Louie B. Nunn Center for Oral History

Interview with Tony Delk, October 21, 2016

Louie B. Nunn Center for Oral History, University of Kentucky Libraries


Toggle Index/Transcript View Switch.
Search this Index
00:00:00 - Beginning of interest in basketball

Play segment

Partial Transcript: Tony Delk, '92 to '96.

Segment Synopsis: Tony Delk discusses his childhood and how his brothers got him interested in basketball. Delk also discusses his basketball career in high school, including winning Tennessee Mr. Basketball and Gatorade Player of the Year in Tennessee.

Keywords: Gatorade Player of the Year; Mr. Basketball; Varsity

Subjects: Basketball; Brothers; Childhood; High school; Youth

00:03:34 - The recruitment process

Play segment

Partial Transcript: So, uh, late in your, your, anytime I guess junior year is when recruiting usually starts. Uh, talk a little bit about that process, schools that were involved and any stories maybe along the way.

Segment Synopsis: Delk discusses his experience being recruited for college teams. He discusses how he played in high school and how that affected his recruitment. Delk also discusses how he eventually made the decision to go to UK.

Keywords: Amateur Athletic Union of the United States (AAU); National Basketball Association (NBA); Professional basketball; Recruitment; Rick Pitino

Subjects: Amateur Athletic Union of the United States.; Basketball; High school; National Basketball Association; Pitino, Rick; University of Kentucky

00:07:16 - Freshman year at UK

Play segment

Partial Transcript: Um, so you, you enter UK as a freshman, with, uh, I guess Rodrick Rhodes and Jared Prickett were the two other freshmen in that freshman class?

Segment Synopsis: Delk discusses his reaction to moving from a small town to a big city for college. Delk also discusses being discouraged by a lack of playing time his freshman year and realizing that he had to be competitive.

Keywords: College basketball; Colleges; Dale Brown; Freshman year; Jared Prickett; Rick Pitino; Rodrick Rhodes; Walter McCarty

Subjects: College freshmen.; National Collegiate Athletic Association.; Universities and colleges.; University of Kentucky

00:10:57 - Coach Pitino's coaching style

Play segment

Partial Transcript: Do you remember the first time, uh, Coach Pitino got on you?

Segment Synopsis: Delk discusses getting disciplined by Coach Pitino and Coach Pitino's coaching style.

Keywords: Coaching; Coaching basketball; Coaching styles; Rick Pitino

Subjects: Basketball coaches.; Coaches (Athletics); Discipline; Pitino, Rick; University of Kentucky

00:14:06 - Playing in Rupp Arena

Play segment

Partial Transcript: What went through your mind first time you walked into Rupp in uniform ready to play a game, or ran out, I guess, out of the side?

Segment Synopsis: Delk discusses his initial reaction to playing in Rupp Arena and how he blocked out the crowd and his coach.

Keywords: Assistant coaches; Billy Donovan; Coaches; Distractions; Focus; Rick Pitino; Rupp Arena

Subjects: Basketball coaches; Coaches (Athletics); University of Kentucky

00:17:39 - Freshman year NCAA tournament

Play segment

Partial Transcript: Well obviously it worked, your team goes 30 and 4 that year, um, you win the first 13 games out of the gate, uh, you gotta be thinking, 'Eh, this college basketball's not that tough.'

Segment Synopsis: Delk discusses playing Michigan in the NCAA Final Four game his freshman year.

Keywords: Final Four; National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA); University of Michigan

Subjects: Basketball; National Collegiate Athletic Association; University of Kentucky

00:21:04 - Learning to play defense

Play segment

Partial Transcript: Well I, I went back through the season, kinda looked at the box scores and, and while your minutes were inconsistent early in the season, it seemed like late that you, you started getting more steady minutes and your, your production kinda increased.

Segment Synopsis: Delk discusses learning more about defense during his freshman year.

Keywords: Defense; Playing time

Subjects: Basketball; Basketball--Defense.

00:23:07 - Off-season workouts

Play segment

Partial Transcript: Um, what was your mindset as far as off-season workouts getting ready for your sophomore season?

Segment Synopsis: Delk discusses staying for summer school so he could focus on off-season workouts. Delk also explains that his mind was not on the NBA earlier in his college career.

Keywords: National Basketball Association (NBA); Off-season; Summer school; Workouts

Subjects: National Basketball Association

00:25:17 - Improvements and successes for sophomore year

Play segment

Partial Transcript: And, speaking of who you brought in, then Anthony Epps joins the team, Jeff Sheppard joins the team, Walter becomes eligible, uh, your sophomore season.

Segment Synopsis: Delk discusses his improved playing during his sophomore year. Delk also discusses a couple of successful games from that year.

Keywords: Jeff Brassow; Maui Classic; Ohio State University; Rodney Dent; Sophomore year; Three-point field goals; Three-point shots; Three-pointers; Tip-in; University of Arizona

Subjects: College sophomores.; University of Kentucky

00:28:35 - Sophomore year SEC and NCAA tournaments

Play segment

Partial Transcript: SEC Tournament comes around and it's in Memphis, which is like your backyard.

Segment Synopsis: Delk discusses winning the SEC Tournament but losing in the NCAA Tournament after underestimating Marquette.

Keywords: Free throws; Losses; Marquette University; NCAA Tournament; National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA); SEC Tournament; Southeastern Conference (SEC)

Subjects: National Collegiate Athletic Association; Southeastern Conference.

00:31:03 - An exciting comeback at LSU

Play segment

Partial Transcript: Now, going back, there was a game during that season that's kind of, uh, become legendary around Kentucky. Uh, you're on the road at LSU, your team goes down 31 and somehow you came back and, and won that game.

Segment Synopsis: Delk discusses an exciting comeback against LSU after Pitino threatened them with an extra difficult practice.

Keywords: Louisiana State University (LSU); Rick Pitino

Subjects: Comebacks; Pitino, Rick

00:35:13 - Beginning of junior year

Play segment

Partial Transcript: So, um, after the loss to Marquette, now you're going in to your junior year, you're becoming one of the old men on the team.

Segment Synopsis: Delk discusses his junior year and how he prepared for it. Delk also discusses the new freshmen that came in during that year. Delk talks about his ability to score from any area of the court.

Keywords: Allen Edwards; Antoine Walker; Three-point field goals; Three-point shots; Three-pointers

Subjects: College juniors; University of Kentucky

00:38:26 - Junior year losses

Play segment

Partial Transcript: Um, not to talk about the bad things but, I guess, they say, and I'm pr--the same way I think, players remember the losses maybe more than--

Segment Synopsis: Delk discusses his worst game at UK against UCLA, as well as some other losses during his junior year. Delk also discusses the team's loss to North Carolina in the NCAA Tournament.

Keywords: Foul trouble; Fouls; Louisville (Ky.); Rivalries; University of Arkansas; University of California, Los Angeles (UCLA); University of Louisville; University of North Carolina (UNC)

Subjects: Sports rivalries.

00:44:45 - Big wins during junior year

Play segment

Partial Transcript: Th, that Arkansas game in the SEC Tournament, was the tournament in Atlanta that year?

Segment Synopsis: Delk discusses the narrow win over Arkansas in his junior year SEC Tournament. Delk also discusses other big wins during his junior year.

Keywords: Arkansas; SEC Tournament; Southeastern Conference (SEC); Winning; Wins

Subjects: Overtime; Southeastern Conference

00:49:18 - Defense and drills

Play segment

Partial Transcript: Speaking of that press, it seemed like that, I don't know, how hard is it, I guess the question is, how hard is it to pick up, like knowing on an outside jump shot you're on the ball...

Segment Synopsis: Delk discusses the defense the team used and how they learned it, as well as drills that he didn't like.

Keywords: Defense; Drills; Press; Press defense

Subjects: Basketball--Defense

00:51:09 - Trip to Italy

Play segment

Partial Transcript: So after that season your team goes on a, uh, trip to Italy, and uh, talk a little bit about the trip, what, what was good about it, what, you know the bonding or whatever you brought to the team.

Segment Synopsis: Delk discusses the team's trip to Italy and the bond that the team shared.

Keywords: Team bonding; Traveling

Subjects: Italy; Travel.

00:53:47 - Senior year team

Play segment

Partial Transcript: Well, you had Ron Mercer and Nazr Mohammed the next year, uh, your senior year. Always special going in to your senior year, seems like focus really gets even more intense if that's possible.

Segment Synopsis: Delk discusses his senior year team and the strengths of different team members. Delk also discusses what was special about the team as a whole.

Keywords: Nazr Mohammed; Ron Mercer; Senior year

Subjects: College seniors; University of Kentucky

00:58:01 - Senior year losses

Play segment

Partial Transcript: Well, your senior year, um, you go 34 and 2.

Segment Synopsis: Delk discusses losses during his senior year, including a loss to a team coached by John Calipari. Delk also discusses how the players felt about winning so many games in a row.

Keywords: John Calipari; Losses; Mississippi State University; SEC Tournament; Southeastern Conference (SEC); University of Massachusetts (UMass); Win streak

Subjects: College seniors; Southeastern Conference

01:03:05 - Senior year NCAA tournament

Play segment

Partial Transcript: Well again, you, you thumped quite a, a few teams, uh, uh, San Jose State in the tournament, you beat 'em by 38, uh Virginia Tech by 24, Utah, 31, uh, Wake Forest had a guy there you may have remembered, Tim Duncan...

Segment Synopsis: Delk discusses his senior year NCAA tournament, including a rematch with the University of Massachusetts before coming out on top in the final game against Syracuse. Delk also discusses what the nickname "The Untouchables" means to him.

Keywords: "Flopping"; "The Untouchables"; Double teaming; NCAA Championship; NCAA Tournament; NCAA champions; National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA); National championship; Senior year; Syracuse University; Tim Duncan; University of Massachusetts (UMass); Wake Forest University; Zone defense

Subjects: College seniors; National Collegiate Athletic Association

01:11:43 - Reflecting on his time at the University of Kentucky

Play segment

Partial Transcript: Well you finished your career with--playing 133 games in a Wildcat uniform, 1890 points, 283 threes made, uh, 47 percent from the field, 39 percent from three-point line, 70 percent from the free throw line...

Segment Synopsis: Delk reflects on his career at the University of Kentucky and what it meant to him.

Keywords: Reflecting; Stats

Subjects: Basketball; Careers; Statistics; University of Kentucky

01:14:28 - Coach Pitino, Bill Keightley, and the UK fanbase

Play segment

Partial Transcript: We've talked a, uh, lot about Coach Pitino, obviously a big part of your career, but if you had to describe him to someone that maybe didn't know him, uh, how would you describe him both as a coach and as a person?

Segment Synopsis: Delk discusses Coach Pitino and his roles as both a coach and a mentor. Delk also discusses Bill Keightley and the UK fanbase.

Keywords: "Mr. K"; Bill Keightley; Coaches; Mentors; Rick Pitino; UK; University of Kentucky

Subjects: Basketball coaches; Basketball fans; Children; Fans; Keightley, William Bond, 1926-2008; Parents; Pitino, Rick; University of Kentucky

01:18:45 - Sacrifices and commitment

Play segment

Partial Transcript: Talk a little bit about the bond that that, uh, '96 team had. I mean you mentioned you just had the 20 year reunion.

Segment Synopsis: Delk discusses the sacrifices that the players made and how that commitment gave them such a strong bond.

Keywords: Bonding; Commitment; Sacrifices

Subjects: Sports teams.; University of Kentucky

01:20:42 - Coach Pitino's commitment

Play segment

Partial Transcript: Now this started with some of the older players that played for uh, Coach Rupp but uh, w-we give each player that we're interviewing an opportunity, now y--don't feel like you have to if you don't want to...

Segment Synopsis: Delk discusses Coach Pitino's commitment to the team.

Keywords: Coaches; Coaching; Commitment; Rick Pitino; Sacrifices

Subjects: Basketball coaches; Pitino, Rick; University of Kentucky

01:22:36 - NBA career and beyond

Play segment

Partial Transcript: You're drafted then after your UK career by Charlotte?

Segment Synopsis: Delk discusses his NBA career and his favorite teams to play for. Delk also discusses the end of his NBA career and how he knew it was time to stop playing. Delk talks about his career after he stopped playing basketball.

Keywords: Careers; National Basketball Association (NBA); Phoenix Suns; SEC Network; Sacramento Kings

Subjects: Children; National Basketball Association; Parents

01:27:34 - Favorite memories

Play segment

Partial Transcript: Do you have a, uh, favorite story or favorite memory of your days at UK?

Segment Synopsis: Delk discusses his favorite memories playing games and hanging out with his teammates. Delk also discusses how he wants to be remembered.

Keywords: Teammates; Traditions

Subjects: Games; Memories; University of Kentucky