#5 REX CHAPMAN
OWENSBORO APOLLO HIGH SCHOOL
Some players ascend to greatness while at Kentucky. Some have it thrust upon them even before Kentucky and have to live up to the hype. Rex Chapman was one of those players. He was the son of legendary college coach Wayne Chapman and Rex was a legend even while in high school at Apollo. Chapman came to the Wildcats after a biiter recruiting war between Kentucky and Louisville as one of the top players in his class. He was a Parade, McDonalds, and Scholastic Coach All American, as well as Gatorade State Player of the Year. Chapman was already known by just “Rex” or “King Rex” even before he landed on campus and this was before the internet, mind you.
And the King did not disappoint. Chapman scored 18 points in his first game as a Wildcat as the 11th ranked Wildcats narrowly escaped Austin Peay 71-69. Eddie Sutton’s first team at Kentucky struggled to an 18-11 record, but Chapman led the team in scoring with 16 points a game. Even more the highlights of Chapman on the court became legendary with his 39: vertical leap and Rex was one of college basketball’s most exciting players. Chapman cemented his status in Kentucky lore as he ked Kentucky to a 85-51 win over Louisville with 26 points. It should also be noted that Eddie Sutton gave credence to the “Louisville as little brother” movement as he mentioned it before the game.
The next year, Chapman really took off as Kentucky went 30-6. Chapman again led the team in scoring with 19 points a game but the most amazing stat to me is how Rex carried this team from the outside. Kentucky only made 98 3-pointers on the season but Rex accounted for 66 of them. Kentucky was a #2 seed in the NCAA but lost in the Sweet 16 to Villanova. The NBA age limit was after two years of college and Chapman decided to leave for the pros. Being a two and done at Kentucky was almost unheard of at the time, but that has to give you an idea of Chapman’s talent level.