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All-American Kyle Macy was a “Ninja” on defense

Shelby Valley coach Jim Hicks holds his daughter after meeting Kyle Macy and Jack Givens. (Larry Vaught/Verizon Photo)

By LARRY VAUGHT

When you think of former Kentucky All-American Kyle Macy, you think of his clutch shooting and accuracy at the foul line. He’s not remembered as a defensive stopper, but maybe he should be. His 69 steals in the 1978-79 season rank as the fifth best mark in UK basketball history and his 58 steals in 1979-80 rank 23rd. He’s 21st all-time in steals at Kentucky.

“I am like a Ninja. I just went unseen on the floor with my defense,” said Macy, the point guard on UK’s 1978 national championship team. “Or maybe defensively I was just underrated because my offense was so good. Yeah, that’s not right either.”

Macy can poke fun at himself but the numbers show that he had a knack for making steals in a way few players have been able to do.

“I was not the type player to dazzle you with my jumping ability, speed or quickness,” Macy said. “I had to rely on the fundamental — pass, catch, shoot, defend. The game was different then.

“If you look at assists it was a lot harder to get an assist when I was playing than it is now. Now you throw a guy the ball, he dribbles twice, scores and you get an assist. But with steals, it’s still the same.

“A steal is a steal. So I am proud of what I did on defense with my anticipation and understanding of the game.”

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