni gym was presented with a plaque, commemorating the great record of the Wildcats during their stay there - 478 wins against 114 losses, including the three-victory season.
Centre Beaten Twice
Two of the Kentucky triumphs that year were over Centre. The Colonels were the No. 1 rivals in those days and the wins were appreciated about as much as a football victory over Tennessee would be today.
"Back then if we beat Centre all other losses were forgiven," reminisced S.A. (Daddy) Boles, athletic director during the '26-'27 season and now veterans' housing projects manager at UK.
"Other than that, I don't remember the season too well," said Boles, "except that it was a good year to forget."
The Cats were ill-fated from the start that year. They lost their coach because of illness a short time before the season opened and Basil Hayden, All-American Forward at Kentucky in 1921, had to jump in to take over the coaching duties. The Kentucky team dropped four straight games before settling down to whip Florida, 44-36 for its first triumph.
Then came the first big game with Centre. The Colonels came into town with all the confidence and audacity in the world. Their football team had slaughtered the Wildcats in the fall and here was the chance to make it a clean sweep.
Kentucky won, 27-25, on a field goal by Forward Edwin (Toots) Knadler just as the game-ending whistle sounded, after Knadler had given the Cats their tying points on a crip shot a few seconds earlier.
The Kentucky Kernel, UK's student newspaper, commented after the game "In many respects athletics at the University this year have been disheartening. But when the basketball team wins its most important game when even its staunchest supporters doubted its ability to do so and in such a glorious manner as the Centre game was won, the future takes on a rosier aspect."
Maybe it seemed rosy then, but it did not stay that way long. The Wildcats played the rest of the season without winning a single game, other than their second victory over Centre, to become the most ill-faring team in modern Wildcat history (since the beginning of the Alumni gym era in 1924).
At that time Kentucky was a member of the Southern Conference. A little while before the end of the season the Cats were informed that if they won two more games they would be invited to the conference tournament. But they couldn't quite get up that extra push to put them in the victory column again.
After the season the Kernel editorial writer said "The entire student body knows the situation. For the first time Kentucky has not been invited to attend the Southern Conference tourney. The Blue and white basketeers, following in the wake of their football brothers suffered the worst season in many many years."
Only two times did Kentucky cagers ever win less games and those were on the abbreviated schedules of 1904-05 and 1906-07 when they turned in 1-1 and 2-4 records, respectively.
At the athletic banquet following the end of the season Boles said "Just the determination to win games is not everything in athletic contests. The question of honor is the most important thing at stake and I can say with great appreciation that this year's team was as clean a bunch of players as I have ever seen."
And there you have it. The mark of that years seems almost unbelievable when compared to that of the present-day Wildcats, who hold a record of 416 wins and 77 losses under Coach Adolph Rupp, in the last two decades who have played in fifteen national tournaments and who have an overall tournament record (including the Southeastern) of 72 victories against 16 defeats.
But every team has some years that, as Boles said, it would like to forget. And when Kentucky followers get together the '26-'27 season is the one that is not mentioned in polite conversation.
BASKETBALL - The Kentuckian
The season, from start to finish, was a series of losses, broken only by well-earned victories over the University of Florida and Centre College, whom the Wildcats defeated twice.
The season opened inauspiciously with the University of Cincinnati on December 18, and the Queen City team ran up a 48 to 10 score on the Wildcats. Indiana came next. and although Kentucky showed some improvement over her showing against the Cincy five, the Hoosiers won the game, 38 to 19.
Princeton University, appearing on the University of Kentucky athletic card for the first time, did their best in vanquishing the Wildcats, 30 to 26, in the next game.
The Wildcats won their first game of the season from the University of Florida Alligators, 44 to 36, and incidentally opened their Southern Conference season just as they opened it last year -- with a victory.
Hopes of a state championship quintet went into the air in the next game, however, when the Kentucky Wesleyan Panthers slipped up on the Cats and defeated them, 31 to 24, in the Winchester gymnasium. This was somewhat of a blow to Kentucky.
The next game saw the Vanderbilt Commodores trounce Kentucky by 48 to 32. Kentucky then started on the annual trip through the South, and succeeded in dropping games to Tennessee and Georgia Tech by scores of 19 to 14 and 48 to 16.
Centre came next and, incidentally, Centre was defeated, 27 to 25, "Toots" Knadler tieing the score at 25-all in the final minute and shooting the field goal, which won the game for Kentucky in the final second. This was the only bright part of the local season.
Georgetown virtually eliminated the Wildcats from the running in the state title race by besting them in their annual game, 26 to 19, in Georgetown.
Washington and Lee, famed for her good football teams, did the expected in trimming Kentucky, 36 to 34, in the next game, the score being close throughout. The Generals presented a rangy team with which Kentucky could not cope.
The West Virginia Mountaineers were the next foe for the Blue team, and the visitors carried off our scalps by a 44 to 26 score.
"Ole Miss" presented a brilliant and crafty basketball team to hand the unfortunate Wildcats a 37 to 17 licking in the semi-final Conference game on the schedule.
The Wildcats ended their season with Kentucky teams by surprising Centre at Danville, besting the Colonels by 22 to 16 for the second straight victory during the year. In this, the third victory for the Cats, Frank Phipps and Paul Jenkins were stars, the former having his eye for the basket for the first time during the season, and leading all scorers, and the latter putting up a floor game which stamped him as the best running guard in Kentucky.
The season was brought to an unsuccessful close with the University of Tennessee Volunteers, who won their second straight game during the season from Kentucky, the final score being 30 to 21.
Kentucky started the season with a poor lot of basketball players and without the services of four regulars last year. Paul Jenkins was the only regular back, but several freshmen helped in the cause during the season, notably Clair Dees, whose back guarding was beyond reproach.
With the best freshman material in the history of the institution, Kentucky should regain her place in the basketball sun of the South when these wearers of the green graduate into varsity ranks next year.
Playing the stiffest schedule that a freshman team has ever played at the University of Kentucky, the U. K. Kittens, coached by Jimmy McFarland, former Blue Devil and Wildcat net star, won nineteen consecutive basketball games during the 1926-27 season and were undefeated during the year.
They numbered among their victims Kentucky Wesleyan, twice; University of Louisville, twice; Centre College, twice; Lexington Goldbergs, twice, and other teams of scholastic and independent standing throughout central and eastern Kentucky. The highest score run up by the freshmen was against the Pikeville High School Panthers, whom they defeated by a margin of 70 points. Georgetown gave them their hardest game in the final of the two-game series, making nine field goals to the Tiger Cubs' eight, winning the game principally by their ability to shoot foul goals.
The regular line-up consisted of Jeffries and Lyons, forwards; Milward, center, and Combs and Miller, guards. Others outstanding on the team were Lew Ellis, Hayes Owens, McBrayer, Page, Howard, McLane, and Williams.
The pass-work of this year's five was remarkably perfect, and nothing short of a Southern Conference title will satisfy these champions in '28.