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Top All-Time SEC Basketball Player

Who is the top all-time SEC basketball player?

Two things are for certain when it comes to former University of Kentucky Wildcat Ralph Beard. The first of those is our premise, that Ralph Beard was one of the best (or, as we assert, THE best player in the history of the Southeastern Conference. The second is that, in fact, his story may be among the most unfortunate.

It is difficult to imagine how a player who is not even 6' tall can have made such a significant impact (in fact, Beard only measured 5'10"). But the results speak for themselves. And what a record Beard's teams rang up! His Wildcat squads were certainly the most successful in Southeastern Conference (SEC) history and were, in fact, among the most successful in college basketball history.

Ralph Beard was a member of one of head coach Adolph Rupp's [the Top All-Time SEC Basketball Coach] greatest squads, his "Fabulous Five" (along with other legendary Wildcats such as Alex Groza, Wah Wah Jones, Cliff Barker, and Kenny Rollins). Those teams went 130-10 during his stint at UK, winning two NCAA Championships and an NIT title along the way.

In addition to the accomplishments that Beard led his Wildcats to, Ralph Beard also amassed a small horde of individual accomplishments during the 4 years that he spent manning the court at the University of Kentucky. During his 4 years, he was named a consensus All-American 3 times, was named to the All-SEC First team 4 times, and was named to the All-SEC Tournament team 4 times as well. His fantastic play while at the University of Kentucky eventually led to his being drafted in the 2nd round of the 1949 NBA Draft by Chicago.

Unfortunately, after playing only 2 seasons in the NBA (2 seasons in which Beard performed quite well, averaging 14.9 and 16.8 points respectively, and included an All Star and All-NBA First Team selection), the basketball career of Ralph Beard came to a premature and shocking conclusion.

In 1951, an investigation revealed that Beard, Groza, Barker, and Bill Spivey accepted cash in a point shaving incident that occurred while they were players at the University of Kentucky. As a result of this incident, Beard was banned from the game for life.

Ralph Beard's career came to a premature and disappointing conclusion. And while this terrible scandal clouded his reputation as a man and a player in the minds of many of those who were fans of the University of Kentucky, as well as fans of basketball in general. But while it dampened his legacy, it could not change the ultimate fact that Ralph Beard led the University of Kentucky to unprecedented heights while he was a player there. And it is only fitting that the best player ever, of the best SEC program ever, should be named the best SEC player ever.

Of course, we almost voted "Pistol" Pete Maravich as the best ever. Very tough call. Here's our "Pistol" Pete Maravich Biography. And, you can read more about Pistol Pete and even watch a video about him at LSU Basketball History.

To prove how tough these "best all-time" arguments are, this writer says the SEC's Charles Barkley was the Best All-Time College Basketball Player.

So, who do you think is the Best All-Time NBA Basketball Player?

Here's some more of our "best all-time player" picks:

Top All-Time SEC Basketball Player
Top All-Time SEC Basketball Player
Top All-Time SEC Basketball Player

Other Kentucky Basketball Pages

What do you think?

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What Other Visitors Have Said

Click below to see contributions from other visitors to this page...

I respectfully disagree with this opinion. Sorry, but I don't care which SEC team you're a fan of in sports. If you don't choose Pete Maravich as the best …

Best all-time SEC basketball player Not rated yet
Can't really relate to Ralph Beard because he was before my time. Since I've been watching from the early 60's till present I would place 2 players above …

Top all time SEC Basketball player Not rated yet
I would have to respectfully disagree even though I am a crazy Kentucky fan I would have to say Pistol Pete is the top all time SEC Basketball player …

my 2 cents Not rated yet
i am a kentucky fan and even i have to disagree. ralph beard was amazing but pistol pete maravich was even better. just ask someone who has seen him play. …

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