WHERE ARE THEY NOW? Rick Pitino’s ‘Untouchable’ 1996 Kentucky Wildcats championship team

Pitino and his team celebrating their national title.

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Pitino and his team celebrating their national title.
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Doug Pensinger/Getty Images

The 1995-96 Kentucky Wildcats basketball team was one of the most dominant in history.

Deemed “The Untouchables,” the team only lost two games all season en route to winning the national title, the first for coach Rick Pitino.

Fittingly, the majority of players on that team went on to enjoy success in basketball after Kentucky as well. Nine players from the team went on to play in the NBA, and a few broke into the coaching ranks. Below, we take a look at what happened to “The Untouchables.”


Tony Delk was one of the leaders as a senior of the ’96 Wildcats. He was the SEC Player of the Year, a consensus first-team All American, and the Final Four Most Outstanding Player that year.

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Jonathan Daniel/Getty Images

Delk was drafted by the Charlotte Hornets that summer, and spent several seasons as a journeyman in the NBA. He then had brief coaching stints with his alma mater and New Mexico State before becoming an analyst for SEC Network.

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Antoine Walker was one of the leading scorers and a first-team All-SEC player for the ’96 Wildcats.

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Walker played in the NBA for over 10 seasons, and was a three-time all-star. He had to declare bankruptcy after his playing days ended, and now counsels young athletes in order to help them avoid making his financial mistakes, in addition to working as an analyst for SEC Network.

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Source: USA Today


Walter McCarty was the Wildcats’ third-leading scorer as a Senior that season.

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McCarty went on get drafted by the Knicks in 1996. He spent 10 seasons in the league as a player, and currently works as an assistant coach for the Boston Celtics.

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Derek Anderson was the fourth-leading scorer in his first season playing for the Wildcats, having transferred from Ohio State University.

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Anderson spent a few seasons in the NBA after leaving Kentucky. He currently runs his own non-profit, The Stamina Foundation.

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Ron Mercer was a key contributor as a freshman on this talented Wildcats team.

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Mercer was an All-American and the SEC Player of the Year for Kentucky the following year. He then left college to play in the NBA for a time. These days he hosts basketball camps and remains close to his Kentucky teammates.

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Jim McIsaac/Getty Images

Source: Twitter


Mark Pope was a redshirt senior on the ’96 Wildcats, having transferred from Washington a few years prior.

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Pope played for a few years in the NBA, and was also enrolled in medical school at Columbia University for a time before starting his coaching career. He is currently the head coach of men’s basketball at Utah Valley.

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Source: Utah Valley Athletics


Anthony Epps was a Kentucky native and a key contributor on the ’96 Wildcats as a Junior.

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Now, Epps is a proud dad whose daughter, Makayla, is a standout basketball player for Kentucky.

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ESPN

Source: ESPN


Jeff Shepard was a guard for the ’96 Wildcats.

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Todd Warshaw/Getty Images

Sheppard went on to lead Kentucky to a national title in 1998. After a brief professional playing career, Sheppard settled down in Kentucky with his wife, a former Kentucky women’s basketball player, and owns an apparel company.

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Kentucky Farm Bureau

Source: University of Kentucky Alumni Association.


Wayne Turner was a freshman guard for the ’96 Wildcats.

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Andy Lyons/Getty Images

Turner was a starter on the title-winning ’98 Wildcats team. Later he played briefly in the NBA and with the Harlem Globetrotters. He is currently the Director of Player Development for the Louisville Cardinals.

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Source: Louisville Athletics


Nazr Mohammed was a freshman big man for the ’96 Wildcats.

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Mohammed also went on to win another title with the Wildcats in 1998. He also played in the NBA for over 10 years, and was a member of the title-winning Spurs team in 2005. He recently joined the front office of the OKC Thunder.

Source: NBA.com, The Player’s Tribune


Allen Edwards as a sophomore for the ’96 Wildcats.

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Al Bello/Getty Images

Another player who went on to be a part of the ’98 Wildcats, Edwards is currently the head coach of men’s basketball at the University of Wyoming.

Source: Wyoming Athletics


Rick Pitino had already led Providence and Kentucky to Final Fours by the time he finally won the big one with the ’96 Wildcats.

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Doug Pensinger/Getty Images

Pitino left Kentucky to coach the NBA’s Boston Celtics, before returning to college basketball to become the head coach at Kentucky’s arch-rival Louisville. While he led the Cardinals to the national title in 2013, his tenure would end in ignominy as he was fired due to a recruiting scandal.