35 Kevin Grevey

Name
Position
Forward
Class
SR
Hometown (Last School)
Hamilton, OH (Taft)
Ht
6'5"
Wt
205
Seasons
1972-73, 1973-74, 1974-75
Birthday
May 12, 1953

was born May 12, 1953 in Hamilton, Ohio.  As a three-year varsity starter at Hamilton Taft High School under legendary coach Marv McCollum – and in an era prior to the 3-point goal – Grevey finished his high school career with 1,470 points – just one of 17 school records Grevey held upon his graduation. His three-year regular season career average was 23.7 points. Kevin set 16 of his high school records his senior year when he averaged an amazing 32.8 points per game.  Grevey earned numerous state and national awards, including First Team All-Ohio Associated Press in 1971. He was selected to the Scholastic Coach MagazineCoach-Athletic Magazine and Sunkist All-America teams. He was a member of the USA All-Star team, played in the prestigious Dapper Dan Classic, the national East-West All-Star game and the All-Star game.

Kevin was twice All-State and a prep All-America at Taft High School in Hamilton. He averaged 32.5 points and 17.1 rebounds his senior year. Kevin was named Ohio Co-Player-of-the-Year with Ed Stahl. He received many offers but the main pressure was for him to attend either Ohio State or Miami University at Oxford. Kentucky came into the picture when assistants T. L. Plain, and Dicky Parsons visited the Grevey home in early 1971.

He had read about the national power that was and about Adolph Rupp, but he never did really consider himself a UK caliber player. He had never seen Kentucky play, but he was awed by the fact that the UK coaches would come and talk to him. That visit made him realize that he was a fine high school player, capable of playing with the best. But he had never entertained the thought that he would be playing at UK.
 
The thing that sold Kevin on during a visit to Lexington was the fact that UK fans took a lot of interest in the players and they were really serious about basketball. Other schools seemed to lack the enthusiasm and encouragement of the UK people.
 
He also was sold on the fact that had a great tradition and that Hall had recruited such fine players as Mike Flynn, Jimmy Dan Conner, Bob Guyette and others. Kevin visited UK again in the fall. Then he met Adolph Rupp for the first time.
 
“Coach Hall took me to Coach Rupp’s home,” Kevin recalled, “and Coach Rupp opened the door and said, ‘Oh! Mike Flynn! Glad to see you. Come on in.'”
 
“Oh, my GOD!” Kevin thought, “The head coach and he doesn’t even know my name. He thinks I’m Mike Flynn.” There was no way Kevin was going to UK. However, Hall explained to Rupp that this was Grevey the recruit and not Flynn the signee. Rupp apologized, and they talked.
 
“I found out just sitting there five minutes what a unique individual Coach Rupp was,” Kevin said. “He sold me on the tradition, the type of basketball players they brought in, and what plans they had for me. That was really a terrifying five minutes in my life. Then I went ahead and signed, and of course I have no regrets.”
 
Kevin remembers well the pressures put on the seven “Super Kittens.” “Everybody had us touted as national champions,” he said. “That included the coach and us.”
 
They were all high school All-Americans. Mike Flynn thought he was better than Kevin Grevey; Grevey thought he was better than Jimmy Dan Conner. They wanted to prove to each other what type of players they were.
 
They tried so hard that their practice sessions were super competitive. They would practice three or four hours a day as freshmen, go into the Blue Room, eat a sandwich or two, and then go back out and practice against the varsity. During the scrimmage sessions, Hall would assign Grevey to guard Tom Parker.
 
“Tom was 6-7, a senior and an all-conference player,” Kevin said. “I had never guarded anybody over 6-5. Parker was just eating me alive and Coach Hall would grab me on the sideline and say, ‘Kevin, your defense is so terrible, I don’t think you could guard your grandmother. You’re going to be guarding players like this.’ I replied that this guy was all-conference and was supposed to score on me. That’s when Coach Hall started making me run up the Coliseum steps.”
 
Kevin decided it was easier to push Tom around than to run those steps, so he developed a mental state of playing good defense. He said the practices were so competitive that there was no way you were not going to improve your game, especially with so many good players around.
 
He gives credit to Hall for getting the freshman together as a unit that was undefeated in 22 games and ranked No. 1 nationally by a leading basketball magazine.  
 
“People said we would need seven basketballs instead of one because we were all high scorers,” Kevin said. “However, we accepted the roles we were to play, realizing that not every-body was going to be the shooter, not everybody was going to be the rebounder.”
 
He led that team with 22.2 points per game. 

He played his three collegiate seasons (freshmen were not eligible to play varsity basketball at the time) under Rupp’s successor, Joe B. Hall. He was named First-Team All-Southeastern Conference in all three of his college seasons and in his junior and senior years. He was Kentucky’s 26th All-American at the time.  He was the 21st player to enter the exclusive 1,000 point club.  He had all the ingredients of a superb player– speed and cat-like quickness supplemented by a muscular 205 lb. frame.  He was a southpaw but mastered the use of his right hand. 

He represented the United States on the college all-star team which toured China in the summer of 1973. 

In his senior year Kentucky lost to UCLA in the championship game of the NCAA Tournament in what would be the final game in the career of UCLA’s legendary coach John Wooden; Grevey scored a game-high 34 points and was named to the all-Final Four team.  You can watch highlights of the 1975 Final Four here https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=unA8XmES4MI, here https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Tmz1poxdkJ0 and here https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=C39DEqH-TIg.

Upon completion of his collegiate career, Grevey scored 1,801 points, which at the time ranked him second in University of Kentucky history behind only Dan Issel’s 2,138. His jersey number, 35, is retired by the University of Kentucky.

In 1975 Grevey was selected by the Washington Bullets in the first round (18th pick) of the NBA Draft and by the San Diego Sails in the first round (sixth pick) of the 1975 ABA Draft.[2] Grevey signed with the Bullets and played mostly as a backup small forward and shooting guard his first two seasons. When Phil Chenier suffered a season-ending back injury early in the 1977–78 season, Grevey became the starting off guard and averaged 15.5 points per game. The Bullets won their only NBA championship that season, led by Grevey, newly acquired Bob Dandridge and the future Hall-of-Fame duo of Elvin Hayes and Wes Unseld.

Grevey enjoyed four more solid seasons in Washington, averaging no less than 13.3 points per game. An injury sidelined him for half of the 1982–83 season and reduced him to a reserve for the remainder of his career. He played his final two seasons with the Milwaukee Bucks.

In his 10 NBA seasons Grevey played 672 games and scored 7,364 points, for an average of 11.0 points per game.

His father Norman Grevey and high school coach Marvin McCollum were two of the most important people in his life.  Currently living in Great Falls, Va., Kevin and his wife, Sandy, have a daughter (Amanda), and twins sons (Andrew and Kevin). He is the owner of Grevey’s Restaurant & Sports Bar, a scout for the and TV & Radio analyst for CBS/Westwood 1 and Fox Sports Network.

In the interview below, he discusses his early basketball experiences, and being recruited by various colleges. He talks about choosing to attend UK, and spends the majority of the interview discussing each year of his college career, including breakdowns of specific games, teammates, and coaches, as well as the social issues of the time. He talks about his professional basketball career in the NBA and his post-basketball career.  He was interviewed by fellow great Kyle Macy.