Birthdate: March 24, 1956
High School: Akron (Ohio) Manchester High School (1974)
College: University of Kentucky (1974-78)
Year Inducted: 2023
A prolific scorer and rebounder at every level and one of the best prep players in state history, Mike Phillips is a welcome addition to the Ohio Basketball Hall of Fame.
A dominant 6-10 center, Phillips was named Ohio’s “Mr. Basketball” in both 1973 and ’74, and also led Akron Manchester to the state title as a senior as the Panthers completed a perfect 26-0 season. That alone made him a local legend, but his accomplishments only swelled from there. In fact, he finished his outstanding career at Kentucky in similar fashion as he and fellow “Twin Tower” Rick Robey powered Joe B. Hall’s Wildcats to the 1978 national championship at the conclusion of his senior season.
With Phillips playing inside, Kentucky posted a combined record of 102-21 in his four seasons and also won the NIT and finished as NCAA runner-up. He amassed 1,367 points at UK and connected on 54.9 percent of his field-goal attempts for his career, which ranks seventh in school history. He doubled his freshman scoring average of 7.8 points per game to 15.6 as a sophomore and showed he had an effective face-up game to go with his low-post prowess and ability to float in hook shots with either hand. In a particularly memorable contest with rival Tennessee, he produced 35 points and 28 rebounds with Robey out of the lineup due to injury.
The 1978 title run included a win over Magic Johnson-led Michigan State as Phillips came through with several clutch plays.
Proving his value overseas, Phillips averaged 36 points and 17 rebounds per game for CB Mollet in his first professional season (1981). To say that year set him into stardom would be an understatement. In fact, his pro career lasted 12 seasons, all in Spain, and included seven consecutive years which found him averaging at least 28 points and 12 rebounds per contest.
In 1983, he led his FC Barcelona team to the Spanish league title and a second-place showing in the European Cup. In 1988, he was voted the Spanish league’s most outstanding player.
Mike Phillips died unexpectedly at his Madisonville, Ky., home on April 25, 2015, at the age of 59. He enters the Ohio Basketball Hall of Fame posthumously.