Off The Boards
By Jack Scheuer
November 25, 2015 Edition
The question asked was an interesting one, sure to create many opinions and arguments: Who are the five greatest players to come out of Philadelphia since the start of the Big 5 in 1955-56? Number one is easy, but then it gets a little tricky. Here are my choices:
Wilton Norman Chamberlain, from Overbrook H.S. who of course would be the unanimous pick. The Big Dipper set and still holds too many records to be listed here, but there are three that should be mentioned: He scored over 50 points 118 times, averaged 50 points per game in 1961-62, and in that same season had his 100 point outing against the New York Knicks. It is very unlikely that there will ever be anyone who will match his numerous accomplishments.
Next would be Kobe Bryant who went to Lower Merion, but was born in the city. In his 20th season with the Lakers, he is still putting up numbers which will be included in his Hall of Fame introduction. He has been a two-time scoring champion, played on five title winning teams, was an MVP and has averaged 24 points a game. In addition, his defense has always been outstanding. And, his 81 points in one game is second most to Wilt’s 100.
Earl Monroe, the pride of Bartram H.S., who set numerous scoring records at Winston Salem State, which included a 41.5 average as a senior. He had an outstanding NBA career with Baltimore and New York, putting up 19 points a game in his 13 seasons. He made the All-Star four times, and in 1990 was inducted into the Basketball Hall of Fame. His patented spin move is still being copied by players everywhere
Guy Rodgers, from Northeast High to Temple, where he was an All American, and led the Owls to two Final Fours. He is regarded by many (including me) as the best player to have ever played both on North Broad street. and in the Big 5. A magician with the ball, (he once had 28 assists in an NBA game) he also was a four- time All Star during his 12-year pro career. Finally, in 2014, he was rightfully named a Hall of Fame member.
Southern High’s Lionel Simmons is the final member. A high scoring 6-6 forward who seemed to improve noticeably at every level. He was a two-time All American at La Salle averaging 24.6 a game, while pulling down 11 rebounds per contest. He finished his four year career with 3,217 points, and is No. 3 on Division 1’s all- time scoring list. (Pete Maravich, Freeman Williams). A first round pick by the Sacramento Kings, he played seven years in the NBA, averaging 13 points a game.
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Well, your Sixers continue to roll along on their road to disaster. After winning 37 games and losing 127 over the last two years, they’ve dropped their first 15 this season and are on the verge of setting a few records. There is one theory that says that even if a couple of the suits who run the Analytics think it might be time to give up on ‘The Process,’ the Hinkster is determined to stick to his guns, no matter how unloaded they may be. Meanwhile, the whole idea must really be wearing on the players, especially since just about all of them come from winning backgrounds. Jahlil Okafor, for instance, in his final two years in high school and one season at Duke, played in 98 games and only 13 were losses. I can’t imagine that the coach is really happy with ‘The Process.’ Or many fans either. Or the league…. Especially the league.
* * * * * * * * * Trivia Time: Who is the only player to lead the NBA, ABA and the NCAA in scoring? Answer at the end of the column.
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This and That:
The local Jeffersons are both having good seasons. Friends Central’s Amile Jefferson leads Duke in rebounds, and Chester’s Rondae Hollis-Jefferson has been starting for the Brooklyn Nets….Sterling Gibbs, the 6-2 guard who transferred to UConn from Seton Hall, is leading the Huskies in scoring….Malik Ellison, a 6-6 freshman at St. Johns is the son of Never Nervous Pervis, and 6-0 Aaron Holiday, Jrue’s little brother is a starter at UCLA….Iowa, under former Penn guard Fran McCaffery, could cause some trouble this year. The Hawkeyes are unique in that they start four seniors….Duke sharpshooter Grayson Allen might be a tad slow, but he looks like the second coming of J.J. Redick…. First City Series game Wednesday night, when La Salle plays Penn at the Palestra.
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Answer to Trivia Time: Rick Barry is the only player to lead all three in scoring.