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Pittsburgh's basketball drought

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http://www.pghsports.com/2005-Issues/psr0503/05030101.html

Makes some good points on the once flourishing basketball factory W. Pennsylvania once was, and how we could go back to those days. As we are with football (an average of 4.6 players in every Super Bowl from an area high school) and to a lesser degree baseball (players/managers with over 80 World Series Appearances). Pittsburgh has never been "basketball central" but with such notables as John Havilchek (sp), Pete Maravich growing up here along with "dream team" coach Chuck Daly, as well as coaches John Calapari, Skip Prosser and George Karl there was a time about 30 years ago that the Pittsburgh area had a strong basketball community. It would be nice to be the triple crown winner as far as making the world's future sport stars ;).

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but isn't the miracle of it all the fact that Pittsburgh never had an NBA team, we did have one dominant ABA team in the late 60s early 70s, and some USBL or other "minors" in the 60's and 90s but still managed to produce the all time leading scorer in the NCAA Maravich, Havilcek, the coach of the "Dream Team" Daly as well as Skip Prosser down at Wake Forest and Calapari and George Karl. Those are only the ones I know of might be a few others in there.

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but isn't the miracle of it all the fact that Pittsburgh never had an NBA team, we did have one dominant ABA team in the late 60s early 70s, and some USBL or other "minors" in the 60's and 90s but still managed to produce the all time leading scorer in the NCAA Maravich, Havilcek, the coach of the "Dream Team" Daly as well as Skip Prosser down at Wake Forest and Calapari and George Karl.  Those are only the ones I know of might be a few others in there.

<{POST_SNAPBACK}>

Havlicek is not a W. Pa guy. I believe he is from Belmont County in Ohio. I know that's not far, but because of the local nature of high school sports, he may as well be from Texas. Because the State Championship is the ultimate goal of local hoopsters, Philly and Harrisburg area guys tend to be MUCH more well known in Pittsburgh. Ohio and W. Virginia are invisible.

I can name you a few hoop stars from the Pittsburgh area.

Maurice Lucas (Portland. Played with Bill Walton, and was an all-star)

Kenny Durrett (Was a First team All-American in the early 70's at then powerhouse LaSalle. A major knee injury late in his senior year made him a non factor as a pro)

Chuck Cooper (An All-American in 1950 at Duquesne. Cooper broke the NBA color line)

Billy Knight (An All-American at Pitt who played a decade of pro ball, and is GM of the Atlanta Hawks)

Maurice Stokes (From Homewood, he was the NBA's first Black Superstar. His career was cut short when he hit his head on the floor during a game and suffered major brain damage. A movie was made about him).

Norm VanLier from Midland was a big time NBA star during the 70's.

There are many more "lesser" guys who managed to play some pro ball.

Freddie Lewis from McKeesport

Brothers Brad and Mickey Davis

Mike Barr

Melvin Bennett

Danny Fortson, who is still playing.

Armon Gilliam

Willie Somerset

Sam Clancy, who didn't make it in the NBA, but played a decade in the NFL despite never playing football in college.

There were also numerous players who starred at high level colleges (Dick DeVenzio, Jarrett Durham etc) but couldn't stick in the pros.

Actually, the best crop of local kids in 30 years is playing high school ball here right now. There are about half a dozen kids that are being recruited by BIG TIME schools. These are big kids too, something Pittsburgh has not produced much of since the 70's. Read the following article about them.

Pittsburgh high school basketball stars

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Thanks for that great run down and web link on W. Pennsylvania basketball. Very excellent. Havilcek although from the Ohio River towns just across from W.V. I have always considered a local. Anyplace within an hour drive or so in my mind. You are correct though it is all state to state and state championships. If you think though that Maravich was from Beaver about 30 min. from where Havilcek grew up (or so) but is still considered a world away by some basketball gurus just makes no sense to me, yeah he went to OSU etc. etc. but you get my point.

Again, great link H, really appreciate your deep knowledge on this topic :)

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