Kentucky Basketball to honor Reggie Warford at game December 21

Reggie Warford played from Kentucky from 1972 to 1976, becoming the first black basketball player to play four years for the Wildcats.

Reggie Warford played from Kentucky from 1972 to 1976, becoming the first black basketball player to play four years for the Wildcats.

Herald-Leader’s file photo

Another part of the Kentucky men’s basketball schedule for the upcoming 2022-23 season was announced Wednesday morning, and this game will honor the memory of the UK icon.

Will host Wildcats Florida A&M On December 21 at Rupp Arena for the second part of the show “Unity Series” launched last year. The series seeks to raise awareness of the missions of historically black colleges and universities and raise funds to provide opportunities for students at those institutions.

This will be the second of five consecutive seasons of games against the Southwestern Athletic Conference programs. Last year, Kentucky State defeated Southern University – coached by former UK goalkeeper Sean Woods – 76-64, and the Cats led by just four points at the end of the first half of that game.

Southern went to third in SWAC last season, two games behind first-place finisher Alcorn State. This season’s opponent, Florida A&M, is back in fourth place once again, finishing the season with a league record 11-7.

With this game, you will honor Kentucky Reggie Warford, who passed away in May At the age of 67.

Warford was a notable player at Drakesboro High School in Muhlenberg County before becoming Joe B. Hall’s first inductee prior to the 1972-73 season.

He eventually became the second black player in UK men’s basketball history and the first to play all four seasons with the Wildcats and graduated from university.

Warford was the only black player on the 1972-73 roster, joined the following season by Larry Johnson and Merrion Haskins, with Jack Givens and James Lee in 1974 and Truman Claytor and Duane Casey joining the program in 1975.

Those who came after Warford expressed their gratitude and stressed its importance in integrating the UK programme. Givens, one of the greatest players in the program’s history, earlier this year described Warford as a “pioneer” and “big brother to all of us who have come after him.”

“You have to be someone with a lot of confidence,” he said. “Not just in his athletic ability, but with confidence in his identity.”

Two years into Warford’s final season, Givens has led the UK to the National Championship – the program’s first title in two decades – with Lee and Claytor also among the team’s top players.

Warford scored 206 points in his Kentucky career, playing frugally his first three seasons before making an appearance as a key player in the 1975-76 squad, averaging 22.7 minutes per game for a team that finished with a 20-10 record and won the NIT Championship.

In 2019, it was Inducted into the Saudi Arabia Hall of Fame.

Warford earned his Masters in Education from Murray State after obtaining his Bachelor’s degree from the UK, and later worked as an assistant coach in Pittsburgh, Iowa and Long Beach. He was in Pete at the same time as John Calipari, who was 26 when he joined the coaching staff alongside Warford.

Two days before last year’s inaugural “Unity Series” game, players and coaches from the Kentucky Program and Southern University gathered for a tour of the National Underground Railroad Freedom Center in Cincinnati, a trip that made an impression on both head coaches.

“I needed about three more hours because it was educational, and the people there were incredible,” Calipari said.

With Wednesday’s announcement, the full 2022-23 wildcat schedule is nearing completion, with only a handful of games yet to be confirmed. last week , Southeast Conference released the full league schedule for this season.

The UK also confirmed on Tuesday that the Cats will host Ivy League holders Yale on December 10 Big Blue Madness will be held on October 14 At the Rupp Arena, with camp back for tickets the weekend of October 1.

This story was originally published September 14, 2022 10:00 AM.

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Ben Roberts is the men’s basketball hitting writer for the University of Kentucky at Lexington Herald-Leader. He previously specialized in coverage of UK basketball recruiting and created and maintains the Next Cats blog. He is a native of Franklin County and first joined the Herald-Leader in 2006.
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