In the mid-90’s under the tutelage of Rick Pitino the Kentucky Wildcats basketball team seemed to be returning to their former glory. And in 1998, the work seemed to be coming to a head, led by Nazr Mohammad, Jamaal Magloire and Louisville’s Scott Padgett, and it’s the later that’s today’s highlighted sports legend of the Ville.
A graduate of St. X Padgett was, to put it simply unremarkable as a high school basketball player. He had his moments and glimpses of raw talent but he wasn’t a highly sought after player by college recruits, except for the University of Kentucky, where Pitino felt that Padgett’s play would lend itself nicely as a power forward for an offensive minded team.
A decision which didn’t prove to be a good one in Padgett’s early days at Rupp where he saw little playing time and certainly was no stand out. It was in that 1997-98 year though that the Big Blue Nation’s attention turned to Padgett who’s inside/out play aided the team in their bid to the NCAA national championship where they defeated Utah. During his time with Kentucky Padgett reached 1,000 points, was named to the all SEC team, all final-four team, Academic All-SEC team and named an All-American. After his senior season the proceeding year where Padgett again proved his talents NBA scouts came calling.
And, Padgett was drafted by the Utah Jazz for the 28th overall pick. In his seven years in the pros Padgett won gold for the U.S. team, and found himself in the major rotations for the Jazz, Houston Rockets, and New Jersey Nets.
After a stint in broadcasting, and a brief time working back in Kentucky in the staff of Coach John Calipari Padgett is currently coaching the Manhattan College Jaspers, and has been since 2010.
Image courtesy of NBA