Hall of Fame coach Adolph Rupp once said that Mike Casey “…was the best money player that (he) ever coached.” He went on to say that, “when there was money on the table, you wanted Mike Casey to have the ball in his hands.”
High endorsement for the Shelbyville native, and it’s that kind of endorsement that makes him a Sports Legend of the ‘Ville. Still looked at as one of the greatest athletes the University of Kentucky basketball program has ever seen, Casey began as a standout player at Shelbyville High School, a team that won a championship his senior season in 1966 against Male.
The young guard was so impressive that in that year he won Kentucky’s Mr. Basketball award.
Meanwhile Coach Rupp was piecing together an incredible team full of future pro talent, and it came as little surprise when the legendary coach went to Casey.
While a Wildcat, Casey led Kentucky in scoring from 1967 to 1968, and is currently the 13th highest scorer in the school’s history; in addition he was a three time All-Sec athlete.
Following his time in Lexington, Casey went on to be drafted to the pros by Chicago in 1970.
Sadly, after complications relating to his heart the great Casey passed away at the Vanderbilt Medical Center in Nashville April 9, 2009 at the age of 60. He’ll always be remembered for his tenacity and work ethic, today Casey is in the Kentucky Athletic Hall of Fame taking his rightful place in the hall.
Image courtesy of Big Blue History