Extra! Extra! As a new season commences, read all about memorable major league baseball achievements, moments and transactions involving former college basketball players! Numerous ex-college hoopsters had front-row seats to many of the most notable games and dates in MLB history.
Baseball is portrayed as a thinking man's game but only 4% of active MLB players earned college diplomas. Unless you habitually pore over the content at baseballlibrary.com, baseballreference.com and nationalpastime.com, following is an April 4 calendar focusing on such versatile MLB athletes:
LF "Sweet" Lou Johnson (Kentucky State teammate of legendary HBCU coach Davey Whitney averaged 5.7 ppg and 2 rpg in 1951-52) traded in 1969 by the Cleveland Indians to the California Angels.
OF-INF Chuck Hinton (played multiple sports for Shaw NC before serving two years in U.S. Army in mid-1950s) traded in 1969 by the California Angels to the Cleveland Indians.
Emphasizing a "one-and-only" theme for a "one-and-only" event, here is Day 21 of a treasure-trove of tantalizing NCAA Tournament trivia questions from CollegeHoopedia.com (10 per day from Selection Sunday through the championship game) tracking the only coach, conference, player or school to be linked to a distinguished or dubious achievement (click here for answers or conduct research digesting historical morsels in CollegeHoopedia.com's year-by-year highlights):
1. Who is the only player to post the highest-scoring game in a single tournament the same year he also played major league baseball? Hint: He is a member of the Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame.
2. Who is the only Final Four player to become AAU national champion in the decathlon in the same year? Hint: The Final Four team's third-leading scorer and second-leading rebounder finished third in the decathlon the previous year.
3. Who is the only Final Four player to finish among the top two high jumpers in four NCAA national track meets? Hint: The starting center for a national championship team is the first athlete to place in the NCAA high jump four consecutive years.
4. Name the only coach in NCAA history to reach an NCAA Division I Tournament regional final in back-to-back years with different schools. Hint: He also reached a regional final in his first season at his next coaching outpost.
5. Name the only top-ranked team entering the tournament to be eliminated by an opponent it defeated by more than 40 points during the regular season. Hint: The school that avenged the embarrassing defeat upended the nation's second-ranked team in its next playoff game.
6. Who is the only individual to play in the NCAA Tournament before setting several major league fielding records for a second baseman? Hint: He was the second-leading scorer for his school's playoff team and one of his teammates has been a prominent college basketball coach for more than 20 years.
7. Who is the only member of the College Football Hall of Fame to participate in back-to-back Final Fours? Hint: He is one of the few athletes to earn consensus football All-American honors at two positions.
8. Who is the only individual to lead a school in scoring in an NCAA Tournament before leading a major league in doubles as a player and manage a team in a World Series? Hint: The outfielder drove in six runs in one inning of an American League game.
9. Name the only university to win a minimum of two games in four different postseason national tournaments - NAIA, NCAA Division II, NIT and NCAA Division I. Hint: Of the schools to win at least one game in all four national tourneys, it is the only one with an overall losing record in postseason competition.
10. Name the only school to win back-to-back basketball championships the same academic school years it participated in New Year's Day football bowl games. Hint: One of the two basketball title teams is the only school to have as many as 26 different players appear in its games in a season it won an NCAA crown. The two titlists helped the school become the only university to reach the NCAA championship game in its first three playoff appearances.
Excluding specialty publications, there are five nationally-recognized Player of the Year awards. None of them, however, comes anywhere close to being the equivalent to college football's undisputed most prestigious honor, the Heisman Trophy. The basketball stalemate stems from essentially the same people voting on the major awards (writers or coaches or a combination) and the announcements coming one after another right around the Final Four when the playoff games dominate the sports page.
United Press International, which was a sixth venue for major awards through 1996, got all of this back slapping started in 1955. Four years later, the United States Basketball Writers Association, having chosen All-American teams in each of the two previous seasons, added a Player of the Year award to its postseason honors. In recent years, the USBWA award was sponsored by Mercedes and then RCA.
The third oldest of the awards comes from the most dominant wire service, the Associated Press. Perhaps because of its vast network of media outlets, the AP award gets more print and broadcast attention than the other honors. The AP award started in 1961 before affiliating in 1972 with the Commonwealth Athletic Club of Lexington, Ky., which was looking for a way to honor Hall of Fame Kentucky coach Adolph Rupp. The result of their merger is the Rupp Trophy.
The Atlanta Tipoff Club initially was associated with UPI before starting its own Naismith Award in 1969. Six years later, the National Association of Basketball Coaches initiated its award, which was sponsored from the outset by the Eastman Kodak Company. In 1977, the Los Angeles Athletic Club began honoring Hall of Fame UCLA coach John Wooden with the Wooden Award.
Duke has had eight different national player of the year winners, including seven of them in a 21-year span from 1986 through 2006. UCLA is runner-up with six individuals earning POY acclaim. Incredibly, perennial power Kentucky never had a representative win one of the six principal national player of the year awards until freshman Anthony Davis achieved the feat in 2012.
Wisconsin's Frank Kaminsky became the fourth Big Ten Conference player to capture national POY honors in the last six years. The Big East, Pac-10 and SEC combined to go 15 straight seasons from 1996-97 through 2010-11 without a national POY. Following is a look at the seven conferences with at least three different individuals capturing one of the six principal national player of the year awards since UPI's initial winner in 1955:
ACC (16) - Shane Battier (Duke), Elton Brand (Duke), Johnny Dawkins (Duke), Tim Duncan (Wake Forest), Danny Ferry (Duke), Phil Ford (North Carolina), Tyler Hansbrough (North Carolina), Art Heyman (Duke), Antawn Jamison (North Carolina), Michael Jordan (North Carolina), Christian Laettner (Duke), J.J. Redick (Duke), Ralph Sampson (Virginia), Joe Smith (Maryland), David Thompson (North Carolina State), Jason Williams (Duke).
Big Ten (13) - Gary Bradds (Ohio State), Trey Burke (Michigan State), Dee Brown (Illinois), Calbert Cheaney (Indiana), Draymond Green (Michigan State), Jim Jackson (Ohio State), Frank Kaminsky (Wisconsin), Jerry Lucas (Ohio State), Scott May (Indiana), Shawn Respert (Michigan State), Glenn Robinson Jr. (Purdue), Cazzie Russell (Michigan), Evan Turner (Ohio State).
Dave Leitao and Ritchie McKay, rehired by DePaul and Liberty, respectively, boast opportunities to achieve something rare in the major-college coaching community. Ronnie Arrow (South Alabama) and Jim McCafferty (Loyola LA) are the only two of the previous 36 mentors in this "Comeback Club" category over the last 60 years to compile a higher winning percentage the second time around.
Lou Carnesecca (St. John's) and Lake Kelly (Austin Peay State) are the only coaches to win NCAA playoff games in two different stints with the same school. Following is an alphabetical list of coaches who returned to their former major-college stomping grounds if their tenures weren't interrupted solely because of World War II:
|Two-Time Coach||DI College||First Stint||W-L||Pct.||Second Stint||W-L||Pct.|
|Ronnie Arrow||South Alabama||1988-95||114-93||.551||2008-13||97-68||.588|
|Lou Carnesecca||St. John's||1966-70||104-35||.748||1974-92||422-165||.719|
|Kermit Davis||Idaho||1989 and 1990||50-12||.806||1997||13-17||.433|
|Mike Dement||UNC Greensboro||1992-95||55-56||.495||2006-12||69-125||.356|
|Marshall Emery||Delaware State||1977-79||30-50||.375||1986-88||18-66||.214|
|Blair Gullion||Washington (Mo.)||1948-52||65-41||.613||1954-59||69-61||.531|
|Lou Henson||New Mexico State||1967-75||173-71||.709||1998-2005||136-105||.564|
|Ben Jobe||Southern (La.)||1987-96||191-100||.656||2002 and 2003||16-40||.286|
|Phil Johnson||San Jose State||1999||12-16||.429||2003-05||19-67||.221|
|Donald Kellett||Penn||1944 and 1945||22-9||.710||1947 and 1948||24-22||.522|
|Lake Kelly||Austin Peay State||1972-77||110-52||.679||1986-90||79-70||.530|
|Joe Lapchick||St. John's||1937-47||181-54||.770||1957-65||154-75||.672|
|Dave Leitao||DePaul||2003-05||58-34||.630||since 2016||TBD||TBD|
|Abe Lemons||Oklahoma City||1956-73||309-181||.631||1984-90||123-84||.594|
|Jim McCafferty||Loyola (La.)||1950||9-15||.375||1955-57||38-36||.514|
|Dave McDowell||Kent State||1949-51||56-20||.737||1956 and 1957||15-29||.341|
|Ritchie McKay||Liberty||2008 and 2009||39-28||.582||since 2016||TBD||TBD|
|Robert Moreland||Texas Southern||1976-2001||399-352||.531||2008||7-25||.219|
|Buzz Peterson||Appalachian State||1997-2000||79-39||.669||2010||24-13||.649|
|Bill Reinhart||George Washington||1936-42||100-38||.725||1950-66||216-201||.518|
|Elmer Ripley||Georgetown||1928 and 1929||24-6||.800||1939-43||68-39||.636|
|John "Honey" Russell||Seton Hall||1937-43||101-32||.759||1950-60||194-97||.647|
|Ken Trickey||Oral Roberts||1970-74||118-23||.837||1988-93||96-93||.508|
|Butch van Breda Kolff||Lafayette||1952-55||68-34||.667||1985-88||64-51||.557|
|Butch van Breda Kolff||Hofstra||1956-62||112-43||.723||1989-94||79-81||.494|
|Davey Whitney||Alcorn State||1971-89||395-199||.665||1997-2003||115-93||.553|
NOTES: VBK also had two stints at Hofstra, but Hofstra wasn't at the major-college level his first stint there. . . . OCU de-emphasized its program to the NAIA level after Lemons returned. . . . ORU wasn't always at the Division I level for either of Trickey's stints.
Close likely will determine who gets to smoke the victory cigar. All four Final Four participants won a regional final or semifinal by fewer than eight points. Wisconsin's Bo Ryan has one of the five best marks among active coaches in tight tilts decided by fewer than six points.
Ask Arizona fans if close doesn't count after the Wildcats lost five regional finals from 2003 through 2015 by a total of 14 points. Following is how the 2015 Final Four coaches have fared at the major-college level in games decided by fewer than six points:
|Final Four Coach||School||DI Seasons||1||2||3||4||5||Total||Pct.|
|Tom Izzo||Michigan State||1996-2015||7-10||17-23||25-13||18-13||24-16||91-75||.548|
Should I stay or should I go? It's a good thing some universities play in mammoth arenas because the egos of their "Pompous Pilots" wouldn't fit any other place. Much of the excess in the canonization of coaches is perpetrated by coaches-turned-television commentators who shamelessly fawn over their former colleagues. The analysts should be more concerned about encouraging coaches to spare fans the pious blather about the sanctity of a contract or agreement. Granted, it's survival of the fittest amid the offer-you-can't-refuse backdrop. But in a great many cases, schools have been little more than convenient steppingstones for "larger-than-life" coaches along their one-way street to success. It's understandable in many instances that mercenaries are leaving the minute they're appointed because coaches are in a distasteful "hired-to-be-fired" vocation, where a pink slip is only one losing season or poor recruiting year away.
Nevertheless, loyalty has become too much of a one-way street with the latest example being Shaka Smart departing for Texas' guaranteed six-year deal (option for seventh) despite having eight seasons remaining on his contract with Virginia Commonwealth. Meanwhile, players considering their options occasionally are grilled by coaches and commentators for contemplating transfers or leaving early for the NBA. There are countless examples of schools holding a player's eligibility hostage out of sheer vindictiveness. How much more one-sided can it be when such a lame double standard exists?
After all, the value systems for high-profile coaches are sufficiently open-minded to permit running out on contracts when more lucrative jobs come open. Contracts are understood to be for the protection of the coach, not the team, whose players are somehow indentured to the schools for as many as four years of eligibility unless of course a coach chooses not to renew their scholarships. Perhaps that's why many believe incoming recruits should be allowed out of their letter-of-intent to seek another destination if the coach they signed with departs before they even get to campus.
Maybe it shouldn't be that way, but that's most definitely the way it is as contracts don't appear to mean squat to a striking number of meandering mentors who abandon ship like so many rats at high tide. Lon Kruger departed three different schools with at least four years remaining on pacts before leaving UNLV with two seasons left.
Many "leveraged" coaches have been preoccupied of late with attempting to virtually extort raises and extensions on already hefty packages. But in recent years, administrations at Boston College, Kent State, Marist, Miami (Fla.), St. John's and Wyoming seemed to be guinea pigs of sorts by fighting back via adherence to buyout clauses in trying to regain control of the situation in this big business atmosphere.
In mid-July 2010, a New York State Supreme Court Justice made a possible precedent-setting ruling in favor of Marist, which contended that coach Matt Brady's contract required him to secure written consent before negotiating with another school and forbade him from offering "a scholarship to current Marist players or to persons that he or his staff recruited to play at Marist" if he ever took a comparable job.
Brady clearly negotiated with James Madison in 2008 without "written" consent and Marist compiled a list of 19 prospects Brady recruited on behalf of Marist that it believed he should have been unable to recruit to JMU per the details of his contract. Four players on that "off-limits" list - Trevon Flores, Devon Moore, Andrey Semenov and Julius Wells - ultimately signed with JMU.
The judge ruled in favor of Marist's claims that Brady had an enforceable contract when he discussed leaving Marist with JMU, that JMU knew of the contract's existence, that JMU intentionally induced Brady to violate his fiduciary obligations under the contract, and that Marist incurred damages as a result of the breach of those obligations. Marist also filed a separate civil suit against Brady. In mid-May 2011, Kent State sued Geno Ford for more than $1.2 million in damages stemming from his departure for Bradley, where Ford has already been cast adrift.
Six of Tulsa's previous eight coaches - Nolan Richardson, Tubby Smith, Steve Robinson, Bill Self, Buzz Peterson and Danny Manning - left the school for more prestigious positions despite each of them having at least three years remaining on their contracts before Frank Haith downgraded by departing Missouri for Tulsa with three years remaining on his Mizzou pact. Half of the Golden Hurricane defectors went on to capture NCAA championships. Tulsa is one of three universities from which Self has bailed. He signed a five-year extension with Illinois in December, 2002, that included a bump in salary to $900,000 and payout of $500,000 if he stayed the life of the contract. There also was a buyout of $100,000 per year remaining on the pact.
Lengthy agreements with guarantees can restrict an institution's options. Oklahoma State probably would be seeking a new coach during the Final Four except the Cowboys are shackled by obligations stemming from the remaining four years of a 10-year extension signed by Travis Ford, who previously departed Massachusetts with seven seasons left on his contract to align with OSU.
Deal or no deal? The length of contracts doesn't seem to carry any weight as a factor in the equation. Smart said it was a "no-brainer" hooking up with the Horns and that statement is true if your brain cells or ethical standards don't put any stock into length of an existing pact. Following is an alphabetical list detailing coaches such as Smart who reportedly still had contractual obligations to schools of more than five seasons when they left for greener pastures at some point in their careers:
- Steve Alford (10 years remaining on contract) - left New Mexico/hired by UCLA
- Rick Barnes (6) - Clemson/Texas
- John Beilein (6) - Richmond/West Virginia
- Tony Bennett (6) - Washington State/Virginia
- Dave Bliss (6) - New Mexico/Baylor
- Mike Brey (7) - Delaware/Notre Dame
- John Calipari (10) - Massachusetts/New Jersey Nets
- Jeff Capel III (6) - Virginia Commonwealth/Oklahoma
- Tom Crean (9) - Marquette/Indiana
- Matt Doherty (6) - Florida Atlantic/Southern Methodist
- Larry Eustachy (6) - Utah State/Iowa State
- Dennis Felton (6) - Western Kentucky/Georgia
- Tim Floyd (6) - New Orleans/Iowa State
- Tim Floyd (8) - Iowa State/Chicago Bulls
- Travis Ford (7) - Massachusetts/Oklahoma State
- Billy Gillispie (8) - Texas A&M/Kentucky
- Brian Gregory (7) - Dayton/Georgia Tech
- Leonard Hamilton (7) - Miami (Fla.)/Washington Wizards
- Ben Howland (6) - Pittsburgh/UCLA
- Jeff Lebo (8) - Chattanooga/Auburn
- Gregg Marshall (8) - Winthrop/Wichita State
- Thad Matta (9) - Xavier/Ohio State
- Fran McCaffery (7) - Siena/Iowa
- Sean Miller (9) - Xavier/Arizona
- Dan Monson (10) - Gonzaga/Minnesota
- Lute Olson (7) - Iowa/Arizona
- Buzz Peterson (9) - Appalachian State/Tulsa
- Skip Prosser (6) - Xavier/Wake Forest
- Oliver Purnell (6) - Clemson/DePaul
- Mike Rice Jr. (7) - Robert Morris/Rutgers
- Steve Robinson (7) - Tulsa/Florida State
- Kelvin Sampson (6) - Washington State/Oklahoma
- Shaka Smart (8) - Virginia Commonwealth/Texas
- Tubby Smith (6) - Georgia/Kentucky
- Mark Turgeon (9) - Wichita State/Texas A&M
Extra! Extra! With a new season on the horizon, read all about memorable major league baseball achievements, moments and transactions involving former college basketball players! Numerous ex-college hoopsters had front-row seats to many of the most notable games and dates in MLB history. Baseball is portrayed as a thinking man's game but only 4% of active MLB players earned college diplomas. Unless you habitually pore over the content at baseballlibrary.com, baseballreference.com and nationalpastime.com, following is an April 3 calendar focusing on such versatile MLB athletes:
1B Donn Clendenon (played basketball for Morehouse GA) ended his retirement and reported to the Montreal Expos in 1969.
1B Bill White (played two years with Hiram OH in early 1950s) traded by the Philadelphia Phillies to the St. Louis Cardinals in 1969.
Ritchie McKay had the freedom to return to the school (Liberty) where he joined a dubious list of coaches winless in the NCAA Division I Tournament despite directing at least four different major universities.
Last year, a question surfaced regarding whether Tulsa struck gold or buried the golden egg when the Golden Hurricane lured coach Frank Haith away from Missouri. After all, Haith posted only one NCAA Tournament victory - with Miami (Fla.) in 2008 - in his first 10 years as a head coach. But if things don't work out with Tulsa, at least he has enough credentials to join ESPN as an expert insofar as Fran Fraschilla, Dino Gaudio, Seth Greenberg and Dick Vitale each have a lone NCAA playoff triumph in a collective 45 years of DI head coaching.
ESPN analysts Dan Dakich, Craig Robinson and Tim Welsh never posted an NCAA Tournament win but they're nowhere close to being 0-6 like Oliver Purnell. If Haith fails with the Golden Hurricane before abandoning ship again for another school, he can rest easy he'll never be on the following list of coaches such as McKay and Lamar mentor Tic Price who are winless in NCAA tourney competition despite being bench boss of at least four major colleges:
Emphasizing a "one-and-only" theme for a "one-and-only" event, here is Day 20 of a treasure-trove of tantalizing NCAA Tournament trivia questions from CollegeHoopedia.com (10 per day from Selection Sunday through the championship game) tracking the only coach, conference, player or school to be linked to a distinguished or dubious achievement (click here for answers or conduct research digesting historical morsels in CollegeHoopedia.com's year-by-year highlights):
1. Who is the only athlete to rank among the top five in scoring average in an NCAA Tournament and later start for an NFL champion? Hint: He was a five-time Pro Bowl selection who played in back-to-back Super Bowls. His brother was the first black player for the major leagues' last integrated team.
2. Who is the only player to lead an NCAA championship game in scoring while playing for his father? Hint: The son has the lowest game-high point total in NCAA final history.
4. Who is the only active coach to have played in the NCAA Tournament and College World Series in the same year? Hint: He served as captain on the baseball and basketball teams as a college senior. After graduation, he played minor league baseball before becoming an outstanding fast-pitch softball player who was named to a couple of national All-Star teams.
5. Name the only school to have a single coach guide the same group of players to victories in the NAIA Tournament, NIT and NCAA Tournament. Hint: It's the only school in the last 60 years to enter the NIT with an undefeated record. One of the five regulars from the three national postseason tournament winners was one of the NBA's premier rebounders before becoming an assistant coach in the league and head coach of his alma mater.
6. Who is the only coach to guide teams to the championship game in both the Division I and Division II Tournaments? Hint: He is the only coach to have a career NCAA Division I Tournament record as many as eight games below the .500 mark, only title team coach to compile a non-winning career playoff mark and only coach to lose three consecutive regional final games.
7. Who is the only player to score more than 60% of his team's points in an NCAA Tournament game and be on the losing end of the score? Hint: It was a first-round contest and the individual was national player of the year.
8. Who is the only player to score more than two-thirds of his team's points in an NCAA Tournament game? Hint: He scored more than 50% of his squad's points over three playoff outings.
9. Name the only school to win a small college national postseason tournament before capturing at least one NCAA Division I title. Hint: The school opposed the same coach in the championship game of the small college tournament and the NCAA Final Four. The school also supplied the only team to win an NCAA crown after setting or tying an existing school record for most defeats the previous season.
10. Who is the only individual to participate in the Final Four before playing and coaching in the NFL at least five seasons apiece? Hint: He was a member of an NFL team that moved to another city the year after capturing the league title.
If history means anything, a National Invitation Tournament crown won't serve as a springboard to NCAA playoff success for Stanford. The Cardinal already learned that fact after winning the 2012 title. Defending NIT champions combined for a 12-17 NCAA Tournament record from 1986 through 2015.
The NIT titlists from 1985 through 2004 combined for a losing national postseason tournament record (15-17) the year after capturing an NIT championship - NCAA (8-13) and NIT (7-4) - with three of them not reaching national postseason play. Three more NIT champions in the last nine years - South Carolina '06 and Penn State '09 and Minnesota '14 - also failed to appear in national postseason competition the next season. West Virginia '08, Ohio State '09 and Wichita State '12 combined for a 2-3 NCAA playoff mark the years after winning an NIT title.
Only three schools in the last 31 years reached an NCAA regional semifinal the year after capturing an NIT title - (Virginia '93, West Virginia '08) and Baylor '14. Virginia is the last ACC member to post a winning league mark the year after securing an NIT crown. Following is a breakdown of how the NIT champions fared the next season since the NCAA Tournament expanded to 64 teams in 1985:
Year NIT Champion Season Summary the Following Campaign 1985 UCLA 15-14 record in 1985-86; 9-9 in Pacific-10 (4th place); no postseason 1986 Ohio State 20-13 in 1986-87; 9-9 in Big Ten (6th); lost in NCAA 2nd round 1987 Southern Mississippi 19-11 in 1987-88; 5-7 in Metro (7th); lost in NIT 2nd round 1988 Connecticut 18-13 in 1988-89; 6-10 in Big East (T7th); lost in NIT 3rd round 1989 St. John's 24-10 in 1989-90; 10-6 in Big East (4th); lost in NCAA 2nd round 1990 Vanderbilt 17-13 in 1990-91; 11-7 in SEC (4th); lost in NCAA 1st round 1991 Stanford 18-11 in 1991-92; 10-8 in Pacific-10 (4th); lost in NCAA 1st round 1992 Virginia 21-10 in 1992-93; 9-7 in ACC (5th); lost in NCAA regional semifinal 1993 Minnesota 21-12 in 1993-94; 10-8 in Big Ten (T4th); lost in NCAA 2nd round 1994 Villanova 25-8 in 1994-95; 14-4 in Big East (2nd); lost in NCAA 1st round 1995 Virginia Tech 23-6 in 1995-96; 13-3 in Atlantic 10 (T1st/W); lost in NCAA 2nd round 1996 Nebraska 19-14 in 1996-97; 7-9 in Big 12 (4th/N); lost in NIT 3rd round 1997 Michigan 25-9 in 1997-98; 11-5 in Big Ten (4th); lost in NCAA 2nd round 1998 Minnesota 17-11 in 1998-99; 8-8 in Big Ten (6th); lost in NCAA 1st round 1999 California 18-15 in 1999-00; 7-11 in Pacific-10 (7th); lost in NIT 3rd round 2000 Wake Forest 19-11 in 2000-01; 8-8 in ACC (T5th); lost in NCAA 1st round 2001 Tulsa 27-7 in 2001-02; 15-3 in WAC (T1st); lost in NCAA 2nd round 2002 Memphis 23-7 in 2002-03; 13-3 in C-USA (1st/National); lost in NCAA 1st round 2003 St. John's 6-21 in 2003-04; 1-15 in Big East (14th); no postseason 2004 Michigan 13-18 in 2004-05; 4-12 in Big Ten (9th); no postseason 2005 South Carolina 23-15 in 2005-06; 6-10 in SEC (5th/East); won NIT championship 2006 South Carolina 14-16 in 2006-07; 4-12 in SEC (6th/Eastern); no postseason 2007 West Virginia 26-11 in 2007-08; 11-7 in Big East (T5th); lost in NCAA regional semifinals 2008 Ohio State 22-11 in 2008-09; 10-8 in Big Ten (T4th); lost in NCAA 1st round 2009 Penn State 11-20 in 2009-10; 3-15 in Big Ten (11th); no postseason 2010 Dayton 22-14 in 2010-11; 7-9 in Atlantic 10 (T8th); lost in NIT 1st round 2011 Wichita State 27-6 in 2011-12; 16-2 in Missouri Valley (1st); lost in NCAA 1st round 2012 Stanford 19-15 in 2012-13; 9-9 in Pac-12 (T6th); lost in NIT 2nd round 2013 Baylor 26-12 in 2013-14; 9-9 in Big 12 (T6th); lost in NCAA regional semifinals 2014 Minnesota 18-15; 6-12 in Big Ten (T10th); no postseason 2015 Stanford To be determined in 2015-16
In a caste-like era separating haves from have-nots, imperial universities are seeking mega-conferences and, perhaps in the not-too-distant future, a restrictive upper division. But the socially elite won't ever be able to exclude small schools from making a big impact on the NCAA playoffs. Three of the coaches directing teams to this year's Final Four graduated from a non-Division I institution. Kentucky's John Calipari (Clarion State PA) will oppose Wisconsin's Bo Ryan (Wilkes PA) for the second straight season in the national semifinals.
Smaller colleges, many of them in the hinterlands, have supplied a striking number of the biggest names in coaching. From 1995 through 2000, five of the six NCAA Tournament championship coaches (Jim Calhoun, Jim Harrick, Tom Izzo, Lute Olson and Tubby Smith) graduated from obscure colleges with smaller enrollments. In fact, it is a rarity for a Final Four not to feature at least one coach such as Izzo who graduated from a non-DI school.
Calipari guided Kentucky to the 2012 national championship before Michigan's John Beilein (Wheeling Jesuit NY) and Wichita State's Gregg Marshall (Randolph-Macon VA) directed teams to the Final Four two years ago. Following is an alphabetical list of mentors who worked their way up the ladder to an NCAA DI title after graduating from a small school:
NCAA Championship Coach DI School Title Year(s) Small-College Alma Mater Jim Calhoun Connecticut 1999, 2004 and 2011 American International (Mass.) '67 John Calipari Kentucky 2012 Clarion (Pa.) State '82 Steve Fisher Michigan 1988 Illinois State '67 Joe B. Hall Kentucky 1978 Sewanee (Tenn.) '51 Jim Harrick UCLA 1995 Charleston (W. Va.) '60 Nat Holman CCNY 1950 Savage School of Physical Education (N.Y.) '17 Henry "Hank" Iba Oklahoma A&M 1945 and 1946 Westminster (Mo.) '28 Tom Izzo Michigan State 2000 Northern Michigan '77 Rollie Massimino Villanova 1985 Vermont '56 Robert "Lute" Olson Arizona 1997 Augsburg (Minn.) '57 Everett Shelton Wyoming 1943 Phillips (Okla.) '23 Orlando "Tubby" Smith Kentucky 1998 High Point (N.C.) '73 Jerry Tarkanian UNLV 1990 Fresno State (Calif.) '56
Extra! Extra! As a new season is on the horizon, read all about memorable major league baseball achievements, moments and transactions involving former college basketball players! Numerous ex-college hoopsters had front-row seats to many of the most notable games and dates in MLB history.
Baseball is portrayed as a thinking man's game but only four percent of active MLB players earned college diplomas. Unless you habitually pore over the content at baseballlibrary.com, baseballreference.com and nationalpastime.com, following is an April 2 calendar focusing on such versatile MLB athletes:
In 2001, San Diego Padres RF Tony Gwynn (All-WAC basketball second-team selection with San Diego State in 1979-80 and 1980-81) became the fifth player in N.L. history to spend 20-plus years playing his entire career with one franchise.
New York Mets manager Gil Hodges (played for Oakland City IN in 1947 and 1948), two days shy of his 48th birthday, suffered a fatal heart attack in 1972 after playing a round of golf in West Palm Beach with his coaches on Easter Sunday.
RHP Bobby Humphreys (four-year letterman for Hampden-Sydney VA in mid-1950s) traded by the Chicago Cubs to the Washington Senators in 1966.
LF David Justice (led Thomas More KY in assists in 1984-85), debuting with the Cleveland Indians, whacked a tie-breaking two-run homer in the seventh inning in a 9-7 decision over the Oakland A's in 1997.
Emphasizing a "one-and-only" theme for a "one-and-only" event, here is Day 19 of a treasure-trove of tantalizing NCAA Tournament trivia questions from CollegeHoopedia.com (10 per day from Selection Sunday through the championship game) tracking the only coach, conference, player or school to be linked to a distinguished or dubious achievement (click here for answers or conduct research digesting historical morsels in CollegeHoopedia.com's year-by-year highlights):
1. Name the only Final Four team to have a trio all average more than 20 points per game in the same season. Hint: The school won its conference tournament that year although none of the threesome shot better than 50% from the floor over the three games.
2. Name the only duo to twice reach the Final Four and both players average more than 20 points per game each season. Hint: Their team lost each year at the Final Four by the same score. One of the pair is the only player to score more than 25 points in Final Four defeats in back-to-back years.
3. Who is the only one of UCLA's eight first-team All-Americans from 1964 through 1975 to fail to earn a spot on an All-NCAA Tournament team when the Bruins won 10 national titles? Hint: He averaged more than 15 points per game in two of his three varsity seasons and went on to coach the Bruins' crosstown rival to a regional final.
4. Who is the only NCAA baseball championship coach to direct a basketball team from the same school to the Final Four? Hint: He is the school's all-time winningest basketball coach.
5. Who is the only championship team senior to average seven points per game or less entering the national semifinals before seizing the moment and averaging double digits in scoring in his last two games with an increase of at least six points per game from his pre-Final Four scoring mark? Hint: He was the seventh-leading scorer for the season on a team with just two seniors among its top eight point producers.
6. Who is the only player to score more than half of a championship team's points in a single NCAA Tournament? Hint: He was the team's only player to compile a double-digit season scoring average and no teammate scored more than seven points in either of the two Final Four games.
7. Name the only school to lose three national championship games in a city where it enjoyed a distinct homecourt advantage. Hint: The school lost two of the three title games by one point before capturing the title there in a season it became the only NCAA champion to lose four consecutive conference contests.
8. Name the only team to fail to have at least one player score in double figures in the championship game. Hint: It was the school's only NCAA Tournament appearance until the university started appearing regularly in the tourney since 1975.
9. Name the only Division II school to have three of its former head coaches go on to direct major-college teams to the NCAA Division I Tournament championship game. Hint: None of the three coaches compiled a losing record in any of the total of 11 seasons they coached at the small school, which won the Division II Tournament in 1984 and captured the first two NAIA Tournament titles.
10. Who is the only one of the individuals named NBA Most Valuable Player, score more than 20,000 pro points or be selected to at least five All-NBA teams after participating in more than six NCAA Division I Tournament games and not compile a winning tourney record? Hint: He left college with eligibility remaining, but was involved in two NCAA playoff defeats when the tournament conducted regional third-place games.
Tennessee-bound Rick Barnes, headed for his fifth Division I school as head coach, is the first individual to pilot four different power-league members. He previously was bench boss at George Mason (CAA), Providence (Big East) and Clemson (ACC) before becoming the all-time winningest mentor for Texas (Big 12). If Barnes directs the Volunteers to SEC success and their first Final Four appearance, he likely will finally earn his first national coach-of-the-year award.
Barnes will need to make another pit stop or two to join the following list of seven meandering mentors who guided teams in at least six different DI conferences (six of them included the C-USA):
|Coach (# of DI Leagues)||Different Division I Conferences|
|Tim Floyd (7)||Big Sky, American South, Sun Belt, Big Eight, Big 12, Pacific-10 and C-USA|
|Gene Bartow (6)||Missouri Valley, Big Ten, Pacific-10, Sun Belt, Great Midwest and C-USA|
|Mike Deane (6)||North Atlantic, Metro Atlantic Athletic, Great Midwest, C-USA, Southland and Northeast|
|Bob Huggins (6)||Ohio Valley, Metro, Great Midwest, C-USA, Big 12 and Big East|
|Pat Kennedy (6)||Metro Atlantic Athletic, Metro, ACC, C-USA, Big Sky and CAA|
|Tom Penders (6)||Ivy League, Metro Atlantic Athletic, Atlantic 10, SWC, Big 12 and C-USA|
|Oliver Purnell (6)||Big South, CAA, Great Midwest, Atlantic 10, ACC and Big East|
Extra! Extra! As a new season is on the horizon, read all about memorable major league baseball achievements, moments and transactions involving former college basketball players! Numerous ex-college hoopsters had front-row seats to many of the most notable games and dates in MLB history.
Baseball is portrayed as a thinking man's game but only four percent of active MLB players earned college diplomas. Unless you habitually pore over the content at baseballlibrary.com, baseballreference.com and nationalpastime.com, following is an April 1 calendar of events focusing on such versatile MLB athletes:
OF Larry Doby (reserve guard for Virginia Union's 1943 CIAA basketball titlist) traded by the Baltimore Orioles to the Cleveland Indians in 1958.
LF "Sweet" Lou Johnson (Kentucky State teammate of legendary HBCU coach Davey Whitney averaged 5.7 ppg and 2 rpg in 1951-52) traded by the Chicago Cubs to the Los Angeles Angels in 1961.
INF Paul Popovich (averaged 3.3 ppg for West Virginia's 1960 NCAA playoff team) traded by the Chicago Cubs to the Pittsburgh Pirates for RHP Tom Dettore (averaged 14.1 ppg and 9 rpg for Juniata PA in 1965-66) and cash in 1974.
Emphasizing a "one-and-only" theme for a "one-and-only" event, here is Day 18 of a treasure-trove of tantalizing NCAA Tournament trivia questions from CollegeHoopedia.com (10 per day from Selection Sunday through the championship game) tracking the only coach, conference, player or school to be linked to a distinguished or dubious achievement (click here for answers or conduct research digesting historical morsels in CollegeHoopedia.com's year-by-year highlights):
1. Who is the only major-college coach to finish his career with more than 500 victories and never participate in the NCAA playoffs? Hint: The coach spent his entire four-year school coaching career at one institution and had nine consecutive winning seasons at the Division I level from 1972-73 through 1980-81.
2. Who is the only player to average more than 26 points per game for an undefeated NCAA champion before averaging less than five points per game in his NBA career? Hint: He averaged the same number of points in the NCAA Tournament as he did for the entire season.
3. Who is the only coach to win three national third-place games? Hint: No coach accumulated as many different All-Americans as he did (16) in his first 20 campaigns at a single school.
4. Who is the only former major-college player to score more than 23,000 points in the NBA after never participating in the NCAA Tournament or NIT? Hint: His alma mater returned to small-college status after being at the Division I level for more than 50 years but never appearing in the NCAA playoffs or NIT.
5. Of the 10 different players to compile season scoring averages of more than 23 points per game for a national champion, who is the only individual in this group to tally fewer than 40 points in two games at the Final Four? Hint: His team won both Final Four games that year by a minimum of 20 points.
6. Who is the only individual to coach a team to the Final Four after becoming an NCAA consensus first-team All-American and NBA first-round draft choice? Hint: He joined Chet Walker and Bob Love as 20-points-per-game scorers for the Chicago Bulls in 1969-70 after becoming the first African-American to earn a league MVP while attending a Southern school.
7. Who is the only national player of the year to score less than 10 points when his school was eliminated in a Final Four contest the same season? Hint: He averaged more than 25 points per game in his four previous playoff contests that year.
8. Name the only Final Four team to have as many as six players still on its roster with double-digit season scoring averages. Hint: All six individuals played in the NBA as did another player on the squad who averaged eight points per game.
9. Who is the only All-Tournament selection to finish his college playing career at another major university? Hint: His brother was a wide receiver for a Super Bowl champion.
10. Who is the only leading scorer for a Final Four team to also play for the school's football squad in a New Year's Day bowl game and win a silver medal in the Olympics as a high jumper? Hint: The Olympics climaxed a superb academic school year for the versatile athlete who won the NCAA high jump crown and led his school's football and basketball teams in scoring. He also appeared in the first two NBA All-Star Games.
Is there a Final Four curse? That's a topic for ESPN talking heads to debate in a "cursing" family feud although Bill Simmons might know just a mite more about basketball than concussion-ravaged Mike Golic. Meanwhile, many attendees will label the Final Four "a religious experience" while cursing about PC-police progressives descending upon Indy over a religious-freedom issue having virtually nothing to do with the event. Let's be protest-like blunt amid the army of offended people: If Jason Collins wanted to have a Final Four impact, he should have played better for Stanford and gotten the Cardinal there in 2000 and/or 2001 before gayly leaving college early for the NBA.
Ranging from famous military battles to freak circumstances to mysterious disappearances to nuclear bombs to CIA activity to suicides, the existence of a Final Four curse is debatable although there is no denying a striking number of prominent national semifinal players and coaches died prematurely. For instance, Sid Tanenbaum, the second-leading scorer for NYU's 1945 national runner-up, was murdered on September 4, 1986, at the age of 60 when stabbed to death by a local woman in his Queens machine shop. According to police reports, Tanenbaum was assaulted because he chose to stop lending money to his attacker after previously assisting her numerous times.
Any tribute isn't enough when a man is buried before his time. The following lengthy list of additional Final Four players (cited chronologically) passed away early (60 and younger), but the deceased left lasting memories:
Three of Oregon's starting five on the first NCAA championship team in 1939 - guards Bobby Anet and Wally Johansen and center Slim Wintermute - all died in their 40s. Wintermute disappeared in Lake Washington in 1977, a case that never has been solved.
Center Bill Menke, the third-leading scorer for Indiana's 1940 NCAA champion who supplied a team-high 10 points in the Hoosiers' national semifinal victory over Duquesne, later became a Navy pilot and served in World War II. In January 1945, he was declared missing in action (and presumed dead) when he didn't return from a flight in the Caribbean.
Thomas P. Hunter, a three-year letterman who was a sophomore member of Kansas' 1940 runner-up, was killed in action against the Japanese on Guam, July 21, 1944, while fighting with the Ninth Marines as a first lieutenant. Hunter was elected posthumously as captain of the Jayhawks' 1945-46 squad that compiled a 19-2 record.
Dale Gentry, the fifth-leading scorer for Washington State's 1941 national runner-up, collapsed and died of a heart attack in 1963 at the age of 50 after completing arrangements for his 16-year-old son's funeral following injuries incurred in an auto accident.
All 11 regulars on Pitt's 1941 Final Four team participated in World War II and one of them, guard Bob Artman, was killed in action.
Center Ed Voss, the second-leading scorer for 1942 champion Stanford, died of polio in 1953 at the age of 31, a month after his 7-year-old son also succumbed to the disease. Cardinal teammate Jack Dana's wife, California socialite Renee Cohu, died of a sleeping pill overdose in the winter of 1970 at the age of 42 when the missing daughter of a former TWA president was found in a Miami Beach motel.
Charles "Stubbie" Pearson, captain of Dartmouth's 1942 national runner-up and valedictorian of his class the same year, was killed in action on March 30, 1945, while dive-bombing a Japanese ship off the Palau Islands. He was posthumously awarded the Distinguished Flying Cross. Teammate George Galbraith Jr., a backup forward, died in a training flight over Mississippi.
Three of the top seven scorers for Kentucky's first NCAA Tournament and Final Four team in 1942 died during World War II - Mel Brewer (Army second lieutenant/25 years old in France), Ken England (Army captain of ski troop/23 in Italy) and Jim King (Army second lieutenant and co-pilot/24 in Germany).
Georgetown's Lloyd Potolicchio, who matched DePaul legend George Mikan's 11-point output in the 1943 national semifinals when the Hoyas eliminated the Blue Demons before bowing to Wyoming in title tilt, joined the Air Force. Potolicchio was boom operator Master Sergeant when killed in a refueling mission on January 17, 1966, in a B-52 crash off the coast of southern Spain. His KC-135 tanker was completely destroyed when its fuel load ignited, resulting in the B-52G breaking apart with B28RI hydrogen weapons falling to earth and plutonium contamination occurring near the fishing village of Palomares. In March 2009, Time magazine identified the Palomares accident as one of the world's "worst nuclear disasters." Teammate Bob Duffey, a backup swingman, was killed on November 13, 1944, in European theater combat.
Frontcourter Frank Oftring, a key contributor for Holy Cross' 1947 champion and 1948 national third-place team, died on October 4, 1982, at the age of 58. Teammate Bob Curran, a regular for both squads, was 56 when he passed away on October 18, 1977.
Forward Tom Hamilton, a regular as a freshman forward with Texas' 1947 national third-place club, died at the age of 48 on November 29, 1973, after suffering a brain hemorrhage prior to officiating a high school football game in Tyler, Tex. Hamilton, a first baseman briefly with the Philadelphia Athletics in 1952 and 1953, served as baseball coach and athletic director for St. Edward's (Tex.) at the time of his death.
Center Bob Harris, the leading scorer for Oklahoma A&M's 1949 national runner-up, died on April 10, 1977 at the age of 50. Teammate Joe Bradley, A&M's second-leading scorer, passed away on June 5, 1987, at the age of 58.
Bill Erickson, a starting guard for Illinois' 1949 national third-place team, died on September 21, 1987, at the age of 59. Teammate Don Sunderlage, the Illini's sixth-leading scorer in 1949 and top point producer for another third-place squad in 1951, died in mid-July 1961 at the age of 31 following an automobile accident in Lake Geneva, Wis.
Don Schlundt, the leading scorer and rebounder for Indiana's 1953 NCAA champion, died of pancreatic cancer in October 1985 at the age of 52. Teammate Dick Farley, the Hoosiers' third-leading scorer, passed away from cancer in early October 1969 at the age of 37.
Forward Bob Ames, who scored a total of eight points in three playoff games in 1955 for La Salle's national runner-up after being a member of the Explorers' 1954 NCAA titlist, was killed in Beirut in 1983 at the age of 49. A truck loaded with TNT on a suicide mission rammed into the facility where Ames, a father of six children, was staying while serving as a liaison trying to allay contacts among the Lebanese, Syrians and Israelis in hopes of calming the escalating discord. He joined the CIA and worked his way up the chain of command to become the Director of the CIA's Office of Analysis of the Near East and South Asia. "The Spy Who Loved Basketball" worked closely with both the Carter and Reagan administrations.
Bucky O'Connor, coach for Iowa's 1955 Final Four club and 1956 runner-up, died in 1958 at the age of 44 in a highway accident near Waterloo. "The boy who has faith in God can look to the future without worry or strain," O'Connor told his players. "I firmly believe that the boys on our team who attend church are more likely to be successful because they can face their problems with hope and encouragement."
Jim Krebs, the leading scorer and rebounder for Southern Methodist's 1956 Final Four squad, was killed in 1965 at the age of 29 in a freak accident. While helping a neighbor clear storm damage, a tree limb fell the wrong way and crushed his skull.
Forward Al Filardi, the third-leading rebounder for NYU's 1960 national fourth-place squad, just turned 60 when he died in early August 1999.
Gary Bradds, a backup to national player of the year Jerry Lucas for Ohio State's 1962 NCAA runner-up before earning the same award himself two years later, died of cancer in July 1983 when he was 40. Bradds was principal of an elementary school in Bowersville, Ohio, at the time of his demise.
Vic Rouse, leading rebounder for Loyola of Chicago's 1963 NCAA champion, died in late May 1999 at the age of 56. He owned an educational consulting firm after earning three masters degrees and an PhD.
Bill Buntin, the leading rebounder and second-leading scorer (behind Cazzie Russell) for Michigan's Final Four teams in 1964 and 1965, collapsed and died during an informal workout one day after his 26th birthday in May 1968.
Forward Jamie Thompson, the third-leading scorer for Wichita's 1965 fourth-place team who tallied 36 points when the Shockers were eliminated in the national semifinals by eventual champion UCLA, died in January 2006 at the age of 60.
Guard Rudy Waterman, Dayton's third-leading scorer for 1967 national runner-up, died at 34 in mid-June 1979 after shooting himself and developing bacterial meningitis while hospitalized in New York. He had been fired from his job as a sales representative for a Midwest aluminum company. Flyers coach Don Donoher's son, Gary, died in New York at age 27 in August 1988 from AIDS-related complications.
Ken Spain and Theodis Lee, starting frontcourters with All-American Elvin Hayes for Houston's team that entered the 1968 Final Four with an undefeated record, each died of cancer. Spain, who overcame cancer after he was first diagnosed with it in 1977, died of the disease 13 years later in October 1990 when he was 44. Lee, who played for the Harlem Globetrotters, was 33 when he passed away in March 1979, one week after the illness was diagnosed. Teammate Don Kruse, a center for the Cougars' national third-place team in 1967, died in the spring of 2004 at the age of 59.
Steve Patterson, one of UCLA's top three rebounders for NCAA kingpins in 1970 and 1971 after serving as Lew Alcindor's understudy for another titlist in 1969, died in 2004 at the age of 56 because of lung cancer.
Howard Porter, Villanova's leading scorer and rebounder for 1971 runner-up, was trying to trade money and crack cocaine for sex with a prostitute in St. Paul in May 2007 when the probation officer was beaten to death at the age of 58, according to murder charges filed several months later.
Forward Mike Lawhon, Louisville's third-leading scorer for the Cardinals' 1972 national fourth-place team, died in early April 2004 at the age of 53. Lawhon was an orthopedic surgeon who passed away while attending a medical conference.
Larry Finch, Memphis State's leading scorer for 1973 runner-up, died in early April 2011 at the age of 60. Finch suffered the first of multiple strokes 10 years earlier. In early September 2014, his daughter (Shanae), suffering from Crohn's disease, collapsed and died at the age of 39. Teammate Ronnie Robinson, the Tigers' second-leading rebounder and third-leading scorer, died in early May 2004 at the age of 53 from congestive heart failure.
Maurice Lucas, leading scorer and rebounder for Marquette's 1974 national runner-up, died in 2010 at the age of 58 from bladder cancer. Teammate Jerry Homan, a backup frontcourter, had a son, Luke, pass away in the fall of 2006 when the UW-LaCrosse student's body was recovered in the Mississippi River after last seen celebrating Oktoberfest (UW-L teammate Austin Scott was charged with two counts of obstructing officers for lying to authorities during the death investigation).
Danny Knight, the leading scorer and rebounder for Kansas' 1974 Final Four team, was 24 when he died in June 1977, three weeks after sustaining injuries in a fall down the steps at his home. Knight had been suffering headaches for some time and doctors attributed his death to an aneurysm in the brain. Teammate Norm Cook, the Jayhawks' second-leading rebounder and fourth-leading scorer as a freshman, was 53 in 2008 when he died after suffering from paranoid schizophrenia most of his adult life.
Dan Hall, a frontcourt backup from Kentucky's historic recruiting class as a freshman for UK's 1975 NCAA Tournament runner-up, died of an apparent suicide at age 58 the first full week in January 2013. Hall subsequently transferred to Marshall, where he averaged 10.4 ppg and 5.6 rpg in 1976-77 and 1977-78. UK teammate G.J. Smith, a reserve forward, died in late summer 2012 at the age of 59 because of a heart attack.
The remains of former UCLA forward Gavin Smith, who scored 14 points for the third-place Bruins at the 1976 Final Four, were found in a rural desert area of Southern California in early November 2014. Police had been probing Smith's mysterious disappearance 2 1/2 years earlier. Smith, a 57-year-old movie executive for Fox, was driving a black 2000 four-door Mercedes E Class when he vanished at night. Most media outlets focus on Smith's connection to UCLA but he actually made a hoop name for himself playing with Hawaii, where he finished 16th in the nation in scoring in 1976-77 by setting a Rainbows' single-season record (23.4 points per game).
Center Jerome Whitehead, the second-leading rebounder and third-leading scorer for Marquette's 1977 NCAA titlist, was 56 in mid-December 2012 when he was found dead because of chronic alcohol abuse. Teammate Gary Rosenberger, a guard who was the fourth-leading scorer in coach Al McGuire's swan song, passed away in the fall of 2013 at the age of 57 due to complications from a heart attack and stroke.
Forward Glen Gondrezick, the leading rebounder and third-leading scorer for UNLV's 1977 third-place club, died in late April 2009 at the age of 53 due to complications stemming from a heart transplant he received the previous September. Teammate Lewis Brown, the third-leading rebounder and sixth-leading scorer for UNLV, spent more than 10 years homeless on the streets of Santa Monica, Calif., before passing away in mid-September 2011 at the age of 56. According to the New York Times, family members said the 6-11 center used cocaine with the Rebels. "Drugs were his downfall," said his sister. Murray State transfer Larry Moffett, UNLV's second-leading rebounder, passed away in early May 2011 in Shreveport, La., at the age of 56. He previously was a cab driver in Las Vegas.
Guard Chad Kinch, the third-leading scorer for UNC Charlotte's 1977 national fourth-place team as a freshman, died at his parents' home in Cartaret, N.J., from complications caused by AIDS. He passed away on April 3, 1994, the day between the Final Four semifinals and final in Charlotte. The host school happened to be UNC Charlotte. It was the second time Kinch's parents lost a son. Sixteen years earlier, Ray Kinch, a Rutgers football player, was killed in a house fire. UNCC teammate Lew Massey, the 49ers' runner-up in scoring and rebounding, died in mid-January 2014 at the age of 57.
Orlando Woolridge, a backup freshman in 1978 when Notre Dame made its lone Final Four appearance before he became a scoring specialist in 13 NBA seasons, died at the end of May 2012 at the age of 52 because of a chronic heart condition.
Matt White, the second-leading rebounder and third-leading scorer for Penn's 1979 Final Four squad as a senior, was fatally stabbed in mid-February 2013 by his wife, who told police she had caught him looking at child pornography. White, the Quakers' all-time leader in field-goal shooting (59.1%), was 55.
Derek Smith, the leading rebounder and second-leading scorer as a sophomore forward for Louisville's 1980 NCAA champion, died of a heart ailment at age 34 on August 9, 1996, while on a cruise with his family. He was the leading scorer and second-leading rebounder for the Cardinals' 1982 Final Four team before averaging 12.8 ppg and 3.2 rpg in the NBA with five different franchises. His son, Nolan, became a starting guard for Duke's 2010 NCAA titlist.
Rob Williams, leading scorer for Houston's 1982 Final Four team, died of congestive heart failure at the age of 52 in March 2014 after suffering a stroke 15 years earlier that left him blind in his left eye and partially paralyzed on his left side. Williams denied rumors he was too high on cocaine to play up to par against North Carolina in the national semifinals (0-for-8 field-goal shooting). But Williams admitted he used drugs. "Cocaine came later but I started out smoking weed (in junior high)," Williams said. "I was always a curious type of fellow, so I wanted to see what cocaine was about. So I tried it. And to tell you the truth, I liked it."
Lorenzo Charles, the second-leading rebounder for N.C. State's 1983 champion, provided one of the tourney's most memorable moments with a game-winning dunk against heavily-favored Houston in the final. Working for a limousine and bus company based in Apex, N.C., he was killed in June 2011 when the charter bus the 47-year-old was driving with no passengers aboard crashed along Interstate 40 in Raleigh. Wolfpack coach Jim Valvano also was 47 in the spring of 1993 when he passed away because of cancer. Backup forward Quinton Leonard died of a heart attack in the spring of 2006 at the age of 44.
Melvin Turpin, the leading scorer and second-leading rebounder as a senior for Kentucky's 1984 Final Four team (29-5 record), was 49 and battling diabetes in July 2010 when he committed suicide with a self-inflicted gunshot to the chest.
Baskerville Holmes, a starting forward who averaged 9.6 points and 5.9 rebounds per game for Memphis State's 1985 Final Four team, and his girlfriend were found shot to death on March 18, 1997 in an apparent murder-suicide in Memphis. He was 32.
Mike Masucci, a freshman backup center for Kansas' eventual 1988 champion dismissed from the Jayhawks before the tourney commenced and his subsequent transfer, died in January 2005 at the age of 36 from a heart attack.
Guard Phil Henderson, the leading scorer and senior captain of Duke's 1990 NCAA Tournament runner-up, died of cardiac arrest in mid-February 2013 at his home in the Philippines at the age of 44. He was the Blue Devils' second-leading scorer as a junior and sixth-leading scorer as a sophomore for two more Final Four squads.
Larry Marks, a backup forward for Arkansas' 1990 Final Four squad after being a starter the previous season, died of an apparent heart attack in mid-June 2000 after playing some recreational basketball. He was 33.
Sean Tunstall, a reserve guard for Kansas' 1991 NCAA Tournament runner-up was shot and killed at age 28 in the parking lot of a recreation center in his native St. Louis on October 16, 1997, in a drug deal gone bad. Tunstall, recruited to KU when Larry Brown was the Jayhawks' coach, had received a prison sentence after pleading guilty to one count of selling cocaine in 1993. "He was one of the few kids I never thought I completely reached," then KU coach Roy Williams said. Power forward Chris Lindley, who signed with Kansas and would have been a freshman for the 1991 squad before having his right foot amputated in January 1990 after a train accident, died at 34 in mid-February 2007.
Peter Sauer, a captain and third-leading rebounder for Stanford's 1998 Final Four squad, was 35 when he collapsed during a recreation game in White Plains, N.Y., hit his head and never was revived. His father, Mark Sauer, is a former president of two pro franchises - the NHL's St. Louis Blues and MLB's Pittsburgh Pirates.
A 32-year-old brother of defensive stopper Byron Mouton, Maryland's fourth-leading scorer and rebounder for a 2001 Final Four team, was shot and killed in an apparent carjacking incident in Houston about one month into the next season. The Terrapins went on to capture the 2002 NCAA championship as the Tulane transfer finished as their third-leading rebounder and fourth-leading scorer.
Emphasizing a "one-and-only" theme for a "one-and-only" event, here is Day 17 of a treasure-trove of tantalizing NCAA Tournament trivia questions from CollegeHoopedia.com (10 per day from Selection Sunday through the championship game) tracking the only coach, conference, player or school to be linked to a distinguished or dubious achievement (click here for answers or conduct research digesting historical morsels in CollegeHoopedia.com's year-by-year highlights):
1. Which school had the only trio to each score at least 20 points in two Final Four games? Hint: All three players finished their college careers with more than 2,000 points and were on the roster the next year when the school lost its playoff opener. The school is the only national runner-up to score more than 85 points in an NCAA final.
2. Name the only school to have three players score more than 20 points in a Final Four game. Hint: The school lost the championship game that year by more than 20 points although the score was tied at halftime.
3. Who is the only player to score 40 or more points in a Final Four game and not eventually play in the NBA? Hint: He was held under 10 points in his other Final Four game that year.
4. Who is the only coach to go more than 40 years from his first to his last appearance in the playoffs? Hint: He and his son, who succeeded him, both compiled a losing tourney record.
5. Who is the only player to compile an NBA playoff scoring average more than 15 points per game higher than his NCAA Tournament average? Hint: He scored just six points in his NCAA playoff debut against a school participating in the tourney for just the second time.
6. Who is the only player to lead an NCAA tournament in scoring with more than 120 points and not eventually play in the NBA? Hint: He averaged 32.3 points per game in his three-year college career.
7. Who is the only player from 1957 through 1996 to lead a tournament in rebounding and not eventually play in the NBA? Hint: His school was making just its second tourney appearance the year he led in rebounding.
8. Who is the only non-guard to be the undisputed leading scorer of an NCAA Tournament and not participate in the Final Four? Hint: He never played in the NBA.
9. Who is the first coach to make more than a dozen NCAA playoff appearances before reaching the Final Four? Hint: He was coach of the first team to win the national championship in its first Final Four appearance since Texas Western in 1966.
10. Who is the only player to take more than 40 field-goal attempts in a playoff game his team lost? Hint: The guard was the nation's leading scorer with more than 36 points per game for the only school to reach the national semifinals of a small-college tournament one year and participate in the NCAA Tournament the next season.
A significant number of schools turn sheepish at the mention of recent NCAA Tournament success. Among Division I institutions making at least 10 NCAA playoff appearances, eight former Final Four participants - Holy Cross, Houston, New Mexico State, Oregon State, Princeton, San Francisco, Southern Methodist and Texas-El Paso - combined to go winless in the past 17 years.
DePaul, Oregon State and San Francisco each have won more than 20 NCAA tourney games but collaborated for only one win in the last 26 years (DePaul over Dayton in double overtime in 2004). With B.B. King "The Thrill is Gone" lyrics in the background, following is an alphabetical list of schools with at least 10 NCAA playoff appearances for which Sweet 16 is a distant memory:
School (Playoff Appearances) Recent NCAA Tournament Travails Boston College (18) winless last eight years with only one appearance Charlotte (11) no appearance last 10 years; winless last 14 years Clemson (11) one victory last 18 years DePaul (22) appeared once last 15 years; one victory last 26 years George Washington (11) one victory last 21 years Georgia (12) one victory last 19 years Holy Cross (12) winless since 1953 Houston (19) winless last 31 years Idaho State (11) winless last 38 years Iowa (24) two victories last 16 years Minnesota (12) one victory last 18 years New Mexico State (20) winless last 22 years Old Dominion (11) one victory last 20 years Oregon State (16) winless last 33 years Penn (23) one victory last 35 years Pepperdine (13) one victory last 33 years Princeton (24) winless last 17 years San Francisco (16) appeared once last 33 years Santa Clara (11) no appearance last 19 years Seattle (11) winless since 1964 Southern Methodist (11) winless last 27 years Texas-El Paso (17) winless last 23 years Utah State (20) one victory last 45 years Weber State (14) winless last 16 years Wyoming (15) one victory last 28 years
Chris Mullin, who won more than 3/4 of his games with St. John's in the mid-1980s (98-30, .766), and Mark Price, who won more than 2/3 of his games with Georgia Tech in the same time frame (85-41, .675), each assume control of coaching positions with impressive player pedigrees as three-time All-Americans.
But the odds are overwhelmingly against Mullin (St. John's) and Price (Charlotte) compiling a higher winning percentage as a coach than he did as a premium player. Indiana's Branch McCracken is the only one of the first 50 All-Americans who became major-college mentors to compile a higher winning percentage as a coach. Consider the following alphabetical list:
For those observers who revel in recruiting rhetoric and reviews, the world stopped revolving a couple of years ago when the Harrison twins (Aaron and Andrew) announced their intention to attend Kentucky. There were all sorts of Harrison Hysteria questions regarding how the guards would impact the Wildcats and their staunch supporters. After struggling somewhat during the regular season in 2013-14, they helped UK advance to the NCAA Tournament championship game. In the short term, Big Blue Nation expected them to guide the Cats' to the 2015 title tilt before Wisconsin left them 38-and-done in the national semifinals. They are unquestionably the best set of twins to participate in the Final Four. But combining to average a modest 20.2 points per game, the biggest long-term question is how will the Harrisons rank among the most touted twins in college basketball history; especially after platooning reduced their impact and Andrew couldn't control his tongue. Aren't you glad some of UK's players came back to college to gain more maturity such as refusing to shake hands following a lone loss (didn't want to take risk of transmission of some dreaded disease from Upper Midwest)?
Sharing headlines with other regal recruits, the Harrisons may not crack the Top 10 of the most influential sets of twins at the same school - 1. Van Arsdale (Indiana); 2. O'Brien (Seattle); 3. Lopez (Stanford); 4. Morris (Kansas); 5. Collins (Stanford); 6. Graham (UCF/Oklahoma State); 7. Hughes (Wisconsin); 8. Holmes (VMI); 9. Hayes (Western Carolina/Georgia); 10. Williams (VMI); 11. Kerr (Colorado State); 12. Stanley (Texas A&M); 13. Nelson (Duquesne).
Following is a chronological look at them plus many of the nation's most outstanding sets of twins who played together at least one season on the same team:
- George and Francis Coakley were members of Clemson's 1939 Southern Conference Tournament championship team. It is the Tigers' only league tourney title.
- Clifford and Beauford Minx combined for 10.9 ppg for Missouri's 1944 NCAA Tournament team.
- Forwards John and Rupe Ricksen combined to average 9.7 ppg for California in 1950-51, 15.9 ppg in 1951-52 and 18.4 ppg in 1952-53. The Bears won at least 16 games each of their seasons together. They were co-captains as seniors when Cal captured the PCC South Division title and John earned first-team all-conference status.
- Bantam-sized Johnny and Eddie O'Brien were the top two scorers for Seattle (26-3 record) when it reached the 1953 NCAA Tournament in the Chieftains' first season at the major-college level. They also were infielders for the Pittsburgh Pirates the same year. Johnny O'Brien, a 5-8 unanimous first-team All-American who played center on offense, is the only player to score more than 40 points in his first NCAA Tournament game (42 in an 88-77 victory against Idaho State). Eddie contributed 21 in the same playoff contest.
- Bob (8.6 ppg in 63 games) and Bill (7.5 ppg in 40 games) Gaines played together for Furman from 1954-55 through 1956-57. Each of them averaged 10.3 ppg as a senior.
- Don and Pat Stanley combined for 17.3 ppg and 10.2 rpg in 1959-60 and 24.8 ppg and 11.7 rpg in 1960-61 for Texas A&M. They earlier played at Kilgore when it won a national J.C. title.
- Don and Doug Clemetson combined for 9.5 ppg with Stanford in 1960-61 and 11 ppg in 1961-62. The 16-6 Cardinal finished AAWU runner-up to UCLA, which wound up at the 1962 Final Four.
- Tom and Dick Van Arsdale ranked sixth and seventh on Indiana's list of all-time leading scorers when they graduated in 1965. They were among the nation's top 60 point producers as juniors in 1963-64 and combined for 76 points in a 108-102 neutral court victory against Notre Dame. The Hoosiers went 19-5 their senior campaign. They each played 12 seasons in the NBA, where they both scored more than 14,200 points.
- Lloyd and Floyd Kerr were swingmen who combined to average 25.3 ppg and 10.7 rpg for Colorado State from 1966-67 through 1968-69. Brothers Kerr each scored more than 10 points in all three NCAA playoff games when the Rams reached the Midwest Regional final their senior season (17-7 record) before becoming NBA third-round draft choices.
- Barry and Garry Nelson combined for 21.7 ppg and 16.9 rpg for Duquesne teams compiling a 59-16 record from 1968-69 through 1970-71. Garry led the team in field-goal percentage all three seasons and in rebounding as a sophomore and junior.
- In 1974, seniors Kim and Kerry Hughes carried Wisconsin to its only winning record in Big Ten Conference competition (8-6; 16-8 overall) in a 34-year span from 1963 through 1996. Kim was the Badgers' top rebounder as a sophomore. The 6-11 identical twins combined for 27 ppg and 22 rpg in their junior season and 26 ppg and 20.3 rpg in their final year. Kerry had 21 points and Kim contributed 20 in a home game versus Northwestern their senior year.
- Billy and Bobby Martin excelled for UNC-Wilmington in 1976-77 and 1977-78 after transferring from junior college. Bobby and Billy still rank among the school's all-time leaders in assists.
- Harvey and Horace Grant combined for 16.4 ppg and 11.1 rpg as sophomores for Clemson's 16-13 NIT team in 1984-85. Harvey transferred after the season to a junior college before enrolling at Oklahoma. Each of them had long NBA careers.
- Wichita State's Dwayne and Dwight Praylow combined for 16.3 ppg in 1987-88 (20-10 record) and 20.1 ppg and 8.8 rpg in 1988-89 (19-11 record).
- Victor and Vincent Lee played for Northeast Louisiana from 1986-87 through 1988-89. Their best season was 1988-89 when they were juniors (9.1 ppg and 4.7 rpg).
- Terry and Perry Dozier combined for 9.1 ppg and 3.5 rpg with South Carolina from 1986-87 through 1988-89.
- Damon and Ramon Williams combined for 28.9 ppg in their four-year VMI careers from 1986-87 through 1989-90. They were All-Southern Conference Tournament first-team selections as sophomores in 1988. Ramon was an all-league first-team pick as a junior and Damon achieved the feat as a senior. They rank among the school's all-time top scorers.
- Carl and Charles Thomas were among the top 40 scorers in Eastern Michigan history when they finished their careers following the 1990-91 campaign. They combined to average 16.9 ppg and 7.2 rpg in college before making brief stints in the NBA.
- Sean and Shawn Wightman played together with Western Michigan for three years (1990-91 through 1992-93) after transferring from Illinois State. They combined for 17.9 ppg as juniors. Sean was the nation's top three-point marksman as a junior and led the Mid-American Conference in free-throw shooting as a senior.
- Joe and Jon Ross played together with Notre Dame from 1990-91 through 1993-94. They combined for more than eight rebounds per game their last two seasons.
- Sammie and Simeon Haley combined for 12.5 ppg and 8.8 rpg with Missouri's NCAA Tournament team in 1994-95 (20-9 record) and 14.6 ppg and 9.2 rpg for an NIT team in 1995-96 (18-15 record) after transferring from junior college.
- Jim and David Jackson combined for 7.7 ppg and 3.6 rpg with Virginia Tech's NCAA Tournament team in 1995-96 (23-6 record) and 13.4 ppg and 4.8 rpg in 1996-97 (15-16).
- Bill and Bob Jenkins combined for 14.9 ppg and 12.5 rpg with Valparaiso's NCAA playoff Sweet 16 team in 1997-98 (23-10 record).
- Stanford's Jarron and Jason Collins combined for 19.3 ppg and 12.6 rpg in 1999-2000 before powering the Cardinal to a 31-3 record in 2000-01 with 27.3 ppg and 14.5 rpg.
- Jarvis and Jonas Hayes combined for 25.1 ppg as freshmen with Western Carolina in 1999-2000. They transferred to Georgia after Jarvis led the Southern Conference in scoring with 17.1 ppg. With the Bulldogs, the twins teamed for 25.8 ppg and 10.3 rpg in 2001-02 and 25 ppg and 8.8 rpg in 2002-03.
- Joey and Stevie Graham combined for 25.3 ppg and 9.5 rpg as sophomores with Central Florida in 2001-02 before transferring to Oklahoma State. They collaborated for 15.2 ppg and 6.6 rpg in 2003-04 and 24.2 ppg and 9.4 rpg in 2004-05 for two OSU NCAA playoff teams.
- Errick and Derrick Craven combined for 17.6 ppg and 7.5 rpg with Southern California in 2002-03, 17.2 ppg and 5.2 rpg in 2003-04 and 10.4 ppg and 4.5 rpg in 2004-05.
- Lodrick and Rodrick Stewart combined for 13 ppg and 4.8 rpg with Southern California in 2003-04 before Rodrick transferred to Kansas.
- Yale swingmen Caleb and Nick Holmes combined for 12.3 ppg, 5.5 rpg and 3.2 apg from 2004-05 through 2007-08.
- Travis and Chavis Holmes combined for 18.7 ppg with VMI in 2005-06, 34.2 ppg in 2006-07 and 34 ppg in 2007-08. They colloborated for 57 points in a 156-95 victory against Virginia Intermont in 2006-07 when they each ranked among the nation's top five in steals (placed 1-2 in the Big South Conference). Finished 1-2 nationally in thefts their senior season.
- Centers Brook and Robin Lopez combined for 20.2 ppg, 11.5 rpg and 4.1 bpg with Stanford as freshmen in 2006-07 and 29.4 ppg, 13.8 rpg and 4.4 bpg as sophomores in 2007-08 before they both left school early and became NBA first-round draft choices.
- La Salle's Jerrell and Terrell Williams combined for 12.3 ppg and 8.5 rpg from 2007-08 to 2009-10.
- Charles and Philip Tabet combined for 7.2 ppg and 3 rpg with South Alabama in 2008-09 before falling off to 2.8 ppg with 4.5 rpg in 2009-10.
- Philadelphia natives Markieff and Marcus Morris combined for 12 ppg and 9.2 rpg with Kansas in 2008-09, 19.5 ppg and 11.4 rpg in 2009-10 and 30.8 ppg and 15.9 rpg as All-Big 12 Conference selections in 2010-11 before they both left school early and became NBA first-round draft choices. Marcus was KU's leading scorer (17.2) and Markieff its leading rebounder (8.3) for the Jayhawks' 2011 Big 12 champion.
- David and Travis Wear combined for 6.5 ppg and 3.8 rpg as freshmen for North Carolina in 2009-10 before transferring to UCLA, where they collaborated for 18 ppg and 10.2 rpg in 2012-13 and 13.8 ppg and 7 rpg in 2013-14.
- Charlie (freshman RS in 2009-10) and Colin Reddick combined for 7.7 ppg and 6.1 rpg with Furman in 2010-11, 14.8 ppg and 8.1 rpg in 2011-12 and 22.1 ppg and 11.5 rpg in 2012-13.
Although there is a disenchantment stigma attached to transfers, it shouldn't be considered a crime. The performance of transfer Bryn Forbes (14.1 ppg for Cleveland State in 2012-13 and 2013-14) could determine any success Michigan State may enjoy at Final Four. Including injured Kentucky star Derek Anderson in 1997, 28 of the last 32 Final Fours featured teams with at least one starter or key reserve who began his college career at another four-year Division I school.
Vanderbilt guard Billy McCaffrey, a transfer from Duke, is the only All-Tournament selection to finish his college playing career attending another major university. There was no All-Tournament team in 1942 when Stanford guard Howie Dallmar was named Final Four Most Outstanding Player before completing his undergraduate work at Penn toward the end of World War II. McCaffrey earned a spot on the 1991 All-Tournament team by scoring 16 points to help Duke defeat Kansas (72-65) in the championship game.
"What I really wanted was consistency; not playing a key factor in some games, very minimal in others," McCaffrey said. "My role probably would have been the same if I had stayed. I felt I could do more. I needed to enjoy the game more. I think a player likes to know that he can be counted on for certain things every night. That's how I get pleasure from the games. Your college career is too short to spend somewhere you're not happy.
"I don't regret leaving. I cherish those memories. I was happy for them (when the Blue Devils repeated in 1992). I knew when I left that they had a good chance to win (again). I took that into consideration when I made my decision to leave. I'd already been a part of a national championship. Maybe that made it easier."
Following is a chronological look at how transfers have impacted the Final Four in the last 32 years (in reverse order):
2012 - Ohio State F Evan Ravenel (Boston College), Louisville G Chris Smith (Manhattan), Kentucky C Eloy Vargas* (Florida), Kansas F Justin Wesley (Lamar), Kansas C Jeff Withey (Arizona) and Kansas F Kevin Young (Loyola Marymount)
2010 - None
2009 - None
2006 - None
2004 - Oklahoma State G Daniel Bobik (Brigham Young), Georgia Tech G Will Bynum (Arizona), Oklahoma State G-F Joey Graham (Central Florida), Oklahoma State F Stephen Graham (Central Florida), Oklahoma State G John Lucas III (Baylor) and Oklahoma State F Jason Miller (North Texas)
1994 - None
*Played for a junior college between four-year schools.
Emphasizing a "one-and-only" theme for a "one-and-only" event, here is Day 16 of a treasure-trove of tantalizing NCAA Tournament trivia questions from CollegeHoopedia.com (10 per day from Selection Sunday through the championship game) tracking the only coach, conference, player or school to be linked to a distinguished or dubious achievement (click here for answers or conduct research digesting historical morsels in CollegeHoopedia.com's year-by-year highlights):
1. Name the only school to have four players score more than 14,000 points in the pros after never participating in national postseason competition (NCAA playoffs and NIT). Hint: One member of the foursome left college early after just one season of eligibility when he averaged 30 points per game and another is the highest scorer in NBA history to never participate in the NBA playoffs.
2. Name the only father-son combination to be on the rosters of two teams from the same school to win NCAA Tournament championships. Hint: Both of them were underclassmen when their teams captured NCAA titles.
3. Who is the only player never to appear in the NBA or ABA after averaging more than 20 points per game for a team reaching an NCAA Tournament final? Hint: A college teammate was a member of the NBA championship team that drafted him.
4. Who is the only undergraduate non-center to average more than 23 points per game for a national champion? Hint: He is the last player to score the most points in a single game of an NCAA Tournament and play for the championship team.
6. Who is the only coach to win an NBA championship after directing a college to the Final Four? Hint: His college squad was implicated in a game-fixing scandal.
7. Who is the only player to grab more than 41 rebounds at a single Final Four? Hint: He is the only player to retrieve more than 21 missed shots in a championship game and the only player to score more than 20 points and grab more than 20 rebounds in back-to-back NCAA finals.
8. Who is the only Final Four Most Outstanding Player to later coach a school other than his alma mater to the playoffs? Hint: He coached for more than 20 years in the same conference against UCLA legend John Wooden. He is also the only Final Four Most Outstanding Player to complete his college playing career attending another university.
9. Who is the only junior college player to later be selected Final Four Most Outstanding Player? Hint: He won the award when the Final Four was held in his home state and eventually became an NBA head coach.
10. Name the only school with a losing league record to defeat a conference rival by more than 20 points in a season the opponent wound up winning the national championship. Hint: The school with a losing league mark participated in the NCAA playoffs the next season for the first time since reaching the Final Four more than 20 years earlier when a consensus first-team All-American became the only player in school history to average more than 25 points in a season.
For the fifth straight season, at least one team reached the Final Four after losing multiple players who defected following the previous season to make themselves available for the NBA draft, where they were selected in the first round. Duke and Kentucky were able to reload this year after each lost a pair of NBA first-round choices.
Among schools losing a prominent undergraduate early, Kentucky was the only school to capture a crown (1998 without Ron Mercer) until Duke achieved the feat (2010 without Gerald Henderson) and UK secured another title two years ago sans Brandon Knight. In a once-in-a-lifetime achievement, UK returned to the national semifinals in 2011 after losing five undergraduates who became NBA first-round draft choices.
The Final Four has had at least one team arrive after losing a prominent undergraduate to the NBA draft 12 times in the last 14 years. This season marked the second time in eight years that three national semifinalists were in this category. Following is a list of the 29 squads unfazed by the early loss of key player(s) who left college with eligibility still remaining:
Final Four Team Prominent Undergraduate Defection Previous Year Marquette '74 Larry McNeill (25th pick overall in 1973 NBA draft) Louisiana State '81 DeWayne Scales (36th pick in 1980 draft) Georgia '83 Dominique Wilkins (3rd pick in 1982 draft) Houston '83 Rob Williams (19th pick in 1982 draft) Houston '84 Clyde Drexler (14th pick in 1983 draft) Louisiana State '86 Jerry Reynolds (22nd pick in 1985 draft) Syracuse '87 Pearl Washington (13th pick in 1986 draft) Kentucky '97 Antoine Walker (6th pick in 1996 draft) North Carolina '97 Jeff McInnis (37th pick in 1996 draft) Kentucky '98 Ron Mercer (6th pick in 1997 draft) Indiana '02 Kirk Haston (16th pick in 2001 draft) Kansas '03 Drew Gooden (4th pick in 2002 draft) Georgia Tech '04 Chris Bosh (4th pick in 2003 draft) Louisiana State '06 Brandon Bass (33rd pick in 2005 draft) UCLA '07 Jordan Farmar (26th pick in 2006 draft) North Carolina '08 Brandan Wright (8th pick in 2007 draft) Kansas '08 Julian Wright (13th pick in 2007 draft) UCLA '08 Arron Afflalo (27th pick in 2007 draft) Duke '10 Gerald Henderson (12th pick in 2009 draft) Kentucky '11 John Wall (1st pick in 2010 draft) Kentucky '11 DeMarcus Cousins (5th pick in 2010 draft) Butler '11 Gordon Hayward (9th pick in 2010 draft) Kentucky '11 Patrick Patterson (14th pick in 2010 draft) Virginia Commonwealth '11 Larry Sanders (15th pick in 2010 draft) Kentucky '11 Eric Bledsoe (18th pick in 2010 draft) Kentucky '11 Daniel Orton (29th pick in 2010 draft) Kentucky '12 Brandon Knight (8th pick in 2011 draft) Kansas '12 Markieff Morris (13th pick in 2011 draft) Kansas '12 Marcus Morris (14th pick in 2011 draft) Kansas '12 Josh Selby (49th pick in 2011 draft) Syracuse '13 Dion Waiters (4th pick in 2012 draft) Syracuse '13 Fab Melo (22nd pick in 2012 draft) Kentucky '14 Nerlens Noel (6th pick in 2013 draft) Kentucky '14 Archie Goodwin (29th pick in 2013 draft) Michigan State '15 Gary Harris (19th pick in 2014 draft) Duke '15 Rodney Hood (23rd pick in 2014 draft) Duke '15 Jabari Parker (2nd pick in 2014 draft) Kentucky '15 Julius Randle (7th pick in 2014 draft) Kentucky '15 James Young (17th pick in 2014 draft)
This year marks only the sixth occasion when all four coaches converged on the national semifinals with previous Final Four experience. John Calipari is among four different Kentucky mentors represented in these return "religious-experience" engagements. Hope PC-police progressives descending upon Indy, resembling POTUS by being more skeptical of Christians than Muslims, allow the hoop-religious liberty to acknowledge the following six years when coaches got back to business at the Final Four: