|#6||Cliff Hagan (L)||C||Jr.||6-4||200||Owensboro, KY (High)||All-American [Consensus (1st), AP (1st), UPI (1st), NABC (1st), Converse (2nd), Helms (1st), International News Service (1st), Colliers (1st), Athletic Publications (1st)]; All-SEC [First Team (AP)]; All-SEC Tournament;|
|#30||Frank Ramsey (L)||G||Jr.||6-3||185||Madisonville, KY (High)||All-American [AP (2nd), UPI (2nd), Converse (1st), Helms (2nd), Athletic Publications (1st)]; All-SEC [First Team (AP)]; All-SEC Tournament;|
|#38||Bobby Watson (L)||G||Sr.||5-10||155||Owensboro, KY (High)||All-American [Athletic Publications (3rd)]; All-SEC [First Team (AP)]; All-SEC Tournament;|
|#16||Lou Tsioropoulos (L)||F||Jr.||6-5||200||Lynn, MA (Classical)||-|
|#32||Lucian Whitaker (L)||G||Sr.||6-0||170||Sarasota, FL (High)||-|
|#11||Shelby Linville (L)||F||Sr.||6-5||200||Middletown, OH (High)||-|
|#42||Billy Evans (L)||F-G||So.||6-1||170||Berea, KY (HIgh)||-|
|#20||Gayle Rose (L)||G||So.||6-0||170||Paris, KY (High)||-|
|#25||Dan Swartz||C||Fr.||6-4||215||Owingsville, KY (High)||-|
|#19||Willie Rouse||G||So.||6-0||160||Lexington, KY (University High)||-|
|#33||Charles Keller||G||Fr.||5-11||180||Jonesboro, AR (High)||-|
|#37||Gene Neff||F||So.||6-2||185||Eaton, OH (HIgh)||-|
|#22||Ronald Clark||C-F||Fr.||6-9||185||Springfield, MA (Classical)||-|
|#43||Brown Sharp||G||Fr.||5-6||140||Lexington, KY (Lafayette)||-|
|#7||James Flynn||F||Fr.||6-2||180||Lexington, KY (University High)||-|
|#19||George Cooke||G||Fr.||6-0||170||Maysville, KY (High)||-|
|#44||Cliff Dwyer||C||Fr.||6-8||220||Cincinnati, OH (Purcell)||-|
|#18||Houston Nutt||F||Fr.||6-1||168||Fordyce, AR (High)||-|
|#35||Woody Preston||F||Fr.||6-2||165||Pikeville, KY (High)||-|
|#77||Bill Spivey||C||Sr.||7-0||230||Warner Robins, GA (Macon Jordan)||(Missed first half of season due to knee surgery, sat out rest of season awaiting NCAA investigation);|
| Schedule | Player Statistics | Game Statistics |
Front Row (l to r): Head Coach Adolph Rupp, Gayle Rose, Bill Evans, Bobby Watson, Lucian Whitaker, Willie Rouse, Manager Bobby Moore
Season Review - 1952 Basketball Squad (Kentuckian)
Xavier, at Cincinnati, was the second opponent and after a slow start, Cliff Hagan and Frank Ramsey began connecting and the Cats won going away, 97-72.
Big Ed Kalafat, the Minnesota giant, threw 30 points through the hoops and a monkey wrench into the Rupp machine at Minneapolis in the third game and the Gophers handed the Cats their first defeat, 57-61. Lack of height was felt by the Cats for the first time. Bobby Watson was high man for the Cats that night with 16 points.
Rumors connecting more UK players in the "fix" scandals were gaining momentum when St. John's invaded just before Christmas. The Redmen were the pride of the East and had moved into the national Number One spot after the Cats' loss to Minnesota. Solly Walker was to be the first Negro player to perform on the Coliseum floor and New York newspapers dispatched writers to report any "incidents."
Some fans said that night was the finest hour in UK cage history. The Wildcats couldn't miss and the highly touted St. John's offense was completely bottled up. Striving to regain the top ranking, the Cats won in a rout, 81-40, to hand the Redmen their worst defeat in history. Hagan and Watson split evenly between them 50 points.
DePaul was the next victim, falling, 98-60, to the rejuvenated Cats. As the fans yelled madly for 100 points, Rupp instructed his men to freeze the ball, indicating he wasn't interested in "pouring it on,"
In another holiday game, the University of California at Los Angeles invaded to test Kentucky hospitality for the first time. The Uclans made a fight of it for the first half but couldn't cope with the deadly accuracy of the Cats' shooting or the devastating hook shot of Hagan. The Owensboro star connected for 34 points.
On Christmas Eve, Dean of Men A. D. Kirwan released a statement to the effect that Spivey, whose name was being mentioned more prominently by New York investigators, had asked to be taken off the squad "until my name is completely cleared."
Rupp took his team into the Sugar Bowl Tournament at New Orleans highly favored to cop the midwinter extravaganza. In first round play, Brigham Young University was beaten soundly, 84-64.
But in the finals, Ed Hickey, the diminutive St. Louis coach, continued his mastery over Rupp and the Kentuckians, 61-60. An off-balance field goal, thrown desperately in the waning seconds, connected for the Billikens. Hagan experienced an off night but Tsioropoulos scored 18 and Watson 16.
Owensboro held a Watson-Hagan night to honor the top citizens of that town and invited Mississippi to play host to the Cats. Playing before the home folks, the Owensboro lads were right at home and led the onslaught which was to smother the Rebels, 116-58. Hagan connected for 18 free throws, 16 of them consecutively.
The tall Tigers from LSU came into the Coliseum for the next game and for awhile it looked as though the home winning streak of the Cats was at an end. Sparked by Bob Pettit, the Tigers led most of the way but in the second half, Bill Evans, the Berea sophomore, went to work ball hawking and provided the punch the Cats needed to go ahead and win, 57-47.
Ramsey enjoyed one of his best nights in a return engagement with Xavier and scored 31 points as UK completely out-classed the Musketeers in a dull game, 83-50.
The Ruppmen began an eight-game road trip and handed the Florida Gators their first defeat of the season by a 99-52 count. Hagan was again the big gun, blasting through 27 points with whirlwind hook shots and tip-ins.
At the Louisville Armory, the Wildcats spanked Georgia, 95-55, with Ramsey, slashing and driving through the Bulldog defense, scoring 24 points. Watson put on a long shot exhibition and sent home 19 points.
At Knoxville, sports writers, believing Rupp and his team had been subjected to enough criticism they did not deserve, requested Vol fans to give a big reception. "Hecklers Row" applauded the Wildcats, perhaps for the first time in history, but the Vols, not extending the welcome mat, pushed the Cats all the way but fell, 65-56.
Georgia Tech was easy prey, 96-51, but Alabama was stiffer competition and the Cats were pushed all the way to win, 71-67. Vanderbilt succumbed to a Cat assault, 88-51, and Auburn was erased, 88-48.
The Irish of Notre Dame provided some of the stiffest competition of the year but the Cats were up to the task for the Chicago tilt, 71-66.
A short-lived record was established on the Cats' return home when Freshman Charley Keller sank a free throw to set a new home scoring mark. Tulane was the victim. The score: Kentucky 103, Tulane 54.
Mississippi felt the vengeance of the Cats again, that time 81-61 as the Kentuckians continued their torrid scoring pace. Tech fell in line again, 93-42.
The record against Tulane was broken when Mississippi State, playing valiantly but inadequately, was humiliated, 110-66. Hagan sacked 30 points, Ramsey 29.
Ramsey played the stellar role in the home Tennessee clash as Wildcat fans returned the welcome accorded the team at Knoxville. There wasn't a boo directed toward the orange-jersied men as the Cats rolled to a 95-40 victory.
Vanderbilt came to Lexington to avenge its earlier defeat but was not up to the task and went home, nursing a 75-45 defeat.
The final game of the regular season saw Sophomore Willie-Rouse steal the ball, with seconds to play, from a DePaul player, dribble the length of the floor and sink a crip shot to give his team a 63-61 win. Five Wildcats were on the bench with five personal fouls and five reserves, the rest of Rupp's traveling squad, pulled the game out of the fire.
The Southeastern Conference Tournament gave the Cats the opportunity to add another trophy to the case. A first round win over Tech, 80-59, moved the Ruppmen into the quarter-finals where they trounced Tulane, 85-61. Tennessee held the Cat power in check for three quarters in the semi-finals but were smothered in the final chapter and went down, 81-66.
The revenge-minded Tigers from LSU advanced to the finals in the other bracket and Pettit and Company almost pulled an upset. It was Lucian "Skippy" Whitaker, returning to action after an illness, who kept the Cats in the game in the early stages. When Whitaker tired, the rebounding and last minute shot by Tsioropoulos won the game. Hagan was high with 19 but the crucial 13 by Whitaker was what kept Cat hopes alive.
Hagan made a personal assault on the tournament record books as he tallied 110 points in four games to better the old mark of 94, held by Alex Groza. His 42 points against Tennessee erased the single game total of 37 held jointly by Groza and Spivey. Those 42 points were the highest ever scored in a single game by a Kentuckian. The old mark was 41, held by Spivey.
The tourney win gave Kentucky 13 tournament championships since the birth of the classic. The win, however, had no outcome on the conference championship; Kentucky won that on season play.
Hagan and Ramsey were named to the All-Tournament team, with Watson gaining a spot on the second team.
The Cats opened their defense of the NCAA crown with an easy triumph over Penn State, 82-54. Hagan bagged 20 points and Shelby Linville, reminding fans of his great play in the 1951 NCAA extravaganza, scored 12 markers.
The loss eliminated Kentucky from the Olympic race and gave Rupp's boys a season record of 29 victories, three defeats. Their conference record was 18 wins against no losses.
Home attendance for the games was counted at 126,000, a record number.
Both the Associated Press and the United Press ranked the Cats the Number One team of 1952.
Three seniors - Watson, Whitaker, and Linville - played their final games at Raleigh. The loss of the men will be felt deeply , but Rupp maintained the nucleus of the club for the 1952-53 season.
It was a great year - but followers were already looking forward to next year. Some said this year's aggregation was the best ever produced by the man in the brown suit. Few would disagree it was the fastest. But as Rupp pointed out, spirit, determination, and the desire to re-establish Blue Grass cage teams to national prominence in a favorable light was what put the Cats on top.
A final analysis is an easy one - a great bunch of boys worked together to form a great team, a Number One team.