Friday, May 17, 2019

Jim Phelan

James Joseph Phelan

March 19, 1929
Philadelphia, PA


1945-46 La Salle Collegiate - Philadelphia (High School)
1946-47 La Salle Collegiate - Philadelphia (High School)
1947-48 La Salle College - Philadelphia (College)
1948-49 La Salle College - Philadelphia (College)
1949-50 La Salle College - Philadelphia (College)
1950-51 La Salle College - Philadelphia (College)
1953-54 Philadelphia Warriors (NBA)
1953-54 Pottsville Packers (EBL)
1953-54 La Salle College - Philadelphia (College) Assistant coach
1954-55 Mount St. Mary's College - Maryland (College) Head coach
1955-56 Mount St. Mary's College - Maryland (College) Head coach
1956-57 Mount St. Mary's College - Maryland (College) Head coach
1957-58 Mount St. Mary's College - Maryland (College) Head coach
1958-59 Mount St. Mary's College - Maryland (College) Head coach
1959-60 Mount St. Mary's College - Maryland (College) Head coach
1960-61 Mount St. Mary's College - Maryland (College) Head coach
1961-62 Mount St. Mary's College - Maryland (College) Head coach
1962-63 Mount St. Mary's College - Maryland (College) Head coach
1963-64 Mount St. Mary's College - Maryland (College) Head coach
1964-65 Mount St. Mary's College - Maryland (College) Head coach
1965-66 Mount St. Mary's College - Maryland (College) Head coach
1966-67 Mount St. Mary's College - Maryland (College) Head coach
1967-68 Mount St. Mary's College - Maryland (College) Head coach
1968-69 Mount St. Mary's College - Maryland (College) Head coach
1969-70 Mount St. Mary's College - Maryland (College) Head coach
1970-71 Mount St. Mary's College - Maryland (College) Head coach
1971-72 Mount St. Mary's College - Maryland (College) Head coach
1972-73 Mount St. Mary's College - Maryland (College) Head coach 
1973-74 Mount St. Mary's College - Maryland (College) Head coach
1974-75 Mount St. Mary's College - Maryland (College) Head coach 
1975-76 Mount St. Mary's College - Maryland (College) Head coach
1976-77 Mount St. Mary's College - Maryland (College) Head coach 
1977-78 Mount St. Mary's College - Maryland (College) Head coach
1978-79 Mount St. Mary's College - Maryland (College) Head coach 
1979-80 Mount St. Mary's College - Maryland (College) Head coach
1980-81 Mount St. Mary's College - Maryland (College) Head coach 
1981-82 Mount St. Mary's College - Maryland (College) Head coach 
1982-83 Mount St. Mary's College - Maryland (College) Head coach  
1983-84 Mount St. Mary's College - Maryland (College) Head coach 
1984-85 Mount St. Mary's College - Maryland (College) Head coach  
1985-86 Mount St. Mary's College - Maryland (College) Head coach 
1986-87 Mount St. Mary's College - Maryland (College) Head coach  
1987-88 Mount St. Mary's College - Maryland (College) Head coach 
1988-89 Mount St. Mary's College - Maryland (College) Head coach  
1989-90 Mount St. Mary's College - Maryland (College) Head coach 
1990-91 Mount St. Mary's College - Maryland (College) Head coach  
1991-92 Mount St. Mary's College - Maryland (College) Head coach
1992-93 Mount St. Mary's College - Maryland (College) Head coach
1993-94 Mount St. Mary's College - Maryland (College) Head coach
1994-95 Mount St. Mary's College - Maryland (College) Head coach
1995-96 Mount St. Mary's College - Maryland (College) Head coach
1996-97 Mount St. Mary's College - Maryland (College) Head coach
1997-98 Mount St. Mary's College - Maryland (College) Head coach
1998-99 Mount St. Mary's College - Maryland (College) Head coach
1999-00 Mount St. Mary's College - Maryland (College) Head coach
2000-01 Mount St. Mary's College - Maryland (College) Head coach
2001-02 Mount St. Mary's College - Maryland (College) Head coach
2002-03 Mount St. Mary's College - Maryland (College) Head coach

After starring at La Salle Collegiate, Phelan went on to La Salle College and after graduating served in the U.S. Marine Corps during the Korean War. After the war, Phelan was drafted by the Philadelphia Warriors and appeared in four games before being released. He signed on to play with the Pottsville Packers of the Eastern League. After that season, he was offered the head coaching job at Mount St. Mary's, a small college in Emmitsburg, Maryland. This was the beginning of a legendary tenure at MSM that last 49 seasons. He would lead the school to the NCAA Division 2 Basketball Championship in 1961-62, and over his career would attain a 830-524 record. MSM would eventually move up to Division 1 status and in 1995 the school entered the NCAA tournament for the first time. Known for his signature bowtie as well as his coaching ability, Phelan finally retired in 2003 at the age of 74.

Jim and his wife, Dottie, married in 1954 and they have five children.

Blogger Note:
I anticipate adding "HALL OF FAME" to this page one day. Hopefully it is when Jim is alive to enjoy the honor he deserves.

Mount Athletics
Washington Post, Februalry 23, 2019


Bob Peterson

Robert Peterson

January 25, 1932
Menlo Park, CA

July 30, 2011
San Jose, CA

1947-48 Sequoia High School - Redwood City, CA (High School)
1948-49 Sequoia High School - Redwood City, CA (High School)
1949-50 College of San Mateo (College)
1950-51 University of Oregon (College)
1951-52 University of Oregon (College)
1953-54 Baltimore Bullets (NBA)
1953-54 Milwaukee Hawks (NBA)
1954-55 New York Knicks (NBA)
1955-56 New York Knicks (NBA)

Born in Menlo Park, California, Peterson went to school in Redwood City before graduating and playing a year at the College of San Mateo. He transferred to Oregon where his basketball prowess would catch the interest of the Baltimore Bullets who drafted him in 1952. He served in the army before being selected again by the Bullets in 1953. After four games he was let go and joined the Milwaukee Hawks. He was signed as a free agent by the New York Knicks in January of 1955 and played for the Knicks for two seasons. His career was on an upswing as he averaged 14.3 points in the 1955-56 season. Sadly, injuries would eventually shorten Big Pete's basketball career,and he returned to California to work in the mortgage and finance industry. After retiring, he started BBQ Boys, a catering company with his son.

Bob married his high school sweetheart Jo in 1953 and they had one son and three daughters



Paul Nolen

Paul Edward Nolen

September 3, 1929
Tulia, TX

May 7, 2009
Fort Worth, TX

1946-47 Alvarado High School - Texas (High School)
1950-51 Texas Tech University (College)
1951-52 Texas Tech University (College)
1952-53 Texas Tech University (College)
1953-54 Balitmore Bullets (NBA)
1953-57 Washington Generals (Independent)

As a sophomore at Texas Tech, Nolen led the conference in scoring, would repeat as a junior and finish second in his senior year. The 6'10 center would play one game for the Baltimore Bullets before being released. He toured with the Washington Generals (the opponents of the Harlem Globetrotters) for a season before leaving basketball to enter the grocery business in Burleson, Texas.



Jim Neal

James Ellerbe Neal

May 21, 1930
Silverstreet, SC

October 3, 2011
Greer, SC

1947-48 Silverstreet High School - South Carolina (High School)
1948-49 Silverstreet High School - South Carolina (High School)
1949-50 Wofford College (College)
1950-51 Wofford College (College)
1951-52 Wofford College (College)
1952-53 Wofford College (College)
1953-54 Syracuse Nationals (NBA)
1954-55 Baltimore Bullets (NBA)

The 6'11 Neal was a legend at small Wofford College, averaging 32.6 points per game as a senior. He left Wofford having scored over 2000 points (including a school-record 57 in one game) and 1500 rebounds. Neal was drafted by the Syracuse Nationals and played one season with the Nats before playing with the Baltimore Bullets in 1954. When the Bullets folded, Neal's NBA career came to an end. He worked for American Enka Textile as a construction manager and later worked at BASF as an engineer prior to retiring.

Neal married Maxine Clyde and they had one son, Jim (d. 2012), and one daughter, Susan (1955-2012). Following Maxine's death, he married Suella Clyde Van Doren who remained his wife until Jim's death.

Greenville News, October 5, 2011


Jack Molinas

Jacob Louis Molinas

October 31, 1932
New York, NY

August 3, 1975
Hollywood Hills, CA

1948-49 Stuyvesant High School - New York City (High School)
1950-51 Columbia University (College)
1951-52 Columbia University (College)
1952-53 Columbia University (College)
1953-54 Fort Wayne Pistons (NBA)
1954-55 Williamsport Billies (EBL)
1955-56 Williamsport Billies (EBL) 
1956-57 Williamsport Billies (EBL)
1957-58 Williamsport Billies (EBL)
1958-59 Williamsport Billies (EBL)
1959-60 Williamsport Billies (EBL)
1959-60 Hazleton Hawks (EBL)
1960-61 Hazleton Hawks (EBL)
1961-62 Hazleton Hawks (EBL)

The infamy of Jack Molinas fades as time marches on, but he is an interesting figure in basketball, largely for notorious reasons, on a road that lead to a violent end.

Born in New York City, Molinas was a extremely talented athlete as well as an intelligent student. He was offered a basketball scholarship from Columbia and intended to become a dentist. In his sophomore year, he was among the leaders of the Ivy League in both scoring and rebounds, and everything seemed bright. However, late in the 1950-51 academic year, Molinas threw a glass of water out of the seventh floor of his dormitory. It would have been a harmless prank except that it landed on Mark Van Doren, a professor at Columbia who was on his way to being a notable figure in the counterculture as a writer in the Beat Generation along with Allen Ginsberg and Jack Kerouac. Molinas was suspended from Columbia for six months, and he returned to Columbia after working at various resorts in Florida. However, his attitude was totally different.

As a freshman, Molinas had been approached by a gambler named Joe Hacken and offered money to shave points in a game. He sharply declined the offer, noting that it wasn't worth the risk and he was not hurting for cash. But when he returned from his suspension, he was more amenable to such persuasion. Point shaving was reaching its zenith at this point in time, and the scandal which shook the foundation of the game was exposed shortly thereafter. In Molinas case, Hacken approached him again, offering him $5000 to make sure Columbia didn't cover the spread in a game against Holy Cross. Molinas told Hacken to bet the money for him instead of giving it to him. That way, Molinas figured, he would have $10,000 riding on the game. Molinas scored 39 points that night and had 22 rebounds, but Columbia lost to Holy Cross in overtime. Hacken originally thought, due to Molinas' performance, that he had reneged. But Molinas told him he got the result he wanted, and Hacken gave him his money. By the end of the season, Molinas had gotten over $100,000 from Hacken for throwing a more games. Now fully enveloped in gambling, he would lose that money over the summer betting on baseball games.

"I was really into gambling. I didn't care about the money. I never did. Gambling was action. Winning was glory. Money was just a way of keeping score. The real fun was moving the numbers around. Even later on, that was the fun, the excitement."

By the time Molinas was a senior, he had become a full-fledged partner with Hacken. He was the captain of the basketball team at Columbia while making large sums of money in the underground world of gambling. He was drafted by the Fort Wayne Pistons, and his salary of $9600 was no where close to the money he was making as a bookmaker. Molinas enjoyed playing for the Pistons, and by his own accord he played every NBA game on the level, never shaving a point or fixing a game. He did bet on games, but claimed he always bet on the Pistons to win when he did. However, he was still a partner in Hacken's enterprise, and word around the New York gambling circles was that Molinas was still involved in fixing the outcomes of games, even at that level. Eventually, that story made its way to the ears of Maurice Podoloff, the commissioner of the NBA. In January of 1954, Molinas was summoned to Podoloff's office to discuss this issue. Molinas told him that he bet small amounts occasionally on the Pistons to win. Podoloff suspended Molinas from the league permanently. What was more disturbing to Podoloff, however, was the statement Molinas made that he knew of other players in the NBA who were NOT on the level, and were betting AGAINST their own clubs, including teammates.

Molinas went to law school, playing in the Eastern League while at school. And after he graduated, he applied for reinstatement but was denied. His suspension had now become a lifetime ban. Podoloff, who had been understanding of the situation was grateful for the information with regards to other players in the league, had told Molinas that if he finished his law studies he could ask for reinstatement, but Podoloff cast the tie-breaking vote amongst the owners, denying Molinas a chance back in the NBA. Molinas would go on to practice law and opened his own practice in 1957, all while running a major gambling enterprise in New York City and continuing to play basketball in the Eastern League.

Molinas was a decent handicapper on honest games, but he knew they could make a lot more cash if the outcomes were more certain. From 1957 to 1961, Molinas had his hand in at least 43 college basketball games, and 33 players admitted taking money to shave points. Molinas was the man with the money and the one who approached most of these players.

In 1962, Molinas and Hacken had become aware that their phones were tapped, and had been for a while. The theory is that the police were building a case, but not building it too fast because they, too, were making money betting on these rigged games they learned about in various taps. Molinas and Hacken worked out a ruse to get back at their tappers and imply a game was rigged in one direction when it wasn't. Story is that one investigator took that information and proceeded to lose $8000 on the wager. This investigator swore to take Molinas down, and the New York DA put a microphone on Billy Reed, a basketball player at Bowling Green, to record a conversation with Molinas where Molinas advised him to not say anything to investigators about the money Reed had received to fix games. Molinas and Hacken were arrested and Molinas was sentenced to 10 to 15 years in prison.

After a little time in solitary confinement at Sing Sing, Molinas turned back to his gambling ways, becoming a bookie while confined in prison. He actually used a homing pigeon to communicate with a fellow inmate's wife, using the avian communication system to transmit sports information back and forth.

After six months in Sing Sing, he was transferred to Attica where it became known to the corrections officers that Molinas had good financial acumen outside the realm of gambling and bookmaking. He helped many prison officials manage their finances and investments while there, which helped him get his parole in 1968. He would move to Los Angeles in 1970 where he made a very comfortable living in real estate and insurance industry as well as various other endeavors, including the quickly-growing pornography industry.

In November of 1974, Bernard Gusoff, a partner of Molinas in a fur importing business, was found beaten to death in his apartment. There was a report the each man had taken a life insurance policy out on each other for $500,000, and Gusoff was also a partner in Molinas pornography business..

A few months later, on August 3, 1975, Molinas, living the good life in Los Angeles with a stream of money, cars and beautiful women, was entertaining a girlfriend at his luxurious home in Hollywod Hills. They were in the backyard talking when someone came into the back yard and shot Molinas in the back of the head. His friend, Shirley Marcus, was wounded in the neck. It is widely regarded to be a mob hit due to Molinas' involvement in the distribution of pornography and the involvement of the Mafia in that industry.

Series of newspaper articles from January, 1974, written by Bruce Keidan


Wednesday, May 15, 2019

Jim Luisi

James Anthony Luisi

November 2, 1928
East Harlem, NY

June 7, 2002
Los Angeles, CA

1946-47 Benjamin Franklin High School - New York City (High School)
1947-48 St. Francis College - Brooklyn (College) JV
1948-49 St. Francis College - Brooklyn (College)
1949-50 St. Francis College - Brooklyn (College)
1950-51 St. Francis College - Brooklyn (College)
1953-54 Baltimore Bullets (NBA)

Born in East Harlem, Luisi would graduate from Franklin HS in New York and attended St. Francis College in Brooklyn after graduating. He was drafted by the Boston Celtics in the 1951 NBA Draft, but entered the U.S. Army and was stationed in Iceland. After the war, he returned to States to find his rights had been traded to the New York Knicks and then to the Baltimore Bullets, where he would play one season. He decided to pursue a career in the arts, attending the American Academy of Dramatic Arts. He would appear in many Broadway productions throughout the 1960's before relocating to California. He would appear in various movies and TV shows in the 70's and 80's, probably best known for his portrayal of Lt. Doug Chapman on "The Rockford Files" and his Emmy-nominated turn as George Washington in the 1975 miniseries 'First Ladies Diaries: Martha Washington."

Luisi continued working as a respected character actor through the 80's and 90's before dying of cancer in 2002.

Jim married Georgia Phillips in 1961 and they had one daughter.



Clyde Lovellette

Clyde Edward Lovellette

September 7, 1929
Petersburg, IN

March 9, 2016
North Manchester, IN

1946-47 Garfield High School - Terre Haute, IN (High School)
1947-48 Garfield High School - Terre Haute, IN (High School)
1948-49 University of Kansas (College) Freshmen
1949-50 University of Kansas (College)
1950-51 University of Kansas (College)
1951-52 University of Kansas (College)
1952 United States National Team (Olympics)
1953-54 Minneapolis Lakers (NBA)
1954-55 Minneapolis Lakers (NBA)
1955-56 Minneapolis Lakers (NBA)
1956-57 Minneapolis Lakers (NBA)
1957-58 Cincinnati Royals (NBA)
1958-59 St. Louis Hawks (NBA)
1959-60 St. Louis Hawks (NBA)
1960-61 St. Louis Hawks (NBA)
1961-62 St. Louis Hawks (NBA)
1962-63 Boston Celtics (NBA)
1963-64 Boston Celtics (NBA)


Standing at 6-foot-9 and weighing in at 245 pounds, came out of Indiana to star on the courts at the University of Kansas. Leading Kansas to an NCAA title in 1952, Lovellette set the record for most points in a NCAA tourney (141) and most points in a single game (44).  He had lead the country in scoring that year with 28.4 points per game, becoming the first (and as of this writing, the only) collegiate player to lead the nation in scoring AND win the NCAA tournament in the same year.

Lovellette was drafted by the Minneapolis Lakers in the first round of the 1952 draft, but he wanted to play in the Olympics in Helsinki. The U.S. team rolled to the gold medal, and Clyde joined the Lakers a year later. Somewhat rusty, Lovellette played n every Laker game in that rookie year of 1953-54, but only averaged 8.2 points. After that season, though, he was an unstoppable force. With a hook shot with a soft touch, he would average over 20 points a game the next three seasons as well as pulling in over 12 rebounds a game. Being named to two All-Star games, Lovellette was traded after the 1956-57 season to Rochester. The Royals moved to Cincinnati prior to the start of the 1957-58 season, and in his only season in Cincy, he scored a career-high 23.4 points per game in an injury-shortend season.

In September of 1958, Lovellette was sent to the St. Louis Hawks to complete a deal a month earlier where the the Hawks gave the signing rights of five young players to Cincinnati. (Of those five, only two, Wayne Embry and Jim Palmer, would play in an NBA game.)  Lovellette played four seasons in St. Louis, averaging almost 20 points over that stretch and being named to the All-Star team two more times.

After the 1961-62 season, the 32-year old Lovellette was sold to the Boston Celtics. He would pick up his second and third rings in his two seasons there before retiring after the 1963-64 season. He was a tough and very physical player, not afraid to push, shove or elbow his opponents as he battled for position. He frustrated many an opposing player with his style of play, earning respect as well as controversy along the way.

After his playing days, he worked as a cattle rancher, country club manager, sheriff and teacher but was most proud of his days as a counselor for troubled youths in his home town of Terre Haute. He would be elected to both the Naismith Hall of Fame and the College Basketball Hall of Fame. He died in 2016 at 86 years of age.

Lovellette was married to Sally Wheeler and the had three daughters. After divorcing Sally, he remarried to Judy Wray in 1970. 

Washington Post, March 11, 2016


Tuesday, May 14, 2019

Dick Knostman

Richard William Knostman

August 9, 1931
Warnego, KS


1947-48 Warnego High School - Kansas (High School)
1948-49 Warnego High School - Kansas (High School)
1949-50 Kansas State College (College) Freshmen
1950-51 Kansas State College (College)
1951-52 Kansas State College (College)
1952-53 Kansas State College (College)
1953-54 Syracuse Nationals (NBA)

Knostman, a 6'6 center from Warnego, Kansas, played basketball at Kansas State where he helped the Wildcats to the 1951 Final Four as a sophomore. After a stellar career at K-State that saw him score over 1000 points, he was drafted by the Syracuse Nationals but would only play five games for them.



Billy Kenville

William McGill Kenville

December 1, 1930
Elmhurst, NY

June 19, 2018
Binghamton, NY

1950-51 St. Bonaventure (College)
1951-52 St. Bonaventure (College)
1952-53 St. Bonaventure (College)
1953-54 Syracuse Nationals (NBA)
1954-55 Syracuse Nationals (NBA)
1955-56 Syracuse Nationals (NBA)
1956-57 Fort Wayne Pistons (NBA)
1957-58 Detroit Pistons (NBA)
1958-59 Rochester Colonels (EBL)
1959-60 Detroit Pistons (NBA)
1960-61 St. James High School - Binghamton, NY (High School) Head coach - JV
1960-61 Hodges Builders - Binghamton, NY (Independent)

After starring at St. Bonaventure, Kenville was drafted by the Syracuse Nationals. He played three seasons with Syracuse, helping them to the NBA crown in 1955.

Kenville was sold by the Nats to the Pistons in October of 1956,  would play two seasons for the Pistons before retiring in 1958. His retirement was short lived, and he signed with the Rochester Colonels in the Eastern League in 1958. After a good season the the Colonels, he found himself back in the NBA with the Pistons in 1959. A leg injury that season sidelined him for a bit and after the season he would be done playing in the NBA. He would go on to coach basketball in Binghamton, New York, where he died in 2018.



Tuesday, May 7, 2019

Bob Houbregs

Robert John Houbregs

March 12, 1932
Vancouver, BC, Canada

May 28, 2014
Olympia, WA

1948-49 Queen Anne High School - Seattle (High School)
1950-51 University of Washington (College)
1951-52 University of Washington (College)
1952-53 University of Washington (College)
1953-54 Milwaukee Hawks (NBA)
1953-54 Baltimore Bullets (NBA)
1954-55 Baltimore Bullets (NBA)
1954-55 Boston Celtics (NBA)
1954-55 Fort Wayne Pistons (NBA)
1955-56 Fort Wayne Pistons (NBA)
1956-57 Fort Wayne Pistons (NBA)
1957-58 Detroit Pistons (NBA)


The 6'7 center and forward with a sweet hook shot was an All-American was Washington, scoring 1774 points in three years there, scoring 49 of them in one game against Idaho in his senior year. He lead the Huskies to the NCAA Final Four in 1953, and afterwards was drafted in the first round (third overall) by the Milwaukee Hawks in the 1953 NBA Draft. He was traded to the Baltimore Bullets barely a month into the 1953-54. When the Bullets dissolved in the early part of the next season, Houbregs was selected by the Celtics in the Bullets Dispersal draft.  He would go on to play 5 years in the NBA with four different franchises.

Done with playing basketball. he did not leave the sport. He would serve as the Seattle SuperSonics' general manager during their early years from 1969 to 1973. Houbregs would be elected to the Naismith Basketball Hall of Fame in 1987.



Rollen Hans

Rollen Franklin Hans, Jr.

April 13, 1931
Los Angeles, CA


1948-49 Polytechnic of Los Angeles (High School)
1949-50 Los Angeles CC (College)
1950-51 Los Angeles CC (College)
1950-51 Fibber McGee and Molly (AAU)
1951-52 Los Alamitos Navy (Military)
1952-53 Los Alamitos Navy (Military)
1953-54 Baltimore Bullets (NBA)
1954-55 Baltimore Bullets (NBA)

LIU ALL-Time Rister
"Rollie from Poly" graduated from high school and then went to Los Angeles Community College where he would star on the basketball court for a couple seasons, also playing AAU basketball with a team sponsored by the "Fibber McGee and Molly" show. He served in the U.S. Navy during the Korean War, playing on the powerful Los Alamitos team. He supposedly went to Long Island University, but I cannot find much evidence of him actually playing on the team, and the timeline between his naval service in California and his professional career with the Baltimore Bullets doesn't leave a window where he would have played at LIU. He DOES appear on the LIU All-Time roster, but they do not list his years on the team. I think what happened is he was to transfer to LIU after the 1950-51 school year but wound up going into the Navy instead. I could use some clarity here.

He played two seasons with the hapless Bullets, and when the team folded in the 1954-55, so ended his NBA career.

Rollen married Cathryn Dixon in 1968 and they had six children.



Monday, May 6, 2019

Norm Grekin

Norman Grekin

June 22, 1930
Philadelphia, PA

September 29, 1981
Philadelphia, PA

1947-48 West Philadelphia High School - Pennsylvania (High School)
1948-49 West Philadelphia High School - Pennsylvania (High School)
1949-50 La Salle University - Pennsylvania (College) Freshmen
1950-51 La Salle University - Pennsylvania (College)
1951-52 La Salle University - Pennsylvania (College)
1952-53 La Salle University - Pennsylvania (College)
1953-54 Philadelphia Warriors (NBA)

Norm Grekin grew up in Philadelphia, but never played basketball until he was approached by his junior high school coach who asked the over-six-foot-tall 14 year old to try out for the school team. With his height and natural athletic ability, he took to the game quickly. He would attend West Philly HS where he was named All-Public. He would play at La Salle, sharing MVP honors for the NIT with fellow Philadelphian Tom Gola.

Grekin was drafted by the Philadelphia Warriors in 1953 and played one minute for the Warriors on opening night in 1953, scoring no points. He was released a short time later. He would leave basketball behind, working in the insurance industry and becoming regional director for Pilot Life Insurance. He also operated Cuyuga 30 Restaurant in Wayne, Pennsylvania, with his brother-in-law. He died of a heart attack in 1981 at the age of 51.

Grekin had one son and one daughter.

Philadelphia Inquirer, October 1, 1981


Friday, May 3, 2019

Bato Govedarica

Bato Zdravko Govedarica

April 17, 1928
Chicago, IL

March 13, 2006
Hinsdale, IL

1943-44 Lane Technical High School - Chicago (High School)
1944-45 Lane Technical High School - Chicago (High School)
1945-46 Lane Technical High School - Chicago (High School)
1946-47 Lane Technical High School - Chicago (High School)
1948-49 DePaul University (College)
1949-50 DePaul University (College)
1950-51 DePaul University (College)
1953-54 Syracuse Nationals (NBA)

Bato averages 31.5 points per game over his entire basketball career at Lane Tech High School, catching the attention of coach Ray Meyer at DePaul University . Bato served in the army after graduating from DePaul, spending time overseas in the Korean War. After returning, he would play basketball with the Syracuse Nationals.

Bato married Dorothy Vujovich in 1954 and they had three children.



Jack George

John Edward "Jack" George

November 13, 1928
Swissvale, PA

January 30, 1989
Fort Myers, FL

1948-49 St. John's Military - Washington, DC (Prep)
1949-50 La Salle University (College) Freshmen
1950-51 La Salle University (College)
1953-54 Philadelphia Warriors (NBA)
1954-55 Philadelphia Warriors (NBA)
1955-56 Philadelphia Warriors (NBA)
1956-57 Philadelphia Warriors (NBA)
1957-58 Philadelphia Warriors (NBA)
1958-59 Philadelphia Warriors (NBA)
1958-59 New York Knicks (NBA)
1959-60 New York Knicks (NBA)
1959-61 New York Knicks (NBA)

Born to John and Jewel George, George played football, basketball and baseball as a youth, earning a scholarship offer to play football at Notre Dame. He decided to so to LaSalle where he played baseball and basketball. He played at La Salle for two years before joining the U.S. Army. After being discharged, he decided to forego his remaining years of collegiate elgibility and play basketball professionally.

George would play over five seasons with the Philadelphia Warriors, twice being named to the All-Star Game. A dependable ball handler, George average 10.7 points per game with Warriors before being traded to the New York Knicks on January 27, 1959, for Guy Sparrow. He played for the Knicks before retiring after the 1960-61 season.

In 1954, he played catcher for the Philadelphia Athletic's Class-B farm team in Lancaster in the Piedmont League.

After leaving the NBA, George moved to Illinois to work as a sales consultant. He would retire in 1986 and move from Winfield, Illinois, to Florida, where he died a few years later at the age of 60.

Minor League Baseball Stats:

Some places list his middle name as "Edwin" but his draft application and Social Security data lists  his middle name as "Edward."

Tyrone Daily Herald (Pennsylvania), October 13, 1953
News-Press (Fort Myers, FL), February 3, 1989


Jim Fritsche

James Alfred Fritsche

December 10, 1931
St. Paul, MN

February 28, 2019
St. Paul, MN

1946-47 Humboldt High School - St. Paul, MN (High School)
1947-48 Humboldt High School - St. Paul, MN (High School)
1948-49 Humboldt High School - St. Paul, MN (High School)
1949-50 Hamline University - Minnesota (College)
1950-51 Hamline University - Minnesota (College)
1951-52 Hamline University - Minnesota (College)
1952-53 Hamline University - Minnesota (College)
1953-54 Minneapolis Lakers (NBA)
1953-54 Baltimore Bullets (NBA)
1953-54 Fort Wayne Pistons (NBA)
1957-58 Central High School - St. Paul, MN (High School) Head coach

Fritsche was a basketball star out of Humboldt HS, and played four years at Hamline College. He was drafted in the first round by the Minneapolis Lakers, but only play in two games before sold to the Baltimore Bullets on November 11, 1953. The Bullets would trade him to Fort Wayne for Ken Murray on the eve of the 1954-55 season. He would play 16 games with the Pistons before being let go. He left basketball and got his Master's degree from Mankato State. He was a teacher and coach for many years at Central High School before retiring.

Jim married Pat in 1953 and they had a son and a daughter.

Obituary, Johnson Peterson Funeral Home, 2019
Hamline Athletics, March 2, 2019


Gene Dyker

Eugene Walter Dyker

February 17, 1930
Chicago, IL

January 25, 1966 (date approximated)
Chicago, IL

1947-48 St. Patrick High School - Chicago (High School)
1948-49 St. Patrick High School - Chicago (High School)
1949-50 De Paul University (College)
1950-51 De Paul University (College)
1951-52 De Paul University (College)
1952-53 Toledo Mercuries (Independent)
1952-53 Boston Whirlwinds (Independent)
1953-54 Milwaukee Hawks (NBA)
1953-54 Johnny Lattner All-Stars (Independent)

Dyker, a prep star at St. Patrick, went on to De Paul where quickly became an important part of the team. The 6'6 center was one of the top scorers on the team in 1951-52, but was ruled ineligible for his senior season in September of 1952. He tried out for the Milwaukee Hawks of the NBA in the fall of 1953, but did not make the team. However, in December of that year, he would sign with the club to take the place of Bob Peterson. He played in 11 games for the Hawks before being released at the end of the month, scoring 16 points in limited play. Dyker also played basketball for the Toledo Mercuries, who toured with the Harlem Globetrotters.

Gene Dyker died suddenly in 1966 at the age of 35.

Gene married Margaret Keane and they had three sons and two daughters.

Chicago Tribune, January 27, 1966


Thursday, May 2, 2019

Walt Davis

Walter Francis "Buddy" Davis

January 5, 1931
Beaumont, TX


1947-48 Nederland High School - Texas (High School)
1948-49 Texas A&M University (College) Freshmen
1949-50 Texas A&M University (College)
1950-51 Texas A&M University (College)
1951-52 Texas A&M University (College)
1953-54 Philadelphia Warriors (NBA)
1954-55 Philadelphia Warriors (NBA)
1955-56 Philadelphia Warriors (NBA)
1956-57 Philadelphia Warriors (NBA)
1957-58 Philadelphia Warriors (NBA)
1957-58 St Louis Hawks (NBA)

At the age of nine, Davis was stricken with polio and unable to walk for three years. He would eventually recover and become a star athlete at Nederland HS. Playing basketball and competing on the track and field team, he would get an athletic scholarship at Texas A&M, where he competed in both sports. After graduating in 1952, he would be selected by the Philadelphia Warriors in the 1952 NBA Draft, but before starting a basketball career, Davis would win a gold medal in the high jump in the 1952 Olympic Games in Helsinki, Finland. He decided against pursuing a basketball career, focusing on high jumping in the AAU with Ada Oil Company in Houston. Over the year with Ada, he desired to be the first athlete to achieve a 7-foot high jump. He managed to set the World Record in June of 1953 at 6 feet, 11 1/2 inches. Come September, he decided to enter the NBA with the Warriors without attaining that 7-foot jump he had chased.
Davis played 68 games for the Warriors in the 1953-54 season, the beginning of a five-year stretch in the NBA. A solid and physical player, Davis played with Warriors until being traded on January 19, 1958, to the St. Louis Hawks. He finished the season with the Hawks, and was resigned the summer, but in early October decided to retire just two games into the preseason exhibition games. He returned to Nederland to focus on his insurance business.



Bill Bolger

William J. Bolger

August 21, 1931
New York, NY

October 8, 2009
Glen Ellyn, IL

1948-49 Xavier High School - Manhattan (High School)
1950-51 Georgetown University (College)
1951-52 Georgetown University (College)
1952-53 Georgetown University (College)
1953-54 Baltimore Bullets (NBA)

After starring on the hardwood at Xavier High School in Manhattan, Bolger went to Georgetown where he would score 1084 points, the most by a Hoya at the point (and Bolger did it in three seasons). He would be drafted by the Milwaukee Hawks in the second round of the 1953 NBA draft but was waived in late October while in the Hawk's training camp. He was claimed by the Baltimore Bullets and would play sparingly before being farmed out to the Washington Generals on January 2, 1954. He would go on to work for many years for the Sears and Roebuck Corporation.

Bolger married Jane Grove and they had seven children.

Hoya Basketball


Monday, April 29, 2019

Irv Bemoras

Irving Bemoras

November 18, 1930
Chicago, IL

November 1, 2007
Buffalo Grove, IL

1947-48 John Marshall High School - Chicago (High School)
1948-49 John Marshall High School - Chicago (High School)
1950-51 University of Illinois (College)
1951-52 University of Illinois (College)
1952-53 University of Illinois (College)
1953-54 Milwaukee Hawks (NBA)
1956-57 St. Louis  Hawks (NBA)

Born to Turkish immigrants, Bemoras helped Marshall High School to the City Basketball championship in 1948. He went on to the University of Illinois, where his defensive prowess helped the Illini into two Big Ten titles and a Final Four appearance. After playing three years at Illinois, Bemoras was drafted by the Milwaukee Hawks in the third round of the 1953 NBA Draft. After playing one year with the Hawks, averaging 7.4 points per game in 69 games. He served in the U.S. Army from 1954 to 1956, and returned to the Hawks in 1956, although by this time the Hawks have moved to St. Louis. He left the game in 1957 and would run his own insurance company in the Chicago area.

Irving married Sally Lapedus in 1957 and they had two sons and a daughter.

Jews In Sports
Chicago Tribune, November 30, 2007


Thursday, April 25, 2019

In Memoriam: Andy O'Donnell

Andy O'Donnell, who played a season with the Baltimore Bullets in 1949-50, has died at the age of 94.


Andrew J. O'Donnell, 94, of Allentown, PA died April 22, 2019. He was the husband of the late Helen J. (Talarovich) O'Donnell. A decorated World War II Army veteran, Andrew enrolled at Loyola College, earning a basketball scholarship. He was a member of many campus organizations, among them Alpha Sigma Nu, the Jesuit National Honor Society. A 1950 graduate, he was inducted into the Hall of Fame at Loyola in 1994, for his achievements on the basketball court. The Baltimore Bullets of the NBA signed Andy after college, where he played before moving on to several Professional Eastern League teams.Survivors: Daughters, Patricia E. wife of Gene Nosovitch and Sheila E. O'Donnell wife of Dennis McCarthy all of Allentown, PA; grandchildren, Colleen, Brendan and Jack Nosovitch

Tuesday, April 9, 2019

Ted Cook, NBL player, corrected

Thanks to some stellar research by John Grasso, we have found that the Ted Cook who played in the NBL in the late 1940's is not the Ted Cook who also played in the NFL, but is Ted Walker Cook from Beckley, West Virginia.

The records here have been corrected (and even added a photo!)


Monday, April 8, 2019

Ernie Beck

Ernest Joseph Beck

December 11, 1931
Philadelphia, PA


1947-48 West Catholic High School - Philadelphia (High School)
1948-49 West Catholic High School - Philadelphia (High School)
1950-51 University of Pennsylvania (College)
1951-52 University of Pennsylvania (College)
1952-53 University of Pennsylvania (College)
1953-54 Philadelphia Warriors (NBA)
1955-56 Philadelphia Warriors (NBA)
1956-57 Philadelphia Warriors (NBA)
1957-58 Philadelphia Warriors (NBA)
1958-59 Philadelphia Warriors (NBA)
1959-60 Philadelphia Warriors (NBA)
1960-61 St Louis Hawks (NBA)
1960-61 Syracuse Nationals (NBA)
1961-62 Sunbury Mercuries (EPBL)
1962-63 Sunbury Mercuries (EPBL)
1963-64 Sunbury Mercuries (EPBL)  Head coach / player

Beck was one of many stars from Philadelphia in the 40's to make it to the NBA. Beck lead the city in scoring in his senior year at West Catholic before enrolling at Penn. He scored a school-record 1827 points at Penn, with 67e coming in his final year (still the school record for a single season.) He was a territorial draft pick by the Philadelphia Warriors and played 15 games in the NBA in 1953 before having to leave to serve in the U.S. Navy. After two years, he returned to the Warriors and rarely missed a game over the next five seasons.  He helped the Warriors to the NBA title in 1955-56.
Just prior to the 1960-61 season, Beck was traded with Woody Sauldsberry to the St. Louis Hawks for Ed Conlin. He appears in 7 games with the Hawks before being sold to Syracuse, and was let go shortly thereafter.

Out of the NBA, Beck would play a few seasons in the Eastern League with Sunbury. He would start a new career as a high school teacher and coach



In Memoriam: Myer "Whitey" Skoog


In an era when basketball was firmly rooted to the ground, Myer "Whitey" Skoog soared.

The son of Norwegian immigrants, Skoog began playing schoolyard basketball in Brainerd, Minn., where he perfected an odd-looking shot that had other players and coaches shaking their heads in dismay.

Because he jumped.

Skoog eventually took his jump shot to the University of Minnesota, where he earned All-America and All-Big Ten honors, and then to the Minneapolis Lakers, where he won two NBA titles.

Skoog, 92, died Thursday morning in St. Peter, Minn., where he took the job coaching men's basketball at Gustavus Adolphus College after a back injury forced him to retire from the Lakers at age 29.

His son, Dave Skoog, said his father broke a hip two weeks ago. Although surgery was successful, he never recuperated.

Though Skoog is best remembered for his basketball career, it doesn't define him, his son said.

"I guess what it boils down to is, basketball was not his life," Dave Skoog said. "The biggest thing for him was helping boys become men. Coaching and teaching.

"He came from very humble beginnings, and he remained a very humble person. Just the kind of guy you want to call 'Dad.'"

Skoog's parents weren't thrilled with their son's early athletic career, he said last month in an interview with the Star Tribune for a story about the Minneapolis Lakers.

"I came from a Norwegian family, and they didn't think much of paying somebody to play with a little round ball," Skoog said with a chuckle.

Bud Grant, the former Vikings coach, played basketball with Skoog at the U.

"I'll tell you what, he was a competitor," Grant said. "When I played with him at the university, he was our featured guy.

"He perfected the jump shot and a lot of our offense was, we'd come down the floor and set up screens so he could shoot that jump shot."

Befitting his Norwegian heritage, Skoog in his youth was an accomplished ski jumper, Dave Skoog said.

"He could have been an Olympic ski jumper," his son said. "But the Gophers and the Lakers frowned upon that."

He also excelled at baseball and tennis. He took up golf at age 40 and within a year was a scratch golfer, his son said.

That led to his adding golf to his Gustavus coaching duties. His teams won their conference title 17 times in his 22 years, and in 2014 he was inducted into the Golf Coaches Association of America Hall of Fame.

Skoog's shooting style quickly spread throughout the NBA as players abandoned the old two-handed set shot in favor of the jumper, helping make the NBA the high-flying game it is today.

Scholars of basketball have written books about the birth of the jump shot, and Skoog is always mentioned as one of the pioneers. A chapter was devoted to him in John Christgau's 1999 book, "The Origins of the Jump Shot: Eight Men Who Shook the World of Basketball."

According to that book, Skoog's first jumper came when he instinctively jumped to shoot over a taller opponent in a high school game between Brainerd and Bemidji. But in his recent interview, Skoog insisted that he first used the shot at Lowell Elementary School, calling it "the first jump shot documented."

Whatever its origins, it would forever be associated with him.

At the U, where a banner honoring Skoog's retired No. 41 hangs in the rafters at Williams Arena, athletic director Mark Coyle offered condolences.

"Whitey Skoog is one of the all-time Gopher greats, and his family is in our thoughts," Coyle said. "We are appreciative of his contributions to basketball in Minnesota and to the game as a whole, and saddened by his passing."

Skoog had a long and fruitful career after his playing days ended, becoming a revered figure on the Gustavus campus and in the town of St. Peter.

"When I think of Whitey, I think of class and poise," said Gustavus men's basketball coach Mark Hanson, who played for Skoog for two years and went on to break his former coach's win record. "He never told you that he was going to teach you something, he just led by doing and humbly modeled how to be a gentleman."

But Skoog never forgot the thrill of competition.

Asked in the interview weeks before his death whether playing in the early NBA was fun or more like a job, Skoog smiled.

"I'd like to have had that job the rest of my life," he said.

- John Reinan, Star Tribune -

Tuesday, April 2, 2019

Ernie Barrett

Ernie Drew Barrett

August 27, 1929
Pratt, KS


1945-46 Wellington High School - Kansas (High School)
1946-47 Wellington High School - Kansas (High School)
1947-48 Kansas State University (College)
1948-49 Kansas State University (College)
1949-50 Kansas State University (College)
1950-51 Kansas State University (College)
1953-54 Boston Celtics (NBA)
1954-55 Kansas State University (College) Assistant coach
1955-56 Boston Celtics (NBA)
1956-57 Kansas State University (College) Assistant coach
1957-58 Kansas State University (College) Assistant coach
1958-59 Kansas State University (College) Assistant coach
1959-60 Kansas State University (College) Assistant coach
1960-61 Kansas State University (College) Assistant coach

Barrett was born in the small town of Pratt, Kansas, but his family moved around a lot before he wound up in Wellington, Kansas. His basketball skills got him a scholarship at Kansas State University, where in his senior year he would be team captain and lead the Wildcats to the NCAA Championship game, falling to Adolph Rupp's Kentucky squad, 68-58.

Barrett was drafted by the Celtics in the first round of the 1951 draft, but he had to serve his country in the Korean War first. After his time in the army, he finally join the Celtics in fall of 1953. The guard saw action in 59 games, scoring 2.3 points per game. However, playing behind Hall of Famer Bill Sharman was too big an obstacle, and Barrett returned to KSU to work as an assistant coach.  The NBA adopted the shot clock after the 1954-55 season, and Celtics coach Red Auerbach sensed that the league style of play would change to the kind that would fit a sharp-shooter like Barrett, so he coaxed him away for K-State to return to the Celtics. Barrett played in all 72 games but wanted to return to coaching so he retired for good. Back at K-State, he would eventually wind up as the athletics director there

Mark McClure, The Mercury (Manhattan. KS), March 21, 2018
Celtic Nation Interviw, December 2018


Don Asmonga

Donald Andrew Asmonga

February 15, 1928
West Mifflin, PA

January 13, 2014
Jefferson Hills, PA

1945-46 Homestead High School - Pennsylvania (High School)
1946-47 Alliance College - Cambridge Springs, PA (College)
1947-48 Altoona Pitts (AABL)
1948-49 Altoona Railroaders (AABL)
1949-50 Altoona Flyers (AABL)
1953-54 Baltimore Bullets (NBA)
1965-66 Belle Vernon High School - Pennsylvania (High School) Head coach
1966-67 Belle Vernon High School - Pennsylvania (High School) Head coach
1967-68 Belle Vernon High School - Pennsylvania (High School) Head coach
1968-69 Belle Vernon High School - Pennsylvania (High School) Head coach
1969-70 Belle Vernon High School - Pennsylvania (High School) Head coach
1970-71 Belle Vernon High School - Pennsylvania (High School) Head coach
1971-72 Belle Vernon High School - Pennsylvania (High School) Head coach
1972-73 Belle Vernon High School - Pennsylvania (High School) Head coach
1973-74 Belle Vernon High School - Pennsylvania (High School) Head coach
1974-75 Belle Vernon High School - Pennsylvania (High School) Head coach
1975-76 Belle Vernon High School - Pennsylvania (High School) Head coach
1976-77 Belle Vernon High School - Pennsylvania (High School) Head coach 
1977-78 Belle Vernon High School - Pennsylvania (High School) Head coach
1978-79 Belle Vernon High School - Pennsylvania (High School) Head coach
1979-80 Belle Vernon High School - Pennsylvania (High School) Head coach
1980-81 Belle Vernon High School - Pennsylvania (High School) Head coach
1981-82 Belle Vernon High School - Pennsylvania (High School) Head coach
1982-83 Belle Vernon High School - Pennsylvania (High School) Head coach
1983-84 Belle Vernon High School - Pennsylvania (High School) Head coach
1984-85 Belle Vernon High School - Pennsylvania (High School) Head coach
1985-86 Belle Vernon High School - Pennsylvania (High School) Head coach
1986-87 Belle Vernon High School - Pennsylvania (High School) Head coach
1987-88 Belle Vernon High School - Pennsylvania (High School) Head coach

Out of Homestead, Pennsylvania, Asmongs played football, baseball and basketball at tiny Alliance College, a liberal arts school in Cambridge Springs, PA. In the summer of 1947, Asmonga signed with the Boston Red Sox and he was then declared ineligible to continue playing sports at Alliance. The righthander began his baseball days at Wellsville in the PONY league (Class D). Over the next few seasons, he would rise through the Red Sox farm system to the AAA level in 1951, but never made the parent club. The conference scoring champ on the hardwood back at Alliance, Asmonga had signed on to play with Altoona in the All-American Basketball League and played hoop in the off season. He eventually found his way to the Baltimore Bullets in December of 1953. He played in seven games, scoring 5 points, before being released.

He became a teacher as well as coaching the baseball and basketball teams at Belle Vernon HS, where he stayed as a coach until 1988 and taught until 1993. Don died in 2014.

Don married Bernice Staisey and they had two sons and four daughters.

Minor League Baseball Stats



Monday, April 1, 2019

1953-54 Syracuse Nationals (NBA)

Eastern Division
Finished: 42-30 .583, 2nd place

Advanced from Eastern Division Round Robin
Division Semifinals - Defeated Boston, 2-0
NBA Finals - Lost to Minneapolis, 4-3

Despite stepping back about 80 points in winning percentage, the second-pace Nationals, lead by Dolph Schayes, rolled through the round robin and then the Celtics to meet with the Lakers in the Finals. They took the Lakers to seven games, but lost the deciding game and failed to grab the club's first NBA championship. Schayes averaged 17.1 PPG and also pulled down 12.1 rebounds per game.
  • Head Coach: Al Cervi (February 12, 1917 - November 9, 2009)

  • Ed Earle (April 28, 1927 - March 26, 2009)

  • Billy Gabor (b. May 13, 1922)

  • Bato Govedarica (April 17, 1928 - March 13, 2006)

  • Billy Kenville (December 1, 1930 - June 19, 2018)

  • George King (August 16, 1928 - October 5, 2006)

  • Dick Knostman (b. August 9, 1931)

  • Bob Lavoy (June 29, 1926 - December 18, 2010)

  • Earl Lloyd (April 3, 1928 - February 26, 2015)

  • Al Masino (February 5, 1928 - August 16, 2006)

  • Jim Neal (May 21, 1930 - October 3, 2011)

  • Mike Novak (April 23, 1915 - August 15, 1978 )

  • Wally Osterkorn (July 6, 1928 - January 11, 2012)

  • Dolph Schayes (May 19, 1928 - December 10, 2015)

  • Paul Seymour (January 30, 1928 - May 5, 1998)

Friday, March 29, 2019

1953-54 Rochester Royals (NBA)

Western Division
Finished: 44-28 .611, 2nd place

Advanced in Western Division Round Robin
Division Semifinals - Lost to Minneapolis, 2-1

The Royals enjoyed their sixth-straight season with a winning percentage over .600. They battled tough with their divisional nemesis, Minneapolis, before losing in the finals, but with the Lakers winning the title again, a Western Division had won seven straight NBA title, including the Royals just a three years ago. This season would mark the end of the Royals prominence, however,. They would have a losing season the next three campaigns before the franchise moves to Cincinnati.
  • Head Coach: Les Harrison (August 20, 1904 - December 23, 1997) 

  • Cal Christensen (June 6, 1927 - August 31, 2011)

  • Jack Coleman (May 23, 1924 - December 8, 1997)

  • Bob Davies (January 15, 1920 - April 22, 1990)

  • Alex Hannum (July 19, 1923 - January 18, 2002)

  • Al Masino (February 5, 1928 - August 16, 2006)

  • Jack McMahon (December 3, 1928 - June 11, 1989)

Frank Reddout
  • Arnie Risen (October 9, 1924 - August 4, 2012)

  • Odie Spears (June 17, 1924 - March 28, 1985)

Norm Swanson

  • Bobby Wanzer (June 4, 1921 - January 23, 2016)