- Saturday, December 5 1998 -
Miami - 65 (Head Coach: Leonard Hamilton) - [Unranked]
|Joao Paulo Coelho||1||0||0||0||0||0||0||0||0||0||0||0||0||0||1||0|
Kentucky - 74 (Head Coach: Orlando Smith) - [Ranked 8th by AP]
Halftime Score: Kentucky 31, Miami (FL) 31
|Prior Game|||||Next Game|
|Kansas 63 - 45|||||Indiana 70 - 61 OT|
Game Writeup - Courtesy of Dr. Jeffrey Neil Burch; Dr. J's UK Newsletter, Vol. 8 No. 21. (All Rights Reserved)
Half a Game is Better Than None:
CBS televised only half of the UK-Miami (Fl) game in Rupp Arena on Dec. 5, owing to the delay in the Army-Navy football game preceding it. The 8th ranked Wildcats prevailed 74-65 after a tough battle (the game was not as close as the final margin indicates). Michael Bradley had a career high 19 pts.
[JNB note - because of the delaying accident at the Army-Navy football game, my only information about 1st half scoring came from CNN tickers and post-game reports. The game was tied 2-2, then Miami surged ahead 12-8 with about 14 minutes left. The Cats trailed 18-8 with around 12 minutes left in the 1st half, for the largest Hurricane lead of the day. The Hurricane led 21-13 with 9 minutes remaining, but a 13-6 UK rally spurred by Ryan Hogan cut the lead to 25-24 Miami with less than 4 minutes left. Kentucky's 1st lead of the game came with 2 minutes remaining in the half, as Bradley hit a turnaround shot for a 30-29 Wildcat edge. Bradley made 1 of 2 FTs afterwards, and Bland banked a shot to tie the game at 31-31 with 42 seconds left. Michael Bradley scored 7 1st half pts. The Cats had struggled with 35% 1st half FG shooting, compared to 58% for Miami. Miami had made 10 of their initial 13 shots from the floor, before cooling off slightly. UK had made only 2 of 14 1st half 3 pt shots. The team was presented with their NCAA championship rings at a ceremony at halftime.]
The Wildcats fell behind 33-31 to start the 2nd half as Hemsley nailed an 8 footer, but Evans scored on a drive (missing his subsequent FT when fouled) to tie it. James and Bradley traded baskets, then Evans got an assist to Turner for a layup to give Kentucky a 37-35 lead, and UK never trailed again. The Hurricane blew a 3-on-2 fast break, then Turner walked with the ball, then following a Turner miss, Bradley missed and missed 2 tips before batting the ball in for a 39-35 UK lead. Allison's 8 footer a few seconds later caused Miami to call a 20 second timeout. James hit 2 FTs after this, to make it 41-37 at the next TV timeout. Following good ball movement by the Cats, Smith hit a 3, James hit 2 FTs, Turner had a driving layup, and James hit 2 more FTs to make it 46-41. Minutes later Miami narrowed the margin to 47-44 following a Simmons 3, then Allison got a basket on an assist by Padgett. After James missed a 3, UK started a fast break but an official stopped play because Hemsley fell to the floor and didn't move. He got up a few seconds later, causing the Rupp Arena crowd to boo (presumably because they thought he faked an injury to stop a fast break). The Cats had trouble with the tenacious Miami defense, and on several occasions they took bad shots because the shot clock came close to expiring. Smith shot a poor 3 attempt because of this, and was blocked. Hemsley nailed a 3 at the other end, and after making an old-fashioned 3 on the next possession, Hemsley tied the game at 49-49. On the Cats' next possession, however, as time expired, Padgett hit a 3. Bland made 1 FT after being fouled by Bradley, then Padgett hit a long 3 to make it 55-50. Bland scored inside, then Bradley got a layup to make it 57-52 and the Rupp crowd went wild. After several wild scrambles on the next possession, Prince passed to Bradley for an inside dunk, and it was 59-52 Kentucky. Miami missed everything on its next possession, then Turner hit Bradley underneath for a layup, and it was 61-52. The Cats had outscored the Hurricane 12-3 over a 5 minute stretch. James got an easy layup, then Padgett turned the ball over, and James scored again on a great drive to close the gap to 61-56 UK. But Bradley got a layup, James hit 1 FT, Turner made 1 FT, and following a Magloire block of a James shot, Padgett got another 3 for a 67-57 edge with about 2 minutes to go, to seal the game. Still, Bland made it exciting by hitting an unguarded 3, and Byars-Dawson also added a 3 to close to 67-63 with 42 seconds left in the contest. Evans had a putback of a Prince miss, and made his followup FT for a 70-63 margin. Byars-Dawson got a layup, and Turner made 1 FT to make it 71-65. After a Miami miss, Turner hit 2 FTs, and following a Miami airball, Padgett concluded the scoring for the day by making 1 FT, for a final 74-65 Wildcat victory.
Miami Coach Leonard Hamilton was a former Joe Hall assistant at UK, and he was Kentucky's 1st black assistant coach. This game marked his 1st return to Rupp Arena to play Kentucky since his stints as head coach at Oklahoma State and Miami (Fl). Scott Padgett had been 0-18 from 3 pt range until he connected with roughly 10 minutes left in this game.
Game Preview - by Michelle Kaufman The Miami Herald December 4, 1998
As an assistant at Kentucky in the 1970s, Leonard Hamilton experienced a national title and wild expectations. UM's coach returns Saturday to find not much has changed.
Leonard Hamilton - whose University of Miami basketball team plays at Kentucky on Saturday - is trying to describe what it is like, the 12 years he spent as a UK assistant coach in the Bluegrass Stale, where hoops hang from horse barns and folks are so Cat-crazy that when former coach Rick Pitino built a home, fans showed up at the construction site and took souvenir jars of dirt.
Hamilton can't find the words to explain, a place where recruiting season starts so early, expectant mothers have been known to send sonograms of their newborn sons to UK coaches, proclaiming them future Wildcats.
He wonders whether South Florida's fickle, often apathetic sports fans could ever relate to a place where mourners festoon their loved ones' grave sites with blue and white bouquets. Where 68 books about Wildcat basketball sit on the shelves of the Lexington Public Library, and a popular bumper sticker reads: "A Kentucky pervert is a person who loves sex more than Kentucky basketball."
Hamilton's Hurricanes drew fewer than 5,000 fans per game last season, while the Wildcats routinely turned away more than 10,000 fans from 23 000-seat Rupp Arena. Hamilton practically begs the local media for coverage, while nearly 100 radio stations carry Kentucky games live for fans from Paducah to Paintsville.
Hamilton admits maybe it's just a foolish pipe dream, but be longs for the day when a UM fan cares enough to refrigerate his uneaten taco (it happened to Pitino's taco). when newspaper columnists skewer him for not signing a certain recruit, when 9,000 fans pack an on-campus arena.
"Basketball is a way of life in Kentucky, and you really have to see it to understand it." Hamilton says.
So he rummages through his garage and comes up with some old magazines and a grainy videotape.
You pop in the tape, and begin to get the picture.
The Afro is bushy, the eyeglasses are rose-tinted, and the spiffy three-piece suit is pure Saturday Night Fever.
But it's him. It's definitely him.
Sitting on the bench next to coach Joe B. Hall, holding a clipboard and soaking up the madness that surrounded the University of Kentucky's 1978 NCAA championship team, is a younger, slimmer Hamilton.
There he is again, on the team bus. riding down I-75 from Dayton, where the Cats had just beaten Magic Johnson's Michigan State team to earn a Final Four berth. A police escort leads the bus as fans wave signs from the roadside. Banners hang from overpasses.
And there's Hamilton getting off the team's private jet at 4 a.m. at Bluegrass Field airport, where thousands of fans waited for their young heroes. Teenage girls weep at the sight of guard Kyle Macy, in a plaid jacket, souvenir net hanging around his neck.
"It was like traveling with The Beatles," Hamilton says 20 years later as he prepares his Hurricanes (2-1) for the nationally televised game against the eighth-ranked Wildcats (6-1). It will be his first game back at Rupp Arena as a head coach, and a UM upset of the defending national champs would surely catapult the Hurricanes into the Top 25.
Hamilton was hired as a Wildcats assistant in 1974. the first black coach in the program's history. Though he says Hall never told him he was there to recruit black players, Hamilton understood he could play a key role in integrating a program that excluded blacks during Adolph Rupp's 42 years as coach. [sic; JPS Note - in reality Rupp began recruiting black players in 1964 once he was given permission by the school (the first school in the SEC to do so), and Rupp coached three black players at UK.]
"I came along at a lime when integration was just picking up steam." Hamilton said. "I was the first black player at Gaston [N.C.] Community College, the first black player at University of Tennessee-Martin, the first black coach in the Ohio Valley Conference at Austin Peay, and then the first at Kentucky.
"But the transition was smooth for me because I recognized the arena I was in and what I needed to do to contribute to what I considered a very important task - to help, in some small way, to the improvement of a social problem we had in those days."
Hamilton earned a reputation as one of the nation's top recruiters, and was promoted to associate coach in 1980. During his 12 years there, the Cats won eight Southeastern Conference championships, went to three Final Fours, and won the 1978 NCAA title.
Twenty-three of Hamilton's recruits were drafted by the NBA, including Mel Turpin, Kenny Walker and Winston Bennett, the first Louisville kid ever to flee to Lexington [sic, JPS Note - while UK hadn't signed any Louisville recruits for a number of years, Bennett was not the first UK recruit from the city. Numerous UK players hailed from the city of Louisville, including Tom Payne, Rupp's first black player (who the author failed to recognize earlier).] (Cardinals fans still haven t forgiven Hamilton for wooing Bennett in enemy territory).
"Nobody could hold a candle to Leonard when it came to recruiting," said Oscar Combs, the founder and longtime editor of The Cats' Pause, a fan magazine.
"He had a human side that appealed to the players. It's very difficult to be one of the guys and be a father figure, too, but Leonard did a great job of toeing that line."
Hamilton was 26 when Hall hired him. He had been out of coaching for a week, after quitting Austin Peay in a huff when the president of the university couldn't assure him he would replace Lake Kelly as the next head coach. Hamilton was convinced the reason was that he was black, and he vowed never to coach again. He took a job as a salesman for Dow Chemical in Charlotte, N.C., but didn't last two weeks.
"I was impulsive and immature." Hamilton said, in retrospect. "I was young, and maybe reading into things too much as to why I wouldn't get the job. It didn't occur to me that I was 26 years old with no head coaching experience. Aggressive would be a mild description of the passion I operated with, and I've never changed."
Hamilton got by on four hours sleep and almost had to be hospitalized for exhaustion on a few occasions when he suffered nosebleeds, blurred vision, severe headaches and chest pains.
Hall, the retired UK coach, has never forgotten Hamilton's tireless work rate ("Leonard recruits for relaxation."), and will host a private reception for Hamilton in his home this evening.
"I'm sure we'll go over all the war stories," Hamilton says, bursting into a laugh that fills his UM office.
One story they'll probably avoid is the Lexington Herald-Leader's Pulitzer Prize-winning series. published in October 1985, that quoted 26 Kentucky players as saying they had received improper gifts from boosters. The NCAA investigated and scolded the university for not cooperating with the inquiry, but it didn't find enough evidence to penalize the program.
Hamilton was not mentioned in the NCAA findings, although his name came up in the newspaper series. It is a subject he doesn't discuss.
The series was so unpopular with Kentucky fans that Herald-Leader reporters received death threats and dead flowers. A bullet was fired through a window at the newspaper office, bullet holes were found in news racks, and one angry fan chased a paperboy off his property with an ax handle,
Mark Coomes, the current Cats' Pause editor, caters to the most rabid fans. He says the magazine's revenue quadruples each July when fans call the 1-900 line to get daily reports on how Kentucky recruits are performing at summer camps. He begins to rattle off the names of the most dedicated fans.
There's Wally Clark, who is so determined to be first in line for UK's Midnight Madness practice that he parks his camper in front of Memorial Coliseum six weeks ahead of time.
There's the Hopkinsville, Ky., widow who reportedly bequeathed $42,000 to the UK basketball team.
And then there's Bob Wiggins, the retired engineer, who has been to 532 consecutive home games since 1961. His record of 615 home-and-away was snapped in 1996 when he suffered a heart attack before the Great Alaska Shootout.
Wiggins, reached by telephone in Falmouth, Ky., said he will be there - Section 17, Row K, Seat 12 - for the Miami game on Saturday. He remembered his last conversation with Hamilton before Hamilton left to become head coach at Oklahoma State in 1986,
"I said, 'Coach, maybe you'll come back and visit us sometime' and Leonard said, 'You don't think I'm crazy enough to bring a team to Rupp Arena, do you?'"
Apparently, he is.
Desmond Allison attempts to drive past Miami's Kevin Houston (#42)
Michael Bradley (#33) dunks the ball
Scott Padgett (#34) shoots over Miami's Elton Tyler and Johnny Helmsley