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Yesterday: Famous names in NCAA Tourney

Do your remember Monte Towe and Rick Mount?

Both of them were instrumental in their team’s trip to a previous Final Four.

Towe was a 5-foot-5 guard who helped led North Carolina State to an NCAA National Championship in 1974, and Mount guided Purdue to the NCAA final in 1969, only to have his Boilermakers lose to UCLA.

In this week’s version of my Yesterday column – reminiscing about sports and pop culture in the 1950s, 60s, 70s, 80s and sometimes before and beyond – I’ll look back at some recognizable players from this past weekend’s men’s final four teams as well as some other “final” events.

Wolfpack Wonders: When you think about NC State, the 1974 team certainly comes to mind.

Guided by Norm Sloan, David “Skywalker” Thompson took the country by storm with his highflying slams. There also was Towe, fellow guard “Mo” Rivers, and 7-4 center Tom Burleson. You may also remember former Orioles’ pitcher Tim Stoddard, who was a power forward on the team.

The Wolfpack were 30-1 that season and lost to UCLA, 84-66, in the third game of the season, and then went on to win 28 straight, ending with a 76-64 victory over Al McGuire’s Marquette team in the final. NC State outlasted UCLA, 80-77, in two overtimes in the semifinals.

Other noted Wolfpack alumni have been Tom Gugliotta, who played 17 seasons in the NBA with seven teams, and Thurl Bailey, who was an integral part of the ’83 championship team led by Jim Valvano.

Purdue Proud: Mount led the Boilermakers to a 23-5 slate in 1969. You may also remember former ABA star Billy Keller and former Hawk Herm Gilliam, who both were part of that team.

Other recognizable alumni have been Joe Barry Caroll (1976-80), Glenn “Big Dog” Robinson (1992-94), Jerry Sichting (1975-79), and Terry Dischinger (1959-62).

Lamar Lundy (1954-57) was regarded as one of the program’s initial power forwards before he switched sports to become one of the Rams’ “Fearsome Foursome.”

Former 1984 Sixers second-round pick Everett Stephens (remember him?) never panned out in the pros.

Crimson Tide Cronies: Alabama has had their share of players leave their mark and land in the pros.

Former Rocket and Laker Robert Horry is among the more identifiable along with former Knick and Warrior Latrell Sprewell (remember the choking incident with his former coach P.J. Carlesimo?)

You may also recall longtime pro Antonio McDyess, who played 16 seasons with five teams and Reggie King, who had stops with the Kansas City Kings and Seattle SuperSonics. Leon Douglas was a high-profile alum who spent time in Kansas City and Detroit.

UConn Classics: UConn has had their share of success lately, but the Huskies have had numerous stars through the years.

Richard Hamilton is a Collegiate Hall of Famer who had a nice career with the Pistons. Aside from Hamilton, Ray Allen and Donyell Marshall came to mind.

Cliff Robinson popped into my mind, and I thought it was the former Sixer from the late 80s, but that Robinson was a USC grad. Connecticut’s Robinson, who wore “00,” had a an 18-year career with five teams.

Phillies Phodder: Each week, I’ll offer a Phillies’ trivia question to test your knowledge. Please don’t look up the answer, but give it your best shot. Here you go:

Which team did the Phillies’ play in their final game at Connie Mack Stadium in 1970?

Readers Write:

Those Two-Sport Guys

Hi Jeff!

Your mentioning of Dick Groat as a two-sport player reminded me of others, some of whom played for the Phillies.

Ron Reed was an NBA player and a top-notch reliever for the Phils for many years. Gene Conley played in the NBA and for various major league baseball clubs, including the Phils for a few seasons. Some others were: Dave DeBusschere (basketball and baseball), Bo Jackson (football and baseball), and Steve Hamilton (football and baseball).

Probably the most famous was Chuck Connors, who not only played professional basketball and baseball, but was also an actor. He will always be remembered as a “Rifleman” rather than a “bat man.”

Shohei Ohtani could go down in baseball history as one of the best, if not the best, two-position players as a pitcher and DH, that’s if he stays injury free and away from gamblers.

The Angels had a similar player in the mid 60s named Willie Smith. However, he just doesn’t have Ohtani’s stats.

Richard Ochs

Walnutport, PA

1,000-Point Scorers:

In last week’s column, the area’s presumed all-time leading collegiate scorers were highlighted.

Palmerton assistant girls’ basketball and track coach Jim Hay notified us that he scored 1,424 at Muhlenberg College from 1974-78.

If anyone else falls into this category, please let us know.

Off the Spectrum: We all have our memories from the Spectrum, whether it was a Sixers’ or Flyers’ game or a concert.

The Sixers’ final game there was March 14, 2009, when they defeated the Chicago Bulls, 104-101. Thaddeus Young had 31 points, and Andre Iguodala had 25 points. Andre Miller chipped in with 13 (How many of you remember Young and/or Miller)

Who was the Sixers’ coach for the final game? How about Tony DiLeo, who took over for Maurice Cheeks in early December?

The Flyers’ final appearance was an Oct. 7, 2008 exhibition game against the then Philadelphia Phantoms. They had been playing at the then new Core States Center (remember that name?) since 1996.

What Was the final event there? It was a Pearl Jam concert on Oct. 31, 2009.

Vet Volleys: In terms of Veterans Stadium, the final Phillies’ game was Sept. 28, 2003, that resulted in a 5-2 loss to the Atlanta Braves.

Greg Maddux started for the Braves, and Kevin Millwood (soon forgotten?) got the nod for the Phils, who were led by Larry Bowa in his final season.

If you’re a diehard Eagles’ fan, you’ll remember their final Vet game, a 27-10 loss to the eventual Super Bowl champion Tampa Bay Bucs in the NFC Championship Game on Jan. 19, 2003.

Final Seconds: There have been a cavalcade of special moments in the NCAA tournament and too many to cover.

The first of three that I can recollect was NC State’s Lorenzo Charles sank an alley-oop at the buzzer for a 56-54 victory over Houston’s Phi Slamma Jamma in 1983 with Valvano running around the court.

Another was when Michigan’s Chris Webber’s called an ill-fated timeout in 1993 when his team didn’t have any and they trailed North Carolina 73-71 in the final seconds. They eventually lost.

Finally, there’s Villanova’s second title in 2016 when Kris Jenkins’ hit a three-pointer at the buzzer to beat North Carolina in a 77-74 victory.

Another Classic Game: In terms of a final game, Cadaco’s ABA version of the Bas-Ket Game may be hard to find.

You get all of the logos of the old vintage ABA team in this game for two players where the simple objective is to pop the ball into your basket.

Trivia Answer: The Phillies beat the Montreal Expos, 2-1, in the final game at Connie Mack Stadium in 10 innings on Oct. 1, 1970. Barry Lersch started for the Phillies and Carl Morton threw for the Expos. Dick Selma (8-9) picked up the win in relief.

The Phillies, under Frank Lucchesi, finished 73-88, and the Expos were 73-89.

Memory Lane: Each week, I’ll think back to a former player, coach, manager, or media personality from our yesterday.

Do you remember Phillies’ outfielder Jason Michaels? He spent five years with the Phillies from 2001 through 2005, and he was in the lineup for the final game at the Vet in 2003. Michaels hit .330 in 76 games that year, and he finished his Phillies’ career with a .291 average with 21 homers and 100 RBIs.

Michaels spent 11 years in the majors with four teams and had a .263 career average with 59 homers and 299 RBIs.

Well Wishes: Former Times News sports editor and Palmerton legend Ed Hedes recently suffered a stroke. According to his son Jarad – a Times News reporter – Ed is gradually on his way to the road to recovery. I am grateful for Ed to the opportunity for the newspaper as well as his guidance to many reporters throughout the area. Ed is a living legend and one of the most genuine people I know. Get well, my friend.

Feedback: Your thoughts, ideas, and comments are always welcomed at tnsports@tnonline.com.