Death of a British radio analyst, ex-player Pratt at 73

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MARC MAYNARD

kentucky today

LEXINGTON — Kentucky Basketball Hall of Famer and radio analyst Mike Pratt died Thursday after a battle with cancer. He was 73 years old.

Pratt played for Kentucky from 1966 to 1970 under Adolph Rupp. He was twice selected to the All-SEC First Team. As a senior, Pratt was named a Converse second-team All-American after averaging 19.3 points and 9.5 rebounds per game.

Mike Pratt played for Kentucky from 1966 to 1970. He died Thursday after a battle with cancer. (UK photo)

Pratt and the Wildcats went 71-12 and 48-6 against SEC haters during his career and were ranked in the AP top five for 33 weeks, including the length of his senior season.

For the past 21 years, he has provided color analysis on the UK network with play-by-play man Tom Leach.

“Everyone gravitated to (Pratt) for his knowledge of basketball and his friendship,” Leach tweeted Friday. “I loved him like a brother. My heart is broken.”

Former British great Mike Pratt died on Thursday after battling cancer at the age of 73. Photo by UK Athletics

In 2022, Pratt and Leach collaborated on a book called “Kentucky Basketball: Two Decades Behind the Scenes.”

Kentucky athletic director Mitch Barnhart and basketball coach John Calipari said he will be missed.

“Mike Pratt has been part of the fabric of British athletics for over half a century,” Barnhart said. “As an All-America and All-SEC player, Mike has played an important role in our basketball history. Over the past two decades, he has brought our games to life with his insightful commentary on our radio shows. .

“We have lost a family member, part of the Kentucky family and a friend. If you’ve ever had the pleasure of meeting Mike Pratt, you knew what a special person he was,” Calipari said. “Mike knew the University and the Big Blue Nation loved him, and they never forgot what he did as a player and later as a connection to the program. I will miss him.

Pratt spent two seasons playing for the Kentucky Colonels in the ABA before beginning a coaching career. As an assistant coach, he helped lead Charlotte to the 1977 Final Four. He then served as head coach at Charlotte for four seasons, compiling a 56-52 record.

In October 2001, Pratt was appointed men’s basketball color analyst for the UK Radio Network. He has continued his duties alongside Leach in recent years while undergoing cancer treatment. Pratt also hosted a radio show in Louisville with fellow British basketball legend Dan Issel.

Pratt was involved in the coaching search that brought Calipari to Kentucky from Memphis.

“Mike was part of a group, which included (AD) Mitch Barnhart, (then President) Lee Todd, Martin Newton and Rob Mullens, who flew to Chicago and met with me regarding my departure from Memphis for the Kentucky, my dream job,” Calipari said. . “I will always be grateful.”

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