By LARRY VAUGHT
It has been almost 30 years since Reggie Hanson graduated from the University of Kentucky, but UK basketball fans still remember him well.
Hanson was one of the featured speakers at the Ohio UK Convention in Franklin, Ohio, recently and signed autographs, posed for pictures and sold copies of his new book, “10 Life Lessons: Learned As a Student Athlete.”
“No matter where we go, there will be a UK fan who knows Reggie and recognizes him,” said Lee Theodate, Hanson’s fiancee.
“Who wouldn’t recognize him? He still looks just like he did when he played,” said Cameron Mills Radio columnist Tina Cox.
Hanson grew up a North Carolina fan in Charlotte.
“I did not start out as a Kentucky fan. I am not from Kentucky. But cut me, I bleed blue now even if I was from Charlotte (N.C.),” Hanson smiled and said.
Hanson explained in depth how he got to Pulaski County. It started when his older brother, Art, dropped out of high school and entered the Job Corps. He was placed in McCreary County in Kentucky. That’s when Pulaski coach Dave Fraley got involved.
“Coach Fraley had a reputation for getting kids out of the Job Corps and back in high school,” Hanson said. “My brother told him he also had two little brothers who could also play basketball.”
Fraley and a Pulaski assistant drove to Charlotte to see Hanson’s mother and convinced her the move to Somerset would help her younger sons have a chance to get college basketball scholarships.
“She was convinced it was the right place to be and we packed up like the Beverly Hillbillies and moved,” Hanson said. “It was a big adjustment coming to a smaller town.
“I was also a die-hard Carolina fan. My teammates in eighth grade would tell me about Kentucky basketball. Finally Kentucky started recruiting me and then all these fans started talking to me and telling me about Kentucky.”
Still, Hanson was not sold — at least until he took his official visit to UK. He had offers from numerous SEC and ACC schools. After he took an official visit to UK, he cancelled the rest of his potential visits.
“I was here for good then,” Hanson, who now lives and works in Tampa, said. “I always talk about how special Kentucky was and still is.”