Wildcat Player– Burgess Carey

In 1920-1929, All-Americans, C, UK Wildcat Players on August 2, 2009 at 12:38 am
UK 1924-25 All-American Burgess Carey

UK 1924-25 All-American Burgess Carey

The second UK All-American ever, Burgess Carey is an outstanding illustration of the million ways in which basketball has changed in the last 85 years or so. Carey was a 6’ guard from Lexington. He played two seasons as a Wildcat, and won All-American honors as a junior, in 1924-25.

Amazingly, Carey was an All-American despite scoring exactly 20 points in 20 games in the 1924-25 season. Of course, the average score of a UK game that season was 26-24, so it was certainly not run and gun basketball. That said, Carey was sixth in scoring in his own team, and yet was an All-American.

Needless to say, Burgess Carey was apparently an incredible defensive player. Tom Wallace in his Kentucky Basketball Encyclopedia indicates that Carey played “back guard”, a position which apparently placed him close to his own basket, with the express aim of cutting down on the other team’s scoring.

The Cats were 13-8 in 1924-25, and apparently, Carey wasn’t always successful in his defensive efforts. For instance, on January 6, 1925, UK lost to Wabash 57-10. Coach Clearance Applegran should have probably thanked his lucky stars that he wasn’t around in the Billy Gillispie era.

Carey played one more season as a Wildcat and upped his scoring to almost two points per game. Carey was the captain on a 15-3 squad that lost the Southern Conference Tournament championship 31-26 to Mississippi A&M (later to become Mississippi State).

Carey apparently left basketball after 1926, and was a contractor in Lexington when he died in 1961 at the age of 56.

(Again, thanks to Jon Scott for the picture. He’s at


Wildcat Player– Basil Hayden

In 1920-1929, All-Americans, H, UK Wildcat Coaches, UK Wildcat Players on August 1, 2009 at 10:40 pm
UK Basketball's First All-American, Basil Hayden

UK Basketball's First All-American, Basil Hayden

There have been 49 All-American basketball players at the University of Kentucky. None of them came before Basil Hayden. Also, none of them, other than Hayden, were born in the 19th century. Hayden was born in 1899 and stuck around to the ripe old age of 103 before passing away early in 2003. Needless to say, I don’t remember Basil Hayden and probably few, if any, people on the Internet can remember him.

His statistics aren’t overly impressive at first glimpse. In three years as a ‘Cat, Basil scored a total of 333 points. In the 1920-21 season, his junior year and All-American year, Basil scored just under 10 points per game. This is more impressive than it seems. The average score of a UK game in that 13-1 campaign was 36-19. Accordingly, scoring 9.6 points per game would be the equivalent of scoring 20 or so a game nowadays.

Basil was a 5’11” forward, which really boggles the mind. Since Travis Ford was never All-American, Basil was probably UK’s shortest A-A player. He was the backbone of the 1920-21 team, which won the SIAA Conference Tournament over Georgia 20-19 in Atlanta. For his efforts, Hayden was nicknamed “The Blond Adonis” by the media of his day. Hayden had only two points in the SIAA championship game, but they were the points that tied the game at 19, before Bill King hit a free throw with no time on the clock to make the ‘Cats champions.

This 1921 SIAA Tournament Championship was the first championship in UK basketball history. It doesn’t sound like much now, but who knows? If Basil Hayden hadn’t led the charge, who is to say that all of the players, championships, and great moments would have followed?

Interestingly, Basil is part of another UK tradition. He coached the 1926-27 UK team. That squad went 3-13, and ended Hayden’s UK coaching career. Hayden was replaced by John Mauer, who after three solid seasons, would yield the position to a young high school coach—Adolph Rupp.

(Thanks to Jon Scott for the photo– I can’t say enough about his excellent page at


In Uncategorized on August 1, 2009 at 10:31 pm

Welcome to the blog!


As a longtime fan of UK basketball, I thought it might be a worthwhile project to start a blog on UK basketball history. I hope to post blogs on memorable Wildcat  players, teams, games, and plays. I hope the cite is interesting and can spark memories, debates, and sharing of the camraderie of being Wildcat fans. Stay civil, have fun, and feel free to comment and discuss.