Glossed Over: Most Overlooked Achievements in College Hoops History
A question lingers in the aftermath of the singular national focus on Mike Krzyzewski's milestone 1,000th coaching victory at the NCAA Division I level: What are the most overlooked achievements in major-college basketball history?
Pete Carroll didn't have a vote in determining the following 20 super achievements warranting more memories and national headlines:
North Carolina's Norman Shepard became the only individual to win more than 20 games in an unbeaten season in his first year as a head coach (26-0 in 1923-24). Carolina's coaches the next two campaigns also won 20 games in one-year stints. Monk McDonald (1924-25) and Harlan Sanborn (1925-26) each was 20-5 overall with undefeated Southern Conference records.
Three different Rhode Island State players in a six-year span set the national single-season scoring average record (Chester "Chet" Jaworski, Stan Modzelewski and Ernie Calverley from 1938-39 through 1943-44).
Harold Anderson (248 victories) finished only one triumph behind Kentucky legend Adolph Rupp for most wins by a coach in the 1940s. Anderson guided Toledo and Bowling Green to their winningest seasons in history during that decade.
St. Louis, coached by Eddie Hickey, defeated a top-ranked Kentucky club three times in four years in non-conference competition from 1948-49 through 1951-52. No other school beat the Wildcats more than twice in an eight-season stretch from 1946-47 through 1954-55.
Indiana's Branch McCracken is the only All-American to post a higher winning percentage as a major-college coach (364-174 from 1938-39 through 1964-65, .677) than he did during his playing career (30-21 from 1927-28 through 1929-30, .588).
Harry Combes had 16 different All-Americans in his first 19 of 20 seasons as Illinois' mentor from 1947-48 through 1966-67. No other coach has amassed more than 13 All-Americans in his first 20 campaigns with a single school. A majority of Combes' honorees were among 22 different major-college All-Americans in fewer than 30 years to come from high schools in Illinois towns with populations smaller than 20,000.
A coach who might have wondered about all of the fuss over Pete Maravich was Tennessee's Ray Mears, whose "Chinese" defense restricted Pistol to a 23-point average in three SEC seasons. Every other league member allowed Maravich more than 42 ppg, including a high average of 52 ppg off mighty Kentucky. In 1967-68 at Tennessee, junior forward Ralph Jukkola became the only LSU teammate to outscore Maravich (22-17) in a regular-season game.
Dwight "Bo" Lamar scored more than 50 points (51 at Louisiana Tech and Lamar) in back-to-back Southland Conference games on the road in 1971-72 for Southwestern Louisiana in the Ragin Caguns' initial season at the NCAA Division I level. For the record, Pete Maravich also did it twice in SEC play away from home.
In 1971-72, the nation's top three scorers represented teams played their inaugural season at the major-college level - Southwestern Louisiana's Dwight "Bo" Lamar (36.3 ppg), Oral Roberts' Richie Fuqua (35.9) and Illinois State's Doug Collins (32.6). Lamar is the only player in NCAA history to lead the country in scoring at both the college and university divisions as USL became the only school ever to finish in the Top 10 of the Final DI rankings the year after finishing in the Top 10 of the final Division II poll.
Davidson, coached by Lefty Driesell, was the only school other than UCLA to have as many as three different NCAA consensus first- or second-team All-Americans the last half of the 1960s. Although Lefty never reached the Final Four, he might go down as the premier reconstructionist in modern college-basketball history. Driesell inherited a Davidson program that had 11 consecutive losing records from 1949-50 through 1959-60 with an average mark of 8-17. The Wildcats cracked the 20-win plateau in six of his last seven seasons with them from 1962-63 through 1968-69. Then, Lefty moved to a Maryland program that had six losing marks in the eight years prior to his arrival. He compiled an average mark of 20-9 in his 17 seasons with the Terrapins through 1985-86, including a five-year span from 1971-72 through 1975-76 when their average worksheet was 24-6.
Oregon State center Steve Johnson, who didn't play basketball until his senior year in high school, became the first player in NCAA history to make more than 70% of his field-goal attempts in two seasons. He paced the Pacific-10 Conference in field-goal accuracy all four campaigns with the Beavers from 1977-78 through 1980-81.
Bill Carmody became the first coach since the introduction of the NCAA Tournament to compile back-to-back undefeated conference records in his first two seasons (1996-97 and 1997-98 with Princeton in Ivy League).
In 1997-98, Missouri recovered from its most-lopsided loss in school history (111-56 at Kansas State) to defeat the Wildcats in their Big 12 Conference return engagement (89-59 at Mizzou in regular-season finale) for an incredible 85-point turnaround in margin.
Cliff Ellis became the first coach to compile more than 150 victories with each of four different DI schools. At the same time in his career, he held three undisputed school single-season standards with a minimum of 25 triumphs (South Alabama, Clemson and Auburn).