DEMAREE: Reminiscing with Kevin Grevey

KSR visited with former University of Kentucky basketball star Kevin Grevey in the pressroom minutes prior to Saturdays Kentucky versus U of L basketball clash. Grevey shared his thoughts on the University of Kentucky, the game against Louisville, and much more.

Grevey played on the 1975 UK team that lost to UCLA in the NCAA finals. That was the legendary John Wooden' last game of his coaching career. "Those were great memories for me," Grevey said, athough he admits that the lost still sticks in his craw. It wasn't enough that it was Wooden last game that he had announced before the game, but he uncharacteristically got after the referee's which some believed had an intimidating effect.

Grevey went on to play 10 years in the NBA, eight years with the Baltimore Bullets and two years with the Milwaukee Bucks. "It seems like a long time ago," said Grevey. "It was a culmination of everything I had dreamed and hoped for when I was growing up in Southern Ohio. Really, I almost couldn't imagine beyond playing Division l basketball and when I played a Kentucky with all those great players and great teams. And it enabled me to have a chance to play in the Pro's."

Unlike today's athlete, did he come to college expecting to play in the NBA?

"The ten years in the NBA was actually a blessing. It wasn't something I expected," Grevey admitted.

The game played Saturday and those played every since 1983 was something that was furiously fought against until UK met U of L in the '83 NCAA tournament and was defeated by U of L. That obviously couldn't be what UK fans wanted to remember and be haunted by.

Grevey said: "I didn't dream this game would ever be played. No, the University of Kentucky didn't want this game to happen. The coaches, not one of us even uttered the words of a Kentucky-Louisville rivalry or a game to be played but the players, man, we wanted to play against Junior Bridgeman and Allen Murphy and all those guys. We wanted to test our wares against Denny Crum and the first game wasn't until '83. I never had that opportunity. But it's great to see, it's great for the state and it sheds a lot of publicity on both schools in the state of Kentucky and the great basketball programs they both have."

We asked Grevey to shed some light on some of the changes in the college game since he played. Grevey told me I didn't have enough tape for them all.

"The thing that's changed the most is just how this game has grown in the fervor of the fans and the media," Grevey explained. "The players that play it. When I was growing up, there were just a handful of teams that you wanted to go to – big time programs, UCLA, Kentucky, Indiana, and Kansas. Now there are so many great teams that it's just great for the game. There's so much parity and balance and so exciting."

What about the three-point shot?

"That change in itself is big! I wish it were around when I was playing. I could knock down those shots like they were lay-ups but it didn't come in until my fourth year in the NBA. I think it is great for the game."

What about the atmosphere that was surrounding the game? "I love this atmosphere," he said. "I was getting goose-bumps in my car and just walking up here. I felt like I was suiting up for the game."

Ironically, later in the day in an off the cuff conversation with Grevey and Clem Haskins, I discovered Grevey was scouting for the NBA's Los Angeles Lakers, four years running. I promise and swear I had no previous knowledge of this. And the fact that I'm a life-long Laker fan had absolutely no bearing on my choice of interviews, but Kevin Grevey won a friend for life.

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