Jack Scheuer’s Off The Boards – February 19, 2014 Edition

Off The Boards

By Jack Scheuer

February 19, 2914 Edition

Great news that Guy Rodgers will be inducted into the Basketball Hall of Fame even though this should have happened many years ago.  It is also appropriate that he is the first Big 5 player ever to be so honored because in my opinion, he is still the best player ever to have played in the well-known mythical conference.
After a terrific career at the old Northeast High, (during which at some practices he would play one against five, and score) he led Temple to two Final Fours and a three-year record of 74-16.  Twice a first team All American, he was named the Big 5 ‘s Outstanding Player in each of his three seasons.
As a pro, the master ball handler spent 12 years in the NBA,  was a four-time All Star, and was either first or second in assists on six occasions.  In one game he handed out 28 assists, a league record that was eventually broken by Scott Skiles in 1990.  He played at a time when Bob Cousy was highly publicized as the game’s top playmaker, an opinion not shared by those who saw Rodgers outplay the legendary Boston point guard in many of their head-to-head meetings.
Through the years, Philadelphia has been known for producing outstanding guard play, and there were many times in the past when the New York media would describe an excellent backcourt performer by saying “He’s a Philadelphia guard.”
Guy Rodgers was THE Philadelphia guard.
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Some people are saying it is not a strong draft for this season, but there are certainly a group of talented guards out there.  Shabazz Napier is probably the most talented, but Chaz Williams,  Russ Smith, Marcus Paige, James Robinson , Joe Jackson, Jordair Jett, Bryce Cotton, and Gary Harris are all  highly regarded  Then there are the true point guards such as Tyler Ennis, Aaron Craft and T.J. McConnell.  That’s a lot of quality backcourt play.
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Trivia Time: Syracuse has had many great players in its program.  Who is the school’s all-time leading scorer?  Answer at the end of the column.
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Critiquing the Coaches: Tom Crean better stop walking up and down so much and watch the games. His Hoosiers are a very disappointing 14-11.  Indiana also lost at home to Penn State.  At South Carolina, Frank Martin’s Marine drill sergeant persona isn’t doing very well.  The Gamecocks are 10-15.  On the plus side, Tony Bennett, another underrated guy, has Virginia with a 21-5 record, and one of those teams nobody will want to play in the NCAA’s.
This and That: What would happen if a print reporter tried to interview a coach at halftime like the TV people do?  Just wondering….Talk about playing the game the right way, those St.Louis Billikins are a delight to watch….It will be interesting to see how Temple will do against UConn tomorrow night after its morale-boosting win over SMU. That backcourt of Napier and Boatright will be tough to handle  The Owls play another tough one at Memphis on Saturday…..Three former local high school stars have a good chance of going pretty far in the post season. Amile Jefferson at Duke, Rakeem Christmas at Syracuse, and Arizona’s Rondae Hollis-Jefferson  could all  possibly make it to the Final  Four …. Penn can make its season with an upset win over Harvard at the Palestra on Friday.
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Answer to Trivia Time: Lawrence Moten is the leader with 2,334 points.


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