Pioneers: Who Broke Color Barrier at Predominantly White Universities?
Every sports fan accepts the cultural significance of Jackie Robinson. But in the aftermath of a series of anniversary celebrations regarding Robinson beginning his major league baseball career, it is easy to forget there was a time when the now 75 percent black National Basketball Association was 100 percent white. It's also easy to forget that Robinson was instrumental in college basketball's "civil rights" movement.
Before Robinson arrived on the scene in the National League, however, there was Columbia's George Gregory, who became the first African-American to gain college All-American honors in 1930-31. In an era of low scoring, he was the team's second-leading scorer with a 9.2-point average. But he was proudest of his defense, and a statistic that is no longer kept: "goals against." In 10 games, Gregory held rival centers to only eight baskets. "That's less than one goal a game," he told the New York Times. "I think they should have kept that statistical category. Nowadays, one guy scores 40 points but his man scores 45. So what good is it?
"It's funny, but even though I was the only black playing for Columbia, and there was only one other black playing in the Ivy League - Baskerville of Harvard - I really didn't encounter too much trouble from opponents. Oh, I got into a couple of fights. And one time a guy called me 'Nigger,' and a white teammate said, 'Next time, you hit him high and I'll hit him low.' And we did, and my teammate, a Polish guy named Remy Tys, said to that other player, 'That's how we take care of nigger callers.'"
But Gregory said the worst racial incident he encountered was at his own school. "After our last game in my junior year, the team voted me captain for the next season. Well, there was a hell of a battle when this came out. Columbia didn't want a black captain, or a Jewish captain, either, I learned. The dean was against it, and the athletic director was against it, and even the coach was against it.
"The coach told me, 'Get yourself together, Gregory, or I'll take your scholarship away.' They were worried that if we played a school in the South and met the other captain before the game, the guy would refuse to come out and it would embarrass the school. But the campus was split 50-50 on whether to have a black captain for its basketball team.
"The fight went on for three or four weeks. The school insisted that the team vote again. We did, and I won again. One of my teammates said, `You forced the school to enter the 20th Century.'"
Harrison "Honey" Fitch, Connecticut's first black player, was center stage during a racial incident delaying a game at the U.S. Coast Guard Academy for several hours in late January 1934. Coast Guard officials entered a protest against Fitch, arguing that because half of the Academy's student body was from southern states, they had a tradition "that no Negro players be permitted to engage in contests at the Academy." Eventually, UConn's coach kept Fitch on the bench the entire contest and never explained why.
The first black to appear in the NBA didn't occur until a couple of decades after Gregory graduated and Fitch transferred to American International. UCLA's first basketball All-American Don Barksdale, one of the first seven African-Americans to play in the NBA, was the first black U.S. Olympic basketball player (1948) as well as the first black to play in an NBA All-Star Game (as a rookie in 1952).
Inspired by the black labor movement in the 1930s, Barksdale said, "I made up my mind that if I wanted to do something, I was going to try to do it all the way, no matter the obstacles."
As a 28-year-old rookie with the Baltimore Bullets, he was paid $20,850 (one of the NBA's top salaries) to play and host a postgame radio show, but that notoriety also put extra pressure on him. Forced to play excessive minutes during the preseason, he sustained ankle injuries that plagued him the remainder of his four-year NBA career (11 ppg and 8 rpg).
Why play so many minutes? "It's Baltimore, which is considered the South," said Barksdale, who wound up back in the Bay Area as a well-known jazz disc jockey. "So the South finally signed a black man, and he's going to play whether he could walk or crawl."
Chuck Cooper, who attended Duquesne on the GI Bill, was the first black player drafted by an NBA franchise. "I don't give a damn if he's striped or plaid or polka-dot," were the history-making words of Boston Celtics Owner Walter Brown when he selected Cooper, who averaged 6.7 points and 5.9 rebounds per game in six pro seasons. In Cooper's freshman campaign, Duquesne was awarded a forfeit after refusing to yield to Tennessee's refusal to compete against the Dukes if Cooper participated in a game just before Christmas.
In the 1955-56 season, the Hazleton (Pa.) Hawks of the Eastern League became the first professional league franchise to boast an all-black starting lineup - Jesse Arnelle, Tom Hemans, Fletcher Johnson, Floyd Lane and Sherman White. Arnelle (Penn State) and White (Long Island) were former major-college All-Americans.
As for the multi-talented Robinson, UCLA's initial all-conference basketball player in the 1940s was a forward who compiled the highest scoring average in the Pacific Coast Conference both of his seasons with the Bruins (12.3 points per league game in 1939-40 and 11.1 ppg in 1940-41) after transferring from Pasadena (Calif.) City College. Continuing his scoring exploits, the six-time National League All-Star was the leading scorer for the Los Angeles Red Devils' barnstorming team in 1946-47.
Seven-time All-Star outfielder Larry Doby, the first black in the American League, was also a college basketball player who helped pave the way for minorities. He competed on the hardwood for Virginia Union during World War II after originally committing to LIU. The four-month lead Robinson had in integrating the majors cast a huge shadow over Doby, who was the first black to lead his league in homers (32 in 1952), first to hit a World Series homer and first to win a World Series title.
There are ramifications when assessing the issue of race and it would be nice if we were all color blind. Nonetheless, it's impossible to properly evaluate the history of college basketball without broaching the sensitive topic.
Julian Abele, a 1902 Penn graduate considered the first major African-American architect in the U.S., designed Duke's famous Cameron Indoor Stadium, which hosted all-white teams and games for decades after opening in 1939. Nonetheless, Cameron's doors were closed to minority players for an extended period as Duke's roster didn't include a black athlete at the varsity level until C.B. Claiborne in 1966-67. The previous year, Maryland's Billy Jones became the first black player in the ACC. The all-white snack bar at the downtown train depot in Durham, N.C., refused to serve the Terrapins' black players following a game at Duke, and the entire squad went hungry.
"You just learn to deal with that stuff," Jones told Barry Jacobs, the author of Across the Line. "It taught me an awful lot in terms of just plain perseverance, just hang tough, do what you have to do to stay focused."
It was difficult for Claiborne to concentrate amid the problems he encountered at school. Some older players harassed him during practice; he wasn't notified of an end-of-the-year athletic awards banquet at the notoriously segregated Hope Valley Country Club; an engineering professor told him it was impossible for him to earn an A in his class. And, perhaps most telling of all: Claiborne spent so much time at nearby North Carolina Central University, a historically black college, that he had his own meal card there.
Two decades before Robinson was UCLA's meal ticket, the first black to play for the Bruins was Ralph Bunche, who earned letters as a guard for three Southern California Conference champions. Legendary Bruins coach John Wooden acknowledges that Bunche, named UCLA's Alumnus of the Year in 1949, was instrumental in helping recruit New York City native Lew Alcindor to his alma mater.
Bunche became the first black person to win the Nobel Peace Prize (in 1950 for his deft handling of the armistice negotiations as a U.N. envoy leading to the Arab-Israeli truce). In 1945, Bunche said he was "obsessed with a burning desire to excel in everything I undertake," and moved by "a calculated and deliberate interest to prove to (whites) that I am, despite their race, their equal if not their superior in intellect, ability, knowledge, and general savoir-faire."
In the early 1950s, Wayne State (Mich.) became the first non-historically black college to play five African-Americans together at the same time. They defeated major universities such as DePaul, Detroit, Duquesne, Georgetown, Marquette, Memphis State, Niagara, Penn State, St. Francis (Pa.) and St. Mary's (Calif.).
In the mid-1950s, only about 10% of basketball programs for predominantly white institutions recruited black players. "You could count the number of black players on West Coast teams on the fingers of one hand," said coach Pete Newell, who guided San Francisco (NIT in 1950) and California (NCAA in 1959) to national tournament titles.
In 1954, the year of the U.S. Supreme Court's Brown vs. Board of Education desegregation decisions, the pressure escalated for coaches and players alike. No school excelled more than San Francisco, which won 55 consecutive games and back-to-back NCAA titles.
In 1957-58, blacks accounted for five of the six NCAA consensus first-team All-Americans - Seattle's Elgin Baylor, Kansas State's Bob Boozer, Kansas' Wilt Chamberlain, Cincinnati's Oscar Robertson and Temple's Guy Rodgers. All five played at least 11 seasons in the NBA.
USF '55 and fellow kingpin Cincinnati '62 were the first teams to start three and four black players, respectively, in the NCAA Tournament championship game. But Texas Western, now called Texas-El Paso, is credited most for putting the finishing touches on dismantling the prejudiced myth that black athletes couldn't play disciplined basketball by using seven players, all blacks, in winning the 1966 NCAA playoff final against all-white Kentucky.
"Young black players told me that it (the championship) gave them confidence and courage," said Harry Flournoy, a starter for Texas Western. "Some of them, before that game, had been afraid to go to white schools."
In 1956, Texas Western became the first school in the Southern half of the U.S. to integrate its athletic teams. Despite its relative openness, Texas Western did not yet permit blacks to live in campus dorms so the first two African-American basketball players - Air Force veteran Charlie Brown and his nephew, Cecil Brown - lived in a downtown apartment at first after transferring from junior college. George McCarty, the Miners' coach at the time, set aside an empty room in the athletic dormitory for the Browns to dress on game days.
"I wasn't allowed in the movies downtown and things like that, and there were a few minor (racial) incidents with professors," recalled Brown in the book And the Walls Came Tumbling Down. "But there were absolutely no problems with anyone in athletics there. I always said Texas Western was going through integration, I wasn't."
The next team to win an NCAA title with five black starters was Louisville in 1980. In the first 20 years after the Miners captured their national title, the average number of blacks on college rosters doubled from three to six. About two-thirds of Division I basketball rosters currently are comprised of black players.
In 1966-67, Western Kentucky's Clem Haskins, Houston's Elvin Hayes and Louisville's Wes Unseld became the first African-Americans from Southern schools to be named NCAA consensus first-team All-Americans. Haskins, a three-time OVC Player of the Year, and Dwight Smith were WKU's first two black players, sparking the Hilltoppers to a 66-15 record in their three varsity campaigns. "He (Dwight) needed me and I needed him," said Haskins, who is generally considered the first black to earn a league MVP honor while attending a Southern school. "We leaned on each other's shoulders. We had a lot of wars to fight then with the barrier just broken. The people will never know what we went through then. There were many nights where we cried ourselves to sleep."
A total of 13 of Hall of Fame coach Dean Smith's 22 All-Americans with North Carolina are African-Americans. Wrote Smith in his autobiography A Coach's Life: "To me, the presence of (All-American) Charles Scott on the court for us (from 1967-68 through 1969-70) was nothing to commemorate or remark on. It was simply past due." However, Scott was more fond of Lefty Driesell ("I was a kid who never had anything. He would give me anything I wanted.") and committed to attend Davidson before a racial slur while dining in Charlotte when the eatery owner said to Lefty: "Coach, I'm sorry but my wife and I don't serve n------ on this side of the restaurant."
Bigotry seemed to still persist in 1968-69 when Scott, the first African-American on Carolina's varsity roster, didn't receive his just due by failing to become a consensus All-ACC first-team selection (22.3 ppg, 7.1 rpg and 3.4 apg for regular-season champion). He also lost the conference player of the year vote to South Carolina's white sophomore guard John Roche (23.6 ppg and 2.6 rpg for league runner-up) by a significant margin. Scott, a first-team All-American by the NABC and USBWA, was left off a handful of first-team All-ACC ballots while Roche wasn't named an All-American by the coaches, writers and either of the national wire services. "I thought it was a slap in the face," Scott told Jim Sumner of theACC.com. "It definitely was a motivator for me. It's the only time in the ACC I felt slighted."
In the midst of perhaps Scott's greatest triumph, a 40-point performance (hitting 13 of 14 second-half field-goal attempts) in a come-from-behind victory over Duke in the 1969 ACC Tournament final, he could not escape the loneliness of being a pioneer. "You want to know what I did after I scored the 40 points?" Scott told Jacobs. "I was by myself. Who am I going to go out with? I was by myself after I did that. We had great fun in the locker room. After that, we walked out of the locker room; everybody went one way, and I went another way. I had to celebrate it myself."
Scott's final season with UNC was the last time a simple majority of the NCAA consensus All-American first-team selections were white (LSU's Pete Maravich, Purdue's Rick Mount and Kentucky's Dan Issel). Since Scott graduated, whites have accounted for only 20 percent of the NCAA consensus All-American first- and second-team selections.
In 1970-71, the first season that Alabama, Clemson, Georgia, Kentucky and South Carolina featured an African-American on their varsity rosters, every member of the NCAA consensus All-American first team was black. In the next 10 years, Alabama (Leon Douglas), Clemson (Tree Rollins), Georgia (Dominique Wilkins) and Kentucky (Jack Givens) had blacks pass the test and become among their all-time best All-Americans. As for South Carolina, no black is among its eight All-American selections in school history.
A majority of ACC recruits were African-American by 1975 but it took until 1983 for an all-black starting five (North Carolina State) to win an ACC title.
Amid burning crosses and waving Confederate flags, prejudice probably prevented the ACC and SEC from becoming the nation's premier conferences in the 1960s and first half of the 1970s. Blacklisting almost certainly kept the SWC as a "football-only" league. All-Americans, future NBA standouts, Harlem Globetrotter greats, small-college sensations and prize postseason performers who attended high school in Southern states and might have enrolled at universities in the ACC, SEC or SWC if not for being deemed second-class citizens included:
Alabama - Harold Blevins (attended Arkansas AM&N), Tom Boswell (South Carolina State/South Carolina), Carver Clinton (Penn State), Artis Gilmore (Jacksonville), Travis Grant (Kentucky State), Bill Green (Colorado State), Lamar Green (Morehead State), Elvin Ivory (Southwestern Louisiana), Cal Ramsey (NYU), Willie Scott (Alabama State), Bud Stallworth (Kansas), Bennie Swain (Texas Southern) and Bob Veale (Benedictine).
Arkansas - Herbert "Geese" Ausbie (Philander Smith), Jim Barnes (Texas-El Paso), Frank Burgess (Gonzaga), brothers Oliver/Melvin/Wilbert Jones (Albany State), Eddie Miles (Seattle), Jackie Ridgle (California) and Goose Tatum (Harlem Globetrotters).
Florida - Cyril Baptiste (Creighton), Waite Bellamy (Florida A&M), Carl Fuller (Bethune-Cookman), Sam McCants (Oral Roberts), Otto Moore (Pan American), Howard Porter (Villanova), Leonard "Truck" Robinson (Tennessee State), Joe Strawder (Bradley), Levern Tart (Bradley), Walt Wesley (Kansas) and Bob Williams (Florida A&M).
Georgia - Don Adams (Northwestern), Al Beard (Norfolk State), Curtis Bell (Morris Brown), Chuck Benson (Southern Illinois), Claude English (Rhode Island), Walt Frazier (Southern Illinois), Charles Hardnett (Grambling), Merv Jackson (Utah), Ed Johnson (Tennessee A&I), Julius Keye (South Carolina State/Alcorn A&M), Lloyd Neal (Tennessee State), Johnny Mathis (Savannah State), Elmore Smith (Kentucky State), Roman "Doc" Turman (Clark), LeRoy Walker (Benedict), Butch Webster (New Orleans), Joby Wright (Indiana) and Rayfield Wright (Fort Valley State).
Kentucky - Henry Bacon (Louisville), Butch Beard (Louisville), Ralph Davis (Cincinnati), Clarence Glover (Western Kentucky), Joe Hamilton (North Texas State), Clem Haskins (Western Kentucky), Carl Helem (Tennessee A&I), Charlie Hunter (Oklahoma City), Bobby "Toothpick" Jones (Dayton), Ron King (Florida State), Jim McDaniels (Western Kentucky), Jerome Perry (Western Kentucky), Mike Redd (Kentucky Wesleyan), Jim Rose (Western Kentucky), Dwight Smith (Western Kentucky), Garfield Smith (Eastern Kentucky), Greg Smith (Western Kentucky), George Stone (Marshall), Tom Thacker (Cincinnati), Ron Thomas (Louisville), Dallas Thornton (Kentucky Wesleyan), Felix Thurston (Trinity, Tex.), George Tinsley (Kentucky Wesleyan), George Unseld (Kansas), Wes Unseld (Louisville), Jerry Lee Wells (Oklahoma City) and Clarence "Cave" Wilson (Tennessee State).
Louisiana - Charlie Anderson (Grambling), Thurman "Zeke" Baptiste (Grambling/Northwestern State), Jerry Barr (Grambling), Charles Bloodworth (Northwestern State), Don Chaney (Houston), John Comeaux (Grambling), Jim Duplantier (Grambling), Wilbert Frazier (Grambling), Willie Hart (Grambling), Elvin Hayes (Houston), Fred Hilton (Grambling), James Hooper (Grambling), Bob Hopkins (Grambling), Luke Jackson (Pan American), Aaron James (Grambling), Rich Johnson (Grambling), James Jones (Grambling), Edmond Lawrence (McNeese State), Bob Love (Southern), Jesse Marshall (Centenary), Bob McCoy (Grambling), Willis Reed (Grambling), Bill Russell (San Francisco after moving to California), Leslie Scott (Loyola of Chicago/Southwestern Louisiana), James Silas (Stephen F. Austin State), Curtis St. Mary (McNeese State), Henry Steele (Northeast Louisiana), Rex Tippitt (Grambling), Dale Valdery (Xavier, La.), Abram Valore (Grambling), Hershell West (Grambling) and Howard Willis (Grambling).
Mississippi - Tommie Bowens (Grambling), Cleveland Buckner (Jackson State), Harvey Catchings (Hardin-Simmons), E.C. Coleman (Houston Baptist), Rowland Garrett (Florida State), Earl Glass (Mississippi Industrial), Mike Green (Louisiana Tech), Spencer Haywood (Detroit), George T. Johnson (Dillard), Sam Lacey (New Mexico State), LyVonne "Hoss" LeFlore (Jackson State), Jesse Leonard (St. Louis), Ed Manning (Jackson State), Willie Norwood (Alcorn A&M), Cornell Warner (Jackson State) and Donald "Slick" Watts (Xavier, La.).
North Carolina - Walt Bellamy (Indiana), Fred Bibby (Fayetteville State), Lee Davis (North Carolina Central), Larry Dunn (North Carolina Central), Reginald "Hawk" Ennis (North Carolina Central), Herm Gilliam (Purdue), Paul Grier (North Carolina A&T), Happy Hairston (NYU), Harvey Heartley (North Carolina Central), Lou Hudson (Minnesota), Harold Hunter (North Carolina Central), Sam Jones (North Carolina Central), George "Meadowlark" Lemon (Florida A&M), Henry Logan (Western Carolina), Fred "Curly" Neal (Johnson C. Smith), Willie Porter (Tennessee State), Jimmy Walker (Providence) and Bobby Warlick (Pepperdine).
South Carolina - Leon Benbow (Jacksonville), Larry Doby (LIU/Virginia Union), Lee Monroe (Shaw), Clifford Ray (Oklahoma), Art Shell (Maryland-Eastern Shore) and Kenny Washington (UCLA).
Tennessee - Willie Brown (Middle Tennessee State), L.M. Ellis (Drake/Austin Peay), Larry Finch (Memphis State), Richie Fuqua (Oral Roberts), Carl Hardaway (Oral Roberts), Albert Henry (Wisconsin), Les Hunter (Loyola of Chicago), Paul Hogue (Cincinnati), James Johnson (Wisconsin), Rich Jones (Illinois/Memphis State), Ron Lawson Sr. (UCLA/Fisk), Ted McClain (Tennessee A&I), Charlie Paulk (Northeastern Oklahoma State), Rick Roberson (Cincinnati), Vic Rouse (Loyola of Chicago), Willie Shaw (Lane), Bingo Smith (Tulsa), David Vaughn Jr. (Oral Roberts) and Dwight Waller (Tennessee State).
Texas - Zelmo Beaty (Prairie View A&M), Nate Bowman (Wichita), Charlie Brown (Texas Western), Willie Davis (North Texas State), Charles "Tex" Harrison (North Carolina Central), Robert Hughes Sr. (Texas Southern), David Lattin (Texas Western), Guy Manning (Prairie View A&M), Elton McGriff (Creighton), McCoy McLemore (Drake), Nolan Richardson (Texas Western), Rubin Russell (North Texas State), John Savage (North Texas State), Dave Stallworth (Wichita), Fred Taylor (Pan American) and Gene Wiley (Wichita).
Virginia - Al Bumbry (Virginia State), Bob Dandridge (Norfolk State), Roy Ebron (Southwestern Louisiana), William Franklin (Purdue), Junius Kellogg (West Virginia State/Manhattan), Earl Lloyd (West Virginia State), Bruce Spraggins (Virginia Union) and Harley "Skeeter" Swift (East Tennessee State).
Reed (21.7 ppg) and Walt Frazier (20.9), the top two scorers for the New York Knicks' 1969-70 NBA champion, could have helped rewrite SEC basketball history if they had been allowed to compete in the league. LSU wouldn't have been mired in mediocrity with a 24-25 record in 1962-63 and 1963-64 if the Tigers had successfully recruited Reed and fellow in-state products L. Jackson and Love to comprise one of the all-time premier frontcourts. Elsewhere, Georgia most assuredly wouldn't have gone 19-32 in 1965-66 and 1966-67 with Frazier and M. Jackson in the Bulldogs' lineup. Similarly, Alabama wouldn't have struggled with an 18-34 mark in 1969-70 and 1970-71 if the Tide hadn't turn its back on Gilmore, Grant and B. Stallworth.
In the late 1960s, Memphis State could have boasted one of the foremost frontlines in history if it had successfully recruited hometown heroes Albert Henry (Wisconsin), Charlie Paulk (Northeastern Oklahoma State), Rick Roberson (Cincinnati) and Bobby Smith (Tulsa). But the Tigers missed out on the four eventual NBA first-round draft choices who left Memphis for other colleges with Roberson and Smith attending fellow Missouri Valley Conference members. Adding insult to injury, local product David Vaughn Jr. reneged on an oral commitment to the Tigers in the early 1970s and became a standout with Oral Roberts.
Nevertheless, Memphis might have been the first big-time Southern university to field an all-black starting lineup in 1970-71 under coach Gene Bartow. Contrary to the depictions by some naysayers, the influx of black talent showed it could handle pressure by helping Bartow win more than 70 percent of their games decided by fewer than eight points during his four-season tenure. At his debut, the city was only 2 1/2 years removed from perhaps its lowest point, the assassination of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. on the balcony of a local hotel. "Memphis State and the rest of the city was racially divided," said Maxine Smith, former executive director of the NAACP. "Sport played such an overwhelming part in our community breaking down barriers."
As for coaches, it took the ACC, SEC and SWC an extended period to embrace their first African-American bench bosses. In 1974-75, Arizona's Fred Snowden became the first African-American coach to have a major-college team finish in a final wire-service Top 20 poll (17th in UPI with a 22-7 record). Two years earlier, Snowden became the first African-American head coach in the Western Athletic Conference and at a major university. Snowden was 26 games above .500 in WAC competition after his first five seasons, but was 18 games below .500 in his last five years. He won a stunning 70% of his games decided by fewer than four points in his first seven campaigns with the Wildcats (33-14 mark in those close contests during that span).
Will Robinson had become the nation's first black major-college head coach in 1971-72 when Illinois State moved up to the NCAA Division I level. It was 10 years before ISU joined the Missouri Valley Conference, where Drake's Gus Guydon is generally considered to be the first African-American assistant at a major university. Guydon was a two-time All-MVC first-team swingman for Drake under coach Maury John in the early 1960s as almost 80 percent of the first-team choices in "The Valley" during that decade were black. The MVC was dubbed a "black" league when a minimum of four first-team selections annually were African-Americans from 1961-62 through the season (1972-73) Mississippi State became the last SEC school to integrate at the varsity level. Guydon was an assistant at his alma mater before leaving with John for Iowa State following the 1970-71 campaign.
The 1970s and 1980s witnessed the following head coaches break the color barrier in major conferences: Harvard's Tom Sanders (Ivy League in 1973-74), Wisconsin's Bill Cofield (Big Ten in 1976-77), Arkansas' Nolan Richardson (SWC in 1985-86), Oklahoma State's Leonard Hamilton (Big Eight in 1986-87), Maryland's Bob Wade (ACC in 1986-87) and Tennessee's Wade Houston (SEC in 1989-90). It was largely overlooked in 1996-97 when three black coaches won or shared divisional titles in Conference USA (Tulane's Perry Clark, Memphis State's Larry Finch and UNC Charlotte's Melvin Watkins).
By 2008-09, eight of the 12 head coaches in the Mid-American Conference were black. However, just barely over 20% of the head coaches nationwide at the time were minorities.
In 1982, Georgetown's John Thompson Jr. took umbrage to depictions of him as the initial African-American coach to direct a team to the Final Four. But the injustices in the past against his race were sufficient reason for placing emphasis on Thompson's achievements with predominantly black rosters.
Dr. John Edgar Wideman, a novelist who was the first black player for Penn in the early 1960s, said: "(Thompson's) a talented man and a great coach, but the reason he's the first (Final Four) black coach is not because of his unique and individual talent; it's because he was allowed to be. We always have to keep that in mind when we look at firsts, and bests, among black people in any endeavor."
The integration of college basketball, waiting primarily on the South to emerge from the "Jim Crow" dark ages, wasn't complete until the mid-1970s. For instance, Coolidge Ball didn't become the first black athlete to sign a basketball scholarship with Ole Miss until eight years after James Meredith became the initial black student at the university in 1962. Although overt racism probably wasn't quite as pervasive as in professional sports, many of the African-American players who broke the color barriers at colleges post-World War II faced more than their share of hardships and hostility.
"They (opposing fans) were all just rabid," recalls Perry Wallace, Vanderbilt's standout forward who became the first black varsity player in the all-white Southeastern Conference in 1967-68. "I'm talking racial stuff, people threatening your life ... calling you
nigger,'coon,' `shoe polish.' The first time I played Ole Miss I got spat on at halftime by four generations of one family."
Wallace, a local product from Nashville who went on to become a law professor at the University of Baltimore and American University, encountered raucous road trips throughout the Deep South, where belligerent spectators drenched him with their drinks and cheerleaders led crowds in racist chants. In Mississippi, he was punched in the eye by an opposing player whom he knew he couldn't fight back.
Wallace, overshadowed in the SEC by Maravich's scoring exploits, told the Nashville Business & Lifestyles that "I'm not one of these historical revisionists who tries to claim he was all-smart and all-seeing back in those days. Everybody knew that what was happening was important. You've got to understand that this was post-legal segregation, but it was de facto segregation."
In an interview with The Tennessean, Wallace spoke of also feeling alienated from classmates at Vandy when being informed by older members of the campus church that elders there would withhold contributions and write the congregation out of their will if he continued to attend.
"I can't say it any other way," confided Wallace, an All-SEC second-team selection as a senior in 1969-70. "I have been there by myself. It's been a very lonesome thing. People knew my name but weren't interested in knowing me. They respected my basketball ability but still considered me as a person who sweeps floors."
In The Walls Came Tumbling Down, Wallace said: "There were times when I felt close to a nervous breakdown. They weren't the worst four years any black man ever had experienced, but it took me a while to learn to deal with the pain. The fact that I did is a credit to my parents. They had eighth-grade educations and they worked as servants and what not. But they emphasized education, decency, and morality. I grew up poor but with strong values. My parents wouldn't let me hate back. They used to say, `No matter what is done to you, you don't get the chance to hate back.'"
Wallace told the St. Petersburg Times that during his first varsity game at Ole Miss, the crowd cheered when he was punched in the eye and injured going for a rebound.
"Both of the Mississippi schools and both of the (SEC's) Alabama schools - those were the worst," Wallace said. "In other places, you still had prejudice, at Louisiana (State) and the University of Tennessee, those could be bad. But the Mississippi and Alabama schools were the worst. Those people were mobsters, jlike Klansmen, and were people right from that world. They knew how to destroy a black person. And that's what they tried to do to me. They did what they could to try to induce fear in me and basically make me fail. I had to make sure that I did not succumb to that."
Vandy failed to produce a black All-American until swingman Shan Foster was honored in 2008. Elsewhere in the SEC, hate mail didn't arrive just from whites for Alabama's Wendell Hudson, who earned All-American accolades as a senior. "Some of the mail I got was from black people, that was,
I can't believe you're going to Alabama. You sold out. You should go to a black school,'" said Hudson, a two-time All-SEC first-team selection. "In my mind, this is what the marching was all about. This is what equality was all about. So now you're mad at me?'"
Henry Harris, an All-SEC third-team selection in 1971-72 and Auburn's first black athlete, was for a while the only black Wallace played against in the SEC. Harris took his own life by jumping off a building in New York soon after he left college. And Tom Payne, who broke the color barrier at Kentucky a year after Wallace graduated, was imprisoned an extended period for assaulting females.
"Tom Payne had a tragic life and it wasn't all owing to playing in the SEC, but it didn't help," Wallace asserts. "You have to take the time that it requires to recover from an experience like that. You have to heal right. And fortunately, I think I have. I'm not destroyed. I've wrestled with the emotional effect that experience has had on my life. That was a process that was not easy those first few years, but I did it."
Payne, the son of an Army sergeant, went from pioneer to pariah in the wake of incurring rape convictions in three states (Georgia, Kentucky and California). Some might contend that his view is a convenient crutch. But after growing up in the integrated atmosphere of Army bases, he says that the racism he experienced during his one tumultuous season with UK led him to detest white people and abuse women. Threatening phone calls, broken car windows and eggs smashed on his front door became routine.
"That's the kind of abuse I went through," Payne said. "And people think that's not supposed to affect you? Before I went to college, nothing in my life said I was going to be a criminal. My whole life took a turn going to UK and getting damaged so much. My anger and hatred toward white society came up, and I lashed out."
Elsewhere in the SEC, ugly sentiments expressed in various ways were handled infinitely better. Collis Temple Jr., the son of two educators, never wavered in his determination to rid the stain of Jim Crow from LSU's campus. He insists that his college career was a generally positive experience and, in the process, allowed him to help pave a smoother route for those who came after him - including two sons (Collis III and Garrett) who starred for the Tigers.
"It's the best decision I could have made," Collis Jr. said. "If I had to make that choice again, my choice would be the same."
Choices made by Brigham Young's administration probably would be different if it could make them all again. As late as 1969, BYU administrators discouraged blacks from attending the university, fostering numerous problems with Western Athletic Conference opponents. When BYU played at Arizona in 1970, a group of demonstrators tried to force their way onto the court, resulting in a 10-minute brawl with security police. The Cougars' game at New Mexico was delayed nearly one hour after protestors threw eggs and kerosene-filled balloons onto the court. At Colorado State, Brigham Young's team was met by students carrying "Bigot Young University" signs before protestors hurled eggs, a flaming molotov cocktail and a piece of angle-iron onto the court.
Sports Illustrated observed that BYU was no longer certain whether an opponent would "throw a man-to-man defense, a zone, or a grenade." Cougars coach Stan Watts complained that the team was unable to concentrate because they had to keep "one eye on the crowd and one eye on the game."
Race problems weren't restricted to major universities. Two-time NAIA Tournament MVP Al Tucker, who went on to become an NBA first-round draft choice after averaging 28.7 points and 12.9 rebounds per game in three seasons for Oklahoma Baptist, played one year with the College of Knoxville before going home to Ohio because of racial issues. Said Tucker about the last straw that sent him home: "We had what they called the Tennessee Theatre and we would give the lady a dollar or whatever it cost to get in and she said 'Sorry, we don't allow Negroes in.' Next thing they're going to call the paddy wagon and take us to jail."
The old bigotry of the South fades virtually every day, but former Mississippi/Arizona State coach Rob Evans thinks the lessons in perseverance shouldn't be forgotten. Every year when Evans coached Ole Miss, he took his players to the Civil Rights Museum in Memphis.
"I just think it's important to expand kids' knowledge, but I also wanted my kids exposed to what happened in the '60s, and why things are like they are now," Evans said. "I've had a tremendous amount of my white kids say,
Coach, did this really happen?' They say,How did you take this?' I think it bonds the kids together."
In the early 1990s, Michigan's all-black "Fab Five" generated extensive national headlines with back-to-back NCAA Tournament championship game appearances. But their chest-pounding "me generation" era introducing baggy shorts, sullen stares and hip-hop attitudes might have been more style than substance because they never won a Big Ten Conference championship. At that time, the Center for the Study of Sport in Society supplied the following statistics: More than 55 percent of the varsity Division I players were black; seven percent of the students on campus were black, and 1 1/2 percent of the faculty was black. The dropout rate after four years of eligibility for blacks was three times higher than the 10 percent for whites. Whether or not soft bigotry still exists, a 2007 report found that only 43 percent of black male college players graduate.
To be sure, things in society have changed immeasurably for minority groups since slavery and cotton were king. Gregory, Robinson and Wallace among others could only do so much in venturing into unchartered territory. Prejudice dies hard. The following list of trailblazers who broke the color barrier at schools since the start of the 1950s, the generally accepted introduction of the modern era of college basketball, deserve content-of-character tribute for paving the path for thousands of black athletes by taking giant steps toward bridging the racial chasm:
School/First Black Player (First Varsity Season)
Air Force/Jimmy Love (1960-61)
Statistics are unavailable.
Alabama/Wendell Hudson (1970-71)
Averaged 19.2 ppg and 12 rpg in his career, finishing as Bama's fourth-leading scorer and second-leading rebounder. The two-time All-SEC first-team selection was a Helms All-American choice as a senior in 1972-73 before being selected in the second round of the NBA draft by the Chicago Bulls. He went on to become an associate athletic director for his college alma mater. In 1975, the Crimson Tide captured the SEC title with five black starters.
American/Dick Wells (1956-57 when school was a small college)
The second-leading rebounder in school history behind former All-American and NBA All-Star Kermit Washington.
Arizona/Hadie Redd (1953-54)
Led the Wildcats in scoring (13.2 ppg and 13.6) and rebounding (7 rpg and 9.4) in both of his varsity seasons. Instead of the team hotel, Redd had to stay with black families while on the road. He became chief investigator for the San Francisco district attorney's office.
Arizona State/John Burton and Carl Miller (1953-54)
Burton averaged 7.1 ppg in three seasons. Miller averaged 4.4 ppg in his lone season while playing on the varsity as a freshman.
Arkansas/*Almer Lee (1969-70)
Lee was the Hogs' leading scorer in 1969-70 (17 ppg) and 1970-71 (19.2 ppg as All-SWC second-team selection). Thomas Johnson could have been the initial varsity player after averaging 15.5 ppg for the Razorbacks' 1967-68 freshman squad. But Johnson transferred to Central Arkansas following the first semester of his sophomore year, saying he didn't want to redshirt.
Arkansas State/Milton Sullivan (1966-67 when school was a small college)
Averaged 12.5 ppg and 7.8 rpg as a 6-4 freshman forward.
Auburn/Henry Harris (1969-70)
Averaged 11.8 ppg, 6.7 rpg and 2.5 apg in three-year varsity career. Standout defensive player was captain as a senior. He was an eighth-round choice by the Houston Rockets in the 1972 NBA draft.
Austin Peay/L.M. Ellis (1963-64)
The first OVC black player averaged 9.3 ppg and 10.5 rpg as a junior and 6.7 ppg and 6.1 rpg as a senior after transferring from Drake to his hometown school. Ellis served in the managerial field for some of the nation's top chain merchandising stores.
Ball State/Stan Davis (1951-52 when school was a small college)
All-Indiana Collegiate Conference choice as a senior when he averaged a team-high 18.5 ppg.
Baylor/Tommy Bowman (1967-68)
Led the Bears in scoring (13.5 ppg) and rebounding (9.4 rpg) in his first varsity season. All-Southwest Conference first-team selection in 1967-68 and 1968-69. Went on to manage a scrap metal recycling company in Waco, Tex., and become a member of his alma mater's Board of Regents.
Boston College/John Austin (1963-64)
Two-time All-American averaged 27 ppg in his Eagles' career. Ranked among the nation's leading scorers in 1964 (8th), 1965 (7th) and 1966 (22nd). Scored 40 points in one NIT contest in 1965. He was a fourth-round choice by the Boston Celtics in the 1966 NBA draft.
Bowling Green/Chrystal "Boo" Ellis (1951-52)
Averaged 7.3 ppg in two varsity seasons.
Bradley/Curly Johnson and Shellie McMillon (1955-56)
Members of 1957 NIT champion. Johnson averaged 4.8 ppg in three varsity seasons. McMillon averaged 14.1 ppg and 9.3 rpg in three varsity seasons, including a team-high 16.4 ppg in 1957-58. McMillon, who scored 42 points vs. Detroit, was an All-Missouri Valley Conference second-team choice as a senior before becoming a sixth-round NBA draft choice by the Detroit Pistons.
Brigham Young/*Gary Batiste (1974-75)
Batiste was suspended from BYU's squad before completing his first semester. It was five years before a second black player, Keith Rice, was recruited by the Cougars.
Bucknell/Harvey Carter (1970-71)
Led the Bison in scoring and rebounding all three varsity seasons (14.1 ppg and 11.5 rpg as a sophomore, 14.8 ppg and 12.4 rpg as a junior and 14.2 ppg and 9.8 rpg as a senior).
Butler/Henry Foster (1954-55)
Scored 316 points in three seasons despite not playing basketball in high school. Led the Bulldogs in rebounding in 1955-56.
California/Earl Robinson (1955-56)
Three-time All-PCC second-team selection averaged at least 10 ppg each of three varsity seasons as a 6-1 guard under coach Pete Newell. Teammate Bob Washington never earned a varsity letter. Robinson averaged 15.5 points in four NCAA Tournament games his last two years, leading the Bears in scoring in two of the playoff contests. Major league outfielder hit .268 in four seasons from 1958 to 1964 with the Los Angeles Dodgers and Baltimore Orioles.
UC Irvine/*Darrell Millner (1966-67 when school was a small college)
UC Santa Barbara/Lowell Steward (1940-41)
Canisius/Bill Melvin (1944-45)
Centenary/*Jesse Marshall (1968-69)
Led the Gents in scoring (16 ppg) and rebounding (9.6 rpg) as a senior after being their second-leading scorer (15.9 ppg) and leading rebounder (10.2 rpg) as a junior. Stephen Pitters was a member of Centenary's freshman squad in 1967-68, but wasn't on the varsity team the next season.
Central Michigan/Charles Pruitt (1952-53 when school was a small college)
Averaged 6.3 ppg in two seasons.
Chattanooga/Greg Andrews (1967-68 when school was a small college)
Averaged 10.7 ppg and 4.7 rpg in four-year career.
The Citadel/*Oscar Scott (1971-72)
Three-year Army veteran averaged 11.8 ppg and 7 rpg in two seasons. He led the Bulldogs in rebounding as a senior. Went on to a career as a longshoreman.
Clemson/Craig Mobley (1970-71)
Played sparingly in his only season (five points in 11 games) before choosing to give up the game at the varsity level to concentrate on his studies. Promoted to Major in the U.S. Air Force before coaching in junior college (Middlesex in Massachusetts). Owned a construction company in Los Angeles, where he was chairman of the LA Watts Summer Games, the largest high school competition in the nation.
Cleveland State/Chuck Halfast (1956-60 when school was a small college)
Colorado/Billy Lewis (1957-58)
Averaged 3.6 ppg and 2.9 rpg in three seasons. Scored a career-high 21 points against Nebraska. Also was a high jumper on the school's track & field squad. After earning his law degree from Howard University, he worked for IBM, opened a private practice in Denver and moved back to Washington, D.C., to serve as general counsel for the District of Columbia Board of Election and Ethics.
Colorado State/Waymon Anderson (1955-56)
Forward-center played sparingly in his two varsity seasons.
Cornell/Henry Buncom (1952-53)
Scored 209 points in three seasons, including the decisive points in the 1954 game against Princeton that won the Ivy League title for the Big Red. He was the team's second-leading rebounder as a sophomore.
Creighton/Bob Gibson (1954-55)
Future Baseball Hall of Fame pitcher was the school's first player to average at least 20 ppg in his career (20.2). Led the Bluejays in scoring (22 ppg) and rebounding (7.6 rpg) as a junior. Gibson, who said he couldn't eat or stay with the rest of the Bluejays' team on his first trip to Tulsa, went on to play with the Harlem Globetrotters. Gibson originally sought to align with defending NCAA champion Indiana but IU's response to his coach was: "Your request for an athletic scholarship has been denied because we already have filled our quota of Negroes." In Gibson's autobiography Stranger to the Game, he remembered thinking to himself, "They got the wrong Negro."
Dartmouth/Dick Fairley (1952-53)
Averaged 5.7 ppg in three seasons. Led the team in rebounding as a junior (8.7 rpg), including 21 in a game against Harvard. He hit a buzzer-beating shot that gave the Big Green the New England championship over Connecticut in 1955. Joined the staff of the U.S. Department of Education, where he held several executive positions, including two oversight boards appointed by the President.
Davidson/Mike Maloy (1967-68)
Three-time All-American averaged 19.3 ppg and 12.4 rpg in his career. Southern Conference Player of the Year as a junior and senior. He was the leading scorer (24.6 ppg) and rebounder (14.3 rpg) for the winningest team in school history (27-3 in 1968-69). Selected by the Pittsburgh Condors in the first five rounds of 1970 ABA draft. Became an Austrian citizen and played professional basketball in Europe until he was 46. He lived in Vienna coaching boys club basketball teams and serving as lead singer for the Boring Blues Band.
Dayton/Charles "Benny" Jones (1945-46)
Delaware/Charley Parnell (1966-67)
First-team All-East Coast Conference choice led the Blue Hens in scoring with 18.5 ppg.
Denver/Maceo Broadnax (1951-52)
The 5-8 Broadnax collected 3 points and 3 rebounds in four games in his only season.
DePaul/Leo Blackburn (1947-48)
Drake/Johnny Bright (1949-50)
All-American football halfback and future member of the Canadian Football League Hall of Fame scored 35 points in 17 games for the Bulldogs' basketball team.
Duke/C.B. Claiborne (1966-67)
Averaged 4.1 ppg in three varsity seasons. After earning three graduate degrees, he helped create the adjustable steering wheel for Ford Motor Company and worked as a professor for more than 25 years. Willie Hodge, a San Antonio native who averaged 10.9 ppg and 5.9 rpg while shooting 51% from the floor from 1972-73 through 1975-76, was the first African-American to be a significant performer for the Blue Devils.
East Carolina/*Vince Colbert (1966-67)
Averaged 14.3 ppg and 7.3 rpg in two seasons. He led ECU in rebounding as a junior (7.1 rpg). Colbert went on to pitch with the Cleveland Indians for three years from 1970 through 1972. Also played professional baseball in Mexico, the Dominican Republic and Venezuela.
Eastern Illinois/Jim Johnson (1949-50 when school was a small college)
Swingman averaged 11.9 ppg in three-year career.
Eastern Kentucky/Garfield Smith (1965-66)
Averaged 14.5 ppg and 13.2 rpg in three seasons. He was an All-Ohio Valley Conference choice as a senior when he finished second in the nation in rebounding (19.7 rpg). He was a third-round choice by the Boston Celtics in the 1968 NBA draft.
East Tennessee State/Tommy Woods (1964-65)
Two-time All-Ohio Valley Conference choice averaged 15.3 ppg and 16.2 rpg in three seasons. He grabbed 38 rebounds in a game vs. Middle Tennessee en route to finishing third in the nation in rebounding as a sophomore (19.6 rpg).
Evansville/Jim Smallins (1954-55 when school was a small college)
Averaged 10.3 ppg in three varsity seasons. Smallins had a school-record 31 rebounds in a game vs. Kentucky Wesleyan as a senior, when he averaged 16.3 ppg.
Florida/Malcolm Meeks/Steve Williams (1971-72)
Meeks played sparingly in two seasons. Williams, who averaged 8 ppg and 5.2 rpg in three varsity seasons, was the Gators' second-leading scorer as a sophomore (12.8 ppg).
Florida State/John Burt/*Willie Williams/Ed "Skip" Young (1968-69)
Burt averaged 3.6 ppg and 2.4 rpg in three seasons. Williams averaged 12.5 ppg and 10.3 rpg in two seasons and led the nation in field-goal shooting as a senior (63.6%). Young averaged 11.7 ppg in three seasons, including 15 ppg as a sophomore, before becoming a seventh-round choice by the Boston Celtics in the 1971 NBA draft.
Furman/*Liscio Thomas (1969-70)
Averaged 17 ppg and 9.9 rpg in two seasons. He led the Paladins in scoring as a junior (17.7 ppg) and was the second-leading scorer and rebounder for the 1971 Southern Conference champion.
George Mason/Paul Nance (1966-67 when school was a small college)
Played in 10 of 18 games in GMU's first season of intercollegiate basketball, averaging three points per contest.
Georgetown/Bernard White (1966-67)
Native of Ann Arbor, Mich., averaged 2 ppg in three-year career after transferring from George Mason.
George Washington/Garland Pinkston (1967-68)
Second-leading scorer (12.5 ppg) and rebounder (7.3 rpg) in his only varsity season for GWU.
Georgia/Ronnie Hogue (1970-71)
Finished three-year varsity career as the second-leading scorer in school history (17.8 ppg). Hogue was an All-SEC second-team choice with 20.5 ppg as a junior, when he set the school single-game scoring record with 46 points against LSU. He was a seventh-round choice of the Capital Bullets in the 1973 NBA draft.
Georgia Tech/*Karl Binns (1971-72)
He was the leading rebounder (6.5 rpg) and fourth-leading scorer (8.8 ppg) in his only season with the Yellow Jackets.
Gonzaga/Blake Elliott (1956-57)
Air Force veteran averaged 6 ppg and 5.7 rpg in four seasons. The Zags' defensive stopper of that era was the school's third-leading scorer as a senior in 1959-60 with 8.5 ppg.
Hofstra/Percy Johnson (1950-51 when school was a small college)
Leading scorer his first season with 12.5 ppg when he shot a team-high 49.3% from the floor.
Houston/Don Chaney and Elvin Hayes (1965-66)
Chaney, an All-America as a senior, averaged 12.6 ppg in three seasons and was a member of Final Four teams in 1967 and 1968. Hayes, a three-time All-America, averaged 31 ppg and 17.2 rpg in three seasons. The Hall of Famer led the Cougars in scoring and rebounding all three years.
Houston Baptist/Rufus Burns (1967-68)
Averaged 7.1 ppg his entire four-year career. Contributed 6.6 rpg his last two seasons.
Idaho/*John Sullivan (1954-55)
Saw limited action in two seasons after joining team following football season. His free throw with seven seconds remaining gave the Vandals an 80-79 victory over Washington in 1954-55.
Idaho State/Bernard "Jake" LaRue (1947-48 when school was a small college)
Three-sport letterman including football and track. He had a 100-yard kickoff return against Wyoming in 1949. Averaged 3.6 ppg in 1948-49.
Illinois/Walt Moore (1951-52)
Scored five points while playing in only four games before leaving school at the semester break because of grade issues. The first two African-American players to earn letters with the Illini were former high school teammates Mannie Jackson and Govoner Vaughn in 1957-58.
Indiana/Bill Garrett (1948-49)
First impact African-American player in the Big Ten Conference averaged 12 ppg while leading the Hoosiers in scoring each of his three varsity seasons. Paced them in rebounding as a senior (8.5 rpg) when he was an all-league first-team selection. Selected by the Boston Celtics in the second round of 1951 NBA draft. He died of a heart attack at the age of 45 and was the subject of a book ("Getting Open: The Unknown Story of Bill Garrett and the Integration of College Basketball") released by Simon & Schuster in 2006. His son, Billy, became associate head coach at Texas A&M-Corpus Christi under Perry Clark.
Indiana State/Clarence Walker (1946-47 when school was a small college)
Coach John Wooden's team won the conference title and received an invitation to the NAIB Tournament in Kansas City. But Wooden refused the invitation, citing the NAIB's policy banning African-American players although Walker was a reserve. In 1948, the NAIB modified its policy and Wooden guided his team to the NAIB final, losing to Louisville. That year, Walker became the first African-American to play in any postseason intercollegiate basketball tournament.
Iowa/Dick Culberson (1944-45)
Virginia Union transfer was a 6-3 backup center who played behind Hawkeyes star Clayton Wilkinson. Culberson, the first African-American player in the Big Ten Conference, scored 30 points in 14 games in two seasons.
Iowa State/John Crawford (1955-56)
Averaged 13.4 ppg and 9.7 rpg in three seasons. He led the Cyclones in rebounding all three years and paced them in scoring as a senior (14.1 ppg).
Jacksonville/Chip Dublin (1967-68)
New York City product averaged 7.1 ppg in three seasons, including an 8.3 mark for the Dolphins' team that reached the 1970 Final Four. He scored 19 points in a 106-100 victory over top-ranked Kentucky in the 1970 NCAA Tournament.
James Madison/George Toliver (1969-70 when school was a small college and played its first varsity season)
JMU's first 1,000-point career scorer later became an NBA game official.
Kansas/LaVannes Squires (1951-52)
Totaled 32 points and 17 rebounds in 33 games in three seasons. Member of Final Four teams with the Jayhawks in 1952 and 1953.
Kansas State/Gene Wilson (1951-52)
Indiana product averaged 5 ppg in three seasons of a career interrupted by military service (missed 1952-53 and 1953-54).
Kent State/Leroy Peoples (1946-47)
Averaged 1.4 ppg in three seasons.
Kentucky/Tom Payne (1970-71)
Led the Wildcats in rebounding (10.1 rpg) and was their second-leading scorer (16.9 ppg) in his only varsity season before turning pro. The All-SEC first-team selection had a 39-point, 19-rebound performance vs. Louisiana State. In 1954, Irvine Shanks of Berea became the first black player on a "white" college squad in the state of Kentucky.
Lafayette/Earl Brown (1971-72)
Grabbed 21 rebounds in a game against Lehigh as a sophomore before averaging 11 ppg and 10.6 rpg as a junior and 13.7 ppg and 12.1 rpg as a senior. Ninth-round NBA draft choice by the New York Knicks in 1974.
La Salle/John "Jackie" Moore (1951-52)
Averaged 10.3 ppg and 12.1 rpg in two seasons. Second-leading rebounder both years for the Explorers behind All-American Tom Gola. Played three seasons in the NBA as the first black player for the Philadelphia Warriors. "When I played at La Salle, I rarely played against another black player," Moore said. "I was the only black player on the court most of the time. It was the same way with the Warriors."
Lehigh/Gene Brown and Harold Lambert (1972-73)
Brown averaged 2.5 ppg in two varsity seasons. Lambert averaged 4.6 ppg and 5.1 rpg in two varsity seasons and was captain of the team in 1973-74.
Louisiana-Lafayette/Elvin Ivory, Leslie Scott and Marvin Winkler (1966-67 when school was a small college)
Ivory led the Ragin' Cajuns in rebounding both of his seasons with them before joining the ABA's Los Angeles Stars. Scott, an original Loyola of Chicago signee, averaged 6.1 ppg in his only varsity season with USL. Winkler was the school's all-time leading scorer at the time upon averaging 25.5 ppg as a senior in 1969-70.
Louisiana-Monroe/Andrew Harris and Henry Steele (1968-69 when school was a small college)
Averaged 19.9 ppg and 12 rpg and shot 52.2% from the floor in four seasons. Had 11 games with 30 or more points en route to leading the Indians in scoring his last three years. Scored a career-high 40 points against Louisiana College as a junior. Worked as a supervisor for several area retail stores until multiple sclerosis forced him to quit. He died in 2003 at the age of 52. Harris, Steele's local high school teammate, averaged 14.1 ppg, including a career-high 31 vs. Hampden-Sydney as a senior.
Louisiana State/Collis Temple (1971-72)
Averaged 10.1 ppg and 8.1 rpg in three seasons. Ranked second in the SEC in rebounding (11.1 rpg) and seventh in field-goal shooting (54.9%) as a senior. He was a sixth-round choice by the Phoenix Suns in the 1974 NBA draft. His son, Collis III, averaged 10.2 ppg from 1999-2000 through 2002-03, including a career-high 14.3 ppg as a sophomore when he scored 30 points for LSU in a regular-season finale loss at Tennessee. Another son, Garrett, starred as a defensive whiz for the Tigers' 2006 Final Four squad.
Louisiana Tech/George "Petey" Thornton (1968-69 when school was a small college)
Four-year letterman averaged 6.2 ppg and 5.9 rpg as a freshman one year before all-time leading scorer and rebounder Mike Green arrived. Thornton posted career highs as a senior in 1971-72 when he averaged 12 ppg and 7.2 rpg.
Louisville/Wade Houston, Sam Smith and Eddie Whitehead (1963-64)
Houston, who averaged 6.1 ppg and 3.5 rpg in three seasons, eventually coached Tennessee for five seasons from 1989-90 through 1993-94. Smith, a third-round choice of the Cincinnati Royals in the 1967 NBA draft, averaged 9.2 ppg and team-high 11 rpg in his only varsity season with the Cardinals before transferring to Kentucky Wesleyan. Whitehead, Louisville's second-leading rebounder as a senior (7.6 rpg), averaged 5.8 ppg and 5.2 rpg in three seasons.
Loyola of Chicago/Ben Bluitt (1946-47)
Attended Southern (La.) and was in Air Force prior to enrolling at Loyola. Averaged 6.2 ppg in four seasons, including a 6.5 mark on the 25-6 squad that was the 1949 NIT runner-up. Served as Cornell's coach for six seasons from 1974-75 through 1979-80.
Loyola Marymount/Robert Cox (1953-54)
Averaged 16.9 ppg and 11.1 rpg in two seasons while leading the Lions in both categories each year.
Loyola (New Orleans)/Charley Powell (1966-67)
Averaged 21.5 ppg in three-year career, finishing 13th in the nation with 26 ppg as a junior.
Manhattan/Junius Kellogg (1950-51)
Averaged 12.1 ppg in three-year career, leading the Jaspers in scoring as a sophomore and junior. Former Army sergeant refused bribe and exposed a major point-shaving scandal. Confined to a wheelchair for the remainder of his life after suffering a spinal cord injury while traveling through Pine Bluff, Ark., with four of his Harlem Globetrotter teammates.
Marquette/Ralph Wilson (1951-52)
Averaged 5.7 ppg in three seasons.
Marshall/Hal Greer (1955-56)
The first African-American to play intercollegiate athletics in the state of West Virginia averaged 19.4 ppg and 10.8 rpg in three seasons. Naismith Memorial Hall of Famer led the Thundering Herd in rebounding as a junior (13.8 rpg) and senior (11.7 rpg) before becoming a 10-time NBA All-Star.
Maryland/Billy Jones (1965-66)
Averaged 8.9 ppg and 4.5 rpg in three seasons. He was the Terrapins' third-leading scorer and rebounder as both a junior and senior.
Massachusetts/Wray Gunn (1949-50)
The 5-6 three-year letterman majored in chemistry. He became captain of the team and was vice-president of his senior class.
McNeese State/*Willie Lee and *Joe Metoyer (1967-68 when school was a small college)
Lee averaged 14 ppg and 9.3 rpg in two seasons while Metoyer averaged 6.1 ppg.
Memphis/Herb Hilliard (1966-67)
Unrecruited walk-on averaged 2.5 ppg and 3.7 rpg in three seasons. He was the Tigers' second-leading rebounder as a junior (5.2 rpg).
Miami (Fla.)/Willie Allen (1968-69)
Averaged 17.2 ppg and 12.2 rpg in three seasons. Led the Hurricanes in scoring (19.9 ppg) and rebounding (17.2 rpg) as a senior. Fourth-round choice of the Baltimore Bullets in the 1971 NBA draft played briefly for the ABA's The Floridans during the 1971-72 season. Served as director of Growing Power, an urban farming program in the Milwaukee area.
Miami (Ohio)/Don Barnette (1953-54)
All-MAC first-team selection as a senior averaged 11.6 ppg and 5.2 rpg during three-year career. His name was changed to Jose Clemente so he could play in Florida as a Hispanic. Played for the Harlem Globetrotters in the late 1950s and early 1960s. Moved to Oakland in 1967 as a civil rights specialist, enforcing statutes for the Department of Education. "Whoever was breaking barriers, we went to work with segregation on our shoulders," Barnette said. "My story is about being and doing what you have to do to be who you are." Wayne Embry, his teammate in 1955-56, went on to become the NBA's first African-American general manager.
Michigan/John Codwell and Don Eaddy (1951-52)
Codwell, the Wolverines' second-leading scorer as a junior (10.5 ppg), averaged 6.4 ppg in three seasons. Eaddy, Michigan's top scorer in Big Ten competition as a sophomore (13.8 ppg), averaged 11.4 ppg in four seasons. Eaddy was an infielder who played briefly with the Chicago Cubs in 1959.
Michigan State/Rickey Ayala (1951-52)
Brooklyn native, one of the smallest players in college history (5-5), averaged 4 ppg in 1951-52 and 5 ppg in 1952-53. Served a stint in the U.S. Air Force and played a couple of seasons with the Harlem Globetrotters before becoming chief executive officer of two Detroit hospitals.
Middle Tennessee State/Willie Brown and Art Polk (1966-67)
Brown, an All-Ohio Valley Conference choice as junior and senior, averaged 20.3 ppg and 7.4 rpg in three seasons en route to finishing his career as the school's all-time scoring leader (1,524 points). Brown, a 10th-round choice by the Milwaukee Bucks in the 1969 NBA draft, died tragically at a young age in a motorcycle accident. Polk, MTSU's second-leading rebounder as a junior and senior, averaged 12.3 ppg and 9.2 rpg in three seasons.
Minnesota/Bobby Bell (1960-61)
Future All-American football tackle and Pro Football Hall of Famer collected four points and four rebounds in three games. Minnesota was the last Big Ten Conference school to add an African-American to its basketball roster.
Mississippi/Coolidge Ball (1971-72)
Two-time All-SEC second-team selection (sophomore and junior years) averaged 14.1 ppg and 9.9 rpg in three seasons. He led the Rebels in scoring (16.8 ppg) and was second in rebounding (10.3 rpg) as a sophomore. Instrumental in helping the Rebels post three consecutive winning seasons for the first time since the late 1930s. Coached basketball at Northwest Mississippi Community College for four seasons before returning to Oxford and owning and operating a sign company.
Mississippi State/Larry Fry and Jerry Jenkins (1972-73)
Fry averaged 13.8 ppg and 8.1 rpg in three seasons. Jenkins, an All-SEC selection as a junior and senior when he was the Bulldogs' leading scorer each year, averaged 19.3 ppg and 7 rpg in three seasons. MSU was the final SEC school to embrace blacks on its varsity roster.
Missouri/Al Abram (1956-57)
Averaged 11 ppg over four seasons. He led the Tigers in scoring (16.1 ppg), rebounding (8.9 rpg) and field-goal shooting (45%) in 1958-59. Forced to stay in a dorm room at nearby Texas Southern on a road trip to oppose Rice in Houston. Worked for the City of St. Louis as well as the Internal Revenue Service.
Montana State/Larry Chanay (1956-57)
Four-year Air Force veteran finished his four-year college career as the school's all-time leading scorer (2,034 points). He led the Bobcats in scoring all four seasons. Chanay was a 14th-round choice by the Cincinnati Royals in the 1960 NBA draft.
Morehead State/Marshall Banks (1958-59)
First African-American to receive athletically-related aid from an OVC member.
Murray State/Stew Johnson (1963-64)
Averaged 16.8 ppg and 12.9 rpg in three seasons on his way to finishing his career as the school's all-time fourth-leading scorer (1,275 points) and second-leading rebounder (981). He was a third-round choice of the New York Knicks in the 1966 NBA draft before becoming a three-time ABA All-Star.
Nevada/Sherman Howard (1947-48 when school was a small college)
New Hampshire/Nick Johnson and John Jones (1951-52)
Johnson and Jones each played only one season with the Wildcats.
New Mexico/Dean Dorsey and *Fred Sims (1958-59)
Dorsey was the Lobos' second-leading scorer (9.6 ppg) in his only season. Sims was UNM's top rebounder (9.5 rpg) and third-leading scorer (8.3 ppg) in his only season.
New Mexico State/Joe Kelly Sr. (1956-57)
Four-sport athlete averaged 7 ppg in three seasons, including 9.2 as a senior in 1958-59. Excelled in football and the back was an 11th-round draft pick by the NFL's Los Angeles Rams in 1959 before playing in the Canadian Football League. Returned to California and worked for Union Pacific Railroad. His son, Joe Jr., was a first-round draft choice in 1986 by the Cincinnati Bengals as a linebacker from Washington and played 11 years in the NFL.
Niagara/Ed Fleming and Charlie Hoxie (1951-52)
Fleming, who averaged 15 ppg and 8.7 rpg in four seasons to finish No. 1 on the school's all-time scoring (1,682) and rebounding (975) lists, was selected by the Rochester Royals in the 1955 NBA draft. Hoxie, who averaged 11.7 ppg and 8.4 rpg in four seasons to finish his career as the school's third-leading scorer (1,274) and second-leading rebounder (916), was selected by the Milwaukee Hawks in the 1955 NBA draft before playing with the Harlem Globetrotters.
Nicholls State/Cleveland Hill (1968-69 when school was a small college)
Drafted by both the NBA and ABA in 1972 after finishing his career as the school's all-time leader in scoring and rebounding. Still holds the school single-game record with 26 rebounds. Retired from his alma mater as the Dean of the College of Education.
North Carolina/Charlie Scott (1967-68)
Averaged 22.1 ppg and 7.1 rpg in three seasons. He was a consensus second-team All-American choice his last two years. Averaged 30.6 ppg, 5.2 rpg and 5.2 apg with the Virginia Squires in two ABA seasons in 1970-71 and 1971-72 before averaging 17.9 ppg, 3.6 rpg and 4.8 apg with the Phoenix Suns, Boston Celtics, Los Angeles Lakers and Denver Nuggets in nine NBA seasons from 1971-72 through 1979-80. President of CTS Enterprises, a sports marketing firm in Atlanta. William Cooper played on North Carolina's freshman team in 1964-65, but quit basketball the following year.
North Carolina State/Al Heartley (1968-69)
Walk-on averaged 4.8 ppg and 3.4 rpg in three seasons. He and other black students locked themselves in a campus dorm for safety the night Martin Luther King Jr. was assassinated. In 1969-70, Ed Leftwich became the school's first black player offered an athletics scholarship (averaging 16.4 ppg in each of his two campaigns).
Northern Arizona/Bill Hannah (1949)
Northern Colorado/Unavailable (might be Theo Holland in 1958-59)
North Texas/John Savage (1961-62)
Detroit product averaged 19.2 ppg in leading the Eagles in scoring all three of his varsity seasons with them. Three-time All-MVC selection was a fifth-round choice by the Los Angeles Lakers in the 1964 NBA draft.
Northwestern/Fred DuHart (1954-55)
Averaged 2.4 ppg in three seasons. Earned a medical degree and became a doctor in St. Louis.
Northwestern State/Charles Bloodworth (1968-69 when school was a small college)
Averaged 10.3 rpg (grabbed a career-high 24 rebounds against USL) and shot better than 50% from the floor both of his seasons. Led the Demons in scoring with 17.7 ppg in 1969-70 when he was joined by Grambling transfer Thurman "Zeke" Baptiste (averaged 10.6 ppg and 8 rpg while shooting 50.8% from the floor in three seasons; scoring a career-high 32 points against Nicholls State his senior year).
Notre Dame/Joe Bertrand and Entee Shine (1951-52)
Bertrand averaged 14.6 ppg in three seasons, including 16.5 as a senior when the Irish finished the year ranked sixth in the final AP poll. He was a 10th-round choice in the 1954 NBA draft by the Milwaukee Hawks. His grandson with the same name was a regal recruit for Illinois in 2009. Shine averaged 6.3 ppg in 13 games in his only season before leaving and spending a semester at Tennessee State prior to being drafted into the Army.
Ohio University/Bunk Adams (1958-59)
Averaged 16.4 ppg and 11.8 rpg in three seasons, including a team-high 12.8 rpg as a senior. He led the team in scoring as a sophomore (14.4 ppg) and junior (16.4) and was second as a senior (18.2) en route to finishing as OU's career leader in points (1,196). All-MAC first-team selection as a junior and senior after earning second-team status as a sophomore. Adams was OU's first NBA draft choice (16th round by Baltimore in 1965).
Ohio State/Cleo Vaughn (1953-54)
Averaged 3.6 ppg in his only varsity season with the Buckeyes.
Oklahoma/Buddy Hudson and Joe Lee Thompson (1958-59)
Hudson, a transfer from Oklahoma Baptist, averaged 5.1 ppg and 3 rpg in two seasons. Thompson averaged 2.5 ppg in three varsity seasons. Hudson and Thompson were high school teammates.
Oklahoma City/Eddie Jackson (1962-63)
Center averaged 12.3 ppg and 10 rpg in three-year OCU career after transferring from Oklahoma. He led the Chiefs in rebounding as a sophomore and junior. Selected in the sixth round by the San Francisco Warriors in the 1965 NBA draft. Eventually became a prominent bank president and lawyer in Oklahoma City. The seven-footer is an outstanding tennis player.
Oklahoma State/L.C. Gordon (1958-59)
Averaged 2.4 ppg and 2.3 rpg in three seasons as the initial African-American player for a major-college program in Oklahoma.
Old Dominion/Arthur "Buttons" Speakes (1965-66 when school was a small college)
Member of ODU's first Mason-Dixon Conference titlist in basketball. Two-sport star earned MVP honors in basketball his sophomore season and went on to bat .364 in baseball as a third baseman that spring.
Oregon/Charles Patterson (1935-36)
First black player in the Northern Division of the PCC followed coach Howard Hobson from Southern Oregon to play his senior season for a Ducks' team that won 16 consecutive contests.
Oregon State/*Charlie White (1964-65)
Led the Beavers in rebounding (7 rpg) and was their second-leading scorer (9.6 ppg) as a junior. The next year as a first five pick on the All-Pacific-8 team, he was OSU's captain and second-leading scorer (11.7 ppg) and rebounder (6.6 rpg), pacing the team in field-goal shooting (49.4%) and free-throw shooting (81.4%).
Pacific/John Thomas (1954-55)
Averaged 15.1 ppg and 11.3 rpg in three years while leading the team in scoring and rebounding each campaign. Finished his career as the school's all-time scoring leader (1,178 points). He set UOP single-season records for points (480) and rebounds (326) in 1955-56.
Penn/John Edgar Wideman (1960-61)
Two-time All-Ivy League second-team swingman led the Quakers in scoring as a junior (13.2 ppg in 1961-62) and as a senior (13.8 ppg in 1962-63). The Pittsburgh native also paced them in rebounding as a junior (7.6 rpg). The award-winning novelist was named to the Philadelphia Big Five Hall of Fame in 1974.
Pepperdine/Larry Dugan (1952-53 when school was a small college)
Averaged 13.5 ppg in three seasons, leading the team in scoring as both a junior (15.4 ppg) and senior (17.4 ppg). He was a third-team NAIA All-American choice in 1954-55.
Pittsburgh/Julius Pegues (1955-56)
Spent one year at a Detroit technical school before enrolling at Pitt. Averaged 13.6 ppg in three seasons, finishing as the school's second-leading scorer (17.6 ppg) as a senior behind All-American Don Hennon. Pegues, who scored a game-high 31 points in an 82-77 loss to Miami of Ohio as a senior in the 1958 NCAA Tournament, was a fifth-round choice by the St. Louis Hawks in the NBA draft. Became a weather forecaster in the Air Force before returning to his native Tulsa and working for the Douglas Aircraft Company and American Airlines (overseeing maintenance of wide-body planes). He then served as a consultant for the FAA.
Portland/Jackson Winters (1946-47 when school was a small college)
Center scored 254 points in 1947-48 before averaging 9 ppg in 1948-49 and 11.4 ppg in 1949-50.
Princeton/Arthur J. Wilson (1944-45)
Transfer from Morris Brown and Southern (La.) enrolled at Princeton in the officer training program (V-12). Chicago native was a two-time captain who had 12 points in a victory over Villanova in 1946. Teammate of Butch van Breda Kolff was just the second African-American to earn an undergraduate degree from Princeton. He became a U.S. federal marshal in the 1960s. Wilson's father served as an Illinois delegate to the Republican National Convention in 1948 and 1952.
Providence/Lionel Jenkins (1955-56)
Averaged 4.8 ppg in three seasons. His best year was as a sophomore when he averaged 7.8 ppg.
Purdue/*Ernie Hall (1951-52)
Averaged 12.4 ppg in nine games before he was dropped from the team after his arrest on an assault and battery charge, which he was acquitted of later. Eventually, Hall graduated from Cal Poly-SLO.
Rhode Island/Bernard "Slick" Pina (1953-54)
Three-sport athlete averaged 9 ppg in his only varsity basketball season. Went on to become a successful schoolboy coach, teacher and administrator at North Providence High School.
Rice/Leroy Marion (1969-70)
Averaged 5.6 ppg and 3.3 rpg in a three-year varsity career marred by a knee injury.
Richmond/Carlton Mack (1971-72)
Averaged 4.4 ppg in three varsity seasons.
St. Bonaventure/Sam Stith (1957-58)
Averaged 14.8 ppg and 4.1 rpg in three-year career. After All-American brother Tom arrived the next season, they combined to average 52 ppg in 1959-60, an NCAA single-season record for brothers on the same team. Each of them ranked among the national leaders in field-goal percentage their two campaigns together. "There was not incident in my four years (including as a freshman)," Sam said. "The issue of race never came up."
St. Francis (N.Y.)/Levi Bough (1947-48)
Averaged 1.6 ppg in three-year career.
Saint Francis (Pa.)/Eugene Phelps (1949-50 when school was small college)
High school teammate in Pittsburgh of all-time St. Francis great Maurice Stokes averaged 7.5 ppg in four-year career.
St. John's/Solly Walker (1951-52)
First African-American ever to play at Kentucky averaged 7.8 ppg and 6.8 rpg in three seasons. Member of 1952 NCAA runner-up and 1953 NIT runner-up. Led the team in scoring (14 ppg) and rebounding (12.2 rpg) as a senior. Selected by the New York Knicks in the 1954 NBA draft. Became one of the first black high school principals in New York City.
Saint Joseph's/John Tiller (1961-62)
Averaged 2.6 ppg and 3.3 rpg in three seasons.
Saint Louis/Larry Sykes (1952-53)
Transfer who previously attended Morgan State and LIU collected 14 points and four rebounds in 12 games in his only season.
Saint Mary's/Lenny Dixon (1948-49)
Dixon, a 6-0 guard, averaged 4.6 ppg in two seasons.
Samford/*Sherman Hogan, *Otha Mitchell and *Billy Williams (1969-70)
San Francisco/K.C. Jones and Carl Lawson (1951-52)
Jones, a member of the 1955 NCAA champion and 1956 Olympic champion, averaged 8.8 ppg in five seasons (played only one game in 1953-54 before undergoing an appendectomy). Lawson averaged 2.4 ppg in three seasons. They arrived one year before eventual national player of the year Bill Russell.
Santa Clara/Leroy Jackson (1960-61)
Averaged 10.1 ppg and 8.3 rpg in three seasons, leading the team in rebounding all three years. Named to second five on All-WCAC team as a senior when he averaged 11.9 ppg and 10.9 rpg.
Seton Hall/Walter Dukes (1950-51)
Averaged 19.9 ppg and 18.9 rpg in three seasons. Consensus first-team All-American as a senior when he averaged 26.1 ppg and 22.2 rpg to lead the Dukes to a 31-2 record and NIT title. Played two full seasons with the Harlem Globetrotters before signing with the New York Knicks, who picked him in the 1953 NBA draft. Graduated in 1960 from New York Law School and was admitted to the Michigan bar in 1961, but was found guilty in Manhattan Criminal Court in 1975 of practicing law without a license, having been suspended from the Michigan bar for failing to pay mandatory dues. The heat in his Detroit home had been shut off because of unpaid bills before he was found dead in mid-March 2001 by police called to his home by a sister who had not seen him for some time.
Siena/Billy Harrell (1949-50)
Averaged 10.3 ppg in three seasons. He held school records for most points in a season (396 in 1951-52), career and game (28 against Arizona State in 1951) and most rebounds in a season (387 in 1949-50). Went on to become a major league infielder who hit .231 in 173 games with the Cleveland Indians (1955, 1957, 1958) and Boston Red Sox (1961).
South Alabama/*Cliff McKay, *Eugene Oliver, *Darius Segure and *Leon Williams (1972-73)
Oliver averaged 17.9 ppg and 5.1 rpg in two seasons, leading the team in scoring both years and setting a school single-game record with 46 points vs. Southern Mississippi. McKay, Segure and Williams were also J.C. recruits. Williams established a school single-game rebounding mark with 28 vs. Texas-Arlington.
South Carolina/Casey Manning (1970-71)
Averaged 2.6 ppg and 1.8 rpg in three seasons. Went on to become a judge for the Fifth Judicial Circuit and color commentator for radio broadcasts of the Gamecocks' basketball games.
Southeastern Louisiana/*Curlee Connors and *Bobby Perry (1969-70 when school was a small college)
Connors, a two-time All-Gulf States Conference selection, is runner-up in school history for career rebounding average (14 rpg) and ranks fourth in scoring average (17.5 ppg). Perry still holds the school record for free-throws made in a single game (18 of 23).
Southeast Missouri State/Curtis Williams (1965-66 when school was a small college)
Basketball MVP as a senior in 1967 was also conference champion in the high jump, triple jump and long jump. Averaged 16.9 ppg and 5.6 rpg in two-year career.
Southern Illinois/Harvey Welch (1951-52 when school was a small college)
Averaged 11 ppg and 6.5 rpg in three seasons, including a team-high 12.3 ppg as a senior.
Southern Methodist/*Ruben Triplett (1971-72)
Averaged 14.9 ppg and 9 rpg in two seasons. Named All-SWC as a junior when he led the Mustangs in scoring (18.2 ppg) and rebounding (10.8 rpg). Scored a career-high 33 points at Oklahoma City.
Southern Mississippi/Wilbert Jordan (1969-70 when school was a small college)
Averaged 4 ppg and 2.8 rpg in three varsity seasons.
Stanford/*Dr. Sebron "Ed" Tucker (1950-51)
Averaged 15.8 ppg in two seasons, leading the team in scoring both years. Paced the league in scoring as a junior (16.5 ppg) before becoming an All-PCC South first-team pick as a senior. Played for the Buchan Bakers in the Northwest AAU League while taking pre-med classes at the University of Washington. His daughter, Tiffani, also made history as she and former partner Franklyn Singley were the first African-American skaters to medal in ice dancing at the U.S. Championships, winning the bronze in junior dance in 1993. Tiffani went on to become a full-time news anchor in Cleveland.
Stetson/Ken Showers (1967-68 when school was a small college)
School's all-time leading rebounder (980) averaged 9.1 ppg and 10 rpg in his four-year career.
Syracuse/Manny Breland (1953-54)
First African-American admitted to Syracuse on an athletic scholarship averaged 8.4 ppg in his three-year career (missed 1955-56 after being diagnosed with tuberculosis while at ROTC summer camp in Fort Bragg, N.C.). Scored 10 points in SU's first-ever NCAA Tournament game in 1957. Became a teacher, vice-principal and co-principal in the Syracuse area for more than 30 years. Also enjoyed success as a coach, winning two sectional basketball titles.
Temple/Vernon Young (1950-51)
Tennessee/*Larry Robinson (1971-72)
Averaged 10.9 ppg and 8.8 rpg in two seasons. Led the Volunteers in rebounding and field-goal shooting both years. He was a 16th-round choice by the Philadelphia 76ers in 1973 NBA draft. Played briefly with the NFL's Dallas Cowboys in 1973.
Tennessee Tech/Marv Beidleman, Joe Hilson and Henry Jordan (1965-66)
Beidleman scored 27 points in 12 games in his only varsity season. Hilson, the team's second-leading scorer in 1966-67 (17 ppg), averaged 13.9 ppg and 3.7 rpg in two seasons. Jordan, an All-OVC team selection, averaged 16.1 ppg and 13.1 rpg (ranking 25th in the nation) in his only season.
Texas/Sam Bradley (1969-70)
After sitting out the 1968-69 campaign, he averaged 6.5 ppg as a starter in his only varsity season. He was recruited as a track athlete.
Texas A&M/*Mario Brown (1971-72)
Averaged 13 ppg and 4.3 apg in two seasons, leading the team in assists both years.
Texas-Arlington/Huey Saulsberry and John Shelton (1965-66 when school was a small college)
Shelton was the Mavericks' leading rebounder in 1967-68 as a junior with 7.1 rpg while averaging 16.2 ppg. Contributed 8.8 ppg and 4.6 rpg as a senior.
Texas Christian/James Cash (1966-67)
SWC's initial African-American player averaged 13.9 ppg and 11.6 rpg in three seasons. Two-time All-SWC second-team selection led the Horned Frogs in scoring (16.3 ppg) and rebounding (11.6 rpg) as a senior. Cash had six games with at least 20 rebounds. After earning a PhD from Purdue, he served as chairman of the Harvard Business School MBA program. Later, he became part owner of the Boston Celtics while serving on the Board of Directors for several of the nation's premier companies (including General Electric, Microsoft and Wal-Mart).
Texas-El Paso/*Charlie Brown and *Cecil Brown (1956-57)
Air Force veteran Charlie Brown, a three-time All-Border Conference choice, led the league in scoring as a sophomore (23.4 ppg). He averaged 17.5 ppg in three varsity seasons, leading the Miners in scoring each year. Cecil, Brown's nephew, was a backup player.
Texas Tech/*Gene Knolle and *Greg Lowery (1969-70)
Knolle, a two-time All-SWC first-team selection, averaged 21.5 ppg and 8.4 rpg in two seasons before becoming a seventh-round choice by the Portland Trail Blazers in the 1971 NBA draft. Lowery, who averaged 19.7 ppg in his three-year career, was first-team All-SWC as a sophomore and senior and a second-team choice as a junior en route to finishing as the school's career scoring leader (1,476 points).
Towson/*Maceo Bailey and Jim Newton (1964-65)
Bailey was a starter their first season while Newton was a backup. But Newton went on to become a future captain. Bailey became chairman of the African-American Studies Program at Texas-El Paso while Newton became Assistant Dean for Undergraduate Studies and Undergraduate Student Ombudsman at Maryland.
Tulane/Harold Sylvester (1968-69)
Averaged 12.5 ppg and 9.1 rpg in three varsity seasons. He led the Green Wave in rebounding as a sophomore and was its second-leading rebounder and scorer as a junior and senior. Played a shoe salesman character named Griff on the Fox series Married With Children.
Tulsa/*Herman Callands, *Sherman Dillard and *Julian Hammond (1964-65)
Callands, Tulsa's leading rebounder as a junior (11.2 rpg), averaged 7.9 ppg and 8.8 rpg in two seasons. Dillard, the team's second-leading scorer as a senior (15.4), averaged 10.6 ppg and 5.1 rpg in two years. Hammond, who averaged 12.2 ppg and 7.6 rpg in two seasons, led the Golden Hurricane in scoring (16.4 ppg) and rebounding (7.6 rpg) as a senior when he was an All-MVC first-team selection and paced the nation in field-goal shooting (65.9%). Hammond was a ninth-round choice by the Los Angeles Lakers in the 1966 NBA draft.
UNLV/Silas Stepp (1962-63 when school was a small college)
Averaged 18.3 ppg and 10.8 rpg in four seasons. He led the team in scoring each year and was its top rebounder his last three seasons.
Utah/*Jim Thomas (1957-58)
Averaged 2.7 ppg and 2.7 rpg in three seasons.
Utah State/Sam Haggerty and Hal Theus (1956-57)
Haggerty averaged 3.6 ppg in two seasons. Theus, the team's leading rebounder as a junior, averaged 14.4 ppg and 10.7 rpg in three seasons.
Vanderbilt/Perry Wallace (1967-68)
Averaged 12.9 ppg and 11.5 rpg in three varsity seasons. He was the Commodores' leading rebounder as a junior (10.2 rpg) and leading scorer as a senior (13.4 ppg). Fifth-round choice by the Philadelphia 76ers in the 1970 NBA draft. Became a law professor at the University of Baltimore and American University.
Villanova/Kenneth Harrison (1956-57)
Averaged 6.2 ppg and 4.4 rpg in three varsity seasons. His best season was as a sophomore when he averaged 8 ppg and 5.8 rpg.
Virginia/Al Drummond (1971-72)
Averaged 5.2 ppg in three varsity seasons.
Virginia Military/Charlie Tyler (1971-72)
Averaged 9 ppg and 6.8 rpg in three varsity seasons. He led VMI in scoring as a sophomore (12.6 ppg) and in rebounding as a junior (6.8 rpg) and senior (6.6 rpg).
Virginia Tech/Charlie Lipscomb (1969-70)
Averaged 11.4 ppg and 9.4 rpg in three varsity seasons. He led the team in rebounding (10.4 rpg) and was its second-leading scorer (12.1 ppg) as a sophomore.
Wake Forest/Norwood Todmann (1967-68)
New York high school teammate of Lew Alcindor averaged 10.5 ppg and 4.1 rpg in three seasons, including 13.3 ppg as a sophomore. Saw his life after college descend into a haze of drug abuse.
Washington State/Howard Allen McCants (1952-53)
The 6-8, 235-pound multi-sport athlete averaged 3.9 ppg and 6.1 rpg in two seasons. He was the PCC's high jump outdoor champion in 1953.
Weber State/Billy Bill (1953-54 when school was a junior college)
Lorenzo Carter, a product of Rock Springs, Wyo., was the only African-American on the school's roster in 1962-63 when it went from the J.C. ranks to the NCAA Division I level.
Western Carolina/Henry Logan (1964-65 when school was a small college)
Guard became school's all-time leading scorer (3,290 points) by increasing his scoring average each season from 26.7 ppg as a freshman to 36.2 ppg as a senior. Selected by the Seattle SuperSonics in the fourth round of the 1968 NBA draft. Worked for years with Rockwell before doing likewise with Buncombe County Parks and Recreation in his hometown of Asheville, N.C.
Western Kentucky/Clem Haskins and Dwight Smith (1964-65)
Haskins, a three-time OVC Player of the Year who was a consensus first-team All-American as a senior, averaged 22.1 ppg and 10.6 rpg in three varsity seasons. First-round NBA draft pick (3rd overall) in 1967 averaged 12.8 ppg, 3.1 rpg and 3.5 apg with the Chicago Bulls, Phoenix Suns and Washington Bullets for nine seasons from 1967-68 through 1975-76. Compiled a 339-240 coaching record (.585) with his alma mater (six seasons from 1980-81 through 1985-86) and Minnesota (13 seasons from 1986-87 through 1998-99). Smith, a three-time all-conference guard who averaged 14.6 ppg and 10.9 rpg in his college career, led the Hilltoppers in rebounding as a sophomore (11.3 rpg) and as a senior (11.9 rpg). Smith was a third-round choice of the Los Angeles Lakers (23rd overall) but drowned with his sister when their automobile flipped over and submerged in a water-filled ditch returning to WKU for finals after celebrating Mother's Day.
Western Michigan/C. Bassett Brown (1946-47)
Military veteran became a starter for WMU, averaging 9.8 ppg in 1947-48. He later was an oral surgeon in Benton Harbor.
West Virginia/Ed Harvard, *Carl Head, Norman Holmes, Jimmy Lewis and Ron "Fritz" Williams (1965-66)
Robert Parker was a walk-on in the late 1950s. Harvard (1.3 ppg) and Holmes (2.7 ppg) played sparingly while Head averaged 13.9 ppg their initial campaign. Head, who averaged 17.1 ppg and 7.9 rpg in two seasons, paced the team in field-goal shooting as a junior (53.5%) and in scoring as a senior (20.5 ppg). Williams, the Southern Conference's player of the year as a senior, led the Mountaineers in scoring and assists all three varsity seasons on his way to finishing with averages of 20.1 ppg and 6 apg. Williams, a two-time All-Southern Conference first-team selection, was a first-round pick in the 1968 NBA draft (9th overall).
Wichita State/Cleo Littleton (1951-52)
Averaged 19 ppg and 7.7 rpg in four seasons, leading the Shockers in scoring each year. School's career scoring leader (2,164 points) is the only four-time first-team All-Missouri Valley Conference choice. He was selected by the Fort Wayne Pistons in the 1955 NBA draft. Littleton launched Litco Inc., a general contracting company specializing in underground tank removal and building demolition with annual sales ranging from $800,000 to $1.2 million. Littleton, self-employed for about 50 years, formed University State Bank in 1974, the first minority-owned bank in Wichita.
William & Mary/Ron Satterthwaite (1973-74)
Averaged 13.2 ppg in four seasons. He led the Tribe in scoring as a sophomore and junior, averaging 17 ppg during that span. Guard was an All-Southern Conference first-team selection as a sophomore and second-team choice as a junior. Transfer Andre Polly practiced with the William & Mary varsity in 1971-72, but the accomplished musician transferred again to a better music school.
Wisconsin/Ivan Jefferson (1958-59)
Averaged 6.3 ppg and 3.6 rpg in his only varsity season with the Badgers before transferring to Southern Illinois.
Wyoming/*Curt Jimerson (1960-61)
Forward averaged 14.6 ppg in two seasons, including a team-high 17.5 ppg as a senior when he was an All-Mountain States Conference first-team selection.
Xavier/Ray Tomlin (1954-55)
Local Cincinnati product scored 66 points in 41 varsity games in three seasons.
Yale/Levi Jackson and Jay Swift (1947-48)
Jackson, who scored 58 points in 42 varsity games, was a longtime executive with General Motors Corporation in Detroit.
Youngstown State/Charlie Moore (1954-55 when school was a small college)
Averaged 7.1 ppg in four-year career.
*Junior college recruit.