Only one of Duke's eight-man rotation was a senior, showing again why a senior-laden lineup is not a prerequisite for capturing a national championship. An average of only two seniors were among the top seven scorers for NCAA Tournament titlists since the playoff field expanded to at least 64 teams in 1985.
Eight of the 16 NCAA champions from 1991 through 2006 boasted no more than one senior among its top seven scorers, which is what Duke had this year. Only three NCAA champions since Indiana '87 - UCLA (1995), Michigan (2000) and Maryland (2002) - featured seniors as their top two scorers. Following is a look at the vital seniors for the last 31 basically youthful championship teams (in reverse order):
2015 - Duke (one of eight-man rotation was a senior/Quinn Cook was second-leading scorer).
2014 - Connecticut (four of top 10 scorers were seniors/Shabazz Napier was leading scorer, Niels Giffey was fourth, Lasan Kromah was fifth and Tyler Olander was 10th).
2013 - Louisville (one of top eight scorers was a senior/Peyton Siva was second-leading scorer).
2012 - Kentucky (one of top seven scorers was a senior/Darius Miller was fifth-leading scorer).
2011 - Connecticut (none of top six scorers was a senior).
2010 - Duke (three of nine-man rotation were seniors/Jon Scheyer was leading scorer, Brian Zoubek was fourth and Lance Thomas was sixth).
2009 - North Carolina (two of top eight in scoring average were seniors/Tyler Hansbrough was leading scorer and Danny Green was fourth).
2008 - Kansas (one of top six scorers was a senior/Darnell Jackson was fourth-leading scorer).
2007 - Florida (two of nine-man rotation were seniors/Lee Humphrey was fifth and Chris Richard was sixth).
2006 - Florida (none of top seven scorers was a senior).
2005 - North Carolina (one of top five scorers was a senior/Jawad Williams was third).
2004 - Connecticut (one of top eight scorers was a senior/Taliek Brown was sixth).
2003 - Syracuse (one of top eight scorers was a senior/Keith Duany was fourth).
2002 - Maryland (three of top eight regulars were seniors/Juan Dixon was top scorer, Lonny Baxter was second and Byron Mouton was fourth).
2001 - Duke (two of top nine scorers were seniors/Shane Battier was second and Nate James was fifth).
2000 - Michigan State (three of top 11 scorers were seniors/Morris Peterson was first, Mateen Cleaves was second and A.J. Granger was fifth).
1999 - Connecticut (one of top seven scorers was a senior/Ricky Moore was fifth).
1998 - Kentucky (two of top seven scorers were seniors/Jeff Sheppard was first and Allen Edwards was fifth).
1997 - Arizona (none of top seven scorers was a senior).
1996 - Kentucky (three of top 10 scorers were seniors/Tony Delk was first, Walter McCarty was third and Mark Pope was sixth).
1995 - UCLA (three of top seven scorers were seniors/Ed O'Bannon was first, Tyus Edney was second and George Zidek was fourth).
1994 - Arkansas (one of top 10 scorers was a senior/Roger Crawford was eighth).
1993 - North Carolina (one of top seven scorers was a senior/George Lynch was second).
1992 - Duke (two of top 10 scorers were seniors/Christian Laettner was first and Brian Davis was fifth).
1991 - Duke (one of top 10 scorers was a senior/Greg Koubek was seventh).
1990 - UNLV (two of top eight scorers were seniors/David Butler was third and Moses Scurry was sixth).
1989 - Michigan (two of top 11 scorers were seniors/Glen Rice was first and Mark Hughes was sixth).
1988 - Kansas (two of top 11 scorers were seniors/Danny Manning was first and Chris Piper was fourth).
1987 - Indiana (two of top eight scorers were seniors/Steve Alford was first and Daryl Thomas was second).
1986 - Louisville (three of top nine scorers were seniors/Billy Thompson was first, Milt Wagner was second and Jeff Hall was fifth).
1985 - Villanova (three of top eight scorers were seniors/Ed Pinckney was first, Dwayne McClain was second and Gary McLain was fourth).
Which cliche is most accurate? If a team is on a winning streak entering the NCAA Tournament, it has momentum on its side and is peaking at the right time. On the other hand, some observers contend a loss before the start of the playoffs is deemed as a wake-up call. All five of Duke's champions under coach Mike Krzyzewski entered the tourney with fewer than eight straight triumphs.
Since the last undefeated team in Division I (Indiana was 32-0 in 1975-76), there have been 39 national champions. Twenty-two of those teams entered the tourney with a victory; 17 entered with a defeat after Duke bowed against Notre Dame in the ACC Tournament. The longest winning streak of a champion-to-be in that span was by UCLA, which won 13 in a row in 1995 before posting six more triumphs in the playoffs. Louisville accounted for two of the other double-digit victory streaks for champions-to-be entering the playoffs.
Of the 22 aforementioned squads entering on a winning note, the average winning streak was six in a row. Following in reverse order is how those 39 post-unbeaten IU titlists entered the NCAA playoffs (including conference tournaments):
There has been some smooth sailing, but it is usually a rugged road en route to becoming NCAA kingpin such as Duke after the Blue Devils won a pair of playoff games by fewer than seven points. Talk of the Kentucky squad three years ago hailed as one of the all-time greatest teams was somewhat silly insofar as intra-state rival Louisville, erasing 12-point deficits in both the semifinals and final two years ago, became the 42nd NCAA champion posting higher average victory margins than UK in the tournament.
North Carolina '09 became the 12th NCAA Tournament champion to win all of its playoff games by double-digit margins. The first nine champions in this category came before the NCAA field was expanded to at least 64 teams in 1985.
A total of 49 champions won a minimum of one playoff game by four points or less, including 22 titlists to win at least one contest by just one point. Wyoming '43 would have become the only champion to trail at halftime in every tournament game if the Cowboys didn't score the last three baskets of the first half in the national final to lead Georgetown at intermission (18-16). Four titlists trailed at intermission in both of their Final Four games - Kentucky '51, Louisville '86, Duke '92 and Kentucky '98.
UCLA '67, the first varsity season for Lew Alcindor (became Kareem Abdul-Jabbar), set the record for largest average margin of victory for a champion when the Bruins started a dazzling streak of 10 consecutive Final Four appearances. They won their 12 NCAA playoff games with Alcindor manning the middle by an amazing average margin of 21.5 points.
Which of John Wooden's 10 national champion UCLA teams did the Wizard of Westwood perceive as his best?
"I've never come out and said it," Wooden said before passing away two years ago, "but it would be hard to pick a team over the 1968 team. I will say it would be the most difficult team to prepare for and play against offensively and defensively. It created so many problems. It had such great balance. We had the big center (Alcindor) who is the most valuable player of all time. Mike Warren was a three-year starter who may have been the most intelligent floor leader ever, going eight complete games once without a turnover. Lucius Allen was a very physical, talented individual who was extremely quick. Lynn Shackleford was a great shooter out of the corner who didn't allow defenses to sag on Jabbar. Mike Lynn didn't have power, but he had as fine a pair of hands around the boards as I have ever seen."
The roster for UCLA's 1968 national champion included six players with double-digit season scoring averages, but senior forward Edgar Lacey dropped off the team with an 11.9-point average following a dispute with Wooden after a ballyhooed mid-season defeat against Houston before 52,693 fans at the Astrodome. Lacey, assigned to defend Cougars star Elvin Hayes early in the game, was annoyed with Wooden for singling him out following Hayes' 29-point first-half outburst. Lacey, the leading rebounder for the Bruins' 1965 NCAA titlist when he was an All-Tournament team selection, missed the 1966-67 campaign because of a fractured left kneecap.
The three Lew-CLA teams rank among the seven NCAA champions with average margins of victory in a tournament of more than 19 points per game. It's no wonder a perceptive scribe wrote the acronym NCAA took on a new meaning during the plunderous Alcindor Era - "No Chance Against Alcindor."
"Bill Walton might have been a better all-around player (than Alcindor)," Wooden said. "If you were grading a player for every fundamental skill, Walton would rank the highest of any center who ever played. But Alcindor is the most valuable, owing to the pressure he put on the other team at both ends of the court."
North Carolina won all six of its playoff contests by double digits in 2009 but the only titlist to win all of its tournament games by more than 15 points was Ohio State '60. Center Jerry Lucas, a first-team All-American as a sophomore, averaged 24 points and 16 rebounds in four playoff contests for the Buckeyes. He collected 36 points and 25 rebounds to help them erase a six-point halftime deficit in their Mideast Regional opener against Western Kentucky.
Duke's five kingpins under Mike Krzyzewski have all came with average winning margin of at least 12.5 points per playoff game. Following is a breakdown of the point differential and average margin of victory in the NCAA playoffs for the first 77 national champions:
*All-time tournament record (111-42 first-round victory over Tennessee Tech).
NOTE: Fifteen teams participated in a total of 21 overtime games en route to national titles - Utah (1944), North Carolina (two triple overtime Final Four games in 1957), Cincinnati (1961), Loyola of Chicago (1963), Texas Western (two in 1966, including a double overtime), North Carolina State (double overtime in 1974), UCLA (two in 1975), Louisville (two in 1980), North Carolina State (double overtime in 1983), Michigan (1989), Duke (1992), North Carolina (1993), Arizona (two in 1997), Kentucky (1998), Kansas (2008) and Connecticut (2014).
There have been times at the Final Four when a player not recognized as an All-American supplied a Herculean performance. One that stands out was in 1984 when Georgetown's Michael Jackson, a 6-1 guard averaging 1.4 rebounds per game entering the Final Four, retrieved 10 missed shots against Kentucky's formidable frontline to help the Hoyas overcome a seven-point halftime deficit in the national semifinals.
This year, Duke freshman guard Grayson Allen, averaging a modest 3.9 points per game entering this year's Final Four, became an overnight sensation by erasing a nine-point, second-half deficit virtually by himself to spark a rally against Wisconsin in the NCAA championship game.
From a historical perspective, only one unsung player in history had more of a Final Four impact than Allen, who finished with 16 points in the final after contributing nine in the national semifinals against Michigan State. Nothing compares to the version of Washington coming "out-of-the-valley forge" when UCLA's Kenny Washington was instrumental in helping venerable coach John Wooden capture his first NCAA Tournament championship in 1964. Washington, the only player with a single-digit season scoring average (6.1) to tally more than 25 points in a championship game, scored 26 points in a 98-83 triumph over Duke in the final. Teammate Gail Goodrich contributed 27 points as he and Washington became the only duo to each score more than 25 in an NCAA final.
Although Washington became the only player to score 25 or more points in a final and not be named to the All-Tournament team, he wasn't rebuffed again the next year. Washington, averaging a modest 8.9 points per game entering the 1965 Final Four, scored a total of 27 points in victories over Wichita State and Michigan as the Bruins successfully defended their title en route to 10 crowns in 12 years under Wooden. Washington joined teammates Goodrich and Edgar Lacey on the 1965 All-Tournament team with co-national players of the year Bill Bradley (Princeton) and Cazzie Russell (Michigan).
In 1969, UCLA was without two-time All-Tournament team selection Lucius Allen because of academic problems, but the Bruins got another significant increase in point production at the Final Four from an unlikely source. Guard John Vallely averaged 22 points in victories against Drake and Purdue after arriving at the national semifinals with a 10.2-point average. Only one senior is on the following list of six championship team rank-and-file players to average fewer than eight points per game entering the Final Four before seizing the moment and averaging double digits in scoring in their last two games with an increase of more than seven points per game from their pre-Final Four scoring mark:
|Unsung Hero||Class||Pos.||NCAA Champion||Season Avg.||Avg. Before Final 4||Final 4 Avg.||Avg. Increase|
|Kenny Washington||Soph.||F-G||UCLA '64||6.1||5.2||19.5||14.3|
|Grayson Allen||Fr.||G||Duke '15||4.4||3.9||12.5||8.6|
|Norm Mager||Sr.||F||CCNY '50||3.6||3.0||11.5||8.5|
|John Dick||Jr.||F||Oregon '39||6.7||6.3||14.5||8.2|
|Gene Brown||Soph.||G||San Francisco '56||7.1||6.6||14.0||7.4|
|Tommy Curtis||Jr.||G||UCLA '73||6.4||5.8||13.0||7.2|
NOTE: Washington State junior guard Kirk Gebert, who scored 21 points in a 39-34 loss against Wisconsin in 1941 final to finish the year with a 6.6-point average, is the only player other than Washington with a single-digit season average to score more than 20 points in a title game.
The latest Canadian earning All-American status and showing the nation is more than a hockey hotbed was Gonzaga guard Kevin Pangos (Ontario). Canada's recent basketball bounty had gone from Syracuse's Kris Joseph (Quebec) to Gonzaga's Kelly Olynyk (British Columbia) to three All-Americans last season in Iowa State's Melvin Ejim (Toronto), Michigan's Nik Stauskas (Ontario) and Kansas' Andrew Wiggins (Ontario).
Foreigners such as Oklahoma guard Buddy Hield have been much more than bit players in a modern-day immigrant version of "Coming to America." Following is an alphabetical list of hoop princes of sorts as Pangos and Hield became 22nd and 23rd All-Americans who spent most or all of their formative years in a country outside mainland U.S.:
|Foreigner||Pos.||College||Native Country||Year(s) All-American||NBA Draft Status|
|Andrew Bogut*||C||Utah||Australia||2005||1st pick overall by Milwaukee|
|Kresimir Cosic||C||Brigham Young||Yugoslavia||1972 and 1973||66th by L.A. Lakers|
|Tim Duncan*||C||Wake Forest||Virgin Islands||1995 through 1997||1st by San Antonio|
|Melvin Ejim||F||Iowa State||Toronto, Ontario||2014||undrafted|
|Patrick Ewing*||C||Georgetown||Jamaica||1982 through 1985||1st by New York|
|Adonal Foyle||C||Colgate||West Indies||1997||8th by Golden State|
|Buddy Hield||G||Oklahoma||Bahamas||2015||To be determined|
|Al Horford||F-C||Florida||Dominican Republic||2007||3rd by Atlanta|
|Kris Joseph||F||Syracuse||Quebec||2012||51st by Boston|
|Dikembe Mutombo||C||Georgetown||Zaire||1991||4th by Denver|
|Eduardo Najera||F||Oklahoma||Mexico||2000||38th by Houston|
|Hakeem Olajuwon||C||Houston||Nigeria||1983 and 1984||1st by Houston|
|Kelly Olynyk||C||Gonzaga||British Columbia||2013||13th by Dallas|
|Kevin Pangos||G||Gonzaga||Ontario||2015||To be determined|
|Juan "Pepe" Sanchez||G||Temple||Argentina||2000||undrafted|
|Detlef Schrempf||F||Washington||Germany||1985||8th by Dallas|
|Rony Seikaly||C||Syracuse||Greece||1988||9th by Miami|
|Doron Sheffer||G||Connecticut||Israel||1996||36th by L.A. Clippers|
|Nik Stauskas||G||Michigan||Ontario||2014||8th by Sacramento|
|Hasheem Thabeet||C||Connecticut||Tanzania||2009||2nd by Memphis|
|Mychal Thompson||F-C||Minnesota||Bahamas||1977 and 1978||1st by Portland|
|Greivis Vasquez||G||Maryland||Venezuela||2010||28th by Memphis|
|Andrew Wiggins||G-F||Kansas||Ontario||2014||1st by Cleveland|
*Named National Player of the Year.
Chicago product Jahlil Okafor is the 37th different individual to become an All-American for Duke (26 under coach Mike Krzyzewski). Incredibly, none of them spent their formative years in any of North Carolina's 100 counties and can be counted as in-state recruits. It doesn't seem possible, but North Carolina laid a Blue Devils' goose egg while states such as Alaska, Arizona, Connecticut, Louisiana, Montana, Oklahoma and Oregon contributed to their list of All-Americans.
The official web site of the State of North Carolina says the state is "a better place." But it hasn't been for Duke in regard to securing premium players. Following is an alphabetical list detailing the hometowns of Duke's 37 All-Americans coming from 19 different states plus the District of Columbia:
All-American Pos. A-A Year(s) Hometown Mark Alarie F 1986 Phoenix, AZ Tommy Amaker G 1987 Fairfax, VA Gene Banks F 1979 and 1981 Philadelphia, PA Shane Battier F 2000 and 2001 Birmingham, MI Carlos Boozer C 2002 Juneau, AK Elton Brand C 1999 Peekskill, NY Chris Carrawell F 2000 St. Louis, MO Johnny Dawkins G 1985 and 1986 Washington, DC Chris Duhon G 2004 Slidell, LA Mike Dunleavy F 2002 Lake Oswego, OR Danny Ferry F-C 1988 and 1989 Hyattsville, MD Mike Gminski C 1978 through 1980 Monroe, CT Dick Groat G 1951 and 1952 Swissvale, PA Gerald Henderson G-F 2009 Merion, PA Art Heyman F 1961 through 1963 Oceanside, NY Grant Hill F-G 1992 through 1994 Reston, VA Bobby Hurley G 1992 and 1993 Jersey City, NJ Ed Koffenberger F-C 1946 and 1947 Wilmington, PA Christian Laettner C-F 1991 and 1992 Buffalo, NY Trajan Langdon G 1998 and 1999 Anchorage, AK Mike Lewis C 1968 Missoula, MT Jack Marin F 1966 Farrell, PA Jeff Mullins F 1963 and 1964 Lexington, KY DeMarcus Nelson G-F 2008 Elk Grove, CA Jahlil Okafor C 2015 Chicago, IL Jabari Parker F 2014 Chicago, IL Mason Plumlee C 2013 Warsaw, IN Jonathan "J.J." Redick G 2004 through 2006 Roanoke, VA Austin Rivers G 2012 Winter Park, FL Jon Scheyer G 2010 Northbrook, IL Kyle Singler F 2011 Medford, OR Nolan Smith G 2011 Upper Marlboro, MD Jim Spanarkel G 1978 and 1979 Jersey City, NJ Jim Thompson F 1934 Washington, DC Bob Verga G 1966 and 1967 Belmar, NJ Jason "Jay" Williams G 2001 and 2002 Plainfield, NJ Shelden Williams C 2005 and 2006 Forest Park, OK
Extra! Extra! As a new season commences, read all about memorable major league baseball achievements, moments and transactions involving former college basketball players! Numerous ex-college hoopsters had front-row seats to many of the most notable games and dates in MLB history.
Baseball is portrayed as a thinking man's game but only 4% of active MLB players earned college diplomas. Unless you habitually pore over the content at baseballlibrary.com, baseballreference.com and nationalpastime.com, following is an April 6 calendar focusing on such versatile MLB athletes:
Baltimore Orioles CF Al Bumbry (Virginia State's runner-up in scoring with 16.7 ppg as freshman in 1964-65) scored four runs against the Kansas City Royals in 1983.
Detroit Tigers 1B Tony Clark (San Diego State's leading scorer in WAC games in 1991-92) contributed two sixth-inning hits, including a grand slam, in a 10-inning, 10-9 win over the Chicago White Sox in 2001. Eight years later, Clark clobbered back-to-back homers for the Arizona Diamondbacks in a season-opening, 9-8 win against the Colorado Rockies in 2009.
In 2006, LHP Mark Hendrickson (two-time All-Pacific-10 Conference selection paced Washington State four straight seasons in rebounding 1992-93 through 1995-96) hurled first complete-game shutout for the Tampa Devil Rays in a span of 349 contests (three-hit, 2-0 whitewash against the Baltimore Orioles).
Los Angeles Dodgers 2B Davey Lopes (NAIA All-District 15 selection for Iowa Wesleyan averaged 16.9 ppg as freshman in 1964-65 and 12.1 ppg as sophomore in 1965-66) collected three runs and three stolen bases against the San Diego Padres in 1974.
RHP Joe Niekro (averaged 8.9 ppg and 3.8 rpg for West Liberty WV from 1963-64 through 1965-66) purchased from the Atlanta Braves by the Houston Astros for $35,000 in 1975.
RHP Darrell Sutherland (averaged 8.1 ppg and 2.2 rpg for Stanford from 1960-61 through 1962-63) awarded on waivers from the Philadelphia Phillies to the New York Mets as a first-year waiver selection in 1964.
RHP Jim Todd (played for Parsons IA before averaging 16 ppg with Millersville PA in 1968-69) traded by the Chicago Cubs to the Oakland Athletics for a player to be designated and cash in 1975.
After 159 MLB starts, RHP Chris Young (All-Ivy League first-team selection as Princeton's leading scorer and rebounder in 1999-00) made his debut with the Seattle Mariners as a reliever (two hitless innings against the Oakland Athletics in 2014).
CollegeHoopedia.com hopes the rigors of our daily Q&A didn't give you an inferiority complex. Emphasizing a "one-and-only" theme for a "one-and-only" event, this is the climax of 23 days featuring a treasure-trove of tantalizing NCAA Tournament trivia questions from (10 per day from Selection Sunday until a grand finale added value of 20 on the day of the championship game) tracking the only coach, conference, player or school to be linked to a distinguished or dubious achievement (click here for answers or conduct research digesting historical morsels in CollegeHoopedia.com's year-by-year highlights):
1. Name the only automatic qualifier to enter the NCAA playoffs with an overall losing record despite compiling a winning conference mark. Hint: The school lost in the first round to the nation's top-ranked team, an opponent the school succumbed to four seasons earlier when eventual NBA guard Lindsey Hunter scored a then school-record 48 points.
2. Name the only one of the different teams to twice defeat an eventual NCAA champion in their title season to not appear in the NCAA Tournament that year. Hint: A former NBA coach guided the school to its only NCAA playoff victory against an opponent whose coach also later coached in the NBA.
3. Name the only team since seeding started to reach the Final Four without meeting a top eight seed. Hint: The team was eliminated in the national semifinals.
4. Name the only school to twice be denied an at-large bid in a 10-year span despite going undefeated in regular-season conference competition. Hint: The school reached a regional final the next time it went unbeaten in league play.
5. Name the only school in the 20th Century to compete for the national championship in both football and basketball in the same academic school year. Hint: The school lost both games.
6. Who is the only individual to win tournament games while coaching schools from the three conferences with the top winning percentages in NCAA Tournament competition reflecting actual membership (ACC, Big East and Big Ten)? Hint: He is the only coach to win playoff games with as many as three different schools when they were seeded ninth or worse.
8. Who is the only leading scorer in an NCAA Tournament championship game to subsequently serve as an admiral in the U.S. Navy? Hint: He was an NCAA consensus first-team All-America the next season before eventually commanding the aircraft carrier Saratoga for two years.
9. Who is the only championship game starter in the 20th Century to be the son of a former NCAA consensus All-American? Hint: The father was a U.S. Olympic team member and the star player for the first black coach at a predominantly white Division I school.
10. Name the only teammate twosome to each score more than 25 points in an NCAA final. Hint: They combined for 53 points to lead their school to its first of multiple NCAA Tournament titles.
11. Name the only starting backcourt to combine for more than 50 points in a Final Four game. Hint: They combined to shoot 39 percent from the floor in the two Final Four games that year.
12. Who is the only individual to coach teams in the NAIA Tournament, NCAA Division III Tournament, NCAA Division II Tournament, National Invitation Tournament and NCAA Division I Tournament? Hint: He took two different schools to the five levels of national postseason competition in a 13-year span beginning with an appearance as an interim head coach.
13. Who is the only individual to be the team-high scorer for both winning and losing teams in NCAA championship games although his season scoring average was less than half of the team leader each year? Hint: He played in the shadow of an All-American whose total of points and rebounds (4,663) is the highest in NCAA history.
14. Who is the only coach to guide teams from the same school to the football Rose Bowl and basketball Final Four? Hint: The Rose Bowl and Final Four appearances were 17 years apart.
15. Name the only son of a member of one of the first classes of baseball Hall of Fame selections to start for a school in its first NCAA Tournament appearance. Hint: The son pitched for four major league teams before becoming a prominent executive. His father was a first baseman.
16. Name the only school to reach the Final Four and College World Series championship game in the same year. Hint: The school advanced to the Final Four again the next season.
17. Who is the only coach to win three first-round games with teams seeded 12th or worse? Hint: The former coach was 4-1 in tournament games decided by fewer than five points. He played basketball at Fordham when NFL Hall of Fame coach Vince Lombardi was the Rams' freshman basketball coach.
18. Name the school that won all four of its first-round games despite being seeded eighth or worse each time. Hint: The four victories came in the first five tournaments after the NCAA introduced seeding.
19. Name the only school to appear in at least three NCAA Tournaments in the 20th Century and reach a regional final each time. Hint: The school's playoff appearances were in successive years.
20. Who is the only player to obtain NCAA and NBA championship rings without participating in postseason competition for either the college or pro title teams? Hint: The 7-0 center was in his first year with both of the championship squads.
Paul George, Mr. Versatility for Fresno State in 2009-10, was shunned by inept All-American voters before promptly blossoming into an NBA All-Star with the Indiana Pacers. George, returning to the lineup with his stock soaring despite a severe injury, is the latest textbook example of the chronic problem exhibited by low-information A-A voters and their shoddy treatment of mid-major standouts. Is the mess media spending too much time reading a contrived-narrative slanted story in "Rolling to Get Stoned"? But do you expect the press to exhibit much expertise when management such as at ESPN discard knowledgeable Bill Simmons while continuing to feature journalistic jewels Skip Baseless, Keith Countdown to Disaster, Britt "Just Another Petty Face" McHenry, Ray "Dancin' On Their Graves" Lewis, Jailin' "Uncle Tom" Rose, Mark "Action With Alexis" Jackson, Seth "Curry Just a Walk-On" Greenberg and Screamin' A. Stiff?
Jeff Foxworthy should host a show Are You Smarter Than a Press Pundit? Questioning the qualifications of misguided media members quickly comes to mind when assessing their longstanding track record failing to acknowledge stellar mid-level players as All-Americans. Despite superb collegiate careers, including player of the year acclaim in a mid-major conference, a striking number of individuals didn't generate sufficient national recognition to be chosen as an All-American. For instance, Louisiana Tech's Paul Millsap led the nation in rebounding three straight seasons from 2003-04 through 2005-06 but wasn't accorded All-American status.
Incredibly, the overlooked features two prominent floor generals who went on to lead the NBA in assists a total of 14 times - John Stockton (nine) and two-time MVP Steve Nash (five) - plus Tim Hardaway, who averaged 8.2 apg during his 13-year pro career; Joe Dumars, a six-time NBA All-Star guard and 1989 NBA Finals MVP, and Derek Fisher, who received five championship rings with the Los Angeles Lakers in the first decade of the 21st Century. Among shunned frontcourters, two-time conference MVPs Chris Gatling, Brian Grant, Popeye Jones and Rik Smits each played at least 11 seasons in the NBA.
Whether they are coaches who need to come out of the film-watching closet or members of the lame-stream media, many incompetent voters should be deep-sixed for overdosing on the premier leagues while condescendingly looking upon mid-level players such as Cleveland State's Norris Cole. Georgia State's R.J. Hunter, a two-time MVP in the Sun Belt Conference, could eventually be among the following alphabetical list of Division I conference MVPs left behind in regard to securing All-American status before they enjoyed NBA/ABA careers of at least six seasons:
Duke center Jahlil Okafor and Ohio State guard D'Angelo Russell achieved something luminaries Mark Aguirre, Carmelo Anthony, Patrick Ewing, Phil Ford, Tyler Hansbrough, Magic Johnson, Bernard King, Alonzo Mourning, Shaquille O'Neal, Derrick Rose and Ralph Sampson failed to do. Okafor and Russell each became a first-team All-American as a freshman.
After a 16-year frosh A-A drought from 1991 through 2006, 11 DI newcomers were named first-team selections in the last nine seasons. Following is a chronological list of yearlings in this rare-air category:
|Freshman First-Team All-American||Pos.||College||Year||Freshman All-American Recognition|
|Tom Gola||C-F||La Salle||1952||C1|
|Keith Lee||C||Memphis State||1982||C1, AP2|
|Wayman Tisdale||F-C||Oklahoma||1983||AP1, C1, USBWA1, UPI2, NABC3|
|Chris Jackson||G||Louisiana State||1989||AP1, UPI1, USBWA1, NABC2|
|Kenny Anderson||G||Georgia Tech||1990||NABC1, AP3|
|Kevin Durant||F||Texas||2007||AP1, NABC1, USBWA1|
|Greg Oden||C||Ohio State||2007||AP1, NABC2, USBWA2|
|Michael Beasley||F||Kansas State||2008||AP1, NABC1, USBWA1|
|Kevin Love||C||UCLA||2008||AP1, USBWA1, NABC2|
|DeMarcus Cousins||C||Kentucky||2010||AP1, NABC2, USBWA2|
|John Wall||G||Kentucky||2010||AP1, NABC1, USBWA1|
|Jared Sullinger||F-C||Ohio State||2011||AP1, NABC1, USBWA1|
|Anthony Davis||C||Kentucky||2012||AP1, NABC1, USBWA1|
|Jahlil Okafor||C||Duke||2015||AP1, NABC1, USBWA1|
|D'Angelo Russell||G||Ohio State||2015||AP1, NABC1, USBWA1|
KEY: AP-Associated Press; C-Converse; NABC-National Association of Basketball Coaches; UPI-United Press International; USBWA-United States Basketball Writers Association.
Extra! Extra! As a new season commences, read all about memorable major league baseball achievements, moments and transactions involving former college basketball players! Numerous ex-college hoopsters had front-row seats to many of the most notable games and dates in MLB history.
Baseball is portrayed as a thinking man's game but only 4% of active MLB players earned college diplomas. Unless you habitually pore over the content at baseballlibrary.com, baseballreference.com and nationalpastime.com, following is an April 5 calendar focusing on such versatile MLB athletes:
INF Frank Baker (Southern Mississippi basketball letterman in 1965-66 and 1966-67) traded by the New York Yankees to the Baltimore Orioles in 1973.
Detroit Tigers 1B Tony Clark (San Diego State's leading scorer in WAC games in 1991-92) smacked two homers among his four hits in a 15-12 win against the Chicago White Sox in 1997. Four years later, Clark contributed four hits against the Minnesota Twins in 2001.
LHP Fred Kipp (two-time all-conference selection for Emporia State KS in early 1950s) traded by the Los Angeles Dodgers to the New York Yankees in 1960.
RHP Roger Mason (multiple-year letterman for Saginaw Valley State MI in late 1970s) traded by the Detroit Tigers to the San Francisco Giants in 1985.
OF Ted Savage (led Lincoln MO in scoring average in 1955-56) purchased from the Cincinnati Reds by the Milwaukee Brewers in 1970.
OF Ken Singleton (Hofstra freshman squad in mid-1960s) traded with Tim Foli and Mike Jorgensen by the New York Mets to the Montreal Expos for Rusty Staub in 1972.
Atlanta Braves reliever Cecil Upshaw (led Centenary in scoring as a junior while averaging 13.7 ppg and 6 rpg from 1961-62 through 1963-64) registered the victory in a season-opening 7-4 success at Cincinnati in 1971. Upshaw missed the previous campaign after almost losing the ring finger on his right hand when it go entangled in a net while dunking a basketball.
RHP Chris Young (All-Ivy League first-team selection as Princeton's leading scorer and rebounder in 1999-00) became the first hurler in New York Mets history to collect two hits in an inning (pair of singles in third against the Philadelphia Phillies in 2011). Young contributed a third single in the fifth in his first start with the Mets.
Emphasizing a "one-and-only" theme for a "one-and-only" event, here is Day 22 of a treasure-trove of tantalizing NCAA Tournament trivia questions from CollegeHoopedia.com (10 per day from Selection Sunday through the championship game) tracking the only coach, conference, player or school to be linked to a distinguished or dubious achievement (click here for answers or conduct research digesting historical morsels in CollegeHoopedia.com's year-by-year highlights):
1. Name the only player to lead an NCAA Tournament team in season scoring and rebounding before becoming the only NCAA playoff participant to subsequently appear in both the NBA Finals and World Series. Hint: He became his alma mater's athletic director.
2. Name the only championship team to have two guards be its top two scorers for the season. Hint: It's the only school to win an NCAA title the year after losing an NCAA Tournament opener by a double-digit margin.
3. Who is the only individual to play for an NCAA champion, NBA champion and ABA champion? Hint: The 6-2 swingman averaged almost three times as many rebounds per game for back-to-back NCAA titlists as he did points per game in his pro career.
4. Name the only school to lose an NCAA Tournament game in which it connected on at least three-fourths of its field-goal attempts. Hint: The school's leading scorer in that game was a freshman who went on to average at least 22 points per game in four tourneys, including first-round games against No. 3 and No. 4 seeds his last three years.
5. Who is the only player to hit a game-winning basket in an NCAA final one year and become a consensus All-American for another university the next season? Hint: He was a second-team All-American the same season a former teammate was first-team All-American one year after being named Final Four Most Outstanding Player as a freshman.
6. Name the only team to defeat three #1 seeds in a single tourney. Hint: The three #1 seeds were the three winningest schools in the history of major-college basketball. The champion is the only team needing at least four games to win the NCAA title to have all of its playoff games decided by single-digit margins. It is also the only titlist to finish as low as fifth place in its conference standings.
7. Name the only NCAA championship team to have four freshman starters. Hint: Two of the freshmen were among three starters who also excelled in a sport other than basketball.
8. Who is the only Final Four coach to previously lead the nation in a statistical category as a major-college player? Hint: He coached his alma mater to the NCAA Tournament six years later before guiding another school to the Final Four twice in a four-year span.
9. Name the only school to appear in the NCAA Tournament under two coaches who subsequently became NBA coach of the year. Hint: The school participated in the NCAA playoffs under these individuals in back-to-back seasons before they earned their NBA awards in a five-year span.
10. Who is the only player to average more than 20 points and 10 rebounds for an NIT semifinalist one year and an NCAA semifinalist the next season? Hint: After earning an NIT Most Valuable Player award, he helped his school become the first member of a first-year conference to reach the NCAA Final Four.
Facing the facts, it was a simple equation for Kentucky during the NCAA Tournament this year. The Wildcats had the daunting task of capturing the NCAA championship or watch their long school-record winning streak come to a halt. Succumbing to the pressure of high expectations, they failed to shake hands and then slurred the national POY after joining the following alphabetical list of schools having an existing all-time DI winning streak of at least 25 consecutive victories broken during the NCAA playoffs:
|School||Streak||Date Ended||Opponent||Score||NCAA Tourney Round|
|College of Charleston||25||3-12-99||Tulsa||62-53||East Regional First|
|Columbia||32||3-20-51||Illinois||79-71||East Regional First|
|Davidson||25||3-30-08||Kansas||59-57||Midwest Regional Final|
|Indiana||34||3-22-75||Kentucky||92-90||Mideast Regional Final|
|Indiana State||33||3-26-79||Michigan State||75-64||Championship Game|
|Loyola Marymount||25||3-19-88||North Carolina||123-97||West Regional Second|
|Marquette||39||3-18-71||Ohio State||60-59||Mideast Regional Semifinals|
|Memphis||27||3-26-09||Missouri||102-91||West Regional Semifinals|
|Ohio State||32||3-25-61||Cincinnati||70-65||Championship Game|
|Stephen F. Austin||29||3-23-14||UCLA||77-60||South Regional Second|
|Wichita State||35||3-23-14||Kentucky||78-76||Midwest Regional Second|
Regal regular-season records persuade pollsters, arm alumni with arrogance and impress Division I committee members dispensing seeds in the NCAA Tournament. In a "teachable moment," Kentucky learned this year the acclaim doesn't guarantee postseason success because the "Road to the Final Four" is filled with potholes. Did Wisconsin make actress Ashley Judd cry authentic tears? Or did she shed them all already weeping for joy upon smooching Dick Vitale?
Over the first 39 seasons since the last undefeated team (Indiana '76), 23 schools entered the NCAA playoffs undefeated or with one setback. None of the squads in this group went on to win the national title. Only nine of these teams - Indiana State '79, UNLV '87, Temple '88, UNLV '91, Massachusetts '96, Duke '99, St. Joseph's '04, Illinois '05 and Memphis '08 - reached a regional final. Of the 21 entrants in this category since seeding was introduced, only four weren't accorded a #1 seed - Alcorn State '80, La Salle '90, Texas Tech '96 and Princeton '98. UK joined the following chronological list of 23 schools entering the NCAA tourney either unbeaten or with only one setback since IU went undefeated in 1975-76:
Unbeaten entering the Final Four, Kentucky should have known all good things must come to an end. The SEC simply didn't prepare UK for the rigors of the NCAA playoffs. Narrow league victories against mediocre league opponents such as LSU, Ole Miss and Texas A&M should have been more revealing to observers.
Beyond the fact no NCAA Division I men's team has compiled an undefeated record since Indiana in 1975-76, there are historical odds about final undefeated clubs in any given season coming into play regarding winning the NCAA title. Only three final undefeated teams in the previous 38 years (Duke '92, UConn '99 and Florida '06) went on to capture the national crown. Only 1/3 of the first 39 teams (two in 1991-92) since IU '76 in this category reached the Final Four.
Clemson, losing nine of 11 games upon incurring its initial setback in 2006-07, is the only school in the last-of-the-unbeaten category to fail to participate in the NCAA playoffs. The Tigers, shaky down the stretch in the regular season akin to bracket-buster POTUS taking the time to adequately deal with Putin and ISIS, finished runner-up in the NIT.
Three years ago, Murray State became the 10th of these 39 last-remaining-standing teams to suffer their first defeat at home. Following are vital facts on final unbeaten teams since the Hoosiers in 1975-76 (in reverse order):
|Season||Last Unbeaten (Wins)||First Defeat||Date||Score||Final Record/Postseason|
|2014-15||Kentucky (38)*||Wisconsin||4-4-15||71-64||38-1/National Semifinal|
|2013-14||Wichita State (35)*||Kentucky||3-23-14||78-76||35-1/Second Round|
|2012-13||Michigan (16)||at Ohio State||1-13-13||56-53||31-8/NCAA Runner-up|
|2011-12||Murray State (23)*||Tennessee State||2-9-12||72-68||31-2/Second Round|
|2010-11||Ohio State (24)||at Wisconsin||2-12-11||71-67||34-3/Regional Semifinal|
|2009-10||Kentucky (19)||at South Carolina||1-26-10||68-62||35-3/Regional Final|
|2008-09||Wake Forest (16)||Virginia Tech||1-21-09||78-71||24-7/First Round|
|2007-08||Memphis (26)||Tennessee||2-23-08||66-62||38-2/National Runner-up|
|2006-07||Clemson (17)*||at Maryland||1-13-07||92-87||25-11/NIT Runner-up|
|2005-06||Florida (17)*||at Tennessee||1-21-06||80-76||33-6/NCAA Champion|
|2004-05||Illinois (29)*||at Ohio State||3-6-05||65-64||37-2/NCAA Runner-up|
|2003-04||Saint Joseph's (27)*||vs. Xavier||3-11-04||87-67||30-2/Regional Final|
|2002-03||Duke (12)||at Maryland||1-18-03||87-72||26-7/Regional Semifinal|
|2001-02||Duke (12)||at Florida State||1-6-02||77-76||31-4/Regional Semifinal|
|2000-01||Stanford (20)||UCLA||2-3-01||79-73||31-3/Regional Final|
|1999-00||Syracuse (19)||Seton Hall||2-7-00||69-67||26-6/Regional Semifinal|
|1998-99||Connecticut (19)||Syracuse||2-1-99||59-42||34-2/NCAA Champion|
|1997-98||Utah (18)||at New Mexico||2-1-98||77-74||30-4/NCAA Runner-up|
|1996-97||Kansas (22)||at Missouri (2OT)||2-4-97||96-94||34-2/Regional Semifinal|
|1995-96||Massachusetts (26)*||George Washington||2-24-96||86-76||35-2/NCAA Semifinal|
|1994-95||Connecticut (15)||at Kansas||1-28-95||88-59||28-5/Regional Final|
|1993-94||UCLA (14)||at California||1-30-94||85-70||21-7/First Round|
|1992-93||Virginia (11)||at North Carolina||1-20-93||80-58||21-10/Regional Semifinal|
|1991-92||Duke (17)||at North Carolina||2-5-92||75-73||34-2/NCAA Champion|
|1991-92||Oklahoma State (20)||at Nebraska||2-5-92||85-69||28-8/Regional Semifinal|
|1990-91||UNLV (34)||vs. Duke||3-30-91||79-77||34-1/NCAA Semifinal|
|1989-90||Georgetown (14)||at Connecticut||1-20-90||70-65||24-7/Second Round|
|1988-89||Illinois (17)||at Minnesota||1-26-89||69-62||31-5/NCAA Semifinal|
|1987-88||Brigham Young (17)*||at UAB||2-6-88||102-83||26-6/Sweet 16|
|1986-87||DePaul (16)||at Georgetown||1-25-87||74-71||28-3/Regional Semifinal|
|1985-86||Memphis State (20)||at Virginia Tech||2-1-86||76-72||28-6/Second Round|
|1984-85||Georgetown (18)||St. John's||1-26-85||66-65||35-3/NCAA Runner-up|
|1983-84||North Carolina (21)||vs. Arkansas||2-12-84||65-64||28-3/Regional Semifinal|
|1982-83||UNLV (24)||at Cal State Fullerton||2-24-83||86-78||28-3/Second Round|
|1981-82||Missouri (19)||Nebraska||2-6-82||67-51||27-4/Regional Semifinal|
|1980-81||Oregon State (26)*||Arizona State||3-7-81||87-67||26-2/Second Round|
|1979-80||DePaul (26)*||at Notre Dame (2OT)||2-27-80||76-74||26-2/Second Round|
|1978-79||Indiana State (33)*||vs. Michigan State||3-26-79||75-64||33-1/NCAA Runner-up|
|1977-78||Kentucky (14)||at Alabama||1-23-78||78-62||30-2/NCAA Champion|
|1976-77||San Francisco (29)||at Notre Dame||3-5-77||93-82||29-2/First Round|
*All-time top winning streaks for respective schools.
NOTES: Indiana State lost in NCAA Tournament championship game at Salt Lake City. . . . North Carolina lost in Pine Bluff, Ark. . . . Saint Joseph's lost in Atlantic 10 Conference Tournament quarterfinals at Dayton. . . . UNLV lost against Duke in 1991 NCAA Tournament national semifinals in Indianapolis. . . . Wichita State lost against Kentucky in 2014 NCAA Tournament Midwest Regional Second Round in St. Louis.
Kentucky faces the same dilemma next season after seven undergraduate members of its regular rotation appear to want to display their wares in the NBA. Each Final Four since 1995 had at least one school promptly lose a minimum of one player early to the NBA, including all four participants in 2007 (Florida, Georgetown, Ohio State and UCLA). But what happened to those national semifinal schools such as Kentucky last season with multiple players declaring early for the NBA?
The first 15 "star light" schools with multiple defectors failed to reach an NCAA regional final the next season until Kentucky reversed the trend with a national championship in 2012 after losing Brandon Knight and DeAndre Liggins in 2011. But UK, after freshmen Julius Randle and James Young were among the top 17 NBA draft choices in 2014, couldn't duplicate that feat this campaign. It would have been one of the greatest achievements in college basketball history if UK returned to the 2013 Final Four after losing five undergraduates from the 38-2 NCAA titlist although two of them (Doron Lamb and Marquis Teague) have had virtually no NBA impact. The perils of losing so much young talent was reflected in the Wildcats' failure to reach the NCAA playoffs and losing in the opening round of the NIT against Robert Morris.
The only team in this category other than UK to lose fewer than seven games was Duke (29-5 in 1999-00). After the first 13 squads thus far this century suffered an average of nine defeats in the wake of such pro defections, Kentucky won 38 in a row before bowing against Wisconsin in the national semifinals, a significant departure from the following chronological look at how Final Four schools fared the year after having multiple players renounce their college eligibility:
|Year||Final Four Team||Multiple Undergraduates Lost to NBA Draft||Record||Postseason Outcome Next Season|
|1995||Arkansas (2)||Scotty Thurman, Corliss Williamson||20-13||Lost regional semifinal|
|1995||North Carolina (2)||Jerry Stackhouse, Rasheed Wallace||21-11||Lost in second round|
|1996||Mississippi State (2)||Erick Dampier, Dontae' Jones||12-18||Did not qualify|
|1998||North Carolina (2)||Vince Carter, Antawn Jamison||24-10||Lost in first round|
|1999||Duke (3)||William Avery, Elton Brand, Corey Maggette||29-5||Lost regional semifinal|
|2000||Florida (2)||Donnell Harvey, Mike Miller||24-7||Lost in second round|
|2001||Arizona (3)||Gilbert Arenas, Richard Jefferson, Michael Wright||24-10||Lost regional semifinal|
|2001||Michigan State (2)||Zach Randolph, Jason Richardson||19-12||Lost in first round|
|2004||Connecticut (2)||Ben Gordon, Emeka Okafor||23-8||Lost in second round|
|2005||Illinois (2)||Dee Brown, Deron Williams||26-7||Lost in second round|
|2005||North Carolina (4)||Raymond Felton, Sean May, Rashad McCants, Marvin Williams||23-8||Lost in second round|
|2007||Florida (4)||Corey Brewer, Taurean Green, Al Horford, Joakim Noah||24-12||Reached NIT semifinals|
|2007||Ohio State (3)||Mike Conley Jr., Daequan Cook, Greg Oden||24-13||Won NIT|
|2008||Kansas (3)||Darrell Arthur, Mario Chalmers, Brandon Rush||27-8||Lost regional semifinal|
|2008||UCLA (3)||Kevin Love, Luc Richard Mbah a Moute, Russell Westbrook||26-9||Lost in second round|
|2011||Kentucky (2)||Brandon Knight, DeAndre Liggins||38-2||Won national title|
|2012||Kentucky (5)||Anthony Davis, Terrence Jones, Michael Kidd-Gilchrist, Doron Lamb, Marquis Teague||21-12||Lost in NIT first round|
|2013||Michigan (2)||Trey Burke, Tim Hardaway Jr.||28-9||Lost regional final|
|2014||Kentucky (2)||Julius Randle, James Young||38-1||Lost in national semifinals|
There is a clear and present danger for pole sitters such as Kentucky. Three years ago, UK became only the fourth of 32 schools atop the national rankings entering the NCAA playoffs since 1983 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 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 then 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.
Kentucky 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 the national semifinals. Less than one-third of them 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 as 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.
8 - Lost in regional finals (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, and Louisville '09/Michigan State).
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.
In a microwave atmosphere of instant expectations, Wisconsin's Frank Kaminsky (1.8 points per game in 2011-12) and Syracuse's Rakeem Christmas (2.8 ppg in 2011-12) failed to generate national headlines in their freshman seasons before blossoming into All-Americans. They are textbook examples why fans shouldn't put too much stock in freshman statistics.
Kaminsky and Christmas aren't the only All-Americans who endured growing pains. They joined the following alphabetical list of players who averaged fewer than three points per game as a freshman before eventually earning All-American acclaim:
NOTES: Oregon's Wally Borrevik (1.8 ppg in 1940-41), Wisconsin's Gene Englund (2.3 ppg in 1938-39), California's Darrall Imhoff (0.9 ppg in 1957-58), Kansas' Dean Kelley (0.8 in 1950-51), Purdue's Bob Kessler (2.3 ppg in 1933-34), Notre Dame's Leo Klier (2.7 in 1942-43), Oklahoma A&M's Gale McArthur (2.96 ppg in 1948-49), Notre Dame's Bob Rensberger (1.5 ppg in 1940-41) and Stanford's George Yardley (2.9 ppg in 1947-48) averaged fewer than three points per game as sophomores when freshmen weren't eligible to play varsity basketball before becoming All-Americans. . . . Tyler became an All-American with Texas after transferring to his home state. . . . Withey originally attended Arizona.
An old adage portends "the apple doesn't fall far from the tree." A challenging dynamic exists when playing for the same school where your dad was a standout. Whether or not it's a fair sampling (majority of dads are better), comparing the following father-son duos might provide a window depicting when the quality of play was superior. The Valentine's Versatile Way (Carlton and Denzel) generated headlines for Michigan State in the Big Ten Conference this season after the Marble Collection (Roy and Roy Devyn) excelled for Iowa in recent campaigns.
Marques Johnson was the third-leading scorer and fourth-leading rebounder for UCLA's 1975 NCAA champion and son Kris was a backup freshman for the Bruins' 1995 titlist. They are the only father-son duo to capture NCAA crowns for the same institution, propelling them atop the list of premier father-son combinations.
The Valentines gained more prominence, cracking the Top 20 among top father-son tandems, when Denzel flourished as one of the nation's premier all-round players. There is something in the family DNA for the following all-time father-son tandems making the most impact for same major university factoring in how long they attended school:
|Rank||Family||School||Father's College Career Summary||Son's College Career Summary|
|1.||Johnson||UCLA||Marques, the national player of the year as a senior, averaged 14.4 ppg and 7.8 rpg from 1973-74 through 1976-77.||Kris averaged 11.6 ppg and 3.7 rpg from 1994-95 through 1997-98.|
|2.||Marble||Iowa||Roy, a three-time All-Big Ten Conference selection and the Hawkeyes' all-time leading scorer (2,116 points), averaged 15.8 ppg and 5 rpg from 1985-86 through 1988-89.||Roy Devyn averaged 12 ppg, 3.5 rpg, 2.7 apg and 1.3 spg from 2010-11 through 2013-14, ranking among the school's all-time top seven in points, rebounds, assists and steals.|
|3.||Burtt||Iona||Steve Sr., a two-time MAAC MVP, became the school's all-time leading scorer with 2,534 points by finishing among nation's top 17 scorers each of his last three seasons from 1981-82 through 1983-84.||Steve Jr., a three-time All-MAAC selection, is school runner-up with 2,034 points from 2002-03 through 2005-06, finishing seventh in country in scoring as a senior.|
|4.||Paxson||Dayton||James, a starter for two NIT runner-up teams, averaged 10.9 ppg and 7.6 rpg in three seasons in mid-1950s.||Jim, an All-American as a senior, averaged 18 ppg and 4.5 rpg from 1975-76 through 1978-79.|
|5.||Perry||Holy Cross||Ronnie Sr. averaged 13.6 ppg from 1951-52 through 1953-54.||Ronnie Jr., a three-time All-American, averaged 23.2 ppg and 3.9 apg while shooting 88.5% at free-throw line from 1976-77 through 1979-80.|
|6.||Hosket||Ohio State||Wilmer Clemens was named to third five on College Humor Magazine A-A in 1932-33 when he was fourth-leading scorer in Big Ten (8 ppg) as member of league co-champion.||Bill, a member of the U.S. Olympic squad after appearing in Final Four as a senior, averaged 19.5 ppg and 12.3 rpg in three seasons from 1965-66 through 1967-68.|
|7.||Haws||Brigham Young||Marty, an All-WAC first-team selection as a senior when leading the Cougars in scoring with 18.5 ppg, averaged 10.9 ppg and 4.1 apg from 1986-87 through 1989-90.||Tyler averaged 19.6 ppg and 4.3 rpg, ranking among the nation's top seven scorers his final three seasons (2012-13 through 2014-15).|
|8.||Rautins||Syracuse||Leo, who led the Orangemen in rebounds and assists as a senior when he was an All-Big East Conference third-team selection, averaged 12.1 ppg, 6.3 rpg and 5 apg from 1980-81 through 1982-83 after transferring from Minnesota.||Andy, an All-Big East second-team selection as a senior, averaged 8.8 ppg, 2.6 rpg, 2.7 apg and 1.4 spg from 2005-06 through 2009-10.|
|9.||Brewer||Arkansas||Ron, an All-American as a senior for a 1978 Final Four team, averaged 15.8 ppg and 3.3 rpg after one season at JC level.||Ronnie, a two-time All-SEC selection, averaged 15.7 ppg and 5 rpg from 2003-04 through 2005-06 before declaring early for NBA draft.|
|10.||Robinzine||DePaul||William Sr. averaged 15.3 ppg in 1954-55 and 1955-56.||William Jr. averaged 16.6 ppg and 11.4 rpg from 1972-73 through 1974-75, including team highs of 19.4 ppg and 13.5 rpg as a senior.|
|11.||Young||Houston||Michael, an All-American as a senior, was top scorer for back-to-back Final Four teams featuring Akeem Olajuwon (1983 and 1984), averaging 18.6 ppg over final two years.||Joseph averaged 14.8 ppg, 3.5 rpg and 2.4 apg in 2011-12 and 2012-13 with UH before transferring to Oregon.|
|12.||Warren||North Carolina State||Tony Sr. averaged 9.3 ppg and 4.3 rpg from 1976-77 through 1978-79 under coach Norm Sloan, leading Wolfpack in field-goal percentage as junior.||Tony "T.J." Jr. was an All-American and ACC Player of the Year as sophomore in 2013-14 before declaring early for NBA draft.|
|13.||Price||Oklahoma||Dennis averaged 10.9 ppg from 1957-58 through 1959-60.||Brent averaged 18 ppg and 5.8 apg for the Sooners in 1990-91 and 1991-92 after transferring from South Carolina.|
|14.||Hummer||Princeton||Edward, a Final Four teammate of All-American Bill Bradley before becoming an All-Ivy League second-team selection, averaged 10.2 ppg and 7 rpg from 1964-65 through 1966-67.||Ian, a three-time All-Ivy League selection, averaged 13.2 ppg and 5.9 rpg from 2009-10 through 2012-13.|
|15.||Cox||San Francisco||Chubby, setting stage for first father-son tandem to both be two-time all-conference selection for same school in same league, averaged team-high 5.4 apg in each of his final two seasons in 1976-77 and 1977-78.||John averaged 15.8 ppg and 4.2 rpg from 2001-02 through 2004-05, leading the WCC in scoring as a senior.|
|16.||Evans||Oklahoma||Eddie averaged 11.9 ppg from 1960-61 through 1962-63, including a team-high 16.4 ppg as a senior.||Terry averaged 11.1 ppg and 5.3 apg from 1989-90 through 1992-93, setting school records in assists (628) and three-point field goals (259).|
|17.||Raivio||Portland||Rick, a three-time All-WCAC selection who led the Pilots in FG% all four seasons, finished as their all-time leading rebounder (910/9.4 rpg) while averaging 17.2 ppg before becoming 1980 fifth-round draft choice by L.A. Lakers.||Nik, a J.C. recruit, was an All-WCC selection as a junior in 2008-09 when he averaged 16 ppg and 6.5 rpg before heading overseas to play professionally after concluding his college career with 14.3 ppg and 5.3 rpg.|
|18.||Temple||Louisiana State||Collis Jr., the first African-American varsity player in LSU history in 1971-72, averaged 10.1 ppg and 8.1 rpg in three seasons, ranking second in SEC in rebounding (11.1 rpg) and seventh in field-goal shooting (54.9%) as a senior.||Collis III averaged 10.2 ppg from 1999-00 through 2002-03, including career-high 14.3 ppg as sophomore when he scored 30 points in regular-season finale at Tennessee. Garrett was defensive whiz for 2006 Final Four club before becoming an All-SEC second-team pick as senior in 2008-09.|
|19.||Ainge||Brigham Young||Danny, a three-time All-American who averaged 20.9 ppg, was named national player of the year as a senior in 1980-81.||Austin posted personal season highs of 9.5 ppg and 4.1 apg as a sophomore in 2004-05 en route to career marks of 6.6 ppg and 3.5 apg.|
|20.||Valentine||Michigan State||Carlton was the Spartans' leading scorer and rebounder as a senior in 1987-88, finishing his career with 8.5 ppg and 4.1 rpg.||Denzel averaged 9.2 ppg, 5.5 rpg and 3.6 apg for NCAA playoff teams from 2013 through 2015.|
|21.||Guokas||St. Joseph's||Matt Sr. was tallest player and an original member of the famed "Mighty Mites" who asserted themselves in the Philly Big Five by winning 54 of 71 games in the late 1930s.||Matt Jr. averaged 15.4 ppg and 4.6 rpg for the Hawks in 1964-65 and 1965-66 after transferring from Miami (Fla.).|
|22.||Komives||Bowling Green||Howard averaged 25.8 ppg from 1961-62 through 1963-64, leading nation in scoring as senior All-American with 36.7 ppg.||Shane averaged 10.6 ppg from 1992-93 through 1995-96, including career-high 14.3 ppg as a sophomore.|
|23.||Ellis||San Francisco||Joe, a three-time All-WCAC first-team selection from 1963-64 through 1965-66, averaged 13.5 ppg and 8.9 rpg.||Kevin averaged 9.1 ppg and 3 rpg his final two seasons in 1988-89 and 1989-90.|
|24.||Springer||Iona||Gary Sr., a three-time All-MAAC selection, averaged 15.4 ppg and 8.4 rpg from 1980-81 through 1983-84.||Gary Jr., an All-MAAC third-team selection as a senior in 2008-09, averaged 7.6 ppg and 5.2 rpg.|
|25.||Becker||Arizona State||Art, a two-time All-WAC selection, averaged 15.7 ppg and 9 rpg from 1961-62 through 1963-64, ranks among school career leaders in rebound average, FG% (52.4) and FT% (79.7). Teammate of Joe Caldwell had two games with more than 20 points and 20 rebounds as a junior when leading team with 11.2 rpg.||Mark averaged 8.8 ppg and 4.8 rpg from 1986-87 through 1989-90, leading team in rebounding as a sophomore with 5.5 per game.|
|26.||Henry||Kansas||Carl, an OCU transfer, averaged 17.1 ppg and 6.4 rpg in 1982-83 and 1983-84 as a two-time All-Big Eight Conference selection.||Xavier, an All-Big 12 Conference Rookie Team choice, averaged 13.4 ppg and 4.4 rpg as freshman in 2009-10 before leaving school early for NBA draft.|
|27.||Frederick||South Carolina||Zam Sr. led nation in scoring as a senior in 1980-81 with 28.9 ppg to finish career with 13.7 ppg.||Zam II, an All-SEC second-team selection as a senior, averaged 15.1 ppg with the Gamecocks in 2007-08 and 2008-09 after transferring from Georgia Tech.|
|28.||Payne||Iowa||Tom was leading the Hawkeyes in scoring and rebounding at end of first semester of junior season (1956-57) when declared academically ineligible.||Michael averaged 9.6 ppg and 7.3 rpg from 1981-82 through 1984-85, pacing team in rebounding his first two seasons.|
|29.||Howard||Brigham Young||Orin was a multi-sport Hall of Famer for the school in the 1920s.||Doug, a second-team All-WAC selection as a junior in 1968-69 (15.4 ppg, 4 rpg, 85.3 FT%) and senior in 1969-70 (18.2 ppg, 5.2 rpg, 85.3 FT%) led Cougars in scoring his last two years.|
|30.||Butler||Richmond||Jeff, a transfer from Robert Morris (Pa.) when it was a junior college, led UR in scoring and rebounding in 1975-76 and 1976-77, averaging 15.2 ppg and 9.6 rpg.||Ryan, a starter much of stint from 2006-07 through 2009-10, finished his career fifth in total steals and three-pointers, averaging 6.6 ppg and 2.8 rpg.|
|31.||Ewing||Georgetown||Patrick Sr., the national player of the year as a senior, averaged 15.3 ppg and 9.2 rpg from 1981-82 through 1984-85.||Patrick Jr. averaged 5.1 ppg and 3.1 rpg with the Hoyas in 2006-07 and 2007-08 after transferring from Indiana.|
|32.||Stockton||Gonzaga||John, MVP of the WCAC as a senior, averaged 12.5 ppg and 5.2 apg from 1980-81 through 1983-84.||David averaged 4.6 ppg and 2.9 apg for four NCAA playoff teams from 2010-11 through 2013-14.|
|33.||Mimlitz||St. Louis||Jack, a two-time All-Missouri Valley Conference selection, averaged 14.2 ppg from 1955-56 through 1957-58.||Ted averaged 7 ppg for SLU in 1985-86 and 1986-87 after transferring from Missouri.|
|34.||Morningstar||Kansas||Roger, runner-up in scoring for a Final Four squad, averaged 11.7 ppg and 4.8 rpg in 1973-74 and 1974-75 after transferring from a junior college.||Brady averaged 5.6 ppg, 2.3 rpg and 2.6 apg from 2006-07 through 2010-11.|
|35.||Shepherd||Butler||Bill Sr. averaged 5.9 ppg in 1947-48 and 6.6 ppg in 1948-49.||Billy Jr., who scored 49 points in a game at Arizona as a junior, averaged 24.1 ppg from 1969-70 through 1971-72 (career-low senior mark of 19.3 ppg while contributing team-high 5.8 apg).|
|36.||Fife||Michigan||Dan averaged 12.6 ppg and 4.9 rpg from 1968-69 through 1970-71.||Dugan, a backup on the last Fab Five Final Four team, averaged 4.6 ppg and 2 rpg from 1992-93 through 1995-96.|
|37.||Suttle||Pepperdine||Dane Sr., co-MVP of the WCAC as a senior, averaged 16.2 ppg from 1979-80 through 1982-83 before playing briefly in NBA.||Dane Jr. averaged 5.6 ppg from 2009-10 through 2011-12.|
|38.||Rose||Houston||Lynden, a J.C. recruit who became co-captain of 1982 Final Four squad, averaged 7.5 ppg and 3.3 apg.||L.J. averaged 8.1 ppg and 5.1 apg as a UH sophomore in 2013-14 after transferring from Baylor.|
|39.||Wilkins||Illinois State||Jeff averaged 16.4 ppg and 9.8 rpg from 1974-75 through 1976-77, leading team in scoring, rebounding and FG% as a senior before becoming an NBA second-round draft choice.||John, a J.C. transfer, averaged 7.1 ppg and 3.8 rpg from 2010-11 through 2012-13.|
|40.||Whitehead||Louisville||Eddie averaged 5.8 ppg and 5.2 rpg from 1963-64 through 1965-66, finishing runner-up in rebounding behind All-American Wes Unseld as a senior.||Luke averaged 9.1 ppg and 3.8 rpg from 2000-01 through 2003-04, including NCAA playoff squads his final two seasons (leading rebounder and runner-up in scoring as senior).|
|41.||Mills||Kentucky||Terry averaged 6.7 ppg for three NCAA Tournament teams from 1968-69 through 1970-71.||Cameron, who averaged 4.3 ppg from 1994-95 through 1996-97, led UK in three-point FG% as a junior when he averaged 11.8 ppg in the NCAA playoffs.|
|42.||Sutton||Oklahoma State||Eddie averaged 6.6 ppg and 2.6 rpg while shooting 82.1% from free-throw line in the late 1950s.||Sean, pacing the Pokes in assists and three-point shooting both seasons, averaged 11 ppg, 2.5 rpg and 4.4 apg in 1990-91 and 1991-92 for two NCAA playoff teams after transferring from UK.|
|43.||Melchionni||Duke||Gary averaged 10.4 ppg and 2.7 rpg from 1970-71 through 1972-73.||Lee averaged 4.5 ppg and 2.2 rpg while shooting 35.9% from beyond the arc from 2002-03 through 2005-06.|
|44.||Altenberger||Illinois||Bill averaged 7.7 ppg from 1954-55 through 1956-57.||Doug averaged 9.6 ppg from 1982-83 through 1986-87, including 13.6 ppg as a senior when he was an All-Big Ten third-team selection.|
|45.||McElwain||Stanford||Les played in early 1930s.||Mal averaged 10.9 ppg and 6.3 rpg as a three-year starting forward in late 1960s.|
|46.||Urzetta||St. Bonaventure||Sam, who led the nation in FT% as a sophomore and senior, averaged 6.2 ppg from 1946-47 through 1949-50.||Nick averaged 8.7 ppg in late 1970s.|
|47.||Vopicka||Illinois||James was second-leading scorer in 1935-36 and a starter on 1936-37 club tying for Big Ten title.||Jim averaged 5.7 ppg in 1963-64 and 3.8 ppg in 1964-65.|
|48.||Christensen||Brigham Young||Harold, a member of 1951 NIT championship team, averaged 7.8 ppg and 4.4 rpg before he was chosen by the Minneapolis Lakers in 1953 NBA draft.||Todd averaged 5.8 ppg in 1995-96, 1998-99 and 1999-00.|
|49.||Parkinson||Purdue||Bruce, an All-Big Ten first-team selection as a junior, averaged 10.9 ppg and 4.3 rpg from 1972-73 through 1976-77.||Austin averaged 2.2 ppg and 3.2 apg from 2000-01 through 2003-04.|
|T50.||Hall||Vanderbilt||Jerry Don averaged 6.3 ppg and 1.7 rpg from 1960-61 through 1962-63.||Dan, who led Vandy in rebounding as a sophomore, averaged 7.1 ppg and 4.7 rpg in 1989-90 and from 1991-92 through 1993-94.|
|T50.||Craig||Brigham Young||Robert, a member of 1951 NIT titlist, averaged 3.5 ppg in 1949-50 and 1950-51.||Steve, a teammate of All-American Danny Ainge, averaged 7.2 ppg and 2.5 rpg in 1975-76 and from 1978-79 through 1980-81.|
Extra! Extra! As a new season commences, read all about memorable major league baseball achievements, moments and transactions involving former college basketball players! Numerous ex-college hoopsters had front-row seats to many of the most notable games and dates in MLB history.
Baseball is portrayed as a thinking man's game but only 4% of active MLB players earned college diplomas. Unless you habitually pore over the content at baseballlibrary.com, baseballreference.com and nationalpastime.com, following is an April 4 calendar focusing on such versatile MLB athletes:
LF "Sweet" Lou Johnson (Kentucky State teammate of legendary HBCU coach Davey Whitney averaged 5.7 ppg and 2 rpg in 1951-52) traded in 1969 by the Cleveland Indians to the California Angels.
OF-INF Chuck Hinton (played multiple sports for Shaw NC before serving two years in U.S. Army in mid-1950s) traded in 1969 by the California Angels to the Cleveland Indians.
Emphasizing a "one-and-only" theme for a "one-and-only" event, here is Day 21 of a treasure-trove of tantalizing NCAA Tournament trivia questions from CollegeHoopedia.com (10 per day from Selection Sunday through the championship game) tracking the only coach, conference, player or school to be linked to a distinguished or dubious achievement (click here for answers or conduct research digesting historical morsels in CollegeHoopedia.com's year-by-year highlights):
1. Who is the only player to post the highest-scoring game in a single tournament the same year he also played major league baseball? Hint: He is a member of the Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame.
2. Who is the only Final Four player to become AAU national champion in the decathlon in the same year? Hint: The Final Four team's third-leading scorer and second-leading rebounder finished third in the decathlon the previous year.
3. Who is the only Final Four player to finish among the top two high jumpers in four NCAA national track meets? Hint: The starting center for a national championship team is the first athlete to place in the NCAA high jump four consecutive years.
4. Name the only coach in NCAA history to reach an NCAA Division I Tournament regional final in back-to-back years with different schools. Hint: He also reached a regional final in his first season at his next coaching outpost.
5. Name the only top-ranked team entering the tournament to be eliminated by an opponent it defeated by more than 40 points during the regular season. Hint: The school that avenged the embarrassing defeat upended the nation's second-ranked team in its next playoff game.
6. Who is the only individual to play in the NCAA Tournament before setting several major league fielding records for a second baseman? Hint: He was the second-leading scorer for his school's playoff team and one of his teammates has been a prominent college basketball coach for more than 20 years.
7. Who is the only member of the College Football Hall of Fame to participate in back-to-back Final Fours? Hint: He is one of the few athletes to earn consensus football All-American honors at two positions.
8. Who is the only individual to lead a school in scoring in an NCAA Tournament before leading a major league in doubles as a player and manage a team in a World Series? Hint: The outfielder drove in six runs in one inning of an American League game.
9. Name the only university to win a minimum of two games in four different postseason national tournaments - NAIA, NCAA Division II, NIT and NCAA Division I. Hint: Of the schools to win at least one game in all four national tourneys, it is the only one with an overall losing record in postseason competition.
10. Name the only school to win back-to-back basketball championships the same academic school years it participated in New Year's Day football bowl games. Hint: One of the two basketball title teams is the only school to have as many as 26 different players appear in its games in a season it won an NCAA crown. The two titlists helped the school become the only university to reach the NCAA championship game in its first three playoff appearances.
Excluding specialty publications, there are five nationally-recognized Player of the Year awards. None of them, however, comes anywhere close to being the equivalent to college football's undisputed most prestigious honor, the Heisman Trophy. The basketball stalemate stems from essentially the same people voting on the major awards (writers or coaches or a combination) and the announcements coming one after another right around the Final Four when the playoff games dominate the sports page.
United Press International, which was a sixth venue for major awards through 1996, got all of this back slapping started in 1955. Four years later, the United States Basketball Writers Association, having chosen All-American teams in each of the two previous seasons, added a Player of the Year award to its postseason honors. In recent years, the USBWA award was sponsored by Mercedes and then RCA.
The third oldest of the awards comes from the most dominant wire service, the Associated Press. Perhaps because of its vast network of media outlets, the AP award gets more print and broadcast attention than the other honors. The AP award started in 1961 before affiliating in 1972 with the Commonwealth Athletic Club of Lexington, Ky., which was looking for a way to honor Hall of Fame Kentucky coach Adolph Rupp. The result of their merger is the Rupp Trophy.
The Atlanta Tipoff Club initially was associated with UPI before starting its own Naismith Award in 1969. Six years later, the National Association of Basketball Coaches initiated its award, which was sponsored from the outset by the Eastman Kodak Company. In 1977, the Los Angeles Athletic Club began honoring Hall of Fame UCLA coach John Wooden with the Wooden Award.
Duke has had eight different national player of the year winners, including seven of them in a 21-year span from 1986 through 2006. UCLA is runner-up with six individuals earning POY acclaim. Incredibly, perennial power Kentucky never had a representative win one of the six principal national player of the year awards until freshman Anthony Davis achieved the feat in 2012.
Wisconsin's Frank Kaminsky became the fourth Big Ten Conference player to capture national POY honors in the last six years. The Big East, Pac-10 and SEC combined to go 15 straight seasons from 1996-97 through 2010-11 without a national POY. Following is a look at the seven conferences with at least three different individuals capturing one of the six principal national player of the year awards since UPI's initial winner in 1955:
ACC (16) - Shane Battier (Duke), Elton Brand (Duke), Johnny Dawkins (Duke), Tim Duncan (Wake Forest), Danny Ferry (Duke), Phil Ford (North Carolina), Tyler Hansbrough (North Carolina), Art Heyman (Duke), Antawn Jamison (North Carolina), Michael Jordan (North Carolina), Christian Laettner (Duke), J.J. Redick (Duke), Ralph Sampson (Virginia), Joe Smith (Maryland), David Thompson (North Carolina State), Jason Williams (Duke).
Big Ten (13) - Gary Bradds (Ohio State), Trey Burke (Michigan State), Dee Brown (Illinois), Calbert Cheaney (Indiana), Draymond Green (Michigan State), Jim Jackson (Ohio State), Frank Kaminsky (Wisconsin), Jerry Lucas (Ohio State), Scott May (Indiana), Shawn Respert (Michigan State), Glenn Robinson Jr. (Purdue), Cazzie Russell (Michigan), Evan Turner (Ohio State).
Dave Leitao and Ritchie McKay, rehired by DePaul and Liberty, respectively, boast opportunities to achieve something rare in the major-college coaching community. Ronnie Arrow (South Alabama) and Jim McCafferty (Loyola LA) are the only two of the previous 36 mentors in this "Comeback Club" category over the last 60 years to compile a higher winning percentage the second time around.
Lou Carnesecca (St. John's) and Lake Kelly (Austin Peay State) are the only coaches to win NCAA playoff games in two different stints with the same school. Following is an alphabetical list of coaches who returned to their former major-college stomping grounds if their tenures weren't interrupted solely because of World War II:
|Two-Time Coach||DI College||First Stint||W-L||Pct.||Second Stint||W-L||Pct.|
|Ronnie Arrow||South Alabama||1988-95||114-93||.551||2008-13||97-68||.588|
|Lou Carnesecca||St. John's||1966-70||104-35||.748||1974-92||422-165||.719|
|Kermit Davis||Idaho||1989 and 1990||50-12||.806||1997||13-17||.433|
|Mike Dement||UNC Greensboro||1992-95||55-56||.495||2006-12||69-125||.356|
|Marshall Emery||Delaware State||1977-79||30-50||.375||1986-88||18-66||.214|
|Blair Gullion||Washington (Mo.)||1948-52||65-41||.613||1954-59||69-61||.531|
|Lou Henson||New Mexico State||1967-75||173-71||.709||1998-2005||136-105||.564|
|Ben Jobe||Southern (La.)||1987-96||191-100||.656||2002 and 2003||16-40||.286|
|Phil Johnson||San Jose State||1999||12-16||.429||2003-05||19-67||.221|
|Donald Kellett||Penn||1944 and 1945||22-9||.710||1947 and 1948||24-22||.522|
|Lake Kelly||Austin Peay State||1972-77||110-52||.679||1986-90||79-70||.530|
|Joe Lapchick||St. John's||1937-47||181-54||.770||1957-65||154-75||.672|
|Dave Leitao||DePaul||2003-05||58-34||.630||since 2016||TBD||TBD|
|Abe Lemons||Oklahoma City||1956-73||309-181||.631||1984-90||123-84||.594|
|Jim McCafferty||Loyola (La.)||1950||9-15||.375||1955-57||38-36||.514|
|Dave McDowell||Kent State||1949-51||56-20||.737||1956 and 1957||15-29||.341|
|Ritchie McKay||Liberty||2008 and 2009||39-28||.582||since 2016||TBD||TBD|
|Robert Moreland||Texas Southern||1976-2001||399-352||.531||2008||7-25||.219|
|Buzz Peterson||Appalachian State||1997-2000||79-39||.669||2010||24-13||.649|
|Bill Reinhart||George Washington||1936-42||100-38||.725||1950-66||216-201||.518|
|Elmer Ripley||Georgetown||1928 and 1929||24-6||.800||1939-43||68-39||.636|
|John "Honey" Russell||Seton Hall||1937-43||101-32||.759||1950-60||194-97||.647|
|Ken Trickey||Oral Roberts||1970-74||118-23||.837||1988-93||96-93||.508|
|Butch van Breda Kolff||Lafayette||1952-55||68-34||.667||1985-88||64-51||.557|
|Butch van Breda Kolff||Hofstra||1956-62||112-43||.723||1989-94||79-81||.494|
|Davey Whitney||Alcorn State||1971-89||395-199||.665||1997-2003||115-93||.553|
NOTES: VBK also had two stints at Hofstra, but Hofstra wasn't at the major-college level his first stint there. . . . OCU de-emphasized its program to the NAIA level after Lemons returned. . . . ORU wasn't always at the Division I level for either of Trickey's stints.
Close likely will determine who gets to smoke the victory cigar. All four Final Four participants won a regional final or semifinal by fewer than eight points. Wisconsin's Bo Ryan has one of the five best marks among active coaches in tight tilts decided by fewer than six points.
Ask Arizona fans if close doesn't count after the Wildcats lost five regional finals from 2003 through 2015 by a total of 14 points. Following is how the 2015 Final Four coaches have fared at the major-college level in games decided by fewer than six points:
|Final Four Coach||School||DI Seasons||1||2||3||4||5||Total||Pct.|
|Tom Izzo||Michigan State||1996-2015||7-10||17-23||25-13||18-13||24-16||91-75||.548|
Should I stay or should I go? It's a good thing some universities play in mammoth arenas because the egos of their "Pompous Pilots" wouldn't fit any other place. Much of the excess in the canonization of coaches is perpetrated by coaches-turned-television commentators who shamelessly fawn over their former colleagues. The analysts should be more concerned about encouraging coaches to spare fans the pious blather about the sanctity of a contract or agreement. Granted, it's survival of the fittest amid the offer-you-can't-refuse backdrop. But in a great many cases, schools have been little more than convenient steppingstones for "larger-than-life" coaches along their one-way street to success. It's understandable in many instances that mercenaries are leaving the minute they're appointed because coaches are in a distasteful "hired-to-be-fired" vocation, where a pink slip is only one losing season or poor recruiting year away.
Nevertheless, loyalty has become too much of a one-way street with the latest examples including Shaka Smart and Fred Hoiberg departing for Texas and the NBA despite having eight seasons remaining on their contracts with Virginia Commonwealth and Iowa State, respectively. Meanwhile, players considering their options occasionally are grilled by coaches and commentators for contemplating transfers or leaving early for the NBA. There are countless examples of schools holding a player's eligibility hostage out of sheer vindictiveness. How much more one-sided can it be when such a lame double standard exists?
After all, the value systems for high-profile coaches are sufficiently open-minded to permit running out on contracts when more lucrative jobs come open. Contracts are understood to be for the protection of the coach, not the team, whose players are somehow indentured to the schools for as many as four years of eligibility unless of course a coach chooses not to renew their scholarships. Perhaps that's why many believe incoming recruits should be allowed out of their letter-of-intent to seek another destination if the coach they signed with departs before they even get to campus.
Maybe it shouldn't be that way, but that's most definitely the way it is as contracts don't appear to mean squat to a striking number of meandering mentors who abandon ship like so many rats at high tide. Lon Kruger departed three different schools with at least four years remaining on pacts before leaving UNLV with two seasons left.
Many "leveraged" coaches have been preoccupied of late with attempting to virtually extort raises and extensions on already hefty packages. But in recent years, administrations at Boston College, Kent State, Marist, Miami (Fla.), St. John's and Wyoming seemed to be guinea pigs of sorts by fighting back via adherence to buyout clauses in trying to regain control of the situation in this big business atmosphere.
In mid-July 2010, a New York State Supreme Court Justice made a possible precedent-setting ruling in favor of Marist, which contended that coach Matt Brady's contract required him to secure written consent before negotiating with another school and forbade him from offering "a scholarship to current Marist players or to persons that he or his staff recruited to play at Marist" if he ever took a comparable job.
Brady clearly negotiated with James Madison in 2008 without "written" consent and Marist compiled a list of 19 prospects Brady recruited on behalf of Marist that it believed he should have been unable to recruit to JMU per the details of his contract. Four players on that "off-limits" list - Trevon Flores, Devon Moore, Andrey Semenov and Julius Wells - ultimately signed with JMU.
The judge ruled in favor of Marist's claims that Brady had an enforceable contract when he discussed leaving Marist with JMU, that JMU knew of the contract's existence, that JMU intentionally induced Brady to violate his fiduciary obligations under the contract, and that Marist incurred damages as a result of the breach of those obligations. Marist also filed a separate civil suit against Brady. In mid-May 2011, Kent State sued Geno Ford for more than $1.2 million in damages stemming from his departure for Bradley, where Ford has already been cast adrift.
Six of Tulsa's previous eight coaches - Nolan Richardson, Tubby Smith, Steve Robinson, Bill Self, Buzz Peterson and Danny Manning - left the school for more prestigious positions despite each of them having at least three years remaining on their contracts before Frank Haith downgraded by departing Missouri for Tulsa with three years remaining on his Mizzou pact. Half of the Golden Hurricane defectors went on to capture NCAA championships. Tulsa is one of three universities from which Self has bailed. He signed a five-year extension with Illinois in December, 2002, that included a bump in salary to $900,000 and payout of $500,000 if he stayed the life of the contract. There also was a buyout of $100,000 per year remaining on the pact.
Lengthy agreements with guarantees can restrict an institution's options. Oklahoma State probably would be seeking a new coach during the Final Four except the Cowboys are shackled by obligations stemming from the remaining four years of a 10-year extension signed by Travis Ford, who previously departed Massachusetts with seven seasons left on his contract to align with OSU.
Deal or no deal? The length of contracts doesn't seem to carry any weight as a factor in the equation. Smart said it was a "no-brainer" hooking up with the Horns and that statement is true if your brain cells or ethical standards don't put any stock into length of an existing pact. Following is an alphabetical list detailing coaches such as Hoiberg and Smart reportedly still having contractual obligations to schools of more than five seasons when they left for greener pastures at some point in their careers:
- Steve Alford (10 years remaining on contract) - left New Mexico/hired by UCLA
- Rick Barnes (6) - Clemson/Texas
- John Beilein (6) - Richmond/West Virginia
- Tony Bennett (6) - Washington State/Virginia
- Dave Bliss (6) - New Mexico/Baylor
- Mike Brey (7) - Delaware/Notre Dame
- John Calipari (10) - Massachusetts/New Jersey Nets
- Jeff Capel III (6) - Virginia Commonwealth/Oklahoma
- Tom Crean (9) - Marquette/Indiana
- Matt Doherty (6) - Florida Atlantic/Southern Methodist
- Larry Eustachy (6) - Utah State/Iowa State
- Dennis Felton (6) - Western Kentucky/Georgia
- Tim Floyd (6) - New Orleans/Iowa State
- Tim Floyd (8) - Iowa State/Chicago Bulls
- Travis Ford (7) - Massachusetts/Oklahoma State
- Billy Gillispie (8) - Texas A&M/Kentucky
- Brian Gregory (7) - Dayton/Georgia Tech
- Leonard Hamilton (7) - Miami (Fla.)/Washington Wizards
- Fred Hoiberg (8) - Iowa State/Chicago Bulls
- Ben Howland (6) - Pittsburgh/UCLA
- Jeff Lebo (8) - Chattanooga/Auburn
- Gregg Marshall (8) - Winthrop/Wichita State
- Thad Matta (9) - Xavier/Ohio State
- Fran McCaffery (7) - Siena/Iowa
- Sean Miller (9) - Xavier/Arizona
- Dan Monson (10) - Gonzaga/Minnesota
- Lute Olson (7) - Iowa/Arizona
- Buzz Peterson (9) - Appalachian State/Tulsa
- Skip Prosser (6) - Xavier/Wake Forest
- Oliver Purnell (6) - Clemson/DePaul
- Mike Rice Jr. (7) - Robert Morris/Rutgers
- Steve Robinson (7) - Tulsa/Florida State
- Kelvin Sampson (6) - Washington State/Oklahoma
- Shaka Smart (8) - Virginia Commonwealth/Texas
- Tubby Smith (6) - Georgia/Kentucky
- Mark Turgeon (9) - Wichita State/Texas A&M