Daily Independent (Ashland, KY)

Local Sports

May 16, 2013

EAST KENTUCKY BASKETBALL HISTORY: Reflections on 'The Shot'

PAINTSVILLE — Growing up in Paintsville there was one person that I wanted to be like on the basketball court. That person was Tiger legend John Pelphrey. I can remember the first time I saw Paintsville play a basketball game. It was January 1987 and John Pelphrey and the Tigers were hosting Richie Farmer and Clay County. I don’t remember much of the game. I do remember being impressed by the large crowd as my Dad and I sat close to the top of the Paintsville gym. I then remember John Pelphrey, Joey Couch, Mike Minix, Keith Adkins and the rest of the team making a trip to Paintsville Elementary School to sign autographs for us youngsters after they had won their third straight 15th Region title that March. It was a thrill to meet those guys, who we all looked up to, especially my idol John Pelphrey.

As John traveled to play at the University of Kentucky I became a UK fan and as the years passed basketball became much more important in my life. By the time I was playing fifth- and sixth-grade basketball at Paintsville, I was wearing number 34, John’s number at Kentucky. By March 1992, I had another season of elementary school basketball under my belt and John was helping lead Kentucky on a run to the Final Four. I remember how I felt at the end of the Kentucky/Duke game that was played on that day. Watching Christian Laettner hit that improbable shot to knock the Wildcats and Paintsville’s hometown hero, John Pelphrey, out of a trip to the Final Four was devastating. “The Shot” became a moment replayed each March as the NCAA Tournament was played and a constant reminder of what Duke had taken away from the Kentucky fans.

As I grew older and got into high school I got to know John Pelphrey. He began recruiting me as a college coach and I always attended his annual John Pelphrey Camp at Paintsville. John even made a trip to Rupp Arena in March 1996 to watch me and the rest of the Paintsville Tigers win a state championship in the “Sweet 16.”  One thing that was never talked about at any of the times we were around each other was the Duke game. It was never spoken about. After the recruiting process I became less of a Kentucky fan and as my own basketball odyssey began I thought less and less about “The Shot.”

1
2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10
Text Only
Local Sports
  • 0423BoydBaseB0220.jpg Boyd feeling sweepy

    Ashland’s defense opened the door in consecutive innings Tuesday. The second time, Boyd County barged through for a sweep of their regular-season baseball series.

    April 23, 2014 4 Photos

  • 042214_5a.jpg Rams snap series skid

    Greenup County applied pressure all night, but the Raceland Rams were impervious.

    April 23, 2014 2 Photos

  • Boyd rocks Lady Rams

    Lora Thompson didn’t realize she got all of it.

    April 23, 2014

  • Cook out at Lawrence

    Josh Cook knows he’s leaving a boys basketball program in Lawrence County that is “at a level that’s maybe one of the highest levels it’s ever been,” he said.

    April 22, 2014

  • PREP ROUNDUP: Kittens whip up 2 wins

    Ashland’s softball team improved to 16-2 on Tuesday with mercy-rule victories against West Carter and Fairview.

    April 22, 2014

  • Fleming’s Burns lands at G’town

    About the only thing missing was Pharrell Williams’s hit song, “Happy,” playing in the background.

    April 22, 2014

  • 0422GregTodd_038.jpg Todd named Morehead State women’s coach

    Morehead State has hired Greg Todd as its women’s basketball coach.

    April 22, 2014 1 Photo

  • PREP ROUNDUP: Ashland puts walk in walk-off

    Pete Mullins worked a walk-off walk with the bases loaded in the bottom of the seventh inning to score Casey Clark and push Ashland past Ironton, 2-1, on Monday.

    April 22, 2014

  • Salow named SEC pitcher of week

    Kentucky freshman lefty Logan Salow was announced Monday as the Southeastern Conference Pitcher of the Week after the Ashland alumnus threw five shutout innings in two appearances last week, including earning a victory at archrival Louisville.

    April 22, 2014

  • 0422russBaseB0116.jpg Red Devils get jump on Lewis

    As far as Lewis County baseball coach Jack Lykins is concerned, all four teams in the 63rd District are even.

    April 22, 2014 6 Photos