'Graves County Boys' Inspiration to State-bound High School Basketball Teams
LEXINGTON, Ky. (March 17, 2014) — As 16 talented high school basketball teams from across the Commonwealth head to Rupp Arena to compete for the title of state champion and to bring glory back to their Kentucky hometowns, one story of determination and an unexpected triumph resonates with those stepping out onto the University of Kentucky Wildcats' home court.
"The Graves County Boys: A Tale of Kentucky Basketball, Perseverance, and the Unlikely Championship of the Cuba Cubs," written by Marianne Walker and published by the University Press of Kentucky (UPK), chronicles the story of five boys from a small southwestern Kentucky high school that captured the hearts of basketball fans and media nationwide. In 1952, the Cuba Cubs, a team most had never heard of, defeated Louisville Manual to win the Kentucky High School Athletic Association state championship.
Young coach Jack Story, the Harlem Globetrotters, and sacrifices of family and neighbors led to the team's success and the alliance of a community during a time with no funding for school programs and hardship as a way of life. Not only a tale of basketball in the 1950s, the book captures the relationship of the players and their coach as well as illustrations of a different time period in rural America altogether.
Beginning with the team's discouraging defeat in the 1951 state championship, readers will be engaged in the book's theme of success over adversity — a David and Goliath story —revealed throughout the pages, something many small-town Kentucky high school teams can relate to during tournament time.
"The Graves County Boys" features photographs, a foreword by former UK head basketball coach Joe B. Hall and an epilogue detailing where the celebrated players are now.
Neither Graves County nor Louisville Manual will be competing in the 2014 tournament from March 19 through 23, but the greatest upset in Kentucky high school basketball history will be remembered as other teams set foot on the same stage and wonder what will the legend be this year.
Author of "Graves County Boys," Marianna Walker, is a retired professor of English and philosophy at Henderson Community College and the author of "Margaret Mitchell and John Marsh: The Love Story Behind Gone With the Wind."
UPK is the scholarly publisher for the Commonwealth of Kentucky, representing a consortium that now includes all of the state universities, five private colleges and two historical societies. Led by Director Stephen Wrinn, its editorial program focuses on the humanities and the social sciences. Offices for the administrative, editorial, production and marketing departments of the press are found at UK, which provides financial support toward the operating expenses of the publishing operation.
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