Melting Pot: Bahamian Buddy Among Premier Foreigners in Final Four History

College basketball has taken on an increasingly international flavor with an average of more than 400 foreign athletes competing for NCAA Division I men's teams over the last 13 seasons. A classic example is Oklahoma's Buddy Hield, a product of the Bahamas who emerged as the first backcourt foreigner in NCAA history to become a two-time All-American.

You've heard of a trade deficit. How about the trade surplus at the national semifinals? All but two Final Four since 1993 had an international flavor with at least one player from outside North America in the regular rotation of a team reaching the national semifinals.

"If communism hadn't fallen, I would have had to make the most difficult decision in my life," said center George Zidek, the starting center for UCLA's 1995 national champion who once was yelped at by dogs and arrested during a riot in Prague. "I would have had to leave to play basketball and never come back to my country or my family. I don't know if I could have done that."

An old adage claimed that fans couldn't tell the players without a roster. Now, it's at the point where fans can't pronounce the names on rosters without taking a couple of Berlitz language courses. Following is a chronological look at Final Four foreigners in the last 24 years coming from 25 different nations (in reverse order):

2016 - Oklahoma G Buddy Hield (Bahamas)

2015 - None

2014 - Connecticut C Amida Brimah (Ghana), F Kentan Facey (Jamaica) and G-F Niels Giffey (Germany) and Florida F Will Yeguete (Ivory Coast)

2013 - Louisville C Gorgui Dieng (Senegal), Syracuse C Baye Moussa Keita (Senegal) and Wichita State C Ehimen Orukpe (Nigeria)

2012 - Kentucky C Eloy Vargas (Dominican Republic) and Louisville C Gorgui Dieng (Senegal)

2011 - Connecticut G-F Niels Giffey (Germany) and C Charles Okwandu (Nigeria) and Kentucky C Eloy Vargas (Dominican Republic)

2010 - West Virginia F Deniz Kilicli (Turkey)

2009 - Connecticut C Hasheem Thabeet (Tanzania) and Michigan State C Idong Ibok (Nigeria)

2008 - UCLA F-C Alfred Aboya (Cameroon), F Nikola Dragovic (Serbia) and F Luc Richard Mbah a Moute (Cameroon)

2007 - UCLA F-C Alfred Aboya (Cameroon) and F Luc Richard Mbah a Moute (Cameroon)

2006 - Florida G Walter Hodge (Puerto Rico), F-C Al Horford (Dominican Republic) and G David Huertas (Puerto Rico), Louisiana State F Magnum Rolle (Bahamas) and UCLA F-C Alfred Aboya (Cameroon) and F Luc Richard Mbah a Moute (Cameroon)

2005 - Louisville F-G Francisco Garcia (Dominican Republic), F-C Otis George (Dominica) and Juan Palacios (Columbia)

2004 - Duke F Luol Deng (Sudan) and Georgia Tech C Luke Schenscher (Australia)

2003 - Texas G Sydmill Harris (The Netherlands)

2002 - Oklahoma C Jabahri Brown (Virgin Islands) and C Jozsef Szendrei (Hungary)

2001 - None

2000 - Wisconsin G Kirk Penney (New Zealand)

1999 - Connecticut C Souleymane Wane (Senegal) and Ohio State G Boban Savovic (Yugoslavia)

1998 - Utah F Hanno Mottola (Finland) and North Carolina C Makhtar Ndiaye (Nigeria)

1997 - North Carolina F Ademola Okulaja (Germany) and C Serge Zwikker (Netherlands)

1996 - Syracuse G Marius Janulis (Lithuania) and Massachusetts G Edgar Padilla (Puerto Rico) and G Carmelo Travieso (Puerto Rico)

1995 - UCLA C George Zidek (Czechoslovakia), Arkansas G Davor Rimac (Yugoslavia) and North Carolina C Serge Zwikker (Netherlands)

1994 - Arkansas G Davor Rimac (Yugoslavia) and Florida F Martti Kuisma (Finland)

1993 - North Carolina G Henrik Rodl (Germany)

College Exam: NCAA Tournament One-&-Only Trivia Challenge (Day #17)

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 (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'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.

Answers (Day 17)

Day 16 Questions and Answers

Day 15 Questions and Answers

Day 14 Questions and Answers

Day 13 Questions and Answers

Day 12 Questions and Answers

Day 11 Questions and Answers

Day 10 Questions and Answers

Day 9 Questions and Answers

Day 8 Questions and Answers

Day 7 Questions and Answers

Day 6 Questions and Answers

Day 5 Questions and Answers

Day 4 Questions and Answers

Day 3 Questions and Answers

Day 2 Questions and Answers

Day 1 Questions and Answers

Change of Address: Transfers Gbinije and Spangler Among Top Final 4 Players

Although there is a disenchantment stigma attached to transfers, it shouldn't be considered a crime. The performance of transfers Michael Gbinije (Syracuse from Duke) and Ryan Spangler (Oklahoma from Gonzaga) could determine the eventual NCAA titlist. Including injured Kentucky star Derek Anderson in 1997, 29 of the last 33 Final Fours featured teams with at least one starter or key reserve who began his college career attending 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 33 years (in reverse order):

2016 - Syracuse G Michael Gbinije (transfer from Duke) and Oklahoma F Ryan Spangler (Gonzaga)

2015 - Michigan State G Bryn Forbes (Cleveland State)

2014 - Wisconsin F Zach Bohannon (Air Force), Florida F Dorian Finney-Smith (Virginia Tech) and Connecticut G-F Lasan Kromah (George Washington)

2013 - Wichita State G Malcolm Armstead* (Oregon) and Louisville G-F Luke Hancock (George Mason)

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)

2011 - Kentucky C Eloy Vargas* (Florida), Virginia Commonwealth F Jamie Skeen (Wake Forest), Virginia Commonwealth F Toby Veal* (Colorado)

2010 - None

2009 - None

2008 - Kansas G Rodrick Stewart** (Southern California) and Memphis F Shawn Taggart (Iowa State)

2007 - Georgetown F Patrick Ewing Jr. (Indiana) and Ohio State G Ron Lewis (Bowling Green)

2006 - None

2005 - Illinois F-C Jack Ingram (Tulsa)

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)

2003 - Texas F Deginald Erskin (North Texas) and Marquette F-C Robert Jackson (Mississippi State)

2002 - Oklahoma C Jabahri Brown (Florida International) and F-C Aaron McGhee* (Cincinnati) and Maryland G-F Byron Mouton (Tulane)

2001 - Michigan State F Mike Chappell (Duke), Maryland G-F Byron Mouton (Tulane) and Arizona C Loren Woods (Wake Forest)

2000 - Michigan State F Mike Chappell (Duke)

1999 - Ohio State G Scoonie Penn (Boston College)

1998 - Kentucky F Heshimu Evans (Manhattan) and North Carolina C Makhtar Ndiaye (Michigan)

1997 - Kentucky G-F Derek Anderson (Ohio State)

1996 - Kentucky G-F Derek Anderson (Ohio State) and C Mark Pope (Washington)

1995 - Oklahoma State F Scott Pierce (Illinois)

1994 - None

1993 - Kentucky G Travis Ford (Missouri) and Kansas G Rex Walters (Northwestern)

1992 - Cincinnati G Anthony Buford (Akron) and F Erik Martin* (Texas Christian)

1991 - UNLV G Greg Anthony (Portland) and C Elmore Spencer* (Georgia)

1990 - UNLV G Greg Anthony (Portland)

1989 - Illinois F Kenny Battle (Northern Illinois)

1988 - Oklahoma F Harvey Grant (Clemson) and Arizona F Tom Tolbert* (UC Irvine)

1987 - Providence G Delray Brooks (Indiana) and UNLV G Mark Wade* (Oklahoma)

1986 - Kansas C Greg Dreiling (Wichita State)

1985 - St. John's G Mike Moses (Florida)

1984 - Virginia G Rick Carlisle (Maine)

*Played for a junior college between four-year schools.

Hield Came Close to Duplicating Lovellette's One-and-Only Final Four Feat

Oklahoma's Buddy Hield, the nation's runner-up in scoring with 25.4 points per game, came close to duplicating one of the most overlooked achievements in NCAA Tournament history. In 1951-52, Clyde Lovellette of champion Kansas became the only player to lead the nation in scoring average (28.4 ppg) while competing for a squad reaching the NCAA tourney title game. Final Four luminaries averaging more than 30 ppg include Elvin Hayes (36.8/Houston '68), Oscar Robertson (33.7/Cincinnati '60 and 32.6/Cincinnati '59), Rick Mount (33.3/Purdue '69), Elgin Baylor (32.5/Seattle '58), Bill Bradley (30.5/Princeton '65) and Len Chappell (30.1/Wake Forest '62).

Lovellette, an 11-year NBA center who passed away earlier this year, served as sheriff of Vigo County in his native Indiana (noted for raid on Terre Haute brothels). OU fans would be content with Hield raiding the Final Four by joining Lovellette as the only other player cracking the 30-point plateau in the national semifinals and championship contest in the same season (33 against both Santa Clara and St. John's).

Hield, sharing national player of the year awards with Michigan State's Denzil Valentine, is the first Final Four player since Georgia Tech's Dennis Scott to average in excess of 25 ppg. Only two other Final Four players notched higher scoring averages than Hield since the playoff field expanded to at least 32 teams in 1975 - Larry Bird (28.6 ppg for Indiana State '79 and Glen Rice (25.6 for Michigan '89). Following is a list of individuals in the last 26 years amassing the highest scoring average from a Final Four club since Scott's mark of 27.7 ppg in 1989-90:

Season Top Scorer Among Final Four Teams School Average
1990-91 Larry Johnson UNLV 22.7 ppg
1991-92 Christian Laettner Duke 21.5 ppg
1992-93 Jamal Mashburn Kentucky 21.0 ppg
1993-94 Khalid Reeves Arizona 24.2 ppg
1994-95 Bryant Reeves Oklahoma State 21.5 ppg
1995-96 John Wallace Syracuse 22.2 ppg
1996-97 Antawn Jamison North Carolina 19.1 ppg
1997-98 Antawn Jamison North Carolina 22.2 ppg
1998-99 Richard Hamilton Connecticut 21.5 ppg
1999-00 Morris Peterson Michigan State 16.8 ppg
2000-01 Jay Williams Duke 21.6 ppg
2001-02 Juan Dixon Maryland 20.4 ppg
2002-03 Carmelo Anthony Syracuse 22.2 ppg
2003-04 Ben Gordon Connecticut 18.5 ppg
2004-05 Sean May North Carolina 17.5 ppg
2005-06 Glen Davis Louisiana State 18.6 ppg
2006-07 Arron Affalo UCLA 16.9 ppg
2007-08 Tyler Hansbrough North Carolina 22.6 ppg
2008-09 Tyler Hansbrough North Carolina 20.7 ppg
2009-10 Jon Scheyer Duke 18.2 ppg
2010-11 Kemba Walker Connecticut 23.5 ppg
2011-12 Thomas Robinson Kansas 17.7 ppg
2012-13 Russ Smith Louisville 18.7 ppg
2013-14 Shabazz Napier Connecticut 18.0 ppg
2014-15 Frank Kaminsky Wisconsin 18.8 ppg
2015-16 Buddy Hield Oklahoma 25.4 ppg

Final Four Curse: Boeheim and Williams Had F4 Players Pass Away Early

Keith Smart, the Final Four Most Outstanding Player for 1987 national kingpin Indiana, is battling a rare form of skin cancer spreading along the left side of his jaw. Smart's ailment surfaced as a question lingered after center Andrew Smith, the second-leading rebounder and third-leading scorer for Butler's 2011 NCAA playoff runner-up, lost his fight against lymphoma in mid-season: Is there a Final Four curse?

This topic reared its ugly head earlier in the season when Michael Wright, leading rebounder and second-leading scorer for Arizona's 2001 national runner-up team including Gilbert Arenas, Richard Jefferson and Luke Walton, was found dead with a skull fracture in New York City in the back seat of his Lexus SUV. Covered with garbage bags amid reports of police investigating possibility of him murdered by someone he met on a gay dating app, the Chicago high school teammate of Kevin Garnett was 35.

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.

Life expectancy in the U.S. for people born in 2012 is 79 years. Any tribute isn't enough when a man such as Smith is buried long before his time. Unspeakable tragedy also struck Butler when the six-month-old son of Emerson Kampen, a backup to Smith, died of a genetic disorder affecting the central nervous system. 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).

  • Bob Doll, a starter for Colorado in 1942, died in 1959 at the age of 40 of an apparent suicide.

  • Milo Komenich, leading scorer for Wyoming's 1943 NCAA titlist, died in 1977 at his home at the age of 56.

  • 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.

  • Curtis Popham, Texas' co-captain in 1943, was one of seven Longhorns lettermen since the mid-1930s to make the supreme sacrifice during WWII.

  • Swingman Johnny Jorgensen, a teammate of Hall of Famer George Mikan on DePaul's 1943 Final Four team, died in mid-January 1973 at the age of 51.

  • All-American Audie Brindley of 1944 runner-up Dartmouth died of cancer in 1957 at the age of 33.

  • Swingman Joe Bradley, a regular for Oklahoma A&M's 1946 NCAA champion, was 58 when he died on June 5, 1987.

  • Center Jack Underman, the leading scorer for Ohio State's 1946 national third-place team, was an oral surgeon in Elyria, Ohio, when he died in an auto crash on October 23, 1969, at the age of 44.

  • 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.

  • Center Gerry Tucker, the leading scorer for Oklahoma's 1947 national runner-up, died on May 29, 1979, at the age of 57.

  • 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.

  • Center Ed Roman, leading scorer for CCNY's 1950 titlist who was involved in a conspiracy to fix games, died of leukemia in early March 1988 at the age of 57.

  • Bob Ferrick, coach of Santa Clara's 1952 national fourth-place team, died in 1976 at the age of 56.

  • 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.

  • Joe Cipriano, the second-leading scorer for Washington's national third-place team in 1953 before becoming Nebraska's all-time winningest coach, was 49 in late November 1980 when he died of cancer.

  • 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.

  • Forward Jerry Mullen, runner-up in scoring and rebounding as captain for San Francisco's 1955 champion, died in September 1979 at the age of 45.

  • 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 Joe Kitchen, a member of Louisville's regular rotation for 1959 national fourth-place team, was 52 in 1991 when he died.

  • 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.

  • Frank Christie, Wake Forest's third-leading rebounder for 1962 national third-place team, was 50 in mid-October 1992 when he passed away following a brief illness.

  • 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 a PhD.

  • Guard Denny Ferguson, a regular for Duke's 1963 national third-place team and 1964 runner-up, died from cancer in 2001 at 58. He was a professor at Cornell.

  • 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 Bobby Joe Hill, the leading scorer for Texas Western's 1966 NCAA titlist, passed away from a heart attack in December 2002 at the age of 59.

  • 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.

  • Dave Sorenson, second-leading rebounder and third-leading scorer as a sophomore for Ohio State's national third-place team in 1968, died in 2002 at the age of 54 because of cancer.

  • Herm Gilliam, leading rebounder and second-leading scorer for Purdue's 1969 national runner-up, died of a heart attack in 2005 at the age of 58.

  • Maury John, national coach of the year in 1969 when directing Drake to a national third-place finish, died of cancer in 1974 at the age of 55.

  • 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.

  • Point guard Vaughn Wedeking, third-leading scorer for Jacksonville's 1970 runner-up, died in the summer of 2009 at the age of 60 after suffering from Alzheimer's for several years.

  • New Mexico State backup guard Milton Horne, who averaged 4.4 ppg for 1970 national third-place team, died in 2001 at the age of 52.

  • 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.

  • Reggie Royals, the leading rebounder and second-leading scorer for Florida State's 1972 runner-up, passed away in mid-April 2009 at the age of 58.

  • 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.

  • Bob Parker, a backup center for Syracuse's 1975 national fourth-place team, passed away in January 2006 at the age of 51.

  • John Robinson, Michigan's second-leading rebounder and third-leading scorer for 1976 runner-up, died in late September 2012 at the age of 56.

  • 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.

  • Tom Zaliagiris, North Carolina's top reserve guard for 1977 runner-up, died in late January 2007 at the age of 50 because of a bacteria infection.

  • 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.

  • Mike Phillips, the starting center for Kentucky's 1978 NCAA champion, died in late April 2015 at the age of 59 following a fall at his home.

  • Point guard John Harrell, a point guard for Duke's 1978 runner-up after transferring from North Carolina Central, died of an aortal aneurysm at age 50 in the summer of 2008.

  • 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.

  • Curtis Watkins, DePaul's second-leading scorer and rebounder for 1979 national third-place team, died in June 2008 at the age of 51 due to a blocked artery.

  • 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.

  • Drake Morris Jr., the 29-year-old son of the third-leading scorer for Purdue's 1980 national third-place team, was shot to death in northwest Indiana in the middle of the night in late August 2011.

  • Center Greg Cook, third-leading rebounder and fifth-leading scorer for LSU's national fourth-place team in 1981, died in mid-March 2005 from congestive heart failure at the age of 46.

  • 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.

  • Swingman Don Redden, who averaged 13 points and 4.8 rebounds per game for Louisiana State's 1986 Final Four squad, was 24 when he died in March 1988 of heart disease.

  • Keith Hughes, a backup forward as a freshman for Syracuse's 1987 runner-up before transferring to Rutgers, died suddenly at his N.J. home in February 2014 at the age of 45.

  • Armen Gilliam, the leading scorer and rebounder for UNLV's 1987 Final Four team, died from a heart attack on July 5, 2011, while playing basketball in a Pittsburgh area gym. He was 47.

  • 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.

  • Earl Badu, a walk-on member of 2002 NCAA titlist Maryland was in legal and financial trouble ($300,000 debt involving major Terps booster) in the years preceding his suicide at 33 in late September 2012 jumping from an eastern Baltimore overpass.

Familiar Faces: Roy Rockets to Fourth Place in Coaching Most Final Fours

Unsure how many of his championship team players in 2005 and 2009 circumvented normal final exams while taking bogus no-show classes. But while North Carolina's Roy Williams probably isn't too keen on discussing scholastic standards ("I'm to the point that I don't really care what anybody else thinks of what I say"), he ranks #4 among celebrated coaches showing up for the most Final Four appearances, registering a 7-6 record following a 2016 title tilt defeat. His mentor, Dean Smith, compiled a losing F4 record (8-11).

Coach School(s) F4 Record (Pct.) Final Four Appearances (Years/Finishes)
Mike Krzyzewski Duke 14-7 (.667) 12 (1986/2nd, 1988/T3rd, 1989/T3rd, 1990/2nd, 1991/1st, 1992/1st, 1994/2nd, 1999/2nd, 2001/1st, 2004/T3rd, 2010/1st and 2015/1st)
John Wooden UCLA 21-3 (.875) 12 (1962/4th, 1964/1st, 1965/1st, 1967/1st, 1968/1st, 1969/1st, 1970/1st, 1971/1st, 1972/1st, 1973/1st, 1974/3rd and 1975/1st)
Dean Smith North Carolina 8-11 (.421) 11 (1967/4th, 1968/2nd, 1969/4th, 1972/3rd, 1977/2nd, 1981/2nd, 1982/1st, 1991/T3rd, 1993/1st, 1995/T3rd and 1997/T3rd)
Roy Williams Kansas/North Carolina 7-6 (.538) 8 (1991/2nd, 1993/T3rd, 2002/T3rd, 2003/2nd, 2005/1st, 2008/T3rd, 2009/1st and 2016/2nd)

Missing in Action: Nova and Notre Dame Still Haven't Met in NCAA Playoffs

Despite both of them reaching the Elite Eight, the odds were against Villanova and Notre Dame advancing to the NCAA Tournament championship game to oppose each other in the playoffs for the first time. What other powerhouses never have battled each other in the NCAA tourney?

Although the event is in its eighth decade, there are attractive power school match-ups never to have occurred. The potentially entertaining intra-sectional playoff contests between storied programs never to take place in the NCAAs include:

Double Your Pleasure: ACC Assured of Having Member in NCAA Title Game

The ACC boasts two members at the Final Four for the first time in 12 years. Two teams from the same conference reached the Final Four eight consecutive years from 1999 through 2006.

Squads from the same league have met in the national championship game on three occasions - 1976 (champion Indiana and runner-up Michigan/from Big Ten), 1985 (Villanova and Georgetown/Big East) and 1988 (Kansas and Oklahoma/Big Eight).

At least one of the two members from the same league participated in the national championship game in 19 of the first 23 years two teams from the same alliance advanced to the Final Four.

Year Final Four Results of Two Teams From the Same Conference
1976 Indiana (1st in regular-season competition) defeated fellow Big Ten Conference member Michigan (2nd) in championship game.
1980 Purdue (3rd) defeated fellow Big Ten member Iowa (T4th) in national third-place game.
1981 North Carolina (2nd) defeated fellow ACC member Virginia (1st) in national semifinals before the Tar Heels bowed against Indiana in final.
1985 Villanova (T3rd) defeated fellow Big East member Georgetown (2nd) in national final after the Hoyas defeated St. John's (1st) in national semifinals.
1987 Syracuse (T1st) was runner-up to Indiana after defeating fellow Big East member Providence (T4th) in national semifinals.
1988 Kansas (3rd) defeated fellow Big Eight member Oklahoma (1st) in championship game.
1989 Michigan (3rd) won championship game against Seton Hall after the Wolverines defeated fellow Big Ten member Illinois (2nd) in national semifinals.
1990 UNLV defeated ACC members Georgia Tech (T3rd) in national semifinals and Duke (2nd) in championship game.
1991 Kansas split two games with ACC members, defeating North Carolina (2nd) in national semifinals before losing against Duke (1st) in championship game.
1992 Duke defeated Big Ten members Indiana (2nd) in national semifinals and Michigan (T3rd) in championship game.
1994 Arkansas (1st in West Division) won championship game against Duke after the Blue Devils defeated the Hogs' fellow SEC member Florida (T1st in East) in national semifinals.
1996 Kentucky (1st in East Division) won championship game against Syracuse after the Orangemen defeated the Wildcats' fellow SEC member Mississippi State (1st in West Division) in national semifinals.
1999 Michigan State (1st) and fellow Big Ten member Ohio State (2nd) lost against Duke and Connecticut, respectively, in national semifinals.
2000 Michigan State (T1st) won national championship after defeating fellow Big Ten member Wisconsin (6th) in national semifinals.
2001 Duke (T1st) won national championship after defeating fellow ACC member Maryland (3rd) in national semifinals.
2002 Kansas (1st) and Big 12 rival Oklahoma (2nd) lost against Maryland and Indiana, respectively, in national semifinals.
2003 Kansas (1st) finished national runner-up and Big 12 rival Texas (2nd) lost against eventual champion Syracuse in national semifinals.
2004 Georgia Tech (T3rd) finished national runner-up and ACC rival Duke (1st) lost against eventual champion Connecticut in national semifinals.
2005 Illinois (1st) finished national runner-up and Big Ten rival Michigan State (2nd) lost against eventual champion North Carolina in national semifinals.
2006 Florida (2nd in Eastern Division) won national championship and SEC rival LSU (1st in Western Division) lost against UCLA in national semifinals.
2009 Big East rivals Connecticut (T2nd) and Villanova (4th) each lost in national semifinals.
2013 Louisville (T1st) won national championship against Michigan after the Wolverines defeated Syracuse (T5th) in national semifinals in their Big East swan songs.
2014 SEC members Florida (1st) and Kentucky (T2nd) were on opposite sides of the bracket in Arlington, TX. Connecticut defeated top-ranked Florida in national semifinals and preseason #1 UK in national final.
2015 Big Ten members Michigan State (T3rd) and Wisconsin (1st) were on opposite sides of the bracket in Indianapolis. Wisconsin reached title game and MSU was eliminated by Duke.
2016 North Carolina (1st) lost in national championship game after defeating fellow ACC member Syracuse (T9th) in semifinals.

College Exam: NCAA Tournament One-&-Only Trivia Challenge (Day #16)

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 (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'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.

5. Who is the only player to appear at a minimum of two Final Fours and be the game-high scorer in every Final Four contest he played? Hint: His brother is an NFL Hall of Famer.

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.

Answers (Day 16)

Day 15 Questions and Answers

Day 14 Questions and Answers

Day 13 Questions and Answers

Day 12 Questions and Answers

Day 11 Questions and Answers

Day 10 Questions and Answers

Day 9 Questions and Answers

Day 8 Questions and Answers

Day 7 Questions and Answers

Day 6 Questions and Answers

Day 5 Questions and Answers

Day 4 Questions and Answers

Day 3 Questions and Answers

Day 2 Questions and Answers

Day 1 Questions and Answers

Generation Hex: Altman, Brey, Dunphy & Few Never Have Reached Final Four

Despite a total of 58 NCAA playoff appearances, Dana Altman, Mike Brey, Fran Dunphy and Mark Few remain among the best coaches never to reach a Final Four. They are among all-time greats such as John Chaney, Lefty Driesell, Gene Keady and Norm Stewart - four retired luminaries failing to advance to the national semifinals in a total of 64 NCAA Tournaments. "It's so difficult not being able to make that final step," said Chaney, who lost five regional finals with Temple.

Driesell made 11 NCAA playoff appearances with Davidson and Maryland from 1966 through 1986. "I always wanted to get to the Final Four, but not as much as some people think," said Driesell, who lost four regional finals. "I'm not obsessed with it."

Only four schools - North Carolina, Duke, Georgetown and Syracuse - supplied more NCAA consensus first- and second-team All-Americans from 1982 through 1992 than Stewart-coached Missouri (seven). It must have been particularly frustrating for Mizzou fans when the Tigers compiled a 4-8 NCAA tourney worksheet in that span.

But some mentors never will receive the accolades they deserve because of failing to reach the Promised Land, including maligned Dave Bliss, who resurfaced as coach of an NAIA school in Texas. Let's hope they didn't seek a safe space on campus to curl up in a fetal position, but the following "Generation Hex" list includes prominent coaches without a Final Four berth on their resume despite more than 10 NCAA Tournament appearances:

Coach NCAA Tourneys Playoff Record (Pct.) Closest to Reaching Final Four
Gene Keady 18 19-18 (.514) regional runner-up with Purdue in 1994 and 2000
John Chaney 17 23-17 (.575) regional runner-up with Temple five times (1988-91-93-99-01)
Mark Few 17 21-17 (.553) regional runner-up with Gonzaga in 2015
Fran Dunphy 16 3-16 (.158) won three opening-round games with Penn and Temple (1994, 2011 and 2013)
Norm Stewart 16 12-16 (.429) regional runner-up with Missouri in 1976 and 1994
Mike Brey 13 12-13 (.480) regional runner-up with Notre Dame in 2015 and 2016
Lefty Driesell 13 16-14 (.533) regional runner-up four times with Davidson and Maryland (1968-69-73-75)
Dana Altman 12 9-12 (.429) regional runner-up with Oregon in 2016
Dave Bliss 11 8-11 (.421) regional semifinals with Oklahoma in 1979
Pete Carril 11 4-11 (.267) won two games with Princeton in 1983
Gale Catlett 11 7-11 (.389) regional semifinals with West Virginia in 1998
Tom Davis 11 18-11 (.621) regional runner-up with Boston College in 1982 and Iowa in 1987
Mark Gottfried 11 10-11 (.476) regional final with Alabama in 2004
Tom Penders 11 12-11 (.522) regional final with Texas in 1990

Star Light: Undergrad Defectors Fail to Prevent Teams Reaching Final Four

For the seventh straight season, at least one team reached the Final Four after losing a vital player who defected following the previous season to make themselves available for the NBA draft, where they were selected in the first round. North Carolina and Syracuse were able to reload this year after each lost an NBA draft choice.

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 13 times in the last 15 years. Following is a list of the 31 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)
North Carolina '16 J.P. Tokoto (58th pick in 2015 draft)
Syracuse '16 Chris McCullough (29th pick in 2015 draft)

Back to Business: Seventh Time When Each Final Four Coach is Returnee

When Roy Williams (North Carolina) and Jim Boeheim (Syracuse) tangled at the national semifinals, it represented the most experienced Final Four match-up in history (total of 13 F4 appearances between them).

This year marks only the seventh occasion when all four coaches converged on the NCAA Tournament national semifinals with previous Final Four experience. But it's the third time in just the last five years. Following are the seven set of coaches who got back to business at the Final Four:

Nice to See You Again? ACC First Alliance With Three Intra-League Matchups

NCAA Tournament match-ups between members from the same league are relatively rare despite ACC members comprising the entire East and Midwest Regional finals. When ACC rivals Louisville and North Carolina State met in the 2015 East Regional semifinals, it was the 23rd such confrontation but only the third in a 13-year span.

The Big Ten Conference accounted for seven of the first 18 NCAA Tournament games pitting league members against each other but hasn't been involved in such a contest since 2000. This season marks the first time a league (ACC) will generate three intra-conference playoff confrontations in a single tourney including the 11th such Final Four tilt.

Year Conference Playoff Round NCAA Tourney Result Between Members of Same League
1976 Big Ten national championship Indiana 86 (May scored team-high 26 points), Michigan 68 (Green 18)
1980 Big Ten regional semifinals Purdue 76 (Edmonson/Morris 20), Indiana 69 (I. Thomas 30)
1980 Big Ten national third-place Purdue 75 (Carroll 35), Iowa 58 (Arnold 19)
1981 ACC national semifinals North Carolina 78 (Wood 39), Virginia 65 (Lamp 18)
1983 ACC regional final North Carolina State 63 (Whittenburg 24), Virginia 62 (Sampson 23)
1985 Big East national semifinals Georgetown 77 (Williams 20), St. John's 59 (Glass 13)
1985 Big East national championship Villanova 66 (McClain 17), Georgetown 64 (Wingate 16)
1986 SEC regional semifinals Kentucky 68 (Walker 22), Alabama 63 (Coner 20)
1986 SEC regional final Louisiana State 59 (Williams 16), Kentucky 57 (Walker 20)
1987 Big East regional final Providence 88 (Donovan/D. Wright 20), Georgetown 73 (Williams 25)
1987 Big East national semifinals Syracuse 77 (Monroe 17), Providence 63 (Screen 18)
1988 Big Eight regional final Kansas 71 (Manning 20), Kansas State 58 (Scott 18)
1988 Big Eight national championship Kansas 83 (Manning 31), Oklahoma 79 (Sieger 22)
1989 Big Ten national semifinals Michigan 83 (Rice 28), Illinois 81 (Battle 29)
1992 Big Ten regional final Michigan 75 (Webber 23), Ohio State 71 (Jackson 20)
1992 Great Midwest regional final Cincinnati 88 (Jones 23), Memphis State 57 (Hardaway 12)
2000 Big Ten regional final Wisconsin 64 (Bryant 18), Purdue 60 (Cardinal/Cunningham 13)
2000 Big Ten national semifinals Michigan State 53 (Peterson 20), Wisconsin 41 (Boone 18)
2001 ACC national semifinals Duke 95 (Battier 25), Maryland 84 (Dixon 19)
2002 Big 12 regional final Oklahoma 81 (Price 18), Missouri 75 (Paulding 22)
2009 Big East regional final Villanova 78 (Anderson 17), Pittsburgh 76 (Young 28)
2013 Big East regional final Syracuse 55 (Southerland 16), Marquette 39 (Blue 14)
2015 ACC regional semifinals Louisville 75 (Harrell 24), North Carolina State 65 (Lacey 18)
2016 ACC regional final North Carolina 88 (Johnson 25), Notre Dame 74 (Jackson 26)
2016 ACC regional final Syracuse 68 (Richardson 23), Virginia 62 (Perrantes 18)
2016 ACC national semifinals North Carolina 83 (Jackson/Johnson 16), Syracuse 66 (Cooney 22)

College Exam: NCAA Tournament One-&-Only Trivia Challenge (Day #15)

Emphasizing a "one-and-only" theme for a "one-and-only" event, here is Day 15 of a treasure-trove of tantalizing NCAA Tournament trivia questions from (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's year-by-year highlights):

1. Who is the only individual to play for two NCAA champions, play for more than two NBA champions and coach two NBA champions. Hint: He was the first of four players to be a member of an NCAA championship team one year and an NBA titlist the next season as a rookie. He won the high jump in the West Coast Relays his senior year.

2. Who is the only individual to average fewer than four points per game as a freshman and then be selected Final Four Most Outstanding Player the next season as a sophomore. Hint: He had more three-point baskets in two Final Four games than he managed his entire freshman season.

3. Who is the only player named to an All-NCAA Tournament team not to score a total of more than 10 points in two Final Four games? Hint: He had the same point total in each Final Four game for a team whose star had the same last name.

4. Who is the only Final Four Most Outstanding Player to later coach his alma mater in the NCAA Tournament? Hint: The guard was named Most Outstanding Player although he was his team's fourth-leading scorer at the Final Four that year.

5. Name the only school to have two of the six eligible teams ranked among the top five in the AP and/or UPI final polls to not participate in either the NCAA Tournament or the NIT in the days before teams other than the conference champion could be chosen to the NCAA playoffs as at-large entrants. Hint: The school lost three regional finals in one four-year span and hasn't reached the Final Four in the last 50 years.

6. Who is the only coach to lose more than five regional final games? Hint: His regional final defeats were by an average margin of 10 points and his biggest nemesis was the Big Ten Conference.

7. Who is the only individual to become NBA Rookie of the Year and Most Valuable Player to participate in the NCAA Tournament but never win an NCAA playoff game? Hint: He shared the NBA Rookie of the Year award with another player who was on the losing end in his only NCAA Tournament appearance. Two years later, he was NBA All-Star Game Most Valuable Player the same season he was named league MVP.

8. Of the more than 40 different players to be named NBA Most Valuable Player, score more than 20,000 points in the pros or be selected to an All-NBA team at least five times after participating in the NCAA Tournament, who is the only one to average fewer than 10 points per game in the NCAA playoffs? Hint: He is believed to be the youngest Hall of Famer to appear in an NCAA championship game at the tender age of 16 and was later named to 12 consecutive All-NBA teams.

9. Who is the only guard to score more than 35 points in an NCAA final? Hint: He led his team in scoring in back-to-back Final Fours but wasn't named Final Four Most Outstanding Player either year. He is the only championship team player to have a two-game total of at least 70 points at the Final Four and is the shortest undergraduate to average more than 20 points per game for an NCAA titlist.

10. Who is the only player to have as many as 20 field goals in an NCAA championship game? Hint: He scored fewer than seven points in both his tourney debut and final playoff appearance.

Answers (Day 15)

Day 14 Questions and Answers

Day 13 Questions and Answers

Day 12 Questions and Answers

Day 11 Questions and Answers

Day 10 Questions and Answers

Day 9 Questions and Answers

Day 8 Questions and Answers

Day 7 Questions and Answers

Day 6 Questions and Answers

Day 5 Questions and Answers

Day 4 Questions and Answers

Day 3 Questions and Answers

Day 2 Questions and Answers

Day 1 Questions and Answers

Looking Out For #1: Only Four of Last 34 Top-Ranked Teams Won NCAA Title

Annually, there is a clear and present danger for pole sitters such as Kansas. Four years ago, Kentucky became only the fourth of 34 schools atop the national rankings entering the NCAA playoffs since North Carolina '82 to capture the national championship.

In 2006, Duke became the ninth No. 1 team in 17 years to fail to advance to a regional final when the Blue Devils were eliminated by LSU. In 1992, Duke defied a trend by becoming the first top-ranked team in 10 years entering the NCAA Tournament to win a national title. The previous five top-ranked teams failed to reach the championship game. UNLV lost twice in the national semifinals (1987 and 1991) and Temple '88, Arizona '89 and Oklahoma '90 failed to reach the Final Four.

Temple, a 63-53 loser against Duke in the 1988 East Regional final, and Kansas State, an 85-75 loser against Cincinnati in the 1959 Midwest Regional final, are the only teams ranked No. 1 by both AP and UPI entering the tourney to lose by a double-digit margin before the Final Four.

The school gaining the sweetest revenge against a top-ranked team was St. John's in 1952. Defending NCAA champion Kentucky humiliated the Redmen by 41 points (81-40) early in the season when the Catholic institution became the first to have a black player on the floor at Lexington, Ky. The African-American player, Solly Walker, played only a few minutes before he took a hit sidelining him for three weeks. But St. John's, sparked by center Bob Zawoluk's 32 points, avenged the rout by eliminating the Wildcats (64-57) in the East Regional, ending their 23-game winning streak. The Redmen, who subsequently defeated second-ranked Illinois in the national semifinals, lost against Kansas in the NCAA final.

In the 1982 championship game, North Carolina needed a basket with 16 seconds remaining from freshman Michael Jordan to nip Georgetown, 63-62, and become the only top-ranked team in 13 years from 1979 through 1991 to capture the NCAA title. It was a particularly bitter pill to swallow for seven of the 11 top-ranked teams to lose in the NCAA championship game in overtime or by two or three points in regulation.

KU is the latest #1 to learn it's win or go home as the Wildcats became the ninth top-ranked team to be eliminated in a regional final. Less than one-third of the top-ranked squads captured the NCAA crown. Following is analysis sizing up how the No. 1 teams fared in the NCAA playoffs since the Associated Press introduced national rankings in 1949:

20 - Won national title (Kentucky '49; Kentucky '51; Indiana '53; San Francisco '56; North Carolina '57; UCLA '64; UCLA '67; UCLA '69; UCLA '71; UCLA '72; UCLA '73; North Carolina State '74; UCLA '75; Indiana '76; Kentucky '78; North Carolina '82; Duke '92; UCLA '95, Duke '01, and Kentucky '12.

13 - Finished national runner-up (Bradley '50/defeated by CCNY; Ohio State '61/Cincinnati; Ohio State '62/Cincinnati; Cincinnati '63/Loyola of Chicago; Michigan '65/UCLA; Kentucky '66/Texas Western; Indiana State '79/Michigan State; Houston '83/North Carolina State; Georgetown '85/Villanova; Duke '86/Louisville; Duke '99/Connecticut; Illinois '05/North Carolina, and Ohio State '07/Florida).

9 - Lost in national semifinals (Cincinnati '60/defeated by California; Houston '68/UCLA; UNLV '87/Indiana; UNLV '91/Duke; Massachusetts '96/Kentucky; North Carolina '98/Utah; North Carolina '08/Kansas; Florida '14/Connecticut, and Kentucky '15/Wisconsin.

9 - Lost in regional final (Kentucky '52/defeated by St. John's; Kansas State '59/Cincinnati; Kentucky '70/Jacksonville; Michigan '77/UNC Charlotte; Temple '88/Duke; Indiana '93/Kansas; Kentucky '03/Marquette; Louisville '09/Michigan State), and Kansas '16/Villanova.

7 - Lost in regional semifinals (North Carolina '84/defeated by Indiana; Arizona '89/UNLV; Kansas '97/Arizona; Duke '00/Florida; Duke '02/Indiana); Duke '06/Louisiana State, and Ohio State '11/Kentucky).

7 - Lost in second round (DePaul '80/defeated by UCLA; DePaul '81/St. Joseph's; Oklahoma '90/North Carolina; North Carolina '94/Boston College; Stanford '04/Alabama; Kansas '10/Northern Iowa), and Gonzaga '13/Wichita State).

1 - Lost in first round (West Virginia '58/defeated by Manhattan).

1 - Declined a berth (Kentucky '54).

NOTE: After United Press International started ranking teams in 1951, UPI had just three different No. 1 teams entering the national playoffs than AP - Indiana lost in 1954 East Regional semifinals against Notre Dame, California finished as 1960 national runner-up to Ohio State and Indiana lost in 1975 Mideast Regional final against Kentucky.

Illini Need to Bypass Windy City and Concentrate on Small-Town America

John Groce inherited a gross situation four years ago after two fellow mid-major coaches rejected overtures from Illinois. If not, he probably wouldn't be watching both Kansas and Villanova feature a regular-rotation player from Illinois in the 2016 South Regional final. The Illini are one of the 10 schools with the most Top 20 appearances but are closing in on duplicating the disarray of the 1970s when they failed to finish in the Top 20 of a final wire-service poll or appear in the NCAA playoffs the entire decade.

There is no question Gross' program is struggling after almost half of its roster was apprehended this campaign. Illini Nation won't be all it can be unless he fends off Duke (lost Jahlil Okafor two years ago to Chicago native Mike Krzyzewski) and Kansas (Cliff "Hat Trick" Alexander) for elite in-state recruits. Illini fans are disheartened because close only counts in hand grenades and bombs, horseshoes plus drive-in movies; not recruiting. Former Illini coach Bill Self previously lured Chicago-area All-Americans Sherron Collins and Julian Wright to KU. Additional Windy City regal recruits shunning the Illini since they reached the NCAA title game in 2005 include Jalen Brunson (Villanova), Quinn Cook (Duke), Anthony Davis (Kentucky), Eric Gordon (Indiana), Derrick Rose (Memphis) and Tyler Ulis (Kentucky).

After compiling a losing Big Ten Conference record over the last nine years, it boils down to in-state recruiting. Among the Illinois natives who earned All-American status during the '70s with other universities were DePaul's Mark Aguirre (from Chicago), Minnesota's Jim Brewer (Maywood), Indiana's Quinn Buckner (Dolton), Penn's Corky Calhoun (Waukegan), Illinois State's Doug Collins (Benton), DePaul's Dave Corzine (Arlington Heights), Marquette's Bo Ellis (Chicago), Michigan's Rickey Green (Chicago), Kentucky's Dan Issel (Batavia), Iowa's Ronnie Lester (Chicago), Colorado's Cliff Meely (Chicago), Bradley's Roger Phegley (East Peoria), Kansas' Dave Robisch (Springfield), Marquette's Lloyd Walton (Chicago) and Jerome Whitehead (Waukegan) plus Georgia Tech's Rich Yunkus (Benton). Four of these standouts were All-Americans in the same season - Buckner, Ellis, Green and Walton in 1975-76.

Kansas, finishing this season as the nation's top-ranked team, has been a thorn in the Illini's side for an extended period. Alexander, Collins, Wright, Robisch and current frontcourter Jamari Traylor were joined at KU by the following '70s recruits from Illinois:

  • Roger Brown (Chicago) - Leading rebounder for KU's 1971 Final Four squad.
  • Seven of top eight scorers for Jayhawks' 1974 Final Four team - Norm Cook (Lincoln/All-Big Eight Conference first-team selection), Dale Greenlee (Rockford), Tom Kivisto (Aurora/all-league first-team selection), Roger Morningstar (Dundee/two-time all-league second-team selection), Tommie Smith (Kewanee), Rick Suttle (East St. Louis/three-time all-league selection) and Dave Taynor (Bethalto).
  • Donnie Von Moore (Chicago) - End-of-the-bench forward for 1974 Final Four squad averaged 8.2 ppg, 5.8 rpg and 1.6 bpg the next three seasons.
  • Herb Nobles (East St. Louis) - Leading rebounder and second-leading scorer in 1976-77.

Comparable to several decades ago, focusing its recruiting efforts on Chicago won't be a panacea for the Illini. If freedom of speech means anything to PC police, too many players UI summoned from there to Champaign seem as if they'd be more comfortable disrupting a Donald Trump rally. The "audacity-of-hype" truth is that the Windy City might be delusional and won't always supply a Messiah providing the "hope and change" you're seeking. Thus, Groce's staff needs to take every back road in the state to generate roster value. After all, Issel and Yunkus were among 22 different major-college All-Americans in less than 30 years to come from Illinois high schools in towns with populations smaller than 20,000. Bigger isn't always better or worth your time and energy. In other words, the leader-depleted Illini can't permit a quality playmaker such as Fred VanVleet (Rockford) to leave the state and become an All-American at Wichita State.

Thrill is Gone: DePaul, OSU & USF Combine For One NCAA Win Last 27 Years

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, seven former Final Four participants - Houston, New Mexico State, Oregon State, Princeton, San Francisco, Southern Methodist and Texas-El Paso - combined to go winless in the past 18 years.

DePaul, Oregon State and San Francisco each have won more than 20 NCAA tourney games but collaborated for only one win in the past 27 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 past nine years with only one appearance
Charlotte (11) no appearance past 11 years; winless past 15 years
Clemson (11) one victory past 19 years
DePaul (22) appeared once past 16 years; one victory past 27 years
George Washington (11) one victory past 22 years
Georgia (12) one victory past 20 years
Holy Cross (13) posted first win since 1953 this season in play-in game
Houston (19) winless past 32 years
Idaho State (11) winless past 39 years
Minnesota (12) one victory past 19 years
New Mexico State (20) winless past 23 years
Old Dominion (11) one victory past 21 years
Oregon State (17) winless past 34 years
Penn (23) one victory past 36 years
Pepperdine (13) one victory past 34 years
Princeton (24) winless past 18 years
San Francisco (16) appeared once past 34 years
Santa Clara (11) no appearance past 20 years
Seattle (11) winless since 1964
Southern Methodist (11) winless past 28 years
Texas-El Paso (17) winless past 24 years
Utah State (20) one victory past 46 years
Weber State (15) winless past 17 years
Wyoming (15) one victory past 29 years

Giving Voice to FG Shooting: Sherrod is Soloist in More Than Simply Singing

Yale's Brandon Sherrod, setting himself apart from anyone who ever played major-college basketball, set an NCAA Division I record by making 30 consecutive field-goal attempts covering five mid-season games. Singing his praises in helping the Bulldogs participate in the NCAA playoffs for the first time since 1962, Sherrod returned to them this campaign after taking a year off from school to tour the world as one of only 14 singers with Yale's a cappella group - the Whiffenpoofs.

Sherrod isn't the only talented singer who also made music as a college basketball player. Consider the following crooners who didn't whiff in the music industry:

ISHMAEL BUTLER, Massachusetts
Known as Butterfly with the hip-hop group Digable Planets, which was nominated for a 1994 Grammy Award as the "Best New Artist."

He averaged 3.8 ppg and 2 rpg in John Calipari's first season as UMass coach in 1988-89.

JOHN FRED GOURRIER, Southeastern Louisiana
Lead vocalist and harmonica player for the rock-and-roll group John Fred and the Playboy Band that boasted a hit single "Judy in Disguise" in 1967 and 1968.

The 6-5, 185-pound forward averaged eight points per game for Southeastern Louisiana as a junior in 1962-63 before scoring 248 points as a senior. The Baton Rouge native also played two seasons for SLU's baseball team and still shares the school single-game record for most RBI with eight.

New York City disc jockey, the host with the mellow voice on "The Quiet Storm," for more than a quarter century in the New York City area.

One of the Orange's all-time leaders in rebounds per game (11.1). Harper also averaged 13.5 ppg from 1965-66 through 1967-68, leading SU in scoring as a senior (15.8 ppg). Teammate of All-American Dave Bing and all-time winningest coach Jim Boeheim grabbed team-high 10 rebounds in 91-81 loss to Duke in 1966 East Regional final. Ninth-round selection in the 1968 NBA draft by the Detroit Pistons.

AL JARREAU, Ripon (Wis.)
Innovative musical expressions made him one of the most exciting and critically-acclaimed performers of our time, winning five Grammys, including best jazz vocalist in 1978 and 1979. He began singing at the age of four, and was soon harmonizing with his brothers and performing solo at a variety of local events in his hometown of Milwaukee. Following an extended stint in Los Angeles, he was spotted by Warner Brothers Records talent scouts and signed to a recording contract in 1975. Two years later, Jarreau embarked on his first world tour. While on a break from touring in 1996, he accepted a three-month stint on Broadway playing the role of the Teen Angel in the hit musical Grease!

Member of Ripon's basketball team from 1958-59 through 1961-62 posted career highs of 5.9 ppg and 4.3 rpg as a sophomore. While attending college, he performed locally with a group called The Indigos on weekends and holidays before graduating with a B.S. in Psychology.

MARK MILLER, Central Florida
Front man and principal songwriter for Sawyer Brown, one of the nation's most popular and enduring country music bands. Sawyer Brown, the top grossing country group in 1994, has sold more than 11 million records since getting a jump start in 1984 on Ed McMahon's Star Search and was named the Top Vocal Group in 1997 by the Academy of Country Music. Sawyer Brown's "Six Days on the Road" video, which came out in early 2000, emphasized the baldheaded Miller's shooting ability.

The 5-8 guard was scoreless in a total of 13 minutes in seven games for Central Florida in 1978-79. He had one assist and committed three turnovers. "I play whenever I can," Miller said. "I go at it really hard. I think my greatest strength in basketball is just seeing the floor and having a feel for where everything should go. And maybe that's my strength in music, too."

Miller, who majored in physical education, joined UCF the year after it went to the Final Four in Division II, and coach Torchy Clark was a local legend. "He (Torchy) wanted you to play hard, but he also wanted you to be a good person," Miller said. "If it came between winning and being a good person, he would rather you be a good person. He helped me as a player, and the lessons I learned from him have helped me in my career. Late at night while on tour, I still call him."

PERCY ROMEO MILLER JR., Southern California
Rapper/actor, son of entertainment mogul and entrepreneur Master P, has released multiple studio albums and compilation albums. His debut album titled after his original alias Lil' Romeo contained the hit single "My Baby" that charted #1 on the Hot R&B/Hip-hop Singles.

Signed with the Trojans with friend Demar DeRozan, who left for the NBA after only one season. Romeo, a 5-9 point guard, played 19 minutes in nine games in 2008-09 and 2009-10, scoring a total of five points.

DAVID PALACIO, Texas Western
Executive vice president of EMI Latin, which is affiliated with Capitol Records in Hollywood, Calif.

Backup guard for Texas Western's 1966 NCAA championship team scored a season-high four points against Loyola (La.). Contributed a second-half field goal when the Miners erased a 16-point halftime deficit to win in overtime at New Mexico, 67-64. In their next outing, he chipped in with another basket in a 69-67 triumph over Arizona State. Palacio averaged 7.9 points and 3.5 rebounds per game the next season as a junior.

Brother of one of the most influential rap and hip-hop artists of the 1980s and early 1990s - KRS-ONE (born Kris Parker). Kenny, who performed as a DJ alongside his brother and in music videos as part of the hard-core hip-hop outfit Boogie Down Productions, was a producer for BDP recordings. He has produced TV commercials for Nike.

Parker was a four-year regular who had his best scoring season as a freshman (8.4 ppg in 1985-86 when he supplied a 26-point, nine-rebound effort against MAAC power La Salle).

Produced two No. 1 hits on the R&B charts. An accomplished keyboard player, he also has worked on movie soundtracks and for numerous artists (including Smokey Robinson).

Participated in the NIT and NCAA playoffs in the mid-1980s with the Panthers. His wife, attorney Renee Henderson, was a former Pitt sprinter who won the 60- and 200-meter dashes in France at the 2008 World Masters Indoor Track and Field Championships (setting two American Records en route to winning gold).

College Exam: NCAA Tournament One-&-Only Trivia Challenge (Day #14)

Emphasizing a "one-and-only" theme for a "one-and-only" event, here is Day 14 of a treasure-trove of tantalizing NCAA Tournament trivia questions from (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's year-by-year highlights):

1. Name the only school to compile a losing record in a season it won on the road against a conference rival later capturing the NCAA championship. Hint: The school is a former national titlist itself, but had just one winning league mark in 12 years from 1977-78 through 1988-89.

2. Name the only school to compile a conference record of more than 10 games below .500 in a season it defeated a league rival becoming NCAA champion. Hint: The school, which finished in first or second place in league competition four consecutive seasons in the early 1930s, has 44 consecutive non-winning records in conference play.

3. Name the only school to trail by at least 10 points at halftime of a tournament game and end up winning the contest by more than 20. Hint: A prominent network broadcaster played for the team. The next year, the school became the only one in tourney history to win back-to-back overtime games by double-digit margins.

4. Who is the only coach to lose in back-to-back seasons to teams seeded 14th or worse? Hint: He captured an NCAA championship later that decade.

5. Name the only double-digit seeded team to reach the Final Four until Virginia Commonwealth achieved the feat last year. Hint: It's the worst-seeded school to defeat a #1 seed, a conference rival that defeated the team a total of three times that year during the regular season and postseason league tournament. The next year, the university became the only school to reach back-to-back regional finals as a double-digit seed.

6. Name the only school to win a regional final game it trailed by more than 15 points at halftime. Hint: The school lost its next game at the Final Four to a team that dropped a conference game against the regional final opponent by a double-figure margin. Three years later, it became the only school to score more than 100 points in a championship game and win a national final by more than 21 points.

7. Who is the only team-leading scorer to be held more than 25 points under his season average in a Final Four game? Hint: He scored 39 points against the same opponent earlier in the season to help end the third-longest winning streak in major-college history. He is the only player to lead the playoffs in scoring and rebounding in back-to-back seasons although he wasn't named to the All-Tournament team one of those years despite becoming the only player to lead a tourney in scoring by more than 60 points. In addition, he is the only player in tournament history to collect more than 40 points and 25 rebounds in the same game.

8. Name the only school to lead the nation in scoring offense and win the NCAA title in the same season. Hint: The top four scorers were undergraduates for the only titlist to win all of its NCAA Tournament games by more than 15 points.

9. Name the only school to play in as many as three overtime games in a single tournament. Hint: One of the three overtime affairs was a national third-place game.

10. Who is the only Final Four Most Outstanding Player to go scoreless in two NCAA Tournament games in a previous year? Hint: His NBA scoring average decreased each of his last nine seasons in the league after becoming Rookie of the Year.

Answers (Day 14)

Day 13 Questions and Answers

Day 12 Questions and Answers

Day 11 Questions and Answers

Day 10 Questions and Answers

Day 9 Questions and Answers

Day 8 Questions and Answers

Day 7 Questions and Answers

Day 6 Questions and Answers

Day 5 Questions and Answers

Day 4 Questions and Answers

Day 3 Questions and Answers

Day 2 Questions and Answers

Day 1 Questions and Answers

Heady Kruger: Coaching Quartet Has Guided 3 Different Schools to Elite Eight

Lon Kruger is frequently overlooked in his profession despite status as only coach ever to direct five different schools in the NCAA Tournament. This year, he added to his credentials by becoming only the fifth mentor in playoff history guiding three different schools to an Elite Eight before earning acclaim as the 13th coach taking two different institutions to the Final Four.

Gene Bartow achieved the feat in a 10-year span from 1973 through 1982. Three of the five coaches advanced to a regional final piloting Kentucky. John Calipari is the only individual on the following list to be bench boss for three different schools reaching a regional final multiple times:

Elite Eight Coach First School Second School Third School
Gene Bartow Memphis State (1973) UCLA (1976) UAB (1982)
John Calipari Massachusetts (1995 and 1996) Memphis (2006 through 2008) Kentucky (2010 through 2012, 2014 and 2015)
Lon Kruger Kansas State (1988) Florida (1994) Oklahoma (2016)
Rick Pitino Providence (1987) Kentucky (1992, 1993 and 1995 through 1997) Louisville (2005, 2008, 2009, 2013 and 2015)
Eddie Sutton Arkansas (1978 and 1979) Kentucky (1986) Oklahoma State (1995, 2000 and 2004)

Firing Blanks: No NCAA DI Player Has Averaged 30 PPG in 21st Century

Need an example showing how scoring is down in college basketball beyond the freak set of circumstances in 2008-09 when eventual NBA MVP Stephen Curry went scoreless against Loyola (Md.)? Unsure if it is a byproduct of doomed civilization stemming from eco-fascist climate change, but no NCAA Division I player has averaged 30 points per game thus far in the 21st Century (since LIU's Charles Jones in 1996-97 with 30.1 ppg).

Last year, Eastern Washington's Tyler Harvey (23.1 ppg) finished with the lowest average for the national scoring leader since Yale's Tony Lavelli posted 22.4 ppg in 1948-49. As a means of comparison to an era when scorers flourished, an average of 36 players annually posted higher scoring marks than Harvey in a six-season span from 1967-68 through 1972-73, including a high of 44 in 1969-70 when LSU's Pete Maravich nearly doubled Harvey with 44.5 ppg despite the absence of the three-point field goal.

Glenn Robinson Jr. (30.3 ppg for Purdue in 1993-94) was the only player from a power six league to pace the country in scoring in a 41-year span from 1971-72 through 2011-12 (South Carolina was independent in 1980-81 and TCU was SWC member in 1994-95). Following is a look at the high and low games for players during the season when they led DI in scoring average:

Year Leading DI Scorer School Avg. High Game Low Game
1936 Hank Luisetti Stanford 14.3 31 (Utah State)
1937 Hank Luisetti Stanford 17.1 unavailable
1938 Chester Jaworski Rhode Island State 21.0 unavailable
1939 Chester Jaworski Rhode Island State 22.6 unavailable
1940 Stan Modzelewski Rhode Island State 23.1 40 (Connecticut)
1941 Stan Modzelewski Rhode Island State 18.5 unavailable
1942 Stan Modzelewski Rhode Island State 21.4 unavailable
1943 George Senesky St. Joseph's 23.4 44 (Rutgers-Newark) 4 (Elizabethtown PA)
1944 Ernie Calverley Rhode Island State 26.7 48 (Maine)
1945 George Mikan DePaul 23.3 53 (Rhode Island State)
1946 George Mikan DePaul 23.1 37 (Indiana State)
1947 Bob Brown Miami (Ohio) 19.9 39 (Evansville)
1948 Murray Wier Iowa 21.0 34 (Illinois) 5 (Purdue)
1949 Tony Lavelli Yale 22.4 52 (Williams MA) 8 (Stanford/Villanova)
1950 Paul Arizin Villanova 25.3 41 (Seton Hall)
1951 Bill Mlkvy Temple 29.2 73 (Wilkes PA)
1952 Clyde Lovellette Kansas 28.4 44 (St. Louis) 13 (Iowa State)
1953 Frank Selvy Furman 29.5 63 (Mercer) 15 (Manhattan)
1954 Frank Selvy Furman 41.7 100 (Newberry SC) 25 (Newberry SC)
1955 Darrell Floyd Furman 35.9 67 (Morehead State) 20 (Newberry SC/Washington & Lee VA)
1956 Darrell Floyd Furman 33.8 62 (The Citadel) 18 (Davidson)
1957 Grady Wallace South Carolina 31.2 54 (Georgia) 14 (North Carolina State)
1958 Oscar Robertson Cincinnati 35.1 56 (Seton Hall/Arkansas) 16 (Drake)
1959 Oscar Robertson Cincinnati 32.6 45 (NYU) 13 (Houston)
1960 Oscar Robertson Cincinnati 33.7 62 (North Texas) 13 (Duquesne)
1961 Frank Burgess Gonzaga 32.4 52 (UC Davis)
1962 Billy McGill Utah 38.8 60 (Brigham Young)
1963 Nick Werkman Seton Hall 29.5 42 (St. Francis PA) 11 (Boston College)
1964 Howard Komives Bowling Green State 36.7 50 (Niagara) 25 (Toledo)
1965 Rick Barry Miami FL 37.4 59 (Rollins FL) 17 (Florida State)
1966 Dave Schellhase Purdue 32.5 57 (Michigan) 23 (UCLA)
1967 Jimmy Walker Providence 30.4 47 (Holy Cross) 5 (Villanova)
1968 Pete Maravich Louisiana State 43.8 59 (Alabama) 17 (Tennessee)
1969 Pete Maravich Louisiana State 44.2 66 (Tulane) 20 (Tennessee)
1970 Pete Maravich Louisiana State 44.5 69 (Alabama) 20 (Georgetown/Marquette)
1971 Johnny Neumann Mississippi 40.1 63 (Louisiana State) 17 (Louisiana State)
1972 Dwight "Bo" Lamar Southwestern Louisiana 36.3 51 (Louisiana Tech/Lamar)
1973 William "Bird" Averitt Pepperdine 33.9 57 (Nevada-Reno) 10 (Clemson)
1974 Larry Fogle Canisius 33.4 55 (St. Peter's) 18 (South Carolina)
1975 Bob McCurdy Richmond 32.9 53 (Appalachian State)
1976 Marshall Rogers Texas-Pan American 36.8 58 (Texas Lutheran)
1977 Freeman Williams Portland State 38.8 71 (Southern Oregon) 11 (Gonzaga)
1978 Freeman Williams Portland State 35.9 81 (Rocky Mountain MT) 14 (New Mexico)
1979 Lawrence Butler Idaho State 30.1 41 (SDSU/Boise State/UNLV) 12 (Georgia)
1980 Tony Murphy Southern 32.1 50 (Mississippi Valley State)
1981 Zam Fredrick South Carolina 28.9 43 (Georgia Southern)
1982 Harry Kelly Texas Southern 29.7 51 (Texas College)
1983 Harry Kelly Texas Southern 28.8 60 (Jarvis Christian TX)
1984 Joe Jakubick Akron 30.1 42 (Illinois-Chicago) unavailable
1985 Xavier McDaniel Wichita State 27.2 44 (West Texas State) 13 (Ohio University)
1986 Terrance Bailey Wagner 29.4 49 (Brooklyn) 15 (Fairleigh Dickinson)
1987 Kevin Houston Army 32.9 53 (Fordham) 18 (Holy Cross)
1988 Hersey Hawkins Bradley 36.3 63 (Detroit) 17 (Tulsa)
1989 Hank Gathers Loyola Marymount 32.7 49 (Nevada) 22 (Pepperdine)
1990 Greg "Bo" Kimble Loyola Marymount 35.3 54 (St. Joseph's) 21 (UNLV/Gonzaga)
1991 Kevin Bradshaw U.S. International 37.6 72 (Loyola Marymount)
1992 Brett Roberts Morehead State 28.1 53 (Middle Tennessee State)
1993 Greg Guy Texas-Pan American 29.3 38 (Jacksonville) 13 (Lamar)
1994 Glenn Robinson Jr. Purdue 30.3 49 (Illinois) 15 (Wisconsin)
1995 Kurt Thomas Texas Christian 28.9 45 (Illinois-Chicago) 13 (Virginia Tech)
1996 Kevin Granger Texas Southern 27.0 unavailable
1997 Charles Jones Long Island 30.1 46 (St. Francis PA) 16 (UAB)
1998 Charles Jones Long Island 29.0 53 (Medgar Evers NY) 16 (Mount St. Mary's)
1999 Alvin Young Niagara 25.1 44 (Siena) 3 (Iona)
2000 Courtney Alexander Fresno State 24.8 43 (UAB) 11 (Wisconsin)
2001 Ronnie McCollum Centenary 29.1 44 (Northwestern State) 14 (Louisiana State)
2002 Jason Conley Virginia Military 29.3 42 (Western Carolina) 17 (Eastern Mennonite VA)
2003 Ruben Douglas New Mexico 28.0 43 (Wyoming) 12 (Pepperdine)
2004 Keydren Clark St. Peter's 26.7 39 (Hofstra) 17 (Loyola/BSC/Niagara)
2005 Keydren Clark St. Peter's 25.8 43 (College Of Charleston) 14 (Tennessee Tech/Rider)
2006 Adam Morrison Gonzaga 28.1 44 (Loyola Marymount) 11 (San Diego)
2007 Reggie Williams Virginia Military 28.1 45 ((Virginia Intermont) 9 (Army)
2008 Reggie Williams Virginia Military 27.8 43 (Southern Virginia) 10 (Richmond)
2009 Stephen Curry Davidson 28.6 44 (Oklahoma/North Carolina State) 0 (Loyola MD)
2010 Aubrey Coleman Houston 25.6 38 (Tulane) 10 (Texas-San Antonio)
2011 Jimmer Fredette Brigham Young 28.9 52 (New Mexico) 13 (Creighton/Fresno Pacific)
2012 Reggie Hamilton Oakland 26.2 41 (Valparaiso) 11 (Arkansas)
2013 Erick Green Virginia Tech 25.0 35 (Virginia/Wake Forest) 12 (Brigham Young)
2014 Doug McDermott Creighton 26.7 45 (Providence) 7 (George Washington)
2015 Tyler Harvey Eastern Washington 23.1 42 (Idaho) 9 (Sacramento State)
2016 James Daniel III Howard University 27.1 39 (William & Mary) 15 (Norfolk State)

NOTE: Leaders are unofficial from 1935-36 through 1946-47.

College Exam: NCAA Tournament One-&-Only Trivia Challenge (Day #13)

Emphasizing a "one-and-only" theme for a "one-and-only" event, here is Day 13 of a treasure-trove of tantalizing NCAA Tournament trivia questions from (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's year-by-year highlights):

1. Who is the only team-leading scorer of a Final Four team to go scoreless when the school was eliminated from championship contention at the national semifinals? Hint: He was a center who along with four teammates averaged between 11 and 12.5 points per game.

2. Who is the only player to twice lead the nation in scoring average while playing for teams advancing to the Final Four? Hint: He is the only team-leading scorer to twice be more than 10 points below his season scoring mark when his school was eliminated at the Final Four.

3. Name the only school to lose two national championship games by at least 18 points after leading the finals at halftime. Hint: The two opponents, 17 years apart, combined to win 66 of 68 games those seasons.

4. Name the only school to make as many as eight consecutive NCAA Tournament appearances from the year it participated in the event for the first time. Hint: The school's last playoff victory wasn't during this streak, but it later handed UCLA its first West Regional defeat in 14 years.

5. Name the only school to lose as many as 15 opening-round games in the NCAA Tournament. Hint: The university also lost a first-round game in 1984 after winning a qualifying round contest when the playoff field was 53 teams.

6. Who is the only athlete to collect more than 3,000 major league hits, including 465 homers, after playing the entire basketball game for a school when it appeared in the NCAA Tournament for the first time. Hint: The outfielder appeared in 12 All-Star Games and two World Series after never playing in the minors.

7. Who is the only player to have a single-digit point total in a national semifinal game and then increase his output by more than 20 points in the championship game? Hint: The center for two years between two three-time consensus first-team All-Americans shot just over 40% from the floor for the season entering the title game where he had a game-high and career-high point total.

8. Who is the only player to have a decrease of more than 25 points from his national semifinal game scoring total to his championship game output? Hint: He was a member of the first undefeated NCAA champion and subsequently became an NBA first-round draft choice.

9. Name the only school to defeat two eventual Final Four teams by double-digit margins in their conference tournament. Hint: The school was handily eliminated in the NCAA playoffs by one of the two Final Four teams it decisively defeated in their league tourney.

10. Name the only school to reach the NCAA championship game in back-to-back seasons it was defeated by double-digit margins in its conference tournament. Hint: The school swept its home-and-home series in regular-season conference competition against the teams defeating it in the league tourney.

Answers (Day 13)

Day 12 Questions and Answers

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Growing Pains: Hield is 12th National POY Averaging < 8 PPG in First Year

Last year, Wisconsin center-forward Frank Kaminsky became the national player of the year posting the lowest first-year scoring average for any such honoree since the initial POY award by UPI in 1955. This season, Oklahoma's Buddy Hield became another "growing-pains" example why fans shouldn't put too much stock in freshman statistics. Kaminsky and Hield are on both ends of the following list of first 12 national players of the year averaging fewer than eight points per game in their first varsity campaign:

Buddy Hield, G, Oklahoma (7.8 ppg as freshman in 2012-13)
Shane Battier, F, Duke (7.6 ppg as freshman in 1997-98)
David Robinson, C, Navy (7.6 ppg as freshman in 1983-84)
*Sidney Wicks, F-C, UCLA (7.5 ppg as sophomore in 1968-69)
Marques Johnson, F, UCLA (7.2 ppg as freshman in 1973-74)
Jimmer Fredette, G, Brigham Young (7 ppg as freshman in 2007-08)
Danny Ferry, F-C, Duke (5.9 ppg as freshman in 1985-86)
Gary Bradds, C, Ohio State (4.7 ppg as sophomore in 1961-62)
Ed O'Bannon, F, UCLA (3.6 ppg as freshman in 1991-92)
Draymond Green, F, Michigan State (3.3 ppg as freshman in 2008-09)
Kenyon Martin, C, Cincinnati (2.8 ppg as freshman in 1996-97)
Frank Kaminsky, F-C, Wisconsin (1.8 ppg as freshman in 2011-12)

  • Junior college recruit.

College Exam: NCAA Tournament One-&-Only Trivia Challenge (Day #12)

Emphasizing a "one-and-only" theme for a "one-and-only" event, here is Day 12 of a treasure-trove of tantalizing NCAA Tournament trivia questions from (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's year-by-year highlights):

1. Who is the only championship team player to have a season scoring average of less than six points per game entering a Final Four but tally more than 30 points in the national semifinals and final? Hint: He is the only player with a single-digit season scoring average to score more than 25 points in an NCAA championship game.

2. Who is the only player to score at least 25 points in eight consecutive NCAA playoff games? Hint: He is the only player to rank among the top five in scoring average in both the NCAA Tournament and NBA playoffs. He was denied a championship ring in his only Final Four appearance when a player who would become an NBA teammate tipped in a decisive basket in the closing seconds.

3. Name the only Final Four Most Outstanding Player who wasn't among the top five scorers on his team. Hint: The only other player to earn the award who wasn't among the top four scorers on his team attended the same university.

4. Who is the only individual to be named the NCAA Final Four Most Outstanding Player and NIT Most Valuable Player? Hint: As a freshman, he shared one of the awards with a teammate.

5. Who is the only U.S. Congressman to become chairman of the House Judiciary Committee after playing in the NCAA Tournament championship game? Hint: Starting out as a Democrat, he became a 12-term Republican Congressman from Illinois.

6. Who is the only individual to be named Final Four Most Outstanding Player and NBA Finals Most Valuable Player in back-to-back seasons? Hint: He holds the NBA Finals single-game record for most points by a rookie.

7. Name the freshman who had the highest season scoring average for a team to reach the NCAA Tournament championship game until Carmelo Anthony achieved the feat for 2003 champion Syracuse. Hint: The word "Boss" is tattooed to his chest for a good reason because he also led his team in assists as a freshman.

8. Who is the only freshman to score more than 30 points in a national semifinal or championship game before failing to score more than half that total in his next four playoff outings? Hint: He didn't score more than 15 points in any of his next four NCAA playoff games, all defeats, and he averaged a modest 8.2 points per game in an eight-year NBA career with an all-time pro season high of 11.4 ppg and game high of 28.

9. Who is the only freshman on a Final Four team to score more than 20 points in as many as four tournament games? Hint: He did not play in the national championship game and his school lost in the NCAA playoffs to opponents with double-digit seeds each of the four seasons before he arrived.

10. Name the only season-leading scorer of a titlist to be held more than 14 points below his average in the NCAA championship game. Hint: He was named national player of the year by the U.S. Basketball Writers Association. He is one of four Final Four Most Outstanding Players held scoreless in their NCAA Tournament debuts in a previous season. He is also the only individual to become a member of three NCAA titlists after playing one season in junior college.

Answers (Day 12)

Day 11 Questions and Answers

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Hofstra's Juan'ya Green Only Player Scoring > 1,100 Points For Two DI Schools

CAA Player of the Year Juan'ya Green became only the fourth performer in NCAA history scoring more than 1,000 points for two Division I schools (Niagara and Hofstra). Green, the only player to tally more than 1,100 for two different DI institutions, also averaged 5.8 assists per game in his college career. Following is the short list of individuals surpassing the 1,000-point plateau with two major colleges:

Player First School Scoring Output (Seasons) Second School Scoring Output (Seasons)
Jon Manning 1,039 with Oklahoma City (1974-75 & 1975-76) 1,090 with North Texas State (1977-78 & 1978-79)
Kenny Battle 1,072 with Northern Illinois (1984-85 & 1985-86) 1,112 with Illinois (1987-88 & 1988-89)
Gary Neal 1,041 with La Salle (2002-03 & 2003-04) 1,254 with Towson (2005-06 & 2006-07)
Juan'ya Green 1,131 with Niagara (2011-12 & 2012-13) 1,186 with Hofstra (2014-15 & 2015-16)


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