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The Graves County Boys: A Tale of Kentucky Basketball, Perseverance, and the Unlikely Championship of the Cuba Cubs

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In 1952, a year when Coach Adolph Rupp's University of Kentucky Wildcats won their third national championship in four years, an unlikely high school basketball team from rural Graves County, Kentucky, stole the spotlight and the media's attention. Inspired by young coach Jack Story and by the Harlem Globetrotters, the Cuba Cubs grabbed headlines when they rose from relati In 1952, a year when Coach Adolph Rupp's University of Kentucky Wildcats won their third national championship in four years, an unlikely high school basketball team from rural Graves County, Kentucky, stole the spotlight and the media's attention. Inspired by young coach Jack Story and by the Harlem Globetrotters, the Cuba Cubs grabbed headlines when they rose from relative obscurity to defeat the big-city favorite and win the state championship. A classic underdog tale, The Graves County Boys chronicles how five boys from a tiny high school in southwestern Kentucky captured the hearts of basketball fans nationwide. Marianne Walker weaves together details about the players, their coach, and their relationships in a page-turning account of triumph over adversity. This inspiring David and Goliath story takes the reader on a journey from the team's heartbreaking defeat in the 1951 state championship to their triumphant victory over Louisville Manual the next year. More than just a basketball narrative, the book explores a period in American life when indoor plumbing and electricity were still luxuries in some areas of the country and when hardship was a way of life. With no funded school programs or bus system, the Cubs's success was a testament to the sacrifices of family and neighbors who believed in their team. Featuring new photographs, a foreword by University of Kentucky coach Joe B. Hall, and a new epilogue detailing where the players are now, The Graves County Boys is an unforgettable story of how a community pulled together to make a dream come true.


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In 1952, a year when Coach Adolph Rupp's University of Kentucky Wildcats won their third national championship in four years, an unlikely high school basketball team from rural Graves County, Kentucky, stole the spotlight and the media's attention. Inspired by young coach Jack Story and by the Harlem Globetrotters, the Cuba Cubs grabbed headlines when they rose from relati In 1952, a year when Coach Adolph Rupp's University of Kentucky Wildcats won their third national championship in four years, an unlikely high school basketball team from rural Graves County, Kentucky, stole the spotlight and the media's attention. Inspired by young coach Jack Story and by the Harlem Globetrotters, the Cuba Cubs grabbed headlines when they rose from relative obscurity to defeat the big-city favorite and win the state championship. A classic underdog tale, The Graves County Boys chronicles how five boys from a tiny high school in southwestern Kentucky captured the hearts of basketball fans nationwide. Marianne Walker weaves together details about the players, their coach, and their relationships in a page-turning account of triumph over adversity. This inspiring David and Goliath story takes the reader on a journey from the team's heartbreaking defeat in the 1951 state championship to their triumphant victory over Louisville Manual the next year. More than just a basketball narrative, the book explores a period in American life when indoor plumbing and electricity were still luxuries in some areas of the country and when hardship was a way of life. With no funded school programs or bus system, the Cubs's success was a testament to the sacrifices of family and neighbors who believed in their team. Featuring new photographs, a foreword by University of Kentucky coach Joe B. Hall, and a new epilogue detailing where the players are now, The Graves County Boys is an unforgettable story of how a community pulled together to make a dream come true.

42 review for The Graves County Boys: A Tale of Kentucky Basketball, Perseverance, and the Unlikely Championship of the Cuba Cubs

  1. 4 out of 5

    Dr. Steve and Betsy Pollock

    Lots of Fun Coach Joe B. Hall’s intro is worth the price of the book. This is more than a basketball story. This is a rural story about a lifestyle that rarely exists anywhere anymore. Having family in the area, and having spent many fine times fishing the big lakes, I love the way the book captured the beauty of the Purchase area.

  2. 5 out of 5

    Dale Stonehouse

    This is a much-appreciated update to the author's previous When Cuba Conquered Kentucky. The story of a basketball team from the tiny town of Cuba, KY is a better version of Hoosiers, which featured a school much bigger than Cuba with a much less exciting style of playing basketball. After losing in the Kentucky state championship game as juniors in 1951, they returned after playing a much tougher schedule in a 1952 season in which they lost 5 games prior to post-season tournament play. This tim This is a much-appreciated update to the author's previous When Cuba Conquered Kentucky. The story of a basketball team from the tiny town of Cuba, KY is a better version of Hoosiers, which featured a school much bigger than Cuba with a much less exciting style of playing basketball. After losing in the Kentucky state championship game as juniors in 1951, they returned after playing a much tougher schedule in a 1952 season in which they lost 5 games prior to post-season tournament play. This time they defeated Louisville Manual for the championship, a team which had beaten Cuba twice during the season. The details of small-town life in rural western KY is fascinating; that the boys emulated the Harlem Globetrotters is even more so. Only their habit of acting like prima donnas and the bare-bones writing style detract minimally from this enjoyable read.

  3. 4 out of 5

    Jerry

  4. 5 out of 5

    Chris Sanders

  5. 5 out of 5

    Blue Richardson

  6. 4 out of 5

    Brooke Lee

  7. 5 out of 5

    Fran Caudill

  8. 4 out of 5

    Matt

  9. 4 out of 5

    Elaine Dillard

  10. 5 out of 5

    David

  11. 4 out of 5

    Andrew Coiner

  12. 4 out of 5

    Stacey

  13. 4 out of 5

    Gayla

  14. 5 out of 5

    Bob Williams

  15. 4 out of 5

    Frederick Rotzien

  16. 4 out of 5

    Shana M. Garrity

  17. 4 out of 5

    Carl R.

  18. 5 out of 5

    Tasha

  19. 5 out of 5

    Donna Schubert

  20. 5 out of 5

    Pamela

  21. 4 out of 5

    Sarah

  22. 5 out of 5

    Harold Dixon

  23. 5 out of 5

    Haven Gordon

  24. 5 out of 5

    Katie Harder-schauer

  25. 4 out of 5

    Harley

  26. 4 out of 5

    Linda

  27. 4 out of 5

    Eileen Johnson

  28. 4 out of 5

    Kim Coomey

  29. 4 out of 5

    Jennifer

  30. 4 out of 5

    Kin Pier

  31. 5 out of 5

    Lindsey Straub

  32. 4 out of 5

    Kyle Engel

  33. 5 out of 5

    Traci Hearty

  34. 4 out of 5

    Shirley

  35. 4 out of 5

    Lily Angulo

  36. 5 out of 5

    Elaine Needelman

  37. 5 out of 5

    Nikki Tegtmeyer

  38. 5 out of 5

    Rebecca

  39. 5 out of 5

    Craig Freshwater

  40. 5 out of 5

    Sabjit

  41. 5 out of 5

    Kay Butz

  42. 5 out of 5

    Todd Hale

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