Basketball Items for Jan. 2020

Some basketball trivia:

  1. David Robinson grew from 5′ 9″ during his junior high days to 6′ 4″ in high school, but that spurt wasn’t his only one. By the time he reached the Naval Academy, he stood 7′ 1″!
  2. Bevo Francis scored 116 points in a game held between his Rio Grande College of Ohio (an odd name for a college outside–way outside–of Texas) and Ashland (Kentucky) Junior College. His scoring spree came back on January 9, 1953. He said of the outburst, “I’m 6′ 9″ and the other teams’ big men weren’t accustomed to coming outside to guard me.” He also pointed out, “There was no three-point line back in the 50s, but a lot of time, that’s where I was shooting from. The team from Ashland tried everything to stop me. They were pushing. They were shoving. They even put three men on me. All my shots were falling.” He was, as you’d guess, hot from the start. “By the third shot, I knew I was on to something special.”  Notice that in his era being 6′ 9″ or so made a player a BIG man.
  3. Bevo cont’d: The final score of the game was 150-85 with Francis clicking on 47 field goals and 22 free throws. His team went on to post a 39-0 record, but his record 116 points weren’t recognized by the NAIA or the NCAA because his team did not play all of their games versus four-year colleges. Ashland, as mentioned, was one such team, a JUCO.
  4. More on Francis: The following year, his team scheduled many big name schools even though they did not play a single game at home–that was due to their home gym’s capacity of a mere 200 fans. Their team was in such demand, they chose to play their games away from their normal home facility. That season Francis proved his 116 point game was no fluke as he poured in 113 versus Hillsdale College in Michigan.
  5. Did you know Ronnie Carr, a sophomore guard for Western Carolina is credited as sinking the first three-point basket ever in NCAA play? It came on November 29, 1980, during a season the three pointer was being used on an experimental basis in the Southern Conference. So, when Carr drilled a shot from beyond the 22 foot arc against Middle Tennessee State in a home contest (after a few other attempts were put up), he made history.
  6. More on Carr: He once said that a reporter told him that his historic bucket was like the first step taken onto the surface of the moon. Carr added, “I never thought of it like that. But it’s true when you consider the evolution of the game. One shot for Western Carolina. One giant leap for college basketball.” Incidentally, he said that the ball he used for that shot is now housed in the Hall of Fame.
  7. When Terry Holland was with Virginia and that college felt UNC was their big rival, he took a verbal shot at the Tar Heels coach, Dean Smith. Author Will Blythe said that Holland named his dog Dean. The reason? “. . . because, he said, the dog whines so much.”

All of the items above come from an excellent source, ESPN’s College Basketball Encyclopedia: The Complete History of the Men’s Game

If you have a preference as to whether I write more items about one sport over the others, feel free to leave a comment. I tend to favor baseball, but may be able to alter my approach a bit if readers show an overwhelming interest in some other sport(s). Thanks.

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