Cuthbert Victor was one of Racer basketball's more versatile stars. Though standing only 6-foot-5, he was a tenacious rebounder, solid defender and dependable scorer. When he left Murray State, he had scored 1,485 points and grabbed 935 rebounds, a combination eclipsed by only a handful of Racers all-time, and none of those matched his .589 career field goal percentage. Besides being ranked among MSU's all-time leaders in scoring (14th), rebounding (sixth), and field goal percentage (third), he is the Racers' career leader in blocks (160) and stands fifth in steals (167). During his four seasons, Murray State advanced twice to the NCAA Tournament, where he was the Racers' leading scorer both times. Twice he was named All-Ohio Valley Conference, and was the league's player of the year as a senior.
Below is a feature story written by Will Aubrey of the Racer Insider during Victor's senior season at MSU. -- TT
Victor: Quiet Impact Player
By Will Aubrey
The Destroyer novels tell the story of Remo and Chiun, two
assassins employed by the American government. They are able to pass
unseen through enemy defenses and complete their mission before the
adversary knows what's happening. If need be, they dodge bullets in
In much the same way Cuthbert Victor lurks, unnoticed on
the floor until, out of nowhere, he rises into the air and rattles home
a thunderous dunk. If need be, he'll dodge a couple of defenders in
You can watch a game and not notice him, then look up
and see that he has 16 points and 10 rebounds. He may be the quietest
impact player in the history of Racer basketball.
This year, Victor is putting up near-ridiculous numbers,
17 points and 11 rebounds per game while shooting 69 percent from the
field and 44 percent from beyond the arc. He is second in the nation in
rebounding and fourth in field goal percentage.
Through five weeks of the season, Victor has been the
Ohio Valley Conference player of the week three times. Against Western
Kentucky he had 26 points and 20 rebounds.
And yet, he remains as quiet and unassuming as
When asked if he might be the player of the year in the OVC he
"I'm just trying to win. My
teammates help me out a lot, and I try to come through for them."
MSU head coach Mick Cronin wasn't so
"How about in the nation," he
exclaimed. "The coach's opinion is that he is the player of the year.
But the Player of the Year award usually goes to the best player on the
best team. So our team success will determine end of the year awards."
Still, Victor demurs. Despite being
among the national leaders in shooting percentage he says he isn't a
great shooter, just a good finisher.
Well, no one can deny that he's a good
finisher. But you have to also have a sweet stroke to hit 44 percent of
your 3-point attempts.
Where does he rank among Murray
State's all-time greats?
Well, at the end of the year there's a
good chance that he will be one of only three MSU players in the top 10 in
both scoring and rebounding. He could easily be the all-time leader in
field goal percentage. And this season, if his attempts increase just a
bit, he could challenge the single-season record for 3-point percentage.
That last one is a stretch because
Victor has never shot the three this well before. But what if he does it?
Add that to all of his other marks and he'd have to be among the best
"Cuffy is as good on the grab and putback as I have ever seen,"
longtime MSU radio announcer Neal Bradley declared. "Although he is
undersized for his position, he plays with heart and a will to win,
reminiscent of Vincent Rainey, who also got the most out of his size.
As far as heart goes, he takes a backseat to no one.
"I don't recall the game, but a couple of seasons ago at the RSEC, an
opponent was running a fast break and Cuffy was on the wing when an
opposing player tried a bounce pass to the corner. He pinned the
ball to the floor, picked it up and triggered a fast break, finishing at
the other end. Amazing. It was one of the best plays I have
ever seen by anybody at any level."
Victor grew up in the Virgin Islands,
which sounds like paradise to anyone who has seen Murray, Ky., in January.
Victor sees it a bit differently though.
"It's a lot different at
home, particularly the economy," he said. "It just isn't developed.
The basketball is different too. We don't use a lot of plays down there,
we just go out and play."
Of course, the islands have something
Murray lacks, the beach. And Victor spent a lot of time there when he was
"When I was a kid I spent a lot of time at the beach, but I
don't go as much as I used to," he said. "We don't surf or
anything, though. The water isn't rough enough for that."
When Victor was about 6 years old his
brother introduced him to the game of basketball, and he quickly fell in
love with the game. And when he got the opportunity to play organized
basketball a couple of years later, it was readily apparent than he had a
gift for the game.
"I started playing youth league when I was about
10," he recalled. "They called it Biddy Basketball. It was a lot of
fun because I was kind of tall. I scored a lot and got a lot of rebounds.
The first year I played, I won seven trophies."
As one of MSU's few high-risers,
it's Victor's dunks that wow the fans. But the first time he dunked
the ball, he shocked himself.
"I was 13 or 14 at the time," he noted.
"It was a big deal because in junior high all I could do was touch the
rim. Then one day I was trying it, and I ended up dunking the ball and I
said, 'Huh? What did I do?' I surprised myself when it happened."
As a freshman Victor played for Complex
High School. But he transferred to St. Joseph for his sophomore years and
for the next three years he played for the Saints' Cuthbert George.
"He was one of the best coaches I've had," Victor said. "He's like coach
Cronin in that he didn't want me to just play one position.
And when I got a rebound he wanted me to push the ball.
"He was a very relaxed person, and it
was very easy to play for him. All of his players loved him."
In one particular game against Complex,
Victor scored 40 points despite facing a box-and-one defense most of the
Among the schools vying for his services
in college were Georgia Southern, IUPUI and DePaul. And the day after he
signed with MSU, Louisville called.
"I liked the coaching staff here,"
Victor said. "They were all really nice. Coach T (Tevester Anderson) was
a very nice guy. Some people say he wasn't a very good coach. But he
stood up for his guys. He made sure everyone was treated fairly.
"I love Coach T very much. He knew how
hard it was for me to be away from my mother, and he took care of me."
Anderson certainly holds Victor in high
"He's one of the top players to come through the program
during my time there," he said. "He just does so many things. He's a
good player and a good person. And he's easy to coach, he'll do
whatever you ask him to.
"He's mentally tough. Although he
smiles a lot, underneath that is a mental toughness a lot of players
don't have. And he can adjust to most any situation. He's just a
special player and a special person."
And there can be no doubt that without
Victor, Anderson's teams wouldn't have been nearly as successful as
they were. He certainly had a number of big games over the last three
But ask him which one stands out, and
the answer comes quickly.
"I still remember the game against TSU on my
birthday when I was a freshman," he said. "I scored 27 points and was
10 for 10 from the field and 7 for 7 on free throws. I was really ready to
play because it was my birthday. When they told me I had a perfect game, I
couldn't believe it."
Of course with Anderson's departure,
Victor had to adjust to a new coach and a new system. And he struggled a
little at first, particularly on defense.
"The press has been difficult
to learn," he admitted. "I've never been on the ball in the press
before. I've always been a safety. So it's been hard to adjust to, but
I'm getting better at it."
And Cronin is more than pleased with his
"He's our most valuable player, there's no doubt about
that," he declared. "He's our leading scorer, leading rebounder and
best defender. He's definitely the backbone of this year's team.
"I think he could have played at a
high-major. But I'm a firm believer in going where you can put up
numbers. The guys that make money are the guys who put up numbers in
college. At a high major he wouldn't have played as much. So I think he
made the right decision in coming here."
And despite Victor's close
relationship with Anderson, it's apparent that he's happy to be
playing for Cronin.
"Coach Cronin is a very nice person, and he makes
you comfortable," he said. "He told us from the start we would never
come out for missing a shot, but if we don't take an open shot he'll
put us on the bench. That really gives you a lot of confidence."
The style of play isn't the only
change from last year in Victor's mind. Another big difference is the
presence of Kelvin Brown.
"It makes it a lot easier because when they
double him I'm open, and when they double me he's open," Victor
noted. "We work on that a lot in practice, and we look for it in
The other difference has to do with
"We play a lot harder than we did last year," Victor admitted.
"Some players realize what a big chance we have this year, and everybody
wants to win. I think we can be very good if we keep playing hard.
"We have great chemistry. Everybody
shares the ball. Everybody gets to shoot, and we all want to win. All of
us just want whatever is best for the team."
Following his career at Murray State
Victor intends to pursue a career in pro basketball.
"I want to play
professionally for a while," he said. "After that I'd like to own my
own business. I don't know what it'll be yet though. I'm still
working on that.
"I think I can play in the NBA. I
played against some of those players last summer. It's all about
opportunities. You just have to work hard. And if I do that I think I can
play. If not I may play overseas. I'm not sure about that but it's a