|#15||Alex Groza (L)||C||Sr.||6-7||220||Martins Ferry, OH (High)||National Player of the Year [Helms*]; All-American [Consensus (1st), AP (1st), UPI (1st), Converse (1st), Helms (1st), Look Magazine (1st), Sporting News (1st)]; NCAA Final Four Most Outstanding Player; NCAA Regional Most Outstanding Player; All-SEC [First Team (AP)]; All-SEC Tournament;|
|#12||Ralph Beard (L)||G||Sr.||5-10||175||Louisville, KY (Male)||All-American [Consensus (1st), AP (1st), UPI (1st), NABC (1st), Converse (2nd), Helms, Look (2nd), Sporting News (3rd), Colliers (1st)]; All-SEC [First Team (AP)]; All-SEC Tournament;|
|#27||Wallace Jones (L)||F-C||Sr.||6-4||205||Harlan, KY (High)||All-American [Consensus (2nd), AP (2nd), UPI (1st), Converse (1st), Look (3rd), Sporting News (2nd)]; All-SEC [First Team (AP)]; All-SEC Tournament;|
|#23||Cliff Barker (L)||G-F||Sr.||6-2||185||Yorktown, IN (High)||All-SEC [Second Team (AP)]; All-SEC Tournament;|
|#18||Dale Barnstable (L)||F-G||Jr.||6-3||175||Antioch, IL||All-SEC [Third Team (AP)];|
|#25||Jim Line (L)||F||Jr.||6-2||185||Akron, OH (North)||-|
|#19||Walter Hirsch (L)||F||So.||6-4||180||Dayton, OH (Northridge)||-|
|#13||Roger Day||F||So.||6-2||170||Frostburg, MD||-|
|-||Al Bruno||F||So.||6-3||185||West Chester, PA (High) [Perkiomen Preparatory School, Pennsburg, PA]||-|
|#14||Garland Townes||G||So.||6-0||170||Hazard, KY||-|
|#5||John Stough||G||Jr.||6-0||170||Montgomery, AL (Sidney Lanier)||-|
|#26||Robert Henne||G||So.||6-1||170||Bremen, IN (High)||-|
|#31||Joe Hall||G||So.||6-1||160||Cynthiana, KY||-|
| Schedule | Player Statistics | Game Statistics |
Front Row (l to r): Head Coach Adolph Rupp, Jim Line, Cliff Barker, John Stough, Ralph Beard, Joe Hall, Garland Townes, Asst. Coach Harry Lancaster
Season Review - Basketball (Kentuckian)
Like Citation, the Cats were beaten twice, but came roaring back to win the big one and remain undisputed champions.
Kentucky, sure as death to win the National Invitational Tournament, was topped by a weak Loyola team of Chicago in the opening round, as all the seeded teams were uprooted.
However the next week Captain Alex Groza brought his men back to New York and was dubbed Alexander the Great when he conquered the East, scoring 57 points in two games, and then turning West, to Seattle where he set a scoring mark of 82 points, as the Cats retained the NCAA Crown they won lost year.
Citation was Horse of the Year by far and Kentucky was Team of the Year by farther. The AP poll, tabulated at the end of the regular season, hod the Cots way out in front distantly followed by Oklahoma A & M - NCAA finals victim, 46-36 - and Illinois - whipped by the Cats in the Eastern playoffs 74-47 - in second and third spots.
Mr. Rupp's Riflemen and Mr. Wright's Whizz, are champions because they can get out in front to stay or come from behind to win. The Cats had to catch up with Holy Cross, Bowling Green, and Xavier. They showed they had endurance, licking Bradley for their fifth win in six days. They showed they had power, whipping Illinois and Notre Dame by 29 and 24 point margins. They showed they could operate under pressure, freezing the ball against Bowling Green and Tulane.
|Al Groza led the Wildcats, the Southeaster Conference and the nation in filling baskets with points this year. He's on top of them all.|
Ralph Beard and Cliff Barker were Kentucky's Pinkerton-like guards. Beard made All American three years for his all around play; Barker can do anything with a ball, including scoring two points from 65 feet out.
Wah Jones and Dale Barnstable started at the forward positions most of the year. Jones rebounding and Barney's hustle did a lot toward making it a 32-2 season.
Jim Line and Walt Hirsch are two left handers that couldn't be stopped when they were right. Line stepped off the bench and won the NCAA almost single-armedly, shoving through 31 and 15 points in the Villanova and Illinois games. Sophomore Hirsch rebounds, shoots, and passes like a surefire All America prospect in the near future.
This was Kentucky's greatest team. Never again will a series of world events occur so as to bring a like caliber of boys together for such a length of time. It took Patton's Third Army to free 27-year-old Cliff Barker from a German concentration cam, where he cultivated his sleight-of-hand with a basketball, and back to UK. It took a national ruling to allow Wah Jones and Ralph Beard to play four straight years together. It was only coincidence that drove two greats like Beard and Groza - two All-Americans for three straight years - together under the tutelage of Coach Adolph Rupp.
Mr. Wright flips his lucky coin when he thinks of his two, Coaltown and Citation, but Mr. Rupp smiles heavenward when he thinks of his four.
Captain Alex Groza, who was chosen player of the years by Helms Foundation, made more records than Perry Como. He set a national season scoring record of 696 points; he set SEC season and game marks - he inked a mark of 34 in the Tennessee game, only to have it obliterated a week later by Vanderbilt's Adcock with 36, and had to hit for 38 against Georgia to make it stick-- and wound up the season hitting 42 percent of all shots taken. He also set SEC and NCAA tournament scoring records. Big AI was named basketball's outstanding performer, best player appearing in the Chicago stadium, NCAA most valuable, and most valuable in the East-West All Star game. This quiet, 6'7" senior will always be mentioned when all time basketball greats are discussed.
Kentucky's ball-bearing Ralph Beard was the most idolized athlete ever to enroll at UK. In training all year around, he's the perfect Wheaties ad, the All American boy. He hit long shots, jump shots, and crip shots with monotonous regularity, and when the chips were down, the Louisville Lad came through. One of his greatest tributes came during the black hour of the Loyola defeat. The defensive man had backed up on Rapid Ralph who had just dribbled across the mid-floor stripe; the New Yorkers eager for on upset, groaned and one fan shrieked, "Don't let that guy shoot! He'll beat you all by himself!" and he almost did, putting the Cats in the lead three times with long shots in the closing stages of the game. His sincere modesty, pure sportsmanship, and great desire to win will never be forgotten.
Wallace "Wah Wah" Jones joined Beard and former Wildcat Jack Tingle, as the only players ever to make the All SEC team four consecutive years Jones also owns the singular honor of being all conference in both football and basketball the same year. Setting a national high school scoring record in the pivot at Harlan, Jones came to the University as a center. However he switched to the forward post his sophomore year where his accuracy from the side of the floor became known the country over. An all time UK great, Jones earned 11 letters in varsity football, basketball and baseball.
Cliff Barker, the Grand Old Man of basketball, didn't get the newspaper inches his teammates did, but not because he didn't deserve them. He handles a basketball like it were an apple, doing everything but eating it. He liked to pass to his teammates and was known as no great shakes at long shooting until the last seven seconds of the last game he played in Alumni Gym. With seconds left of the regular season, Bark squinted at the basket 65 feet away and almost knocked the backboard down and the roof off as 2850 students screeched their surprise at seeing the ball bang through the nets.
|Rapid Ralph roars by his man again for two more points.||Cliff Barker in his own off hand way scores while Walt Hirsch sees the whole thing.|
|Wah Jones and Big Al were hands and wrists above all opponents this year on the back boards. Rebounding was the difference in all the tight ones.||Dale Barnstable has the ball pointed out to him while Jim Line and Wah Jones try to get oriented.|
Dale Barnstable, while not a high scorer, stayed in the starting lineup because of his hustle and driving desire to ploy ball. The 6'2" junior is a good shot from the forward position, but likes to drive in for closeups.
Jim Line has a left arm more widely known than Lefty Grove's. He came off the bench when no one could score and pushed Kentucky into the lead single armedly, against Villanova in the NCAA, scoring 21 points. He makes straight "A"s in Engineering.
Sophomore Walt Hirsch is Barker's successor as a ball flipper. He likes to slap the ball rather than pass it. He hit 32 percent of his shots and will probably join Barnstable and Line in next year's starting lineup. A slugging first baseman, Hirsch figures to play professional baseball when he is graduated.
John Stough, Roger Day, Garland Townes, Al Bruno and Bob Henne rounded out the greatest bunch of basketball bouncers college basketball has ever seen.
|If the defensive man backs up, Beard can hit a long one; if he gets too close Rapid Ralph can run around him; this one got too close.||Being a big, high scorer isn't all peaches and cream. Even though gagged and held, Groza racked up 38 points against these Georgia boys.|
Middle: A throng of admirers surrounds Ralph Beard's convertible.
Bottom: The speech-making gets underway in front of the Administration Building.