The discussion was about the best high school players ever to come out of Philadelphia, which seems to be a good idea for some controversy, so here are my picks:
(The dumb rule is in effect, only 5 players.)
1. Who else but Wilt Chamberlain, from Overbrook, and to list his accomplishments would take up too much space. However, his 90-point game against Roxborough should be mentioned.
2. Tom Gola, La Salle High, the best player in Catholic League history. At 6-6 ,he could do everything. Has been discribed as “Magic Johnson before Magic.”
3. Guy Rodgers, from Northeast, a master ball-handler and dribbler who could score at will. A six-footer, he averaged 35 a game as a senior. At some practices, he would play one-against-five. And score.
4. Gene Banks, the pride of West Philadelphia, who was like a man against boys. A powerful 6-6 forward, he sparked the Speed Boys to three straight city titles, and was named All-City first-team three times.
5. Rasheed Wallace, Simon Gratz, a multi-talented 6-10 center who could pass like a guard. Also made the All-City team first-team on three occasions. His 1991-92 team went 31-0.
Since the city is known for its high school greats, it’s obvious there will be many who will have other choices. Such as Earl Monroe, Chink Scott, Walt Hazzard, Lionel Simmons, etc. But remember, it’s for when they played in high school.
-Guard this: Guards are taking over the rest of the world, as well as our city. Butler’s Rotnei Clarke, Chaz Williams from UMass, and Richmond’s Darien Brothers are just a few of the A-10′s top guards. Then we have Trey Burke (Michigan State), Seth Curry (Duke), Peyton Siva (Louisville) and Phil Pressey (Missouri) on the national scene. An established fact: Good guards equal good hoops.
-Trivia Time: Of all the Villanova players who have gone to the pros since the start of the Big 5 in 1955, which one played in the most NBA games? Answer at the end of the column.
-Just watch Butler: A suggestion to coaches who constantly use computers, charts, trends, analogists and have five assistant coaches: Watch Butler play.
-Bouncing around: There’s no doubt Halil Kanacevic has talent and can be a major factor in St. Joe’s success , but only if he stays under control. … The Hawks’ three-game streak is on the line what with the next two games at Dayton and at UMass. … Nice to see Villanova’s Mouphtaou Yarou coming around after a slow start. The big man never stops working hard. … VCU’s Briante Weber is averaging three steals a game. He had 10 against Florida Gulf Coast and nine against Dayton. … Pitt is coming on strong and getting production from 6-5 guard Trey Zeigler, who transferred in from Detroit. … It still sounds funny to me to hear about the “Brooklyn” Nets. … And if Andrew Bynum ever comes back, how much will we see of Lavoy Allen?
-Answer to Trivia Time: Rory Sparrow played in 836 NBA games, most of any Wildcat.
-Jack Scheuer is a Big 5 Hall of Fame college basketball writer. His “Off the Boards” column appears on Tuesdays. His ‘Off The Boards’ columns are archived HERE.
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