From NKAA, Notable Kentucky African Americans Database (main entry)

Turpin, Melvin Harrison

(born: 1960  -  died: 2010) 

Melvin H. Turpin was born in Lexington, KY. The 6'11" center, a high school All-State basketball player, was a star at Bryan Station High School in Lexington and he graduated in 1979. Turpin attended Fort Union Military Academy in Virginia for one year before enrolling at the University of Kentucky (UK). As a basketball player at UK, Turpin was 3rd Team All-SEC his sophomore year, and over the next two years he received additional recognition, including being named 1st Team All-SEC, All Regional NCAA, and All-American. Turpin played in 123 games, scoring a total of 1,509 points and blocking 226 shots. He had a game high 42 points against both Tennessee in 1983 and Georgia in 1984. As of 2007, Turpin is the last basketball player from Lexington to play for four years on a scholarship at UK. He was drafted sixth by the Washington Bullets [now the Washington Wizards] in the first round of the 1984 NBA draft. He played 361 games for three different NBA teams, scoring a total of 3,071 points and blocking 348 shots. Turpin retired from the NBA in 1990. For more see Melvin Turpin, a Big Blue History website; Mel Turpin at; M. Story, "No Cats like those Cats - city no longer producing UK players, but why? A story for every county," Lexington Herald-Leader, 07/29/2007, Sports section, p. D2; and K. Ward and J. Kegley, "Turpin mourners remember him at his happiest," Lexington Herald-Leader, 07/13/2010, Main News section, p.A1.


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Read about Fayette County, Kentucky in Wikipedia.

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Outside Kentucky Place Name


Cited in this Entry

NKAA Source: Lexington herald-leader (newspaper)

Cite This NKAA Entry:

“Turpin, Melvin Harrison,” Notable Kentucky African Americans Database, accessed December 4, 2020,

Last modified: 2019-09-08 01:55:05