By LARRY VAUGHT
Former All-American Kenny Walker has the UK record for most career free throws made with 550 and most in a season with 218.
“I didn’t come in being a great free throw shooter but I put the time in. We had to make 25 free throws before we could leave practice every day. Practice makes perfect,” Walker said. “About two years ago some guy came up and told me I had that record and I didn’t know.
“After we lost Sam Bowie and Melvin Turpin (to graduation) in 1984 I became the featured guy in coach (Joe) Hall’s last year. Probably one of the most unglamorous records at UK, but I am proud of it.”
He also finished as UK’s second all-time leading scorer with 2,080 points when he graduate in 1986— just 58 points behind Dan Issel. No one has challenged either one as Jack Givens remains hid with 1,923 while Keith Bogans in fourth at 1,923 and Tony Belk 1,890. Issel got his points in only 83 games while Walker played 132, Givens 123, Bogans 135 and Delk 133.
“I jokingly say this to coach Hall and he is my guy, the most under appreciated coach that we have had here and he’s like a father figure to us still. The things I learned from him in basketball and away from basketball you can’t put a price on,” Walker said.
“But I always joke and tell him, ‘Coach I only came up 58 points shy of passing Dan Issel to being all-time leading scorer. If you had not retired and came back(for my senior season) I think I would have got it and broke all kind of records. He did let me shoot.”
Walker’s senior season he played for Eddie Sutton after Hall retired. Sutton was a more defensive minded coach who preferred a slower pace with his UK team.
“If you have to put the blame on anybody put it on Eddie Sutton because I didn’t get a chance to shoot as much but we did play better and win more, so it all worked out,” Walker, one of 38 players to have his jersey retired at UK, said.