Monday, November 26, 2018
In Memoriam: Gene Berce
Gene Berce, Marquette's first 1,000-point scorer and professional basketball draft pick, died last Saturday (November 17, 2018) at 91, the university said.
Berce was a standout basketball player at Milwaukee Marquette High School. He initially headed to the University of Wisconsin in 1944, but the school did not guarantee him a scholarship.
He then headed to MU and head coach Bill Chandler.
“So I left Wisconsin, I was there one day, then we played them a week later and I had 22 points against them,” Berce told the Journal Sentinel in 2017. “Bud Foster, who was coach then, said that was the worst mistake he'd ever made in his life."
Berce also played one season at Cornell in 1945 while he was in officer training during World War II.
After the war, Berce came back to MU and led the team in scoring in three seasons before graduating in 1948. He ended up with 1,171 points at MU.
Berce was drafted in 1948 by the New York Knicks in the Basketball Association of America, a precursor to the NBA. Berce later played for the Tri-Cities Hawks and the National Basketball League's Oshkosh All-Stars.