Kentucky has had a lot of great Basketball teams throughout the years, and, as a result a lot of these teams have garnered nicknames. For whatever reason, whether it be for memory’s sake or just for the fun of it, any memorable whoever or whatever in sports has to have a nickname to go by. Nicknaming is an essential part of sport’s culture and in honor of March Madness – and being in Kentucky – here are some of the pet names the Cats have been called over the years.
The Wonder Team (1919 – 1925)
Back in the early days of Kentucky Basketball, all the way back in 1919, there was Coach George Buchheit’s “Wonder Team.” Bringing with him the “Illinois System,” Buchheit led the Wonder Team to the first ever, Southern Intercollegiate Athletic Association tournament victory, in 1921, defeating the Georgia Bulldogs in what is considered the first major success of UK Basketball. However, the team was not able to match the success of this season with their remaining time at UK. One player injured his knee and another one succumbed to diphtheria at the end of the season.
The Mauerman (1927 – 1928)
Coach John Mauer never won any Southern Conference titles during his time at UK, but his “Mauermen,” total, went 40-14 by the time he left. They were known for being team oriented and, in general, being a very well rounded team, laying the foundation for what the program was destined to become.
The Fabulous Five (1947 – 1948)
Here is the team that is responsible for Kentucky’s first ever title. Led by Adolph Rupp, the “Fab Five” defeated the Baylor Bears 77 to 59, claiming their spot as champions. However, it is not just that they won UK’s very first title that they are referred to as The Fabulous Five, even though that is certainly a key factor. After the championship, the starting five went on to play in the Olympics, defeating every opposing team in London. This makes Kentucky the only team ever to win an NCAA title and an Olympic gold medal.
The Fiddlin’ Five (1957-1958)
On the opposite side of the spectrum, there are the Fiddlin’ Five, the team that had the most losses during a season, albeit still winning a championship. Rupp referred to them as this, mainly, just because he didn’t think they were a good team. They lost 6 games during the season, but still went on to win the championship against Seattle in Freedom Hall.
The Unforgettables (1991 – 1992)
Obviously I have to start this blurb off with saying: you can’t forget the Unforgettables. This team, made up of mostly local players, played one of the most memorable games in college basketball history, against Duke in 1992. But, despite the loss, their legacy lives on at UK; their jerseys were almost instantly retired after the game.
The 8th Wonders (2011 – 2012)
While the Unforgettables might have played one of the most memorable games in NCAA history, the 8th Wonders had, arguably, one of the most iconic players on its team. Yes, it’s Anthony Davis, the man who has trademarked phrases about his unibrow. While no one will forget “The Brow,” Davis is not the only distinctive feature about this team. This team was also the first to have two of its players taken as the first and second draft picks in the NBA. They also had the six players chosen in a single two-round draft, the most ever taken.
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