IMAC Regeneration Center
Tony Delk is so cool. Chill, even. He seems to be doing as well in the entrepreneur world as he did on the basketball court.
One of the behind-the-scenes stories he told me on the phone that didn’t make it into the article was about his first year as a Wildcat at the University of Kentucky. It seems it wasn’t quite as fabulous as his senior year (remember when student athletes had senior years?).
Delk spent his first season at UK as “a freshman on the bench watching my peers play,” he said. He was second-guessing himself. “When you come out of high school and you’re sitting there and not playing the game you love, I thought maybe I chose the wrong school.” He credits assistant coach Billy Donovan with setting him on the straight and narrow. Delk would call home and tell his mom he was spending four hours a day in the gym with Coach Donovan. “Well, you might have to put in six hours to get playing time on the court,” she told him. When Donovan took a head coaching position at Marshall University, “he left me in a situation where I felt confident going into my sophomore season,” Delk said.
1996 was the year he led “the Untouchables” to the national title and was named Most Outstanding Player of the NCAA tournament. Bonus point for all the Untouchables you can name from that Final Four, OK here they are:
Antoine Walker, Derek Anderson, Jeff Sheppard, Mark Pope, Nazr Mohammed, Ron Mercer, Tony Delk, Walter McCarty, Wayne Turner.
Also, when I reached out to UK for a throwback photo or two, they said sure (!), which I thought was utterly fabulous. You’ll see one in the online version of this article on the Smiley Pete site: