You have found an item located in the Kentuckiana Digital Library.
2006-08-08 Interview with William B. Keightley, August 8, 2006 AF008:2005OH113A/F735 00:48:23 William B. Keightley Oral History Project Louie B. Nunn Center for Oral History, University of Kentucky Libraries University of Kentucky--Basketball University of Kentucky--Basketball (1979-1920) University of Kentucky--Basketball (1980-1981) Rupp, Adolph (1901-1977) Hall, Joe B. (Joe Beason) Pitino, Rick Smith, Tubby Macy, Kyle Magloire, Jamaal Bowie, Sam Turpin, Melvin National Basketball Association College athletes--Recruiting Kentucky Wildcats (Basketball team) Keightley, William B.; Interviewee Suchanek, Jeffrey; Interviewer keightley_af_0735 1:|19(9)|28(6)|34(10)|43(8)|64(5)|75(3)|87(13)|103(1)|114(2)|130(3)|138(4)|145(9)|158(15)|176(12)|195(5)|205(13)|212(11)|229(7)|246(5)|255(3)|278(4)|284(4)|304(14)|311(13)|324(13)|334(18)|344(14)|358(14)|375(7)|383(7)|397(11)|405(2)|416(1)|426(9)|453(12)|474(3)|491(14)|502(15)|521(3)|543(4)|549(11)|560(13)|575(13)|590(7)|619(7)|639(7)|652(9)|680(5) audiotrans BKeight interview The following is an unrehearsed interview with Mr. William B. Keightley for the Charles C. Wethington UK Alumni Faculty Oral History Project. Interview is conducted by Jeff Suchanek. It is August 8, 2006 and we're here in Mr. Keightley's office in Memorial Coliseum here in the University of Kentucky campus. SUCHANEK: Mr. Keightley, we were talking about players that have gone through the program over the years and what I've been doing is looking at the rosters and just picking out the Freshman and I figure that way we'll get all of them (Laughter.) KEIGHTLEY: That's right. That's the way to do it. SUCHANEK: Okay, I don't know if last time we talked about Tom Heitz. KEIGHTLEY: No, we did not. No sir. SUCHANEK: Hamilton, Indiana. KEIGHTLEY: Hamilton, Indiana. He came from a rather large family and when I say a rather large family I'm talking about physically. Uh, he had, he had three brothers, one of 'em was 7'2 played for West Virginia and he had uh two more brothers that just played at a lower, little lower classification and he had one sister who was 6'6 so Tom was one of the smaller ones in the family. SUCHANEK: At 6'8? KEIGHTLEY: That's right. And uh, Tom was another one of the kids that came here at the time when we had a tremendous depth in talent and uh, also Tom was a very astute individual, an excellent student and he had, had he been here, I'll say, as we speak today in August 8, 2006, if Tom Heitz was here today, with his ability, he'd be a star because he had, was such a hard worker, not only on the basketball floor but as a student. In the uh, early in his career, well I'll say into his junior year, I knew Tom Heitz was gonna be a highly successful young man because his last two years of college you never saw Tom Heitz going to class without wearing a shirt and a tie and a sweater or a jacket. He went as a first-class individual which you know just made him stand out from everyone else and uh, SUCHANEK: That was back in 79 and 80? KEIGHTLEY: That's right, and uh, of course he graduated and went to Chicago to the commodities market, was highly successful. In the meantime his sister had given birth to a baby boy who back about 1992 or 3, Tom brought this kid by here to see Coach Pitino and the kid was 6'10. His name's Brad Miller and uh at that time we had no room on the squad but Brad attended Purdue, made All Big Ten, and to this day is playing in the NBA and signed some kind of a $35 million contract last year and not only that I see where, just maybe it was yesterday, he's playing on this NBA team playing in the World Games. SUCHANEK: Uh huh. The USA Team. KEIGHTLEY: Where he was 3 for 3 from three point range and the guy is 6'10. (Laughter - SUCHANEK.) So you know that tells you a little bit about the Heitz family. SUCHANEK: Yeah, it was in the genes. KEIGHTLEY: It's in the genes, that's right. SUCHANEK: And I'm not talking about Levi's either. KEIGHTLEY: No, that's right. (Laughter - KEIGHTLEY and SUCHANEK.) SUCHANEK: Okay, then we're into the 80-81 Season and Dicky Beal appears on that team for the first time. KEIGHTLEY: Yeah, Dicky was considered to be rather small at that time but uh, in that period of time however he was one of the quicker guards in America. He was from Northern Kentucky and uh, Dicky was really an underrated guard. Of course one of the better guards we ever had but he was still underrated because actually he was a great guard but he was another young man that was successful because of his academic background and uh, Dicky now today is uh coaching up in Northern Kentucky, SUCHANEK: Oh, is he? KEIGHTLEY: And I can't tell ya at what school at what level, but he also was uh, had a successful stay with a pharmaceutical company and he has uh made a very comfortable life for himself, but he never got over his love for basketball and uh his roommate here in college was Jim Master who was from Fort Wayne, Indiana. SUCHANEK: He was a Freshman here that year too. KEIGHTLEY: Yeah, he was a Freshman that year also. SUCHANEK: What can you tell me about Jim Master? KEIGHTLEY: Well Jim was another, you know he was considered back in, at that period of time, a second-coming of Kyle Macy and Jimmy was always an extremely confident young man who really was a great shooter but who also, he was highly rated in his own mind. (Laughter - KEIGHTLEY and SUCHANEK). The reason I say that is Jimmy, I recall one day some person from the media was interviewing him and said, "You know they, here at Kentucky, they expect you to be the next Kyle Macy." He said "Well that's wonderful, but down the road they'll be expecting somebody else to be the next Jim Master." (Laughter - KEIGHTLEY and SUCHANEK.) This is a Freshman now. SUCHANEK: Right. KEIGHTLEY: And that's the confidence he had and uh, SUCHANEK: Did he ever meet those? His own expectations? KEIGHTLEY: Well you know, again, he was on a team that was a bit unlike the team that Macy was on because Macy's team was uh, I can't say they were a finesse team because they used to talk about how physical they were, but we, SUCHANEK: Especially Dale Brown. KEIGHTLEY: Yeah right. (Laughter - KEIGHTLEY and SUCHANEK.) Yeah, but this team's makeup was a little bit different and yes Jim was a real, real great shooter and had a highly successful basketball career. Maybe he didn't attain the same level or notoriety that Macy did, but by the same token, Jim was a real great player and very worthy of being a consideration anyone ever gave him and he's another kid that stayed right here in Lexington and is still here, has not married, and he is um, he is working for a commodities' company here and has been really, really successful, and uh, SUCHANEK: Is he a broker? KEIGHTLEY: Yes, he's a broker and uh I'm really proud of Jim because he stayed here and I've got to see him mature through the years. SUCHANEK: Does he still have that confidence? KEIGHTLEY: He's still got confidence but he's a very warm and passionate person you know. He's grown, he's matured, and he's an absolute joy to be around. I love to spend evenings with Jim Master. SUCHANEK: We're talking about. I know we've talked about recruiting in different aspects of recruiting before but uh, there have been several instances where you've mentioned that a player has come in and been not only a fine player, but has taken his academics seriously. Uh, how much does that, has that changed over the years as far as recruiting goes, the way coaches look at players? KEIGHTLEY: Well, you know, at my point in this life I'll say yes, it has changed. I think the main reason for the change is again, as I've stated many times you have to change with society. As society grows you have to grow with it. And uh, in the earlier years kids feared losing scholarships. I think we've discussed this. If they did not keep their academics up while they were in college, they feared of losing a scholarship so they worked, really worked at it. Now even today, however, a kid has that chance and many of 'em want to excel while many more now than there were at one time, probably back in, back in even the 80s, not to many kids ever dreamed of playing in the NBA. It's hard today to recruit one that doesn't have that dream and that's wonderful. Everybody needs a dream but you need to have Plan B and that means you better get your education because if you make even NBA and you just happen to be a journeyman, it may be a short career and you still got your life to live and the real bright ones go on and achieve what they can in an academic way in college to prepare themselves for the future. SUCHANEK: Has there been a change in emphasis by coaches on recruiting players that they feel can achieve in a classroom? In other words, back when Adolph Rupp was coaching or Joe B. Hall, was there more of an emphasis on the entire person that they were recruiting other than just the athlete? Is that, has that changed any? KEIGHTLEY: With uh... SUCHANEK: The reason I bring this up, is you know there was an article in the Courier Journal I think yesterday about U of L's team and out of the 17 recruits that Coach Pitino has recruited there in the last three years, only 7 are still there for academic reasons basically. KEIGHTLEY: Yes. Yes, that uh, you know that has changed at many schools. When I say it has changed, we have "X" amount of schools and we being one of 'em that uh, well before I even get to that, the NCAA dictates now that you have to recruit really students or you lose points and then you accumulate so many points, then you lose a scholarship. SUCHANEK: Is that based on graduation rates? KEIGHTLEY: Yes it is. Absolutely is. And uh, you know your kids have got to stay on course to graduate. SUCHANEK: Now how does that complicate things, the life of a coach? KEIGHTLEY: Well, it, hey. SUCHANEK: Because, especially here at Kentucky, you're expected to win and now there's this other criteria and it's not that the criteria is wrong now, but you know, it's not just get the best players here, but you have to watch what they're doing academically more so than maybe in the past years. KEIGHTLEY: That is a dilemma for, for a coach. Absolutely is. You really cannot take a marginal student because if he's marginal in high school then when he gets to the college level, and of course we work with them with a, [Phone Rings] KEIGHTLEY: I won't get this I don't think. Now let's see where we were. SUCHANEK: We were talking about academics. KEIGHTLEY: Yes. SUCHANEK: Recruiting. KEIGHTLEY: Yeah that, you know, even right here at the University that's part of Tubby's dilemma. You know you have, and when I say it's a dilemma here, it's not a dilemma everywhere else. You see recruiting is not on a level playing field. It should be but, but it's not. There are schools that you can get kids into that you can't say here and then there's some kids we could get in here that can't get in at other places, but when you do that one, you're you know, they got to be marginal and uh, it's just, SUCHANEK: How much of that comes from the NCAA? But how much of that to is because of the character of Coach Smith and also Mitch Barnhart? KEIGHTLEY: Well that's each one of them you know. Of course, as Tubby preaches all the time, you know, you've got to do it the right way and he, you know being a man of high character, he really, really makes a bona fide attempt to do everything the right way. And I know we go out here and recruit and we work like heck on a kid and we think we know their character and uh, you get some kids that won't pay any attention to the underhanded things that might be, well we'll say offered to 'em, but, also there's an "X" amount of kids you recruit that you really don't know what their circumstances are and some slick dude will come along and offer 'em a little enticement and you maybe been recruiting them for 9 months and this school will get in on them through offering enticements that's not legal and the kids, SUCHANEK: Or jobs for relatives, right? KEIGHTLEY: Yes, right. That's it. A job for relatives. That's exactly what I really didn't want to say, but that's the way it goes. SUCHANEK: That's a way around uh, I don't know if they're, KEIGHTLEY: Yeah, that's right. Yeah. You're not directly helping the kid, but you're doing a bunch for relatives and uh, so that uh, SUCHANEK: Let me ask you this Mr. KEIGHTLEY. You're sitting on the bench during a game, you're playing a team and the coach sitting down on the other side, and you know who these schools are, how does that affect you in the way that you think about that school or that coach, can you understand where they're coming from and do you have any empathy or how do you feel about that? KEIGHTLEY: Well you know, yes, SUCHANEK: For example, you say you recruited this kid for 9 months and you think you've got him and then all of a sudden he goes some place else and you know why he went someplace else. KEIGHTLEY: I know why he went. That's right. SUCHANEK: And he's playing against you now. KEIGHTLEY: Yes. Now you're playing against him and our people fully expect you to win that game against a kid that we knew should be playing for us but due to circumstances, it didn't happen. It uh, you know deep seeded in your mind, you want to see the guy and the kid fall flat on their face, but that may be, that's probably selfish. Although they think a man that's coaching these schools that really condone that sort of thing, it gives you really a bad taste for that individual. That we're in you know, we're in a sport where everybody is supposed to abide by the rules which we know if, rules, they always say are made to be broken, well they're broken a bunch and uh so it is difficult to set there and watch this and then you know, if you happen not to win you come home and you get all this criticism about you know, how bad you may be as perceived at that particular time uh, so that's difficult to swallow and not make a statement of why you think it happened. But you've got to do it. SUCHANEK: Does it make it difficult to shake hands with those individuals after a game? KEIGHTLEY: It uh, listen when you touch the palm of their hand, that's the first thing you think of, what was in that palm to get that kid. SUCHANEK: Is that right? KEIGHTLEY: Yes. SUCHANEK: You know a lot's been made over the last several years about the lack of getting so-called blue chippers to come here when they're going to other schools and we've talked about this a little bit. You know, obviously, some of these players go to a smaller school or a lesser-known school because they could play immediately where they know they're not gonna do that here. KEIGHTLEY: Yes. SUCHANEK: But how often does that happen? Where you know you've recruited and made, put a lot of time and effort into recruiting somebody and then you know what's happened when that other player goes to another school. Does that happen a lot at Kentucky? KEIGHTLEY: Yes, I'd say it does. The reason being if you read like in the last couple of years maybe three of four super kids that we have been early on the clear cut leader for their services, and then they wind up at the last minute somewhere else and uh, yeah you go through that all the time. I guess you want to be number one, but if you're number one if a kid nine months says even today "Kentucky is my clear cut choice" and he may even give a commitment which is just his word and then come signing day in November, it might not happen because just as soon as he commits to Kentucky then we've got "X" amount of schools that will jump all over them. SUCHANEK: Really? KEIGHTLEY: And uh, you know they don't honor a kid's commitment to another school. They keep trying to change his mind. So uh, it's nice to be number one but if it's over a period of 9 or 10 months, it's just incredible. SUCHANEK: That's a lifetime isn't it? KEIGHTLEY: That's right. The only person that can head that off is the family. The family can bring an end to it. SUCHANEK: But sometimes I think the family's complicit in it isn't it? KEIGHTLEY: Oh yes. Sometimes the family enjoys this recruiting bit you know. Yes, I uh, we had, SUCHANEK: If they can get a job out of it. KEIGHTLEY: Well we got, for instance this Nash kid who was 17 years old that was going to this prep school to start with but then we got in the hunt through somebody had mentioned him and we contacted him and he came here for a visit and then after he came here a bunch of other schools jumped right on it you know and he paid some visits to other schools. But now, you know, he went back to his original commitment which was good because he's 17 years old and apparently is a high-class kid and he was not ready for college at this stage, especially basketball. Academically he probably was, but uh, as a player, it's tough for a 17 year old kid and I think the kid made the right decision. SUCHANEK: In this recruiting, these recruiting battles or wars, do the private schools have advantages that public universities don't? KEIGHTLEY: I don't know Jeff. SUCHANEK: I'm thinking in particular Duke. KEIGHTLEY: I don't, yes, I know who you're uh, there are some things that you know, that I hear that you can't substantiate. I hear there's a difference between the ACT or the SAT scores. Different for athletes from the regular student body. You know NCAA dictates everyone's got to be treated equally. But now I hear this. You know I've heard. SUCHANEK: Well you have a lot of contacts throughout the country, so. KEIGHTLEY: Yes. Yes. But I hear maybe you know, that this school you just mentioned the average SAT score for the average student in that school is something like 1180 and that athletes get in 800. Now if that's true or not, I don't know. But I've heard it enough that I'm almost convinced. But by the same token, I know it's a great school. But, if it's such a great school academically, I know that all of these students they get are not Pi Beta Kappas. I do know that one. But uh, they do, it's a, it is a fine school so I really can't say definitely but I do know this. Quite a number of assistant coaches that has stayed at that place for a few years like two, or three, or four years and they're pursued by other colleges and it seems that most of them run a foul of being NCAA rules as soon as they hit the main stream. Now I don't know if that's you know, just a coincidence or just exactly what's transpired here, but I do know of about three of them right now that's been zapped really big time. [Interruption] SUCHANEK: You know, uh I'm gonna get this on tape too. Speaking of the Duke program, you know, I don't know how much control, I know over the last 20 years it seems to me that UK has really gotten control over the boosters then you know, when we got in trouble back in the late 80s and uh, I wonder how much control some of these private schools have over their boosters? KEIGHTLEY: I uh, SUCHANEK: You know that Oklahoma quarterback who just kicked off the football team because he got paid for a job he didn't do over the summer, so, you know, that's boosters, right? KEIGHTLEY: Yes. Right, that's boosters. They are the ones that perpetrate these things. Uh, well, I guess we're sitting here and we're talking about the NCAA and drifted over into politics for a second but I guess the bottom line is it all comes under the heading of life. SUCHANEK: That's right. KEIGHTLEY: It's the way, it's the way life is. You've got the good, you've got the bad, and you've got the people that try to do the right thing and, SUCHANEK: And in my case, you've got the ugly. (Laughter.) The good, the bad, and the ugly. KEIGHTLEY: The one thing we won't talk about is ugly. (Laughter - SUCHANEK and KEIGHTLEY.) If we talk about that, we've talked about SUCHANEK: One thing, getting back serious for a second. One thing I wanted to ask you. You know we're talking about kids coming here or any school and thinking their dream is playing in the NBA. And one thing that's always fascinated me is that, you know, so many very good college basketball players never make it in the NBA and yet some average college players like Mark Pope have extraordinary long careers in the NBA. I think Mark Pope played what, 9 or 10 seasons, something like that. Didn't play much but he was earning an NBA paycheck. In your estimation, what is, what does it take, what makes the difference in a college player making it in the NBA? KEIGHTLEY: For an average college player to make it in the NBA and uh, I can think of you know a few right off of the top of my head here. The NBA apparently has got so many people on these teams that are, their character, if you read the newspapers is somewhat questionable and most of the time they have proven that their, SUCHANEK: They've earned that, right? KEIGHTLEY: Character is very questionable but you have a real great bright human being come along that is a, he was a descent college player, the NBA will take a Mark Pope because of his attitude. A guy that would never say a derogatory word, a guy that would never, never complain because he wasn't playing, a guy you know, just like you mentioned, he played nine years in the NBA. SUCHANEK: Walter McCarty is another one. KEIGHTLEY: That's right. Played 9 years in the NBA and one year with the Bucks. George Karl started him in about 60 games. He only played two or three minutes. But he'd start him in the game and it's because this guy is an example of how all human beings should be and I think that some teams take people like this just to prove to the people on the team that you can be in the NBA and not be some kind of a hood. And uh, we got, you just mentioned Walter McCarty. Doesn't play a lot, but is a uh absolute model citizen. I don't know if you were in here maybe uh, I don't know, I don't think you were here. A couple of weeks ago they brought this tape in about two minutes long where they covered Walter McCarty going back to his hometown in Evansville, Indiana to visit with his ex-teammates in high school and four of them were in jail. SUCHANEK: Is that right? KEIGHTLEY: In the jail in Evansville. And they covered Walter going into the cell and speaking with his ex-teammates and you know it was quite a motivational thing to listen to him speak with them. And it advises them when they get out just to pull themselves up by the boot straps and make something out of their selves and do the right thing. That life don't have to be like the life that they are making for themselves. And uh, you know we had others that stayed around. I'll tell you somebody locally really, of course he was you know, a descent NBA player, but he stayed around a lot longer with average stats than you might think, Sam Bowie. SUCHANEK: That's right. KEIGHTLEY: Old Sam had about 13 years. But Sam was a high quality person. And I'll tell you another one. He's a really a good buddy of mine is a guy named Joe Kleine. Played his collegiate basketball at Arkansas from Slater, Missouri. He came to our camp back in the 80s when we had Clark Kellogg and James Worthy, Ralph Sampson. Joe was in that camp also and he went to the NBA. SUCHANEK: Did he play with the Bulls? KEIGHTLEY: Yes he did. SUCHANEK: Yeah. KEIGHTLEY: You name it, he played with them. You know why? SUCHANEK: He was KEIGHTLEY: He was like a Mark Pope. SUCHANEK: Yeah. KEIGHTLEY: He stayed in the NBA for 15 years. SUCHANEK: Blocked the lane, I remember that. KEIGHTLEY: He weighed about 285 lbs, 6'11, big ol' red headed kid and uh probably his pro-average was probably two points, three rebounds a game. For 15 years but he stayed because of the quality person he is and now today he does the radio color for the Arkansas Razorbacks. SUCHANEK: Is that right? KEIGHTLEY: Old Joe's still big in Arkansas. (Laughter - SUCHANEK). And one of the, you know, just a great, great guy. And he's got about a 12 year old kid that's about 6'1 so I've been trying to recruit him for Kentucky and he said "Nope, he's gonna be a Razorback." (Laughter by SUCHANEK and KEIGHTLEY.) SUCHANEK: You might have lost that one. KEIGHTLEY: Yeah, I think I might have lost out there. SUCHANEK: But you know so many of these players who have great college careers and you think they're gonna be instant stars in the NBA, for example Reece Gaines. I saw the other day where he's gonna be playing in Italy or Spain or someplace in Europe. KEIGHTLEY: Oh yes. SUCHANEK: And compare his college statistics with Keith Bogans and he was a superior college player, but Keith Bogans is playing in the NBA. KEIGHTLEY: Yeah, and you know I give you another one right now. I think he's gonna maybe, well he's already tried and nobody has picked him up, now somebody did give him a chance to try out is Tyquan Dean. SUCHANEK: Right. He and Reece Gaines are gonna be playing in Europe together on the same team. KEIGHTLEY: Oh is that right now? SUCHANEK: Uh huh. KEIGHTLEY: Well, Tyquan. I told Rick that his team would be better when Tyquan was gone. He just uh, well, although I think Reece Gaines was a descent kid but the same token. You know what you say you're gonna play, you're gonna play in Europe, you're just prolonging your time before you have to get a job because it's almost a myth. SUCHANEK: That you make it? KEIGHTLEY: Yes, that you make it. Yeah. It just doesn't work. I mean I've been to Italy and uh, I've seen and been there twice with basketball and I have seen the interest in basketball in Italy is almost zilch. Now don't roll a soccer ball out there. (Laughter - SUCHANEK). You might get run over. But you go to a gym to see a game in Italy you won't have any problem finding a seat. (Laughter - SUCHANEK). SUCHANEK: Well, I think the players might make pretty good money over there, don't they? KEIGHTLEY: Well, it's projected Jeff. It sounds good and the other thing is now we've had uh, some kids go and stay a length of time. One of them being Rob Lock. Uh, he stayed oh, I don't know, 6 or 7 years, but he also, his now wife was also playing in Italy - Valerie Steel. So you know, but the two of them finally they're back here now. SUCHANEK: Is that any relation to Art Steel? KEIGHTLEY: It's his sister. Yes. [Phone Rings] KEIGHTLEY: I don't think I need it. No, I don't need it. Somebody on campus. They'll call back. Yeah, that's Art's sister. SUCHANEK: Okay. KEIGHTLEY: She was also a model you know. SUCHANEK: No, I didn't know that. KEIGHTLEY: Oh yeah. Beautiful girl. Yep. But uh, yes, I still, there are businesses out there that cry for just good solid great people that project an image. And the NBA is the same way. You know, we talked about professional baseball, uh; most teams have at least one individual that's just a model, just a role model. SUCHANEK: Well you know this year's Cleveland Indians' team has a bunch of role models, but they can't win. (Laughter - SUCHANEK). KEIGHTLEY: That's a problem about role models. (Laughter - SUCHANEK and KEIGHTLEY). Yes sir, that's it. SUCHANEK: They may be role models but they have no talent. KEIGHTLEY: Yeah, they have no talent. You can find more role models than you can talent. SUCHANEK: I think Mark Shapiro up there has confused the two. Well, before I leave today, I did want to talk about one of my favorite players - Melvin Turpin. KEIGHTLEY: Oh boy! SUCHANEK: "Dinner Bell Mel." KEIGHTLEY: "Dinner Bell Mel." Let's see old "Dinner Bell" is in town. You know he's grown Jeff another inch or two since he was in college and definitely grown wider. (Laughter - SUCHANEK). But what a breath of fresh air was Melvin Turpin. He was so innocent and so naive that he'd believe anything anybody told him and you know what, Melvin was unspoiled because he never had anything and he didn't know that there's anything to be had and he was always, always the same, every day and he had, he wasn't an academic giant, but he got, he went as far in college as he could go. And you know what, By gosh he went to class. The kid really worked at it. He tried. If you tell him to do something, he was gonna do it. The only thing he wouldn't do and he was told to do was to quit eating. (Laughter - SUCHANEK). He was advised to do that but sometimes you never know. Maybe it's because when he was a kid he was hungry a lot. You just never know how psychologically that might have affected him. But uh, SUCHANEK: He had the same problem that Jared Lorenzen has. (Laughter SUCHANEK and KEIGHTLEY). The "Hefty Lefty." KEIGHTLEY: Yeah. But to show you how pure a kid he was, and I'm sure he still is today, I recall on Senior night his mother was probably unable really to stand up any period of time but she was probably 6'6 or 6'7 and uh, she always had to have a wheelchair and on Senior night when the kids came out and run through the hoop, Melvin pushed his momma in a wheelchair and he got about halfway out to where they were gonna line up, he stopped, bent over and kissed her. Now you can't find, hardly, it would be hard to find many kids in America to do that. He was just a great kid. Two bad he ate himself out of the NBA, but he stayed long enough to get a pension. SUCHANEK: He played with Cleveland didn't he? KEIGHTLEY: Yeah, he played with Cleveland, but he played long enough to get a pension. He comes in here from time to time. SUCHANEK: So he's living here in town? KEIGHTLEY: Yes, he lives in town and he was, now the last contact I had with him, he was a security guard at a school. But uh, oh yeah "Dinner Bell Mel." SUCHANEK: Do you think he got, I know he got made fun of a lot because of his weight, was that a bad rap? KEIGHTLEY: Oh yeah. Yeah, he was, SUCHANEK: Did it hurt him do you know? KEIGHTLEY: No. It didn't bother him. It really didn't. But I think as you say probably hanging that handle on him of "Dinner Bell Mel," it caught on. Everybody that would see him would want to talk with him about his eating habits you know because it was an opening. Of course, Melvin wouldn't care what you'd talk about. But uh, SUCHANEK: How about that team with Sam Bowie and Melvin Turpin. How did they work together? How did they get along? KEIGHTLEY: Oh they'd, Sam gets along with anybody and of course naturally anybody can get along with Mel. Mel wouldn't have known what the word selfish meant. SUCHANEK: You think that might have been a weakness of Melvin Turpin in that he wasn't mean enough as big as he was? KEIGHTLEY: It was what now? SUCHANEK: He wasn't mean enough on the court maybe? KEIGHTLEY: He could have been, yes, he could have been a little tougher on the court, yes. SUCHANEK: I'm thinking of, in regards to that Jamaal Magloire. KEIGHTLEY: Oh well, God if he had had Magloire's toughness, (Laughter - KEIGHTLEY and SUCHANEK). SUCHANEK: We'll talk about his later, but Jamal Magloire had to be one of toughest guys that ever played here. KEIGHTLEY: Yeah. He never got hurt in four years. SUCHANEK: I mean as far as toughness on the court. KEIGHTLEY: Yeah, that's what I say. Never got hurt. SUCHANEK: No, he hurt a lot of other players. KEIGHTLEY: Oh, he hurt a bunch of people. SUCHANEK: Nobody went in the lane when Jamal Magloire was in there. KEIGHTLEY: Yeah, especially that mascot from Miami. (Laughter - KEIGHTLEY and SUCHANEK). Yeah, but Melvin uh, yeah Sam was very agile, very mobile. He could play what we call now the "four position." SUCHANEK: Right. KEIGHTLEY: But you know really back in uh, no longer than 25 years ago, that three, four and five position wasn't that big a thing. SUCHANEK: Right. As it is now. KEIGHTLEY: It's like we used to play with two forwards, a center and two guards and we wasn't that much removed from that same thing in the 80s. So uh, they got along wonderfully well. Sam was always a prankster you know. Always trying to fool old Melvin with something. Oh gosh, (Laughter - KEIGHTLEY), it wasn't hard to do. SUCHANEK: How long do you think the experiment this year with uh, Morris and Woo working together on the court at the same time, how long will that last do you think? KEIGHTLEY: Oh, you know right now Jeff uh, I can't see that experiment uh, SUCHANEK: Lasting long? KEIGHTLEY: No. Woo, of course they talk about Randolph at a four, and Randolph could play a four but I don't know [Phone Rings] KEIGHTLEY: If Woo can play enough five because I think Woo is a better four than he is a five SUCHANEK: Yeah, it seems to me you'd want to flip it. KEIGHTLEY: Because he doesn't rebound. SUCHANEK: He plays better with his face in the basket. KEIGHTLEY: Oh he's got to face the basket. He can shoot. So you know if I was doing it I'd reverse that, but we'll see. It's just you know conjecture right now. SUCHANEK: Yeah it seems like before every season, Coach Smith comes out with something. Last year they were gonna run more. (Laughter - SUCHANEK). KEIGHTLEY: Yes, that's right. Yeah. SUCHANEK: That lasted through the exhibition season I think. KEIGHTLEY: Yeah, I uh, it'd be great if it would work because Woo is such a great kid too. You know what? We were talking about role models. Perfect one. He is role model. SUCHANEK: With bad hands. KEIGHTLEY: With bad hands. (Laughter - SUCHANEK). And you know a good mind, and bad hands, and can't jump. (Laughter - KEIGHTLEY). SUCHANEK: But he's big. KEIGHTLEY: But he's big. SUCHANEK: And he has a good heart. KEIGHTLEY: He's got a good heart, that's right. SUCHANEK: Alright. Well I'm gonna stop for today. KEIGHTLEY: All right. Bill Keightley recalls players from the 1979-1980 and 1980-1981 teams. He also discusses the emphasis on academics in addition to talent when recruiting new players for the University of Kentucky, alleged under-handed recruiting practices of college basketball, and the rationale behind mediocre college players with lengthy NBA careers. UKAW; University of Kentucky Men's Basketball; basketball coaches; Heitz, Tom; Beal, Dicky; Macy, Kyle; Master, Jim; Brown, Dale; Pope, Mark; McCarty, Walter; Bowie, Sam; Bogans, Keith; Lock, Robert; Turpin, Melvin; Magloire, Jamaal; Morris, Randolph; Obrzut, Lukasz; Miller, Brad; Barnhart, Mitch; Karl, George; Kleine, Joe; Kellogg, Clark; Worthy, James; Sampson, Ralph; Gaines, Reece; Dean, Tyquan; Shapiro, Mark; Lorenzen, Jared; National Basketball Association; National Basketball Association (NBA)