1991–92 Kentucky Wildcats men's basketball team
|1991–92 Kentucky Wildcats men's basketball|
SEC Regular season champions
SEC Tournament champions
|1991–92 record||29–7 (12–4 SEC)|
|Head coach||Rick Pitino (3rd season)|
|Assistant coach||Herb Sendek|
|Assistant coach||Billy Donovan|
|Assistant coach||Bernadette Locke-Mattox|
|Home arena||Rupp Arena|
|1991–92 Southeastern Conference men's basketball standings|
|#6 Kentucky †||12||–||4||.750||29||–||7||.806|
|† 1992 SEC Tournament winner |
Rankings from AP Poll
The 1991–92 Kentucky Wildcats men's basketball team represented the University of Kentucky in NCAA competition in the 1991–92 season. Coached by Rick Pitino, the Wildcats were, then as now, a member of the Southeastern Conference and played their home games at Rupp Arena.
This season's team is one of the most fondly remembered in UK's long basketball history. The Wildcats were coming off a two-year postseason ban due to major recruiting violations committed during the tenure of Pitino's predecessor Eddie Sutton, although the NCAA found Sutton was not personally liable. The violations mainly centered on alleged cheating by former player Eric Manuel on the ACT college entrance exam and cash payments to the guardian of another former player, Chris Mills.
The team's four seniors, three of whom were Kentucky natives, had remained loyal to the program throughout its probation, and would enter Kentucky basketball history as "The Unforgettables". They were:
- Richie Farmer, a 6'0"/1.83 m shooting guard from Manchester, a small town in the state's eastern coal fields.
- Deron Feldhaus, a 6'7"/2.01 m forward from Maysville, a small Ohio River town in the Bluegrass region, about an hour's drive upriver from Cincinnati.
- John Pelphrey, a 6'8"/2.03 m forward from another eastern coal town, Paintsville. (Most recently the head coach at Arkansas.)
- Sean Woods, the only non-Kentuckian, a 6'2"/1.88 m point guard from Indianapolis. (Now the head coach at Southern University.)
Although the seniors were the heart and soul of the team, its biggest star was sophomore Jamal Mashburn, who would go on to become a consensus first-team All-American the following season and have a successful 12-year NBA career; he is now an NBA analyst for ESPN.
The Wildcats' run in the NCAA Tournament would end in a regional final against Duke that is often cited as the greatest college game ever played. The heavily favored Blue Devils survived an overtime thriller on Christian Laettner's last-second shot at the buzzer.
The legacy of "The Unforgettables" at UK was great enough that the UK program decided to retire their jerseys (but not their numbers) almost immediately after that game. While jersey retirement is not uncommon, it is rare for a school to bestow this honor so soon after a player's career ends.
NCAA basketball tournament
- Kentucky (2) 88, Old Dominion (15) 69
- Kentucky 106, Iowa State (10) 98
- Kentucky 87, Massachusetts (3) 77
- Duke (1) 104, Kentucky 103 (OT)
Awards and honors
- David Reed - Executive towelboy
Team players drafted into the NBA
- sports-reference.com 1991-92 Southeastern Conference Season Summary
- "1992 NBA Draft on". Databasebasketball.com. Archived from the original on 2012-06-03. Retrieved 2012-04-30.