(Editor’s Note: I got to play a game with Herbie Triplett, Billy Ray Cassady, Orvile Blankenship and Oman Fannin one time in an impromptu scrimmage with our freshman team in 1966. What a thrill!)
We first published this in 2018 about Herb Triplett Jr. He made All State honors in two states. His son, Herb Triplett lll is a big factor for us in many aspects at MSHOF and you just have to know right off he displays personality traits of both his mother and dad.
Herb Triplett Jr. was a sophomore on the great 1954 State champion Inez team. He came back as a junior at Inez to be an All State player and then the family moved to Columbus, Ohio where he made All State on the all black Columbus East High School team. Enough!! Please read this and we hope you enjoy it as much as we did when we researched it
HERBIE TRIPLETT INEZ
Herbie Triplett played junior high basketball at Warfield where his Dad, Herbert Triplett Sr. was coach in the 1949-50 and 1950-51 seasons. He then coached the 1951-52 season for neighboring Inez where his team went 29-6 that single season of his coaching there.
Inez went all the way to the semifinals of the 15th Region Tournament that season before falling to eventual champ Pikeville.
Inez coaches told little Herbie Triplett he needed to learn to dribble better if he wanted to play high school basketball. At 5’9” he was expected to direct a team with his ball handling abilities, so he dribbled it at night. He also dribbled on the gravel road to and from school until he accomplished what he had set out to do.
Triplett was a starter as a sophomore on the 1954 Inez State championship team and was an All StatemHonorable Mention team member that season (Courier Journal ) as well as being named to the Sweet Sixteen All Tournament team. He scored 25 of Inez’ 63 points in that championship game against Newport Public . The final score was 63-55.
Triplett was a first team All State player as a junior in 1955. They were defeated in the first round of the District Tournament in 1955 by Meade Memorial, 61-49. I always just thought that was a bad draw as Inez was the second toughest team in it that year, behind Meade Memorial. Paintsville finished as District runnerup, losing in the final to Meade by 47-39. That game was closer than Inez’ score showed but it was also played on Paintsville’s home court that year. That is usually good for a few points advantage.
Herbie Triplett was chosen to the 1955 All State 1st Team that 1955 season along with Corky Withrow of Central City, Donnis Butcher of Meade Memorial, Johnny Cox of Hazard and Kenny Kuhn of Louisville Male to just name a few.
The Courier Journal in late January, 1957, picked an All Time LIT Team (ten players) and on it was Billy Ray Cassady and an Honorable Mention player named Herbie Triplett. That was a huge tournament in those times. The picks were based on three things-their performance in the L.I.T., what they did in high school and what they did in college. Some had just begun a college career at the time. Herbie Triplett was one of those.
At the L.I.T. in Triplett’s junior season he was observed by the coach at Columbus (Ohio) East High School. He was needing a ball handling guard to replace a graduating senior for the following season. The coach was so impressed with Triplett’s play he arranged a job with Rockwell International for Herbert Sr. and the family moved to Columbus, Ohio for Triplett’s senior season.
He broke into a veteran lineup at the all black Columbus East High School that had gone to the State semifinals in Class A the previous season, losing but the one game. The team was not just good. They put on a show, too, warming up to Sweet Georgia Brown (just like the Globetrotters) and wearing leopard skin warm-ups . Back were three starters from the previous season. In a January, 1956 newspaper his coach, Bucky Walters stated Triplett was averaging around 18 ppg.
He was chosen to the International News Service All Ohio Class A 3rd team in that senior season. Some pretty good basketballers were also All State players in Ohio that same season. Jerry Lucas, a sophomore from Middletown made the 1st Team and a future Ohio State teammate Larry Siegfried of Shelby made the 2ndTeam.
While I am namedropping a lot on here let me drop two others on the readers. Jim Marshall, famed more for his football prowess on the gridiron with the great Minnesota Vikings football teams was a substitute on this Columbus East basketball team. Another player on that great Columbus East team was Bernie Casey, who set track and field records at Bowling Green University and was an All American in football there. Casey later played eight years in the NFL before becoming a great actor. Columbus East was an all colored team until Herbie Triplett came along.
After graduation Triplett received a scholarship to play at Ohio State in Columbus. After a day or two on the large campus he decided the university was too large for him to even find his classes. He called Morehead State’s coach Bobby Laughlin and explained his situation and his desire to play for the Eagles. Laughlin had filled his scholarships but worked it out with the help of some businesses to pay the tuition for his future star.
Triplett and Montgomery County great Kenny Meyers were freshmen on the team that defeated UK freshmen that season. Freshmen weren’t eligible to play varsity ball in those days.
In researching this article it seems Triplett was high point man or near it in games played in his last two seasons at Morehead. He was also an All OVC selection, as was his former teammate on the great Inez teams-Dale Moore, who made the All OVC team twice at Eastern. My, what a great little town can produce!!
Triplett had tryouts with the NBA’s Detroit and Chicago teams but that didn’t pan out. He later played AAU basketball for quite a while.
Herbie Triplett passed away in 2009 in Florida. He had been a professional golf instructor and trained such successes as Lorna Miedema, who at age 42 won the Canadian PGA Women’s Championship. He also trained Marianne Morris, a 16-year professional on the LPGA in 2009, and also Rhonda Reilly of the LPGA, as well as other professionals. Another he coached for a while was the great LPGA Hall of Fame player JoAnn Carner. She is the only woman to have won the U.S. Girls’ Junior, U.S. Women’s Amateur, and U.S. Women’s Open titles. Triplett also started a summer youth golf program to teach young people to play and enjoy the game. To add to all the sports accolades he also wrote a column in a local newspaper