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Thread: 1967 - Earl "The Pearl" Monroe and Winston-Salem State Rams

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    Default 1967 - Earl "The Pearl" Monroe and Winston-Salem State Rams

    50 years ago Earl "The Pearl" Monroe led Winston-Salem State University to the Division II title (College Division as it was then called).

    The future NBA super star finished his senior season averaging 41.5 ppg (when three pointers were still long to come at college!) and shooting an amazing 60.7% from the field on 32 games. He was named 1967 NCAA College Division PoY.

    Selected by Baltimore Bullets as the 2nd overall pick Monroe was named NBA's 1967-68 Rookie of the Year. He later played with the great NY Knicks team that won the 1972-73 NBA championship.

    Interesting read on WSSU and "The Pearl" here.

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    Thanks for the article.

    Earl the Pearl was also a street game legend, often holding the court on segregated courts at that time.
    Sacramento Kings
    HERE WE STAY UNTIL THE COWBELLS COME HOME

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    As much as it could look surprising, national leading scorer Earl Monroe starred at the 1967 US team Pan American Games trials but didn’t make the cut. And he was in good company, as other top college players met the same fate.

    This is from a research on 1967 Stars&Stripes archives and other newspapers, all quotes from various issues, April through August.

    (Part 1 of 3).

    US national teams participated in three 1967 major international events:

    - 5th World Championship (Montevideo, URU, May 27-June 11),
    - 5th Pan American Games (Winnipeg, CAN, July 24-August 6th),
    - 6th World University Games (Tokyo, JPN, August 26-September 3).

    Of these events Pan American Games were the best-known in the US at that time, also resultant from four consecutive gold medals won in previous tournaments, and national team trials were set to be organised by AAU and NCAA, on April 7-9 weekend, soon after college and AAU seasons ended. Pan Am trials served as the basic players pool for WC and (partially) WUG teams as well. Venue was the University of Minnesota, Minneapolis.

    Four all-star teams were selected, representing NCAA, NAIA (small colleges), AAU and Armed Forces.

    By the end of March a powerful NCAA all-stars selection was assembled for the trials, including Houston’s All-American Elvin Hayes, a later addition to the star-studded squad, and Louisville's Westley Unseld, both juniors and future NBA super stars.

    This selection represented the crop of major colleges, with the exception of UCLA soph sensation and PoY Lewis Alcindor (Kareem Abdul-Jabbar) and of Providence’s Jimmy Walker, the eventual #1 NBA draft.

    Here’s how the NCAA trials selection was depicted by the sports press (AP, Stars&Stripes 04-03-1967, p18, 22):

    Most of the top college basketball players in the country will compete next weekend in trials to select the U.S. squad for the Pan-American Games.

    UCLA's big Lew Alcindor, the best known of all, decided not to play, but many other All-America players will join in the trials at Williams Arena on the University of Minnesota campus April 7-9.

    Four all-star teams representing the NCAA, NAIA, AAU and Armed Forces will play a round-robin schedule.

    18 players will be chosen from the field to form the U.S. team and that number will be trimmed to 12 before the team goes to Winnipeg, Canada, for the Pan-American Games, July 24-Aug. 6.

    Minnesota coach John Kundla, coach of the NCAA all-stars, has lined up a sparkling squad that includes Elvin Hayes of Houston, Bob Verga of Duke, Westley Unseld of Louisville, Bob Lloyd of Rutgers and Sonny Dove of St. John's (N.Y.). "With the exception of Alcindor, who decided not to play any more this year, we have about the strongest squad available," Kundla said.

    The NCAA's potent 13-man basketball squad for the Pan-American trials, including most of the nation's leading major college scorers and rebounders, will meet for the first time Monday at the University of Minnesota.

    Mal Graham, 6-foot-1, of New York U., averaged 28.7 points; 6-8 Elvin Hayes of Houston 28.4 and 6-1 Bob Lloyd of Rutgers 27.9 for the season, ranking 3-4-6 in the final NCAA major college scoring figures.

    Westley Unseld, 6-8, of Louisville, averaged 19 rebounds a game, while 6-7 Keith Swagerty of Pacific grabbed 18.5 a game, 6-4 Don May of Dayton 16.7 and Hayes 15.7. This quartet ranked 3-4-5-6 in the final NCAA figures. Also high was Sonny Dove, 6-7, of St. John's of New York with a 14.8 rebounding average.

    Lloyd led the nation in free throw accuracy at .921. His career average is .898 including 60 straight, both NCAA records.

    The best field goal shooter on the NCAA squad is 6-6 Bill Hosket of Ohio State at .546, followed by Unseld at .537 and 6-6 Rodger Bohnenstiehl of Kansas .514.

    Jo Jo White of Kansas, a gifted 6-3 backliner, is probably the most versatile man on the team with his ball stealing, dribbling, deft passing, rebounding and clutch scoring.

    Others on the squad are 6-foot Bob Verga of Duke, a 26.1 scorer; 5-10 Russ Critchfield of California, a 21-point man; and 6-7 Tom Kondla of Minnesota, averaging 24.9 points and 11.3 rebounds.

    The coaches are Minnesota's John Kundla, who coached the United States to victory in the 1965 World University games at Budapest, and John Bennington of Michigan State.
    NAIA All-stars, coached by West Carolina’s Jim Gudger, included Earl Monroe, the nation’s leading scorer from Winston-Salem, Willie Scott of Alabama State and Al Tucker, 6-8, from Oklahoma Baptist. The three seniors were joined, among others, by juniors Bob Kauffman, 6-8, of Guilford, Darryl Jones (St Benedict’s), Henry Logan (Western Carolina) and 6-9 Charlie Paulk (Northeastern St. Oklahoma). Small college players were often in the radar of NBA at that time and Monroe was picked with #2 by Baltimore Bullets. Kauffman, Logan, Paulk, Scott and Tucker would also play either in NBA or ABA.

    Besides NCAA stars, AAU were co-favorite at the trials. AAU team could match NCAA on height with several players over 2 m. Most of them came from Denver tournament winners Akron Goodyears (also title winner of the 2nd Intercontinental Cup for clubs early that year) and from runner-ups Phillips 66ers of Bartlesville.

    Calvin Fowler (St Francis Loretto, PA, 1962), Jay Miller (Notre Dame, 1965), 6-7 Jim King (Oklahoma State, 1965) and 6-10 Dan Anderson (Augsburg, 1965) represented the AAU champs of Akron, Darel Carrier (Western Kentucky, 1964), Jeff Congdon (BYU, 1966), 6-7 Ray Carey Jr (Missouri, 1964) and 6-10 Kendall Rhine (Rice, 1964) came from Bartlesville, while Steve Jones (Oregon, 1964) and 6-8 Jim Williams (Temple, 1966) had starred for Jamaco Chicago Saints. Some of them would turn pro later the same year, while guard Fowler would be named co-captain of 1968 US Olympic team.

    Armed Forces all stars were the shortest (but quickest) team, as nobody reached 2m, tallest were centers 6-6 Mike Silliman (Army West Point, 1966) and Edward Smith of Army, John Snipes of Navy (Elizabeth State College) and Ken Brady, Air Force. Forwards were Army’s John Clawson (Michigan, 1966) and Marines’ Don Kalinowski (Loyola, LA, 1966). At guards played Navy’s Mike Barrett (West Virginia Tech, 1965), Army’s Darius “Pete” Cunningham (Central State, Oh, 1965, who once scored a game record 90 points at Carver HS, Chicago), Bernie Barnes (who left North Carolina AT&T after one year in 1966 and enlisted at USAF for 21 years), Ken Pichette (Georgetown, 1958) and Harry Gilmore (Mesa JC, 1963).

    Air Force’s experienced Buzz Bennett coached the 11-man team.

    On Day 1 doubleheader, NCAA against Armed Forces and AAU vs NAIA were favored.

    But, as it often happens, results proved quite different, against the odds.

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    Although he was before my time judging by his accomplishments I always felt the Pearl was a bit overrated. No doubt an excellent player mainly a scorer but his talent did not proportionally translate into results. He was an all NBA player once in his career and never an MVP candidate in any season. If there was another vote for the 50 greatest of all time today I think he would have no chance of making it.

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    Quote Originally Posted by usagre View Post
    Although he was before my time judging by his accomplishments I always felt the Pearl was a bit overrated. No doubt an excellent player mainly a scorer but his talent did not proportionally translate into results. He was an all NBA player once in his career and never an MVP candidate in any season. If there was another vote for the 50 greatest of all time today I think he would have no chance of making it.
    Not among the 50 greatest today, too far away to compare.

    But he was:

    - 1968 NBA Rookie of the year
    - 1996 among NBA 50th Anniversary top 50 players

    He teamed up with other Bullet Wes Unseld very effectively. Also remarkable his comeback with the Knicks in the 1970s.

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    Quote Originally Posted by carlo View Post
    Not among the 50 greatest today, too far away to compare.

    But he was:

    - 1968 NBA Rookie of the year
    - 1996 among NBA 50th Anniversary top 50 players

    He teamed up with other Bullet Wes Unseld very effectively. Also remarkable his comeback with the Knicks in the 1970s.
    Yeah that was my point. He made the 50 greatest list in 1996 which was probably a borderline pick even then. And with 20 more years of players I think if that vote was done again today he wouldn't have a prayer. A very good player but even in his day among his contemporaries he was not among the top 3 or 4 guards. Maybe a third team all NBA player in his time.
    Was much better in his early years than most of his career.

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    (Part 2 of 3).

    From Stars&Stripes 04-09-1967, p. 18:
    Armed Forces, NAIA Record Upsets In 1st Round of Pan-Am Cage Trials

    Slick guards Earl Monroe and Henry Logan paced the NAIA All-Stars to a 73-70 victory over the AAU to complete a first round of upsets in the Pan-American basketball trials Friday night. The Armed Forces team had stunned the celebrated NCAA Stars 77-75 in the opening game at the University of Minnesota. The AAU and NCAA had been rated co-favorites going into the three-day, round-robin tournament which will determine the 18-man team the United States will take to the Pan American Games at Winnipeg July 22-Aug. 7.

    Monroe and Logan put on a brilliant ballhandling and shooting display to lead the NAIA to its shocking upset of the AAU, a team ranked as a co-favorite because of its experience of playing together. Monroe scored 20 points and fed teammates with beautiful passes for five more NAIA buckets. He was the nation's top collegiate scorer this season with a 41.5 average for Winston-Salem College.

    Logan, of Western Carolina, added 19 points. Jay Miller, former Notre Dame star now playing for Akron, led the AAU with 20 points before fouling out with 2:19 left to play.

    The Armed Forces, paced by the shooting of Mike Barrett of the Navy and Mike Silliman of the Army and the playmaking of Darius Cunningham of the Army, taught the collegians a lesson in teamwork, hustle and stamina. Barrett led the servicemen's scoring with 24 points, and Silliman added 22.

    The NCAA stars, unable to coordinate and to blend their many talents effectively, got 16 points from Sonny Dove of St. John's and 15 each from Kansas' Jo Jo White and NYU's Mal Graham.
    Trials Day 2 – from Stars&Stripes 04-10-1967, p. 18:
    NCAA Conquers NAIA, Armed Forces Five Rips AAU in Pan-Am Trials

    Jo Jo White of Kansas sparked a second half spurt, leading the NCAA to an 80-72 victory over the NAIA in a battle of collegiate prestige in the second round of the Pan-American basketball trials Saturday night.
    In the night's opener, the surprising Armed Forces team continued its drive for the team championship in the round-robin tourney with an 85-68 triumph over the AAU.

    The tournament was to conclude Sunday afternoon with the Armed Forces gunning for its third victory against the NAIA and the NCAA taking on the AAU.

    The selections were expected to be announced Sunday night.

    White, the NCAA's top scorer with 18 points, hit three field goals during a three-minute NCAA rally early in the second half. The push by the major college All-Stars broke a 50-50 tie and shoved them into a 58-50 lead.
    The NAIA never caught up, although the small college All-Stars did pull within two points with a minute to play, 74-72. White then sank two free throws with 37 seconds left, California's Russ Critchfield scored on a fast break and Dayton's Don May canned two more free throws as the NCAA won going away.
    ...
    Paulk topped the NAIA with 18 points and Earl Monroe of Winston-Salem added 16.

    The Servicemen, who had only mediocre success in the National AAU Tournament at Denver last week, completely outplayed the All-Stars from that tourney Saturday night.
    The Armed Forces, led by the Army's John Clawson, former Michigan player, and Mike Barrett of the Navy, led 9-3 after 3 1/2 minutes had elapsed and the AAU never caught up. The Armed Forces had a 51-39 lead just over five minutes into the second half and the issue was settled.
    The final 17-point margin was the biggest for the Armed Forces.
    Clawson had 18 points, Barrett 16, and Bernie Barnes of the Air Force 12 for the servicemen. Jay Miller of Akron, former Notre Dame star, topped the AAU's balanced scoring with 11.
    Trials Day 3 – From Stars&Stripes 04-11-1967, p.18:
    Monroe Leads NAIA Stars To Title in Pan-Am Trials

    Earl Monroe, leading college scorer in the nation this year for Winston-Salem State, led the NAIA All-Stars to the team championship in the Pan American Basketball Trials which concluded at the University of Minnesota Sunday afternoon.

    Monroe scored 22 points in the final 14 minutes to pace his NAIA All-Stars to a 77-71 victory over the previously unbeaten Armed Forces team. Monroe, a slick 6-foot 3 ½ guard from Philadelphia, scored only four points in the first 26 minutes. Monroe drove under to hit a lay-up with 1:22 remaining, then sank a free throw to give the NAIA a 75-71 lead with 53 seconds to go for the clincher and finished with 26. Barrett led the Armed Forces with 17 points.

    In the final game of the round-robin tourney, former Notre Dame star Jay Miller led the AAU to a 92-65 victory over the celebrated but disappointing NCAA All-Stars.
    Miller wound up with 24 points. The best the NCAA could answer with was the 10 points each by May and Critchfield. The AAU, with Miller scoring 10 of the points ran up a 16-6 lead in the first nine minutes and the NCAA never came back.

    Sunday's results left the NAIA and Armed Forces both with 2-1 records, but the small-college stars captured the team title by virtue of their victory over the servicemen.

    The NCAA and AAU both finished with one victory in three games.
    That same day the selection committee announced the 18-man roster and six alternates.

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    (Part 3/3).

    From Stars&Stripes 04-11-1967, p.18:
    Despite the fact that they finished third and fourth in the tourney, the AAU and NCAA each placed five men to four apiece by the NAIA and Armed Forces on the 18-man team selected to represent the United States in the Pan American Games.

    Named from the NCAA were Westley Unseld, Sonny Dove, Don May, Mal Graham and Jo Jo White.

    Selected from the AAU were Kendall Rhine, Darel Carrier, Jay Miller, Calvin Fowler and Steve Jones.

    NAIA selections were Robert Kauffman, Al Tucker, Charles Paulk and Henry Logan.

    Picked from the Armed Forces were Mike Silliman, John Clawson, John Snipes and Mike Barrett.

    Named as alternates were five AAU players, Dan Anderson, Ray Carey, Jeff Congdon, Jim King and Jim Williams and Russ Critchfield of the NCAA.

    Hal Fischer, of special services at the San Francisco Presidio Army base, will serve as head coach for the U.S. team, and John Kundla of Minnesota will be his assistant.

    The team will practice here July 3-21, then a 12-man team will go to Winnipeg.
    From Troy NY Times Record, 04-10-1967, p.21:
    Pan-American Games Snub Leading College Scorer

    Biggest surprise was the snubbing of Monroe — the tourney's leading scorer with 62 points in three games.

    Earl Monroe, leading college scorer in the nation this year, led the NAIA All-Stars to the team championship in the Pan-American Basketball Trials.
    From The Florence Times Daily, 04-10-1967, p.5:
    Notables among those left off the team were Hayes, Monroe and Darius Cunningham, of the Army, a former Central, Ohio, State star.
    All three missed out from the voting by a 42-member AAU selection committee which included Fischer and the coaches of NCAA, NAIA, AAU and Armed Forces teams.

    Monroe scored 22 of his 26 points in the crucial last 14 minutes to lead underdog NAIA to the team championship over Armed Forces. Barrett, the meet’s No.2 scorer with 57 points after Monroe, got 17 in the finale.
    Interestingly, Hal Fischer himself couldn't explain why Monroe didn't make the team.

    From AP press 04-11-1967:
    All-America Elvin Hayes and Earl Monroe, the nation's top collegiate scorer, were left off the 18-man U.S. team selected Sunday night to represent this nation in the Pan American Games at Winnipeg this summer.

    Monroe, 6-foot-3 1/2 shooting ace Philadelphia, wound up as the tournament's leading scorer with 62 points.

    Hayes had 30 points, but was held to only eight in Sunday's finale when the AAU drubbed the NCAA, 92-65.

    Hal Fischer of San Francisco, who will coach the U.S. team at Winnipeg, said:

    "The committee had to look at the ballplayers as they saw them here. Hayes did not show any great talent to be in the top 18. After seeing the statistics on Hayes, I could easily see he did not have a good tournament. I saw him in the NCAA tournament, however, and I know he's a great player.
    "I don't know why Monroe didn't get more votes. I'd say he is a fine player; there's no question of his ability. I know he had quite a few mistakes against his name on the statistic sheets ".
    As a matter of facts, from the 18-man selection and six alternates, Dove, Unseld, White (NCAA), Logan (NAIA), Carey, Carrier, Fowler, Rhine, Williams (AAU), Clawson and Silliman (Army) made the final team for Winnipeg. Georgetown U. forward Steve Sullivan was the 12th man and late team addition.

    US team results and stats at the Pan American Games can be found at USA Basketball site:
    https://www.usab.com/history/pan-am-...ames-1967.aspx

    USA finished 9-0 easily winning gold, and the closest call was the title game against Mexico won by +19 margin. However, USA had to come from behind from the first 10 minutes to beat Cuba 91-71 in a previous contest, leading at ht by just four points. Brazil (who previously beat a US team at World Championship) was avoided, as the South Americans surprisingly didn’t advance to the final pool. They were missing however a couple of their stars, namely Ubiratan Maciel and Carmo Souza “Rosa Branca”.

    Unseld, White and Carrier (all future NBA/ABA stars) stood out as the team’s best, according to the specialized press.

    After the final, head coach Hal Fischer commented (a bit too much!) enthusiastically his team’s performance.

    From AP/Stars&Stripes 08-07-1967, p.18:
    Fischer Says Club Could Play in NBA

    "If this club could stay together," said U.S. coach Hal Fischer, "it could give a good account of itself, in the National Basketball Association."
    Fischer made the comment after the Yank quintet had wrapped up the Pan American Games Gold Medal by beating Mexico, 93-74.

    He labeled the U.S. team one of the strongest ever to represent the country in international competition, comparing its strength with the 1960 U.S. Olympic club, which featured Oscar Robertson and Jerry West.

    Asked if he thought whether the United States would field a better club for the 1968 Olympics with the addition of Lew Alcindor of UCLA, Fischer replied, "I don't think that Alcindor could have helped us tonight. The way Wes Unseld and Jim Williams controlled the boards was fantastic."
    For Fischer that represented his second Pan Am title as head coach, after winning the first edition in 1951.

    *****

    Nine players from the Pan American Games trials selections had participated earlier in the World Championship with a strong but disappointing team that finished 4th: Paulk, Tucker (NAIA), Carrier, Miller, Rhine, Williams (AAU), Barrett, Clawson and Silliman (Armed Forces). NCAA All-American Sonny Dove had been named to the team but injured while practicing and was replaced by Paulk. Army’s Darius Cunningham who participated in the Pan Am trials, AAU’s Akron star Vern Benson and former NYU ace Stan McKenzie (who had played in Italy) rounded out the team. Head coach was the same Hal Fischer, assisted by NAIA’s Jim Gudger.

    Finally, six players from the Pan Am trials selection went on to play and win gold at the WUG: Critchfield, Dove, Graham, Unseld, White and Silliman. Georgetown’s Sullivan was also named to the team. New entries were collegians Al “Butch” Beard (Louisville 1969), Larry Miller (North Carolina 1968), Rich Nieman (St. Louis 1968), Craig Raymond (BYU 1967) and Floyd Theard (Kentucky State 1967). NCAA trials team assistant John Benington, of Michigan State, served as head coach.
    Last edited by carlo; 04-09-2017 at 03:46 PM.

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