Wes Unseld dead

Mojocat

All-American
Jan 29, 2003
18,166
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Best player ever from Kentucky. Interesting question. Unseld. Griffith. Beard. Who else? All in, I guess I'd go with Wes, too.

Edit.

Here's a link to NBA and ABA players from the state of Kentucky. 111 in all.

https://www.basketball-reference.com/friv/birthplaces.cgi?country=US&state=KY

6 of the 111 are in the Hall of Fame:

Dave Cowens
Joe Fulks
Cliff Hagan
Frank Ramsey
Arnie Risen
Wes Unseld

So, yeah, I'd go with Unseld. And by the way, that '54 UK team was a little loaded. heh
 

MdWIldcat55

All-American
Dec 9, 2007
22,347
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Terrible news in terrible times.

I moved to the DC area the year Wes led the Bullets to the NBA championship, and I loved that team -- made it to a couple games and they were fun to watch. Then he was always around the Wizards as a coach, GM, executive. So, both as a Kentuckian and a temporary resident in the DMV for 40-plus years, a real loss.
 

zannmann

All-American
Feb 17, 2006
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RIP big fella. Too bad he couldn’t play for UK.


He won the regular-season MVP award in 1969 and was a five-time All-Star. Unseld and Wilt Chamberlain (1960) are the only players in NBA history to win Rookie of the Year and MVP honors in the same season.
 
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mktmaker

Junior
Jun 5, 2001
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Atlanta
When I was in junior high school (called middle school now) Wes, Butch Beard, and one of the UofL coaches came to my school to recruit one of our high school players. (He would become a starter at WKU, a team that went to the Final Four -- including a 26-point shellacking of UK in the NCAA tournament.)

Beard looked as tall as Unseld, but Unseld seemed like the biggest guy I had ever seen. He was a mean-looking SOB, but I have heard that he was a gentle giant.
 
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mktmaker

Junior
Jun 5, 2001
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I heard Rupp really wanted him.


Everyone did.

Here is what Jon Scott had to say about UK's recruitment of Unseld:

(There is a lot more at this link.)

http://www.bigbluehistory.net/bb/rupp.html#wesunseld

Wes Unseld was the 1964 Kentucky Mr. Basketball from Louisville Seneca High. Unseld was the first black player that Kentucky tried to recruit. Unseld ended up going to Louisville to become a consensus All-American and on to a great NBA career which placed him in the Hall of Fame.

WESTLEY UNSELD (6'8") Seneca H.S., Louisville Ky. - Player scouts of the University of Kentucky, which regularly produces top teams, calls rangy, rugged Unseld "the best high school player in the country."
- Parade Magazine, Parade's Eight Annual All-America High School Team (1964).

According to an article by Billy Reed (Lexington Herald Leader, February 16, 1999), Unseld conferred at the 1964 State Basketball Tournament in Memorial with "some of Kentucky's recruiting 'inner ring'," who tried to convince the player to come to Lexington.

But the article goes on to suggest that Unseld might not have felt completely comfortable in Lexington.

"I remember being booed," Unseld said in a 1980 interview, "but, at the time, I attributed that to the Breckinridge County people and not the UK fans."

"I also remember that I couldn't eat in the restaurant across the street from our hotel because they didn't serve black people. That sort of bothered me. That sort of thing might have been going on in Louisville at the same time, but I didn't know about it if it was." - by Billy Reed, Lexington Herald Leader, "Unseld, Beard Important in UK Lore," February 16, 1999. (The 1980 reference is not provided by Reed.)
 
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CatEye2010

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Jan 5, 2010
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I saw Wes at the '84 Final Four in Seattle. He was talking to a group of people on the court sideline between games on Saturday. Someone asked him how, at just 6'8" as a center was he able to deal with much taller centers. He said, "i just put my knee between their legs and walked them out to the free throw line". He had huge thighs and rear, and used that to his advantage. Seemed like a good guy.

RIP, Wes.
 
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GGary

Blue Chip Prospect
Gold Member
Nov 4, 2001
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I saw Wes at the '84 Final Four in Seattle. He was talking to a group of people on the court sideline between games on Saturday. Someone asked him how, at just 6'8" as a center was he able to deal with much taller centers. He said, "i just put my knee between their legs and walked them out to the free throw line". He had huge thighs and rear, and used that to his advantage. Seemed like a good guy.

RIP, Wes.
Wes was listed as 6’7” in a lot of places, but actually measured at 6’6 1/2” in bare feet.

He was a fantastic player and an even better person. He had a drill in college where he would grab a rebound after a missed FT, turn and with a 2-handed over pass, throw it off the other backboard. Sounds impossible, but he could do it. Quite a man.
 
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I went to Morehead when wes brother played. Saw him in stands and was right beside him I would guessed him 6'6. Not 6'8 or close. Maybe best outlet. Pass ever
 
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MychalG

Junior
Dec 16, 2012
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Great outlet passes after rebounds is what I remember most about his game

Agree..no one did it better than Wes. I was watching Kevin Love when he was at UCLA and he threw an outlet pass and I commented at the time that reminded of Wes. I read today, that Wes was his God-Father..May Wes RIP..always enjoyed watching him play at UL and in the NBA. He was a great ambassador for the game of basketball. I never met him, but apparently he was a solid guy and a solid family man..
 
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2Adulterers

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Aug 11, 2015
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When I was in junior high school (called middle school now) Wes, Butch Beard, and one of the UofL coaches came to my school to recruit one of our high school players. (He would become a starter at WKU, a team that went to the Final Four -- including a 26-point shellacking of UK in the NCAA tournament.)

Beard looked as tall as Unseld, but Unseld seemed like the biggest guy I had ever seen. He was a mean-looking SOB, but I have heard that he was a gentle giant.
That Western team vacated the UK win because Jim McDaniels had an agent which made him ineligible.FYI