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 Edwards / Pitts / Railroaders (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 (May 13, 1922 - June 4, 2019)

  • 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)