Former UK men's basketball great Billy Ray Lickert dies at 78


LEXINGTON, Ky. (KT) — Billy Ray Lickert, a member of the University of Kentucky Athletics Hall of Fame and former men’s basketball standout died Wednesday at age 78.


Lickert played for the Wildcats from 1959-61 and was a three-year letter winner while playing for legendary coach Adolph Rupp. He scored more than 1,000 points during his career and was drafted by the Los Angeles Lakers in the 1961 NBA Draft. Lickert averaged 14.7 points per game during his Kentucky career and was an all-American performer his senior year and also earned All-Southeastern Conference honors.


“Billy Ray Lickert was a Wildcat in the truest sense,” UK Athletics Director Mitch Barnhart said in a university release. “He lived the dream that so many people in our state share in wearing the Blue and White and our program and university are better for it. We extend our deepest sympathies to his family and friends.”


Lickert was named Kentucky Mr. Basketball in 1957 after leading Lafayette to the state basketball title. During a “Conversations with Oscar Combs” podcast, Lickert, who grew up near the UK campus, always wanted to play for the Wildcats.


“I was a Wildcat,” Lickert told Combs in the “Conversations with Oscar Combs” podcast. “Every kid back in those days, you had aspirations of being able to play for Kentucky. That’s what everybody – all my friends – then wanted to do.”


Lickert also told Combs he wanted to be remembered as a player who gave it 100 percent during his career. As a senior, Lickert averaged 16.1 points per game.


“When I’m talking about a basketball player, I’m thinking about all this talk today about position-less players. Well, that’s what I considered myself to have been,” Lickert told Combs. “I could play multiple positions, I could play defense, I could rebound for my size. So I would like to be remembered as a good basketball player who gave it all and represented the university and my family as best I could.”


Keith Taylor is sports editor for Kentucky Today. Reach him at Keith.taylor@kentuckytoday or twitter @keithtaylor21.




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