Jack Scheuer’s Off The Boards
January 1, 2014 Edition
By Jack Scheuer
Talking with some basketball-minded friends, the conversation turned into a question: Who is the best player ever to come out of each of the six city schools ? Now, for a city that has produced so many great players, that would seem to be a tough job. However, I had no trouble picking mine. The interesting thing is that four of them played over 60 years ago, and I don’t think anyone can argue with that foursome. Here are my choices: LaSalle – Tom Gola, a 3-time All-American, (3 times a consensus pick.). He led the Explorers to an NCAA title, a NIT title, and to an NCAA title game. He is college basketball’s all-time leading rebounder, and a member of the Basketball Hall of Fame. Penn – Ernie Beck, a consensus All-America in 1953, he played only 3 years but is still the school’s all-time leading scorer and rebounder. He averaged 22 points and 19 boards, and remains tops in 6 other offensive categories. St. Joe’s – Jameer Nelson, a consensus National Player of the Year and winner of the Wooden Award in 2004. He led the Hawks to a perfect 27-0 regular season record and a berth in the Elite Eight. He is the school’s all-time leader in points, assists and steals. Temple – Guy Rodgers, a consensus All-American in 1958, he led the Owls to two Final Fours, and in his three varsity seasons the team went 76-14. He is considered to be amongst college basketball’s all-time greatest playmakers, and he averaged 19 points a game. Villanova – Paul Arizin, who never played in high school, but in 1950 was an All-American and led the nation in scoring. He was Villanova’s first 1,000 point scorer, including a record 85 in one game. Paul averaged 20.1 for his three college seasons. Also in the Hall of Fame, he was named to the top 50 players of all-time list. Drexel – Malik Rose, averaged 17 points and 12.6 rebounds in his Dragon career, and is the school’s all-time leading rebounder, and third all-time scorer. A two-time North America Conference Player of the Year. Malik scored 21 and 15 in Drexel’s upset of 5th and seeded Memphis in the school’s only NCAA victory.
Now, let the arguments begin, but remember, you can’t penalize a player just because he played in a different era. A great player, is a great player.
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Those of us who mourn the disappearance of the pure point guard have a new hero in Tyler Ennis. The Syracuse freshman is a total joy to watch. He’s always under control, can score when needed , but always looks to pass first. I don’t know how long it will last, but Arizona ,with pure point T.J. McConnell, and the Orange, with Ennis, are the two best teams in the country right now.
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Trivia Time: Who holds the Palestra record for most points scored in a game? Hint: He played on a visiting team. Answer at the end of the column.
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This and That: Penn’s tough loss to Rider had two bright spots. Fran Dougherty looks like he’s back in form, and sophomore Julian Harrell came out of nowhere with an excellent performance. The Quakers should have a shot against George Mason tomorrow night. The Patriots have committed 177 turnovers with only 114 assists….Tough to be a pro sports fan in New York. The Knicks and Nets have been real bad, the two hockey teams are struggling, and the Mets and Yankees were also disappointing. It could be a playoff-less year for the Big Apple….Jrue Holiday has been playing at an all-star pace. Scoring well, and has really cut down on his turnovers….Dalton Pepper continues to impress. I wonder what kind of a career he would have had if he had started at Temple instead of West Virginia?
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Answer to Trivia Time: Niagara’s Calvin Murphy had 52 big ones against LaSalle on December 16, 1967.
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