Sunday, January 11, 2009

John Pelphrey 'Famous Appalachian'

Small town hero makes it big!
I think that would be a fitting headline for this remarkable 'Appalachian'. John Pelphrey a former basketball player at Paintsville Independent High School and the University of Kentucky is certainly an Eastern Kentucky legend. I first met John when he was a freshman at Paintsville High School. They were playing my school Morgan County at our old gym. Here was this lanky red headed kid that all sports fans around the area had heard about. Well there are always pessimists in sports, so as the game progressed the so called sports pros were discussing this young man. I was a coach at the time, and having played college basketball, felt like i wasn't plum dumb on the subject of basketball talent. One of our school officials commented that he didn't think John was all that good, and certainly not good enough to play major college ball. That kinda ticked me off so i asked him what he was basing his comment on. He replied in effect that he was too skinny, and too slow. Well that brought back memories of some people in our town who had said the same thing about me before i went to college. So i couldn't resist replying to that comment. My comment went something like this: 'I am willing to bet you 100 dollars right now that John Pelphrey will play major college ball, because he is the best player i have seen in this area for a long time'. Of course i got alot of argument on that statement, but ironically no one took me up on the bet.
The rest is now history. John went on to lead his high school team to the state tournament, he was Mr. Basketball in Kentucky his senior year, and went on to star for the University of Kentucky. Yes he was involved in the last second shot by Christian Laettner from Duke which i don't need to elaborate on as it is one of the most famous shots in NCAA basketball history.
Now in his second year as the head basketball coach for the Arkansas Razorbacks this young man who grew up forty minutes from my home has come full circle. John you have made us all proud with your accomplishments. This ol hillbilly takes his hat off to a living 'Famous Appalachian'.
Read more about John at Wikipedia below:

Tags: John Pelphrey, Paintsville Independent Schools, University of Kentucky, Mr. Basketball Kentucky, Arkansas Razorbacks Basketball, famous appalachians, Wikipedia, GarysWorld 'Appalachia'


Lilly's Life said...

Its great to see locals do well hey. Obviously talented from the start!

The Muse said...

big talents...small towns...great stories...
it personifies the American spirit!

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