The (Fill in the Player) Games, a Breakdown (BTI's Rants and Ramblings) - On3
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The (Fill in the Player) Games, a Breakdown (BTI's Rants and Ramblings)

Jodie Meeks
FAYETTEVILLE, AR - FEBRUARY 14: Jodie Meeks #23 of the Kentucky Wildcats walks to the bench to talk to the coach during their game against the Arkansas Razorbacks at Bud Walton Arena on February 14, 2009 in Fayetteville, Arkansas. The Wildcats defeated the Razorbacks 79-63. (Photo by Wesley Hitt/Getty Images)

Players and their legacies can be defined in a number of ways. Some guys are great from the moment they step on campus. Others take time to develop. And some guys never do.

But there are a rather few players who have their careers defined by one game and one game only. Some of these players were simply role players who had their moment in the sun. Some of them are amazing players who stepped up for legendary moments in key games. But there are some guys who will forever be defined by just one game in their careers. I tried to break down a few of the very best in my mind.

Now, just a quick description. My parameter for including guys on this list was simply if you asked 100 fans to name the game that they remember this player the most, at least 95 would say this game. Some guys are not listed despite having very memorable moments. Demarcus Cousins for instance. He has a memorable moment with the phone gesture at Mississippi State. But he also has the buzzer-beater putback in the SEC Tournament.

And some of the UK greats never really had that “moment.” Keith Bogans and Gerald Fitch come to mind. And many of the UK greats under Calipari are like that too. Anthony Davis is probably the best player in school history but what was his singular moment that all fans would list as his top? I don’t think he has one. The North Carolina block? The national title game? The Louisville Final Four game? It would be a mixed series of answers.

So enjoy this trip down memory lane and let me know who I am missing:

The Jeff Brassow Game

1993 Maui Invitational Final, Arizona
Brassow’s career at Kentucky was fine, mostly known for being a 3-point threat on the 1993 and 1994 squads. But he will forever be known for a 2-point shot, the tip-in at the buzzer to win the Maui Invitational in his senior season. An unlikely putback forever remembered:

The Andre Riddick Game

1995 Elite Eight, North Carolina
Maybe the only guy remembered for a non-basketball play. Andre Riddick had a very productive UK career, a member of the 1993 Final Four team, and one of the best shot blockers and rebounders in UK history. But he will forever be remembered for his scuffle early in the 1995 Elite Eight with Rasheed Wallace.

The Wayne Turner Game

1998 Elite Eight, Duke
I debated whether this one belonged or not because Turner had such a quality career at Kentucky and won 2 national titles as a key contributor. But when you really think about his career, I think almost everybody remembers one game and one game only. His dismembering of Woj in the comeback against Duke will forever be his legacy. While that game will be remembered for many moments from different players, Turner was the catalyst and his shining moment.

The Rashaad Carruth Game

2001 Duke, Madison Square Garden
Believe it or not, this game was not Rashaad Carruth’s career-high in points during his one season at UK. He scored 22 against Vanderbilt later in the year. But his 19 points off the bench came out of nowhere so much, almost leading the Cats to a great upset of the national champs, that his moment will always be that game. What a strange season for Carruth. After scoring 19, he broke 10 points just 3 more times that year. He scored 8 points total in his final 5 games and then left Lexington. But he will forever have this less place in UK lore for one great night against Duke.

The Tayshaun Prince Game

2002 North Carolina, Rupp Arena
Tayshaun will, by far, be the best player on this list but I do think that Prince is remembered for one moment (or game): his 5-three flurry against North Carolina in 2002. If one of Prince’s teams had made a Final Four and Prince had those moments, maybe he disqualifies from this list. But without that huge moment in an NCAA Tournament, this might go down as the best (non-Meeks) regular-season moment in the modern era.

The Sheray Thomas Game

2007 Mississippi State, SEC Tournament
Not all of these memories are necessarily great and for Sheray Thomas, that is the case. His untimely lane violation with 5 seconds left in the 2007 SEC Tournament ended up costing the Cats the game. Was it his fault? Not really, it was Tubby’s fault. Nevertheless, Thomas’ blunder added to his lore as an underachieving player. He played only 2 more games as a Cat.

The Jodie Meeks Game

2009, Tennessee, Knoxville
54 points. Enough said.

The Marcus Lee Game

2014 Michigan, Elite 8
Up to this point in his freshman season, Marcus Lee had scored 43 points in 22 games. And 17 of those came in the season opener. From November 20th to March 29th that season, Lee scored 13 points TOTAL. On March 30th, he scored 10 points on dunk after dunk against Michigan in the Elite 8. Lee was needed following the injury to WCS and he responded.

The Wenyen Gabriel Game

2018 Alabama, SEC Tournament
Gabriel hit no more than 3 three-pointers in any game of his UK career, except for one. The SEC Tournament semifinal against Alabama was Gabriel’s one shining moment as he buried SEVEN threes in a UK rout. I’m not sure what the overall feelings about Gabriel are amongst the fanbase but when asked to name his moment, I would think this would be 100% the response.

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2022-05-20