It’s May 1 and that means it’s time to look at three of the greatest Kentucky Wildcats to dawn the No. 1 on their uniform.
Here we find one of the best to take the field for UK Football, a Men’s Basketball national champion and a Women’s Basketball star who is a UK Athletics Hall of Famer.
Lynn Bowden Jr. (Football 2017-19)
Some consider Lynn Bowden to be the best player ever to put on a Kentucky Football uniform. Bowden arrived in Lexington in 2017 as a four-star prospect.
He played in all 13 games for UK as a true freshman and was named to the SEC All-Freshman Team as a return man after averaging 23.5 yards per kick return. While he was stellar as a returner, he made just 17 catches for 210 yards with no touchdowns at his receiver position.
Bowden heated up as a sophomore in 2018. He made 67 catches, which broke the school record for most by a sophomore in school history. Those 67 grabs added up to 745 receiving yards and five touchdowns. In addition, he returned two punts for touchdowns, including one in an 11 point fourth quarter comeback against Missouri and the other coming in UK’s Citrus Bowl win over Penn State.
In 2019, Bowden solidified himself as a legend in Lexington. Bowden started the season at his natural receiver position and made 30 catches for 348 yards and a touchdown in five games. Then, with Terry Wilson and Sawyer Smith, both injured Kentucky decided to move him to the quarterback position where he had not played since high school.
This would be no problem for Bowden as he used his speed to run for an SEC leading 1,468 yards and 13 touchdowns while throwing for 403 yards and three touchdowns. Bowden went 6-2 as UK’s quarterback, including leading them to a Belk Bowl victory over Virginia Tech.
He was named First-Team All-American, First-Team All-SEC and Paul Hornung Award Winner for the nation’s most versatile player. After the season, he declared for the 2020 NFL Draft and was selected 80th overall by the Las Vegas Raiders.
Darius Miller (Men’s Basketball 2008-12)
Mason County, Kentucky Darius Miller, played four fantastic seasons for the Wildcats, repping the No. 1. Miller played in 36 games as a true freshman during the 2008-09 season and decided to stay with the program after Billy Gillispie was fired and replaced by John Calipari.
Miller averaged 6.4. points off the bench for Calipari’s first UK team as a sophomore. As a junior, Miller played an increased role as he 10.8 points to help guide the Cats back to the Final Four. In the 2011 SEC Tournament, Miller averaged 13.3 points and 5.6 rebounds and was named the tournament’s MVP after UK defeated Florida in the finals.
As a Senior, Miller averaged 9.9 points to win the SEC’s sixth-man of the year award and help lead Kentucky to the program’s eighth National Championship.
The New Orleans Hornets drafted him in the second round of the 2012 NBA draft. After two years in Germany, Miller returned to New Orleans in 2017 and remains with the franchise now named the New Orleans Pelicans.
A’dia Mathies (Women’s Basketball 2009-13)
A’dia Mathies is one of the best in UK Women’s Basketball History. Mathies arrived in Lexington in 2009, where she averaged 13.6 points and 4.8 rebounds as a true freshman.
After a sophomore year that saw her average 12.8 points with 4.7 rebounds, she earned third-team All-American honors as a Junior after averaging 15 points per game with 5.1 rebounds to lead UK to an SEC regular season title and trip to the Elite Eight. She finished her career with a second-team All-American Senior season averaging 16.1 points.
Mathies became the first player in UK history (men or women) to accumulate over 2,000 points, 600 rebounds, 300 assists and 300 steals in a career. She was enshrined into the UK Athletics Hall of Fame in 2019.