DEMAREE: Another "Fiddlin' Five?"

On a night when new horizons for the 2005-06 season was on the brink of being reached, Adrian "Odie" Smith was in attendance. Who is Adrian Smith? He was a member of the University of Kentucky's 1957-58 National Champion team known as the "Fiddlin' Five," and later played Professional basketball for the old Cincinnati Royals of the NBA.

That championship team earned the nickname of "The Fiddling Five." How did they earn that label? "At the end of the year, we weren't even picked in the top 25 and we lost six games that year," Smith said, "but we lost some of them by only one point or so. Coach (Adolph) Rupp said we just fiddled around all year then went on to win the NCAA tournament and we turned into violinist."

Smith, who resides in Cincinnati, said he has been to about twelve games all year and speak of fiddling, it could easily be said that's he's been watching the Wildcats fiddle around all year long. That's not to say this addition of the Cats will go on to win the national championship but you can't tell these 'Cats as well as Adrian Smith's 'Cats that can't happen. However, Tubby Smith has the team playing much better defense and most importantly starting the games better.

The rest of the starting five of that team was Vernon Hatton from Lexington, Johnny Cox from Hazard, John Crigler from northern Kentucky, and Ed Beck played the center. Smith said he was from way down in western Kentucky not far from Mayfield. He said: "I was born on a farm with no electricity, no running water, and an outhouse. I went to three-room school for the first eight grades and never played any organized ball. They started running a bus over to where I lived on a gravel road from Farmington when I started my freshman year."

He said he wasn't even going to play any high school because he was small and lived seven from Farmington. He said the principal came and got him out of study hall and said you're going to play ball, Adrian. "I score six points my whole freshman year. I should've quit but I just had a passion for the game so much.

"Murray State offered me a scholarship my senior year in high school and then took it away. I had to go to a Mississippi junior college for two years. A guy from Mississippi never saw me play but saw me shoot around one day in my Levi's and gave me a scholarship. And then we had to beg Kentucky to come here and look at me."

The interesting thing about his final destination to the Pros was another strange twist of fate.

Smith said: "The only thing that drafted me after college was the Army and I went in and made the United States Pan-American team and the Olympic team then the Pros started coming to me. I developed a close relationship with Oscar Robertson, who I consider one of the greatest guards to ever play the game and he wanted me to come to Cincinnati. I could have signed with anybody but I went to the Royals and played eight and a half years there. We had a good team but every year in the playoffs we had to battle Boston (Celtics), who had the big guy in the middle. They had Bill Russell in the middle."

We asked Smith what he thought the 'Cats problem was this year? "I don't know that it's been a problem or not," He said. "It's just that they haven't played together and then they didn't get Morris back for half of the year. Then Tubby sat some players down two or three games ago." He said he pulled a story up on the Internet where some SEC coaches are applauding him for doing that. "You've got to take your hat off to him for saying this is my team, I'm in charge and you are going to do it my way," he said.

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