Off The Boards by Jack Scheuer – November 14, 2018 Edition

Off The Boards 

By Jack Scheuer

November 14, 2018 Edition

I know we’re college oriented here, but Joel Embiid’s remarkable development certainly merits giving him his due. Let’s face it, barring injury, he’s on his way to joining the ranks of the most elite pure centers who have ever played the game. Strong statement, I know, but for someone who didn’t start playing basketball until his mid-teens, his progress has been astonishing. He’s agile, a monster inside, rebounds, passes well, makes 3’s, and, is very likely the best free throw shooter of all the prominent big men. I know it’s a little early, but to me it’s just a matter of time before the Sixers center is included among the best of the great ones.


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Speaking of which, how would you rank the five greatest pure centers in basketball history? The first three are easy: Wilt Chamberlain, Bill Russell, and Kareem Abdul-Jabbar. Now, it gets tough, choosing between O’Neal, Olajuwon, Walton, David Robinson, Moses Malone, Thurmond, Lanier, Gilmore, Ewing, Bellamy, Cowens, and, probably the most underrated of them all, Robert Parish. If I had to pick numbers four and five, my choices would be Olajuwon and Walton. You can’t discount Walton because of his loopiness since that didn’t start until later when he joined the Grateful Dead. And he’s still the best passing center ever. So, those are my five best of them all.

Arguments are welcomed.  


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Trivia Time: Who holds the NBA record for most free throws missed in a game (11), without making any.  Answer at the end of the column.


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What a tough break for Penn to have Ryan Betley’s injury costing him the entire rest of the season. The junior swing-man from Downingtown West led the team in scoring last year, and has progressed notably in each of his two seasons with the Quakers.


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This and That :The top four scorers in Saint Joe’s history are all guards: Jameer Nelson, Langston Galloway, Bernard Blunt and Carl Jones….Indiana U., always known for its shooting, was 331st in free throws last season at 65.7%……..New Pitt coach Jeff Capel has no place to go but up. Under Kevin Stallings, the Panthers have been 0-and-20 in recent ACC play, including the conference tournament….Relatively speaking: Bol Bol, 7-2  son of Manute, is a big-time prospect at Oregon; At Wake Forest, senior guard Anthony Bilas, son of Jay, is among 4 walkons.


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Finally there is this: The decision of the University of Pennsylvania to sell naming rights on the Palestra floor to a financial giant, is an affront to the many thousands of people who consider the building one of the city’s great treasures. I’m aware it would be difficult to turn down some easy money, but Penn is always one of the league leaders in the endowment department, and it’s unlikely it would be having financial problems  Bottom line: Our beloved Palestra is about to add another name. And It’s a name that will be totally ignored by every local hoops fan.


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Answer to Trivia Time: In a game against Seattle on December 8, 2000, Shaquille O’Neal threw a shutout at the foul line.  


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