Flashback: Racer Legend Vincent Rainey

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The meek to monster transformation took place quickly, soon after his freshman season. Rainey scored five points as a freshman, then really blossomed in the 1994- 95 season.  His average soared to 18.8 while playing a pretty good Robin to Murray State’s Batman, junior Marcus Brown, who averaged 22.4 points while earning his first OVC Player of the Year award.

After the basketball banquet following his freshman year, Edgar and his wife came across Rainey dribbling his way to the Carr Health Building for a late night shoot around.

“I remember Coach saying 'Me and (Marcus) Brown Promise you a championship next year,'” Rainey told Ledger and Times sportswriter Steve Parker in 1995. “When I came here I was thinking.... Murray State, I could go in with my potential and talent and get by.

“The biggest thing that made me come back was my mom. She raised me by herself and she taught me to never quit, no matter what. I wanted out of here last year but she knew that I wouldn't be giving myself a chance.”

Brown took the honor for a second time as a senior by sporting a 26.4 scoring average while Rainey poured in 19.4 points.

Rainey finished his career with 1,888 points, good for sixth at the time on Murray State’s all-time scoring. As a senior, Rainey averaged 21.9 points, 8.2 rebounds and shot 77.4 percent from the line.

During that senior season, with Brown gone, but high-scoring shooting guard D.T. Mayes moving in from the junior college ranks, the Racers beat Austin Peay 88-85 in overtime in the OVC Tournament championship, and then nearly knocked off second-seeded Duke in the NCAA Tournament. Rainey scored 23 points and grabbed 10 rebounds, both team highs, as the No. 15 seed Racers fell short, 71-68.

Rainey had his share of monster games. In December of his senior season at home against Alcorn State, he poured in a career-high 43 points while hitting 15 of 22 field goals and 12 of 15 free throws. He scored 33 and ripped off 12 rebounds that year in a win against arch-rival Austin Peay. And in the regular-season finale, Rainey hung 32 points on Tennessee State. He also had 13 boards and made 12 of 13 free throws in that game.

Rainey’s legacy includes hitting a late 3-pointer against Duke that helped pull the Racers within upset range, and a last-second heave from 75 feet that hit the backboard, a shot that had it fell would have forced overtime.

Following the game, Rainey asked Duke coach Mike Krzyzewski for his autograph.

Believe it or not!

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