LOUISVILLE, Ky. (AP) - Ralph Beard, an All-American guard for
Kentucky in the 1940s and a key figure in college basketball's
biggest betting scandal, has died. He was 79.
Beard, who helped the Wildcats win national championships in the
1948 and 1949 under coach Adolph Rupp, died early Thursday at his
home, his son, Scott, said.
A speedy, 5-foot-10 guard, Beard was among Rupp's famed "Fab
Five," along with Alex Groza, Wallace "Wah Wah" Jones, Cliff
Barker and Kenny Rollins.
The Wildcats finished 36-3 in 1948, beating Baylor 77-59 for the
national title. The following summer, Rupp and the five starters
teamed with the AAU champion Phillips Oilers to win the Olympic
gold medal in London, then won another NCAA championship.
After two years in the NBA, and before the start of the 1952
season, Beard and Groza were among several players involved in a
point-shaving scandal that rocked college basketball. The two stars
admitted to shaving points while at Kentucky. They received
suspended sentences, but were banned for life from the NBA.
The scandal "is never mentioned by people unless I bring it
up," Beard said in a 2003 interview. "But the scandal was really
a blip on the screen for Kentucky basketball. You just can't kill
something that big."
Jones called his former teammate a "top-notch player in the
country, the best guard I ever saw.
"I'd do anything in the world for him. He was just a regular
guy. We all got along, had a lot of good times together."
Jones said the point-shaving scandal never affected their
"It really played hard on him the rest of his life," he said.
"I've never held anything against him. He was a real good guy."