Summer Reading List: HoopsHD interviews Ray Goss about his book “Misadventures in Broadcasting”

Now that the college basketball season has come to a close with Virginia cutting down the nets in Minneapolis it is time to figure out a way to make it through the next several months without any games to watch. For you readers out there we will recommend some books to add to your summer reading list. The 1st entry on our list is “Misadventures in Broadcasting”, a series of stories from the 50+ year broadcasting career of Duquesne basketball play-by-play man Ray Goss. HoopsHD’s Jon Teitel got to chat with Ray yesterday about his Hall of Famer career and attending 1 of the most famous college basketball games ever.

How did the book come about? 1 of the 1st chapters mentions the time after a game in Dagus Mines where I was left cradling a phone between my shoulder/ear. It was such a bizarre game that I figured I should put it down on paper before I forgot all of the details. My friend Bob Gussin has a publishing house and he encouraged me after reading my 1st draft. I was sharing some basketball stories at lunch 1 day with Bill Meyer and his wife Mary and Mary suggested that I was such a good storyteller that I should write a book. Bill was a longtime friend who passed away recently and play college ball at Hiram College in Ohio: he even played pro ball for 1 year in the old ABA. With the help of some friends like Jack Benedict (who provided some details that I had forgotten) and Bill Betts (who helped me edit it chapter by chapter) it eventually got finished. Bill was an English professor so when his edits would come back there was so much red ink on the paper that it looked as if someone had bled on it! There are 42 chapters but it still seems kind of slim to me: I self-published it because all you need is enough money to pay the printer.

How did you 1st get into broadcasting and how have you been able to stick around for more than 50 years? I could never have imagined being this old and still doing Duquesne basketball games. I would have loved to be a pro athlete but after realizing that I could not make it I still loved sports so much that I knew I would enjoy broadcasting. I got plenty of on-the-job training during college at Duquesne on WDUQ, the student-operated university station. There were not enough basketball games to do it full-time so I was fortunate to be the morning guy on the radio while also doing sports. I thoroughly enjoy play-by-play: it is like dessert in that I would love to live with only that but now I just do sports on the side. Back in the day I would do 100 sporting events year, which was a lot! Whether it is a pro game on TV or a little league game on the radio I enjoy all of it. When you are in the moment and it is a close exciting game you do not even notice the time pass by.

What has been the biggest change in the industry over the past half-century? As far as broadcasting the biggest change is the cell phone. My book is all about mistakes but with cell phones you have a great backup in case you lose a line. The quality is not that bad at all so you can broadcast anything from anywhere. 1 of my favorite chapters involves a baseball game where we did not even have a phone line: we had to run an extension from a nearby bar! The improvement in equipment has also been great: it is almost fail-safe even for a guy like me who is not a professional engineer.

What has been the biggest change in basketball over the past half-century? I remember back when there were only 2 officials on the court trying to keep up with all of the younger players. The downside is when 1 ref thinks the other refs might have had a better view and none of them blow their whistle. The 3-PT shot has been the biggest innovation since its introduction in the 1980s. During its 1st year in college if you were fouled while shooting a 3 then you only got 2 FTs: how did that make any sense? I have seen enough clutch 3-pointers made in the final seconds that I am a big advocate of fouling if you are up by 3 late in the game. There is also no offseason anymore so players are on the court year-round because there is so much money to be made. Guys like Bob Cousy/George Mikan were great but I do not know if they could compete in today’s era. Athletes in all sports have improved: I do not remember anyone doing alley-oops 20 years ago but I think that the sport has changed for the better.

What are your memories of Carnegie Tech’s 68-66 upset of Hot Rod Hundley’s West Virginia team in 1965? It was 1 of the 1st games that I ever broadcast on the radio. We were on a stage behind 1 of the baskets at Skibo Gym, which was not the best place to call a game when the action was 200’ away on the other end of the court. D-3 Carnegie Tech had no business competing with West Virginia but they were leading at the end. The strategy for Hundley after getting fouled in the final seconds was easy: make the 1st FT, miss the 2nd, then have a teammate get the rebound and lay it in to send it to OT. Hundley made the 1st, missed the 2nd, and 6’10” center Lloyd Sharrar got the rebound. At that time there were not a lot of people that big in college: you also have to remember that he had the inside position on the lane because that was the rule back then. Sharrar tried to tip it in once, then twice, but the clock hit zero before he could get the ball to go in. West Virginia would never play Carnegie Mellon today in a home-and-home series.

How did you sneak into the 1966 Final 4, and could you tell at the time how big a deal it was for Texas Western to beat Adolph Rupp’s Kentucky Wildcats in the title game? I had no idea that it would turn out to be that big. My newspaper colleague Carl Kologie and I contacted the NCAA and were told that if they had enough press passes then we could get 1 but we would just have to show up and find out on the day of the game. We showed up and Carl received a pass but I did not. Carl had a friend who worked as a maintenance man at Cole Field House and he told us to meet him 15 minutes before tip-off. His friend helped us get in but we were told not to go onto the court. I was worried that someone would ask to see my ticket and then escort me out, but I noticed that there were some empty seats down near Carl so I strolled down there and ended up taking a seat that was reserved for a newspaper from my home state of Indiana. My friend Herm Sledzik got a ticket for both Friday and Saturday nights and suggested that I just try using his Friday night ticket to get into the title game because the only difference from the Saturday night ticket was the date! I figured I would walk into the press room after the title game but was surprised to see that nobody was asking Coach Rupp any questions. I asked him if he thought that Bobby Joe Hill was the best PG he had seen all year and Rupp said that he was 1 of the best: his answer ended up in someone else’s newspaper story.

What was it like to broadcast an IUP-Edinboro game from the middle of the Edinboro student section? That was amazing! We tried calling the station several times but they said they could not hear our broadcast on the line. The gym was packed and it was close to tip-off and we needed to get onto the air. Someone finally mentioned that the phone line had moved so we walked right across the floor, went into the stands, and sandwiched ourselves into the student section. It was noisy, which makes it sound exciting for the listeners. Edinboro made a buzzer-beater but the ref waived it off because their coach had called a timeout with 2 seconds left. All of the students turned to me and I was worried I would get pummeled so I toned it down a bit.

How close did you come to becoming an NBA broadcaster in 1978, and do you blame Portland for winning the 1977 title or Brent Musburger for beating you to the punch? I cannot blame Brent: naturally they would pick him over me! Pitt SID Beano Cook had done color commentary with me for a couple of years and when he was at CBS he was able to set me up to do an audition of a Lakers-Pacers game in Indianapolis. I was waiting for my flight and the Lakers were in the airport so I got to catch up with Lakers rookie Norm Nixon (who had played at Duquesne). Pat Riley was the Lakers’ radio guy/travel agent at the time: Norm introduced me to Pat, who said that he would put us in with his group so that he would have a better chance of getting onto the flight. I did play-by play for the whole game on videotape with former Pistons coach Herb Brown for 1 half and 5-time All-Star Gene Shue for the other half. When Gene and I went out to dinner together we spent most of the night talking about tennis since we both loved playing that sport. I thought that I did okay and CBS confirmed it by calling me to say that they would be sending me a contract for next year. What happened was that Portland won the 1977 title over Philly and the ratings were not great because they were not 2 big markets so they scrapped the whole thing…but I still have the contract!

You write about a pair of excellent encounters with Bob Cousy/Bill Sharman: do you consider them to be the exception or the rule when it comes to players’ interactions with broadcasters? Back then people were much better about it. The only contact I have had with pro players were some guys on the Pittsburgh Piranhas: when you are the team’s broadcaster it is a little different. Back then the players did not make nearly the amount they make now so they were friendlier with the fans. I met Sidney Crosby once and he was a genuinely nice guy: he is like a god in Canada! He will walk to the team bus after the game and then stick around and sign autographs for 20 minutes. I met Cousy in my 20s and Sharman in my 60s. The funniest thing was that I thought it looked like Sharman but could not imagine why he was at a girls’ basketball game until I learned that he was there to watch his niece play!

What was Mike Rice like as a coach at Duquesne, and how do you think he feels about being the only broadcaster ever ejected from an NBA game (in 1994)? Mike was amazing: he had so much energy and would do whatever it took to win. 1 time when a ball went out of bounds he dived to save it and accidentally put his foot through a bass drum. He was a very good tennis player and I played him once or twice on the road: 1 time I beat him and then he did not want to ever play me again! At the end of the game he would send a better FT shooter to the line and convince the refs that it was the right guy at the line. Back then the refs really were “homers”: the bettors would see who would come out onto the floor and then run to the phones and give the points because they knew that any close calls would go the home team’s way. It has changed now with split officiating crews. It is the toughest game in the world to call, especially the block/charge call.

How on earth were you able to broadcast 3 different basketball games in a 24-hour span during the 1994-95 season? That was totally amazing. I had to prove to the Piranhas that I could do all of their games so I was fortunate to get the job. A lot of the time it is about who knows you. I was able to do it but it was difficult. The 1st game was Friday night in Chicago, which was no problem. I had to do a Duquesne home game Saturday afternoon so I had to catch a 6AM flight but there were not any cabs around that early. I just made the flight, my wife picked me up, and I changed in a restaurant parking lot despite the cold winter weather. I did a Piranhas game at 7PM, then fell asleep with all sorts of numbers running through my head!

What is your favorite memory of Hall of Fame referee Red Mihalik? He was absolutely the greatest official I have ever seen. They have a really tough job and he was scrupulously honest. There was a close game I remember where somebody dunked at the buzzer to win the game. Red immediately waved “no basket” and said that the player’s hand was still on the ball when the buzzer had sounded. He was probably right but who else would have the guts to make that call? I remember 1 game where I thought that he had missed a call: Red blew his whistle and bellowed out “my fault, my fault”, changed the call, and nobody complained about it. He was the humblest guy you would ever meet and did not want to go into the Hall of Fame. He did it all: the Final 4, Olympics, everything. He reluctantly allowed himself to be inducted after Coach Dean Smith wrote his recommendation letter. Today’s refs will stand in 1 spot but Red would constantly maneuver around to get a better angle if he got screened out from his original position.

What is your biggest pet peeve? 1 of my biggest pet peeves now is the 2-shot foul when you are in the bonus. Announcers will say a team is in the bonus but I consider a “bonus” to be an extra shot. A lot of people will say that a player can “put the ball on the floor” but I think there is a better 1-word description for it: “dribble”! I am such a nitpicker that players do not tie their shoes but rather their shoelaces.

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Call to the Hall: HoopsHD interviews brand-new National Collegiate Basketball Hall of Famer Todd Lichti

The Stanford basketball program has a fascinating postseason history. The Cardinal won the 1942 NCAA title behind Coach Everett Dean (the only coach to be undefeated in his NCAA tourney career), then waited almost 50 years before having another 20-win season in 1988 and finally making it back to the NCAA tourney n 1989. The star of those late 1980s teams was Todd Lichti, who last month was named a member of the National Collegiate Basketball Hall of Fame’s Class of 2019. His most remarkable trait was his consistency: he had 17+ PPG/50+ FG%/80+ FT% during each of his 4 years on The Farm. Earlier this month HoopsHD’s Jon Teitel got to chat with Todd about his terrific career and we congratulate him on his awesome honor.

Last month marked the 30th anniversary of your Stanford team making the 1989 NCAA tourney: how big a deal was it at the time to end the school’s 47-year NCAA tourney drought, and where does that upset by #14-seed Siena rank among the most devastating losses of your career? NUMERO UNO: I do not think I have ever felt as gutted or disappointed after losing a basketball game as I did that day.

You graduated as the leading scorer in school history with 2336 PTS and scored in double figures in all but 3 of your 124 career games on The Farm: what was your secret for being a great scorer? I worked awful hard on my jump shot after arriving at Stanford. I genuinely had no thoughts of the NBA until after my freshman year when others were talking about it so I dedicated the next 3 years to getting there. The improved shooting complemented what I arrived there with, which was an ability to drive and finish at the basket with either hand. I was very athletic as well and could jump, which allowed me to adjust and make decisions if a defender came at me. We had a nice group around me that were also threats if a team wanted to concentrate on me too much.

You remain in the top-5 in school history with 47.7 3P%/84 FT% during your career: what is the key to being a great shooter? Thousands and thousands of reps (in my case anyway), but you have to be doing those reps while getting the basic principles right that everyone teaches. I did learn a couple more keys from Walt Davis once I got to the pros.

You twice finished in the top-10 in the conference in STL: how did you balance your offense with your defense? I just played and did not think about balancing either side of my game. I did concentrate more on my defense the longer I was at Stanford as I felt it was important in helping our team’s chances of winning.

You were a 3-time All-American at Stanford and the only Cardinal to be named 4-time 1st-team all-conference: what did it mean to you to receive such outstanding honors? I honestly did not think about it much and am not that comfortable with personal accolades in a team sport. I always felt that I had a long way to go to match up with the best in the NBA.

In the summer of 1989 you were drafted 15th overall by Denver and played 5 years in the NBA: what is your favorite memory from your time in the NBA? Probably my rookie year at Denver. There was a great bunch of veterans there who I learned a lot from: I also became friends with many of them. The coaching staff (led by head coach Doug Moe) was also enjoyable to play for.

During college you played for a pair of national COY winners in Tom Davis/Mike Montgomery, and in the NBA you played for a pair of COY winners in Doug Moe/Don Nelson as well as a championship coach in Paul Westhead: who was the best coach that you ever had? I liked all of those guys but the ones who made the biggest impressions were Montgomery and Moe. Coach Montgomery forced me to do things offensively that I was not always comfortable doing but they made me a better player. This was the result of what best suited our team. He had a way making sure that neither you nor the team were ever satisfied. I thought Moe was the ultimate pro coach: he only said things that were relevant at the time and some original stuff that I had not heard before. I think the good coaches do that rather than reuse the typical clichés we have all heard before. Doug would get into you at times (yelling/screaming/cussing/spitting, etc.) but it was left on the court and you could enjoy time with him outside of that. Tom Davis only had 1 year at Stanford (my freshman year) and it was a frustrating year for us as a team. Paul Westhead is 1 of the best people you will ever meet but his system just did not work in the NBA. I only played a 10-day contract for Don Nelson.

You later went abroad to Australia and played 4 more years of pro basketball: what is the biggest difference between basketball in the US vs. basketball overseas? This gap is closing but I would say size/strength/athleticism.

You currently work as the Managing Director of a winery in Australia: how do you like the wine business, and what do you hope to do in the future? Sante Wines ( is a wine distribution business that Sue (my wife) and I bought it in 2002 so this is what I will be doing until retirement.

Last month you were named a member of the National Collegiate Basketball Hall of Fame’s Class of 2019: how did you learn about the great news, and where does it rank among the highlights of your career? The Hall of Fame folks did not have any contact details for me but Mike Montgomery rang because he still had my phone number from a trip he took to Australia a few years ago with a Pac-10 (Pac-12?) all-star team that he was coaching. It is a HUGE honor to be alongside the names that are already there. It is certainly a highlight and I am sure it is the highest honor that I will ever achieve in basketball…but it is impossible to compare/rank it with my life outside of basketball. It was a long time ago and looking back now I do not feel like I climbed the mountain completely. There was unfinished business due to injuries and other circumstances that I suppose leave me just short of satisfied…BUT, I was luckier than most on that front so I simply feel like I did my best. No matter what you do it is always deeply satisfying to be considered among the elite.

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All-Access at the East Regional: HoopsHD is in the 2nd row for Michigan State-Duke

The NCAA tournament is about basketball but also so much more: the fans, bands, cheerleaders, etc. The East Regional took place in Washington, DC last month and we could not have been more excited to be there in person! HoopsHD was all over it and covered all of the angles so we hope you enjoyed our cascade of coverage. Jon Teitel concludes our coverage with a photo essay recap of the Elite 8 featuring the Spartans vs. the Blue Devils (all of the photos below were taken by HoopsHD, but since the NCAA was kind enough to award us a credential…and to cover our butts, we will extend the courtesy for everything to both the NCAA and CBS Sports just in case).

There was plenty of starpower in the house for this heavyweight battle:

Bill Raftery and Grant Hill on the mikes:

CNN political analyst David Gregory courtside:

This photo has a lot of stuff going on: we got Magic Johnson saying hi to Ryan Shazier in the middle of this sea of green and white, while John Harbaugh is seated on the aisle in the lower-left.  Who knew that football players/coaches were such basketball fans?!

Grant/Magic were not the only Hall of Famers in the house, as David Robinson was seated on the aisle in the middle of the sea of blue and white because his son Justin plays for Duke:

Andy Katz (reporter extraordinaire/friend of my brother-in-law) was also in attendance:

Both teams seemed very loose before the game: Duke was dunking in their layup lines while Cassius Winston ran a down and out football pattern and caught a basketball pass from Foster Loyer while keeping his toes inbounds:

Let’s go:

2 notable absences from the starting lineup were Cam Reddish and Nick Ward, who made wildly opposite entrances. Reddish checked in after 2 minutes to a thunderous ovation…then stepped out of bounds on his very 1st possession:

In contrast, Ward checked in after the 1st TV timeout and rewarded his coach by making a jumper in the lane on his own 1st possession.  You could tell that this was a big game because both Hall of Fame coaches got a little heated: Xavier Tillman had a REB/putback for Michigan State that caused Coach Mike Krzyzewski to scream at his team to box out, while Aaron Henry got an earful from Coach Tom Izzo after he failed to notice the shot clock running down to zero…although we all know that is nothing new!  The 1st half was a game of runs and the 1st 1 belonged to Duke. RJ Barrett made a bunch of layups and threes to help his team score 12 straight points and turn a 21-18 deficit into a 30-21 lead and force Izzo to call a timeout with 5:20 left:

Zion Williamson was strong in the paint with 7 PTS/6 REB but picked up his 2nd foul with 4:52 left and was summoned to the bench:

Then it became PG Cassius Winston’s time to show why he was the Big 10 POY/conference tourney POY: he took a LOT of shots in the 1st half (13 FGA) but made floater after floater and layup after layup to help his team score 13 straight PTS and head to halftime with a 34-30 lead:

I strolled the concourse at halftime and saw a pair of former players who are beloved in Durham: Calvin Hill (whose son Grant won a pair of NCAA titles in 1991/1992) and Mark Alarie (who helped Coach K reach his very 1st title game in 1986 after becoming the best basketball player at my alma mater of Brophy Prep):

The mascot dance-off was less exciting:

The 2nd half remained ultra-competitive as neither team had a lead larger than 6 PTS. Javin DeLaurier grew up in Shipman, VA, and played like a hometown hero in the paint, finishing with 10 PTS/5-5 FG/11 REB for his 1st-ever double-double. Zion did not pick up a 3rd foul and remained aggressive throughout while playing like the national POY that he is. He had a pair of big blocks on Kenny Goins, a REB/putback/fist pump, a pair of threes, and a huge lefty layup off the glass with 1:31 left to give his team a 66-63 lead. I thought that he looked like Superman before the game…and if someone had given him a cape I just might have believed it:

Tillman was dunking all over Duke but did not force it when his team needed him the most, taking an alleyoop pass from Winston and gently laying it in to cut Duke’s lead to 66-65 with 1:17 left. After a miss from RJ with 50 seconds left led to an Izzo timeout, Goins shook off an 0-4 effort from behind the arc in the 1st half to make the biggest 3 of his life with 34 seconds left to give Michigan State a 68-66 lead. A missed 3 from RJ ended up with the ball going out of bounds with 8 seconds left, so the refs huddled up/went to the monitor/decided that the ball went off Matt McQuaid and belonged to Duke:

RJ took advantage of his 2nd chance by driving the lane and getting fouled with 5.2 seconds left and a chance to send the game to OT. Instead he missed his 1st FT on accident and made his 2nd despite shooting an intentional line drive that somehow went in. Winston was fouled by Reddish with 4 seconds left but his team was not yet in the bonus, then received an inbounds pass and dribbled it out without getting fouled to send his team to the Final 4 for the 1st time since 2015, and here is the scoreboard to prove it:

Winston (20 PTS/10 AST/4 STL) was the obvious choice for East Region Most Outstanding Player and was joined on the All-Tournament Team by his teammate Tillman, his opponents Zion/RJ, and Kerry Blackshear Jr. from Virginia Tech. After waiting in line behind about 50 people with TV cameras I got to make my way onto the court for the postgame festivities:

A boot on his left foot could not stop Joshua Langford from ascending the ladder:

Winston walked over to the Spartan cheering section to say hi to some family/friends:

Magic made his way down the court but was not ready to state whether he would be back for another year in the Lakers’ front office:

I am still not 100% sure if Michigan State football coach Mark Dantonio was on-site but this guy sure does look like him:

Ward’s hand did not seem to be bothering him after the big win:

McQuaid’s circus shot in the 2nd half was probably the most incredible 2 PTS all night but getting interviewed with the net around his neck is the memory that will last the longest:

You might think that Izzo would not get excited about making yet another in a long line of Final 4s…but you would be wrong:

Until college athletes like Brock Washington get paid, they will just keep playing for the sheer joy of winning trophies:

Robinson was left to sit in the stands and wonder if his son can make it to the Final 4 next year as a SR (something that he was never able to accomplish himself at the Naval Academy):

The Spartan cheerleaders got to take the ever-popular confetti selfie:

Izzo and his crew got to chat with reporters on the podium about what it meant to be heading to Minneapolis:

Brackets don’t lie:

That is a wrap on our East Regional coverage for 2019 so keep your fingers crossed to see if we get a credential for the 2020 East Regional at MSG!!

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Reaching the Summit: HoopsHD interviews Nike Hoop Summit player Justin Moore

Justin Moore is no stranger to big-time competition. As a high school player at DeMatha his team was ranked #1 in the country. As a freshman at Villanova this fall he will join a team who has won 2 of the past 4 NCAA titles. At this Friday’s Nike Hoop Summit he will play for team USA along with some of the best high school players in the nation (including Cole Anthony, Vernon Carey Jr., and his fellow incoming Villanova freshman Jeremiah Robinson-Earl). Earlier today HoopsHD’s Jon Teitel got to chat with Justin about overcoming injuries and choosing the Wildcats.

You missed most of your sophomore year at DeMatha with a torn left ACL: how difficult was the recovery process to get back onto the court, and how is your health at the moment? It was real hard and took a lot of rehab/physical therapy but my parents pushed me and my coaches helped me as well. Toward the end of my junior year I was close to 100%.

There have been so many great basketball players to come out of DeMatha (including Adrian Dantley/Victor Oladipo/Markelle Fultz): what have you learned while playing for a program that was ranked #1 in the country this year? I learned from all of my coaches to just trust the process. I tried to learn as much as I can and also listen to our great alumni.

Last May you signed with Villanova (over Cincinnati/Maryland/Notre Dame/Penn State/Virginia/Wake Forest/Xavier): what made you choose the Wildcats, and did you have any 2nd thoughts after watching the Cavaliers win the title last Monday? I really love Villanova so I had no 2nd thoughts. I think that I can contribute right away and the school has a lot to offer off the court as well.

What is it like to get recruited by a 2-time NCAA championship coach in Jay Wright? He is amazing and treated me like family. I feel very special that he believed in me and trusted in me.

Your incoming freshman class is ranked as high as #3 in the country due to yourself and several other great players including Bryan Antoine/Eric Dixon/Jeremiah Robinson-Earl: how well do you know the other 3 guys, and are you excited to team up with Jeremiah this week? I have known Jeremiah since I 1st played for team USA. They are all great players and we will be ready to go this falll.

The Wildcats will be losing several key seniors (Phil Booth/Joe Cremo/Eric Paschall) and Jahvon Quinerly announced last week that he will be transferring: how will you try to replace all of the talent that is walking out the door? There is not really any pressure: we are just taking on the challenge. We will put in the work and be ready to produce.

You are 6’4”: what position do you play in high school, and what position do you expect to play in college? I played combo guard in high school and Villanova wants me to play a lot of both guard spots.

You will play for team USA in the Nike Hoop Summit this Friday: what does it mean to you to represent your country? It is an honor and I feel blessed to represent the USA.

Is everyone spending this week trying to convince the unsigned guys on team USA like Cole Anthony/Matthew Hurt to sign with their school?! We are all focused on the game: we came here to get the win on Friday.

Will you get a nice summer vacation or is it going to be a quick transition from high school to college? I will get to enjoy myself a little bit back home with my family before heading to Villanova so it should be a fun summer.

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Call to the Hall: HoopsHD interviews brand-new Hall of Famer Bobby Jones

There is an old adage that “defense wins championships”: Bobby Jones has now proven that defense also wins you membership in the most elite of clubs. Last Saturday he was announced as a member of the Naismith Hall of Fame’s Class of 2019. He has been involved with some of the most notable basketball teams of the past few decades: the 1972 US Olympic team, some great North Carolina squads coached by Dean Smith, and the 1983 NBA champion Philadelphia 76ers. Earlier today HoopsHD’s Jon Teitel got to chat with Bobby about his top-notch defense and well-deserved honor.

At South Mecklenburg High School you won 2 state high jump titles and finished 3rd as a junior year to an athlete at Smith High School named Bob McAdoo (who also beat you in the state basketball playoffs before later becoming your teammate at both UNC/Philly): how good of an athlete was Bob in high school, and how easy was it for you 2 to make the switch from rivals to teammates? It was quite a rivalry! I won as a sophomore but the following year he improved and was able to win the high jump title. His basketball team did beat us in the state semifinals but I still hold it over his head that I outscored him! He is a good guy and was a great teammate in both college and the NBA.

You played 5 minutes for team USA in the 1972 Olympic gold medal game: how did that infamous 51-50 loss to the Soviet Union change your life (if at all)? I do not think that it changed my life but it did make me more aware of the business/politics involved with the Olympics, which was disheartening. I remember having a book about the Olympics while growing up: Al Oerter threw the discus and was my favorite Olympic athlete. I was still in college at the time so by the time I got back to campus and had to catch up on all of my schoolwork I actually had to drop a course so that I could graduate.

You were selected by the Carolina Cougars in the 1973 ABA Special Circumstances Draft but returned to campus to finish your psychology degree and were named an All-American in 1974: how much importance did you place on academics? I cannot say that I was a great student but very few people back then ever left college early: only a few guys like Darryl Dawkins/Moses Malone. I wanted to graduate but was not planning to become a psychology teacher.

In 1975 with Denver you set an ABA record with 60.4 FG% and were named to the ABA All-Rookie Team: what was your secret for being such a great shooter, and how did you make such a smooth transition from college to the pros? It had to do with my training at North Carolina: the coaches taught me how to play defense and turned me into a good athlete. In high school I could dominate due to my size but in college they taught me how to do things like take a charge/overplay your man. My scoring average as a rookie was higher at the time because David Thompson had not arrived in Denver yet.

In the 1976 ABA All-Star Game you had 24 PTS/10 REB in a 6-PT win for Denver over the ABA All-Stars: how on earth did your team score 52 PTS in the 4th quarter to win the game against a team featuring legends like Artis Gilmore/Julius Erving/George Gervin, and what do you remember about the 1st-ever slam dunk contest? That game was 1 of my great highlights although it was a real challenge for us to face the All-Stars. I was invited to participate in the dunk contest but turned it down because I wanted to focus on winning the game. We had some great players in Denver like Thompson/Dan Issel: teams who have played together for a long time can usually beat a group of all-stars who come together for just 1 day.

In the 1980 playoffs as a player for the 76ers, Erving made his famous baseline up-and-under move in Game 4 and Magic Johnson was named MVP after filling in for an injured Kareem Abdul-Jabbar in Game 6 with 42 PTS/14-14 FT/15 REB/7 AST/3 STL: what do you remember about Dr. J’s amazing play, and how was Magic able to come in as a rookie PG and win the series as a fill-in center? I enjoyed watching Julius as a teammate more than having to guard him as an opponent at the 1976 All-Star Game! Magic was a highly-skilled athlete who had a lot of confidence and a great motivation to win. However, you have to remember that he was not playing with a bunch of stiffs: Jamaal Wilkes scored 37 PTS against us in Game 6.

In Game 7 of the 1981 Eastern Conference Finals you scored 13 PTS off the bench in a 1-PT loss at Boston: where do you think that series (with 5 of the 7 games decided by 1-2 PTS) ranked among the greatest in NBA playoff history? I honestly do not remember that series as much as some of my other ones but it was obviously a very tight series.

Take me through the magical 1983 playoffs:
You finished the regular season by winning the inaugural NBA 6th Man of the Year Award: what is the biggest difference between being a starter vs. coming off the bench? I thought that it was an advantage for 2 reasons: you could sit there and watch what your opponents were doing (who was hot/which way did they drive/etc.), and I felt that having the energy to finish games was much more important than being out there to start a game. There was 1 year that I was named to an All-Star Game despite not even being a starter on my own team, which showed that I was doing something worthwhile despite coming off the bench. There are not very many people who have done that: perhaps Paul Silas when he played for the Celtics.

In Game 4 of the Finals you had 13 PTS/6-7 FG/4 STL/no turnovers in a 7-PT win over the Lakers to finish off the sweep: what did it mean to you to win a title? It was 1 of the hardest things that I have ever done: I was so exhausted after that series. We were actually trailing at halftime during each of those 4 games so it took a great team effort to win that series. You are competing as a group and trying to help each other, which is what I miss the most about my time in the NBA.

You made 11 straight NBA All-Defensive teams from 1975-1985: what is the key to playing great defense? The 1st key is effort: it might take away from your offensive abilities but great defensive players cannot just rest on offense. I was not a great 1-on-1 player like Julius/Andrew Toney but I was good at making open shots. You have to work at it by reading defenses and take some chances whether it be a STL/BLK. I also thought that deflections were just as important because it disrupted the other team, which is what defense is all about.

You played for several Hall of Fame coaches including Dean Smith/Larry Brown/Billy Cunningham before becoming a coach yourself at Carmel Christian School in Charlotte: what was the most important thing that you learned from any of them, and how do you like being a coach? Before coming to Carmel I spent more than a decade as a coach at Charlotte Christian School, which is where Stephen Curry went to high school. I enjoy working with the kids: they have great energy and listen well, which is the key to success at any level. I always tried to be a “compliant” player and do whatever my coaches told me to do. I remember 1 time with the 76ers where a teammate came up to me after a timeout and told me to pass him the ball because he knew that he could score against the guy who was guarding him: I told him no because I was going to run the play that Billy had called during the timeout.

On Saturday you were named a member of the Naismith Hall of Fame’s Class of 2019: how did you learn about the good news, and where does that rank among the highlights of your career? I was driving in my truck to Charleston to visit my son. I got a call from Hall of Fame president/CEO John Doleva on my cell phone and put it on speaker. My wife was crying in the back seat and my best friend raised his hands in celebration while I just tried to keep my composure. The emotions I had at that moment took me back to everything I did as a player: it flashed by me really fast. It ranks right up there and is only behind winning the title in 1983. I wanted to be part of a championship team so much and the Hall of Fame is more about what I did as an individual.

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The Hoops HD Report: Season Finale!!

We look back at the Final Four and National Title games and recap what an incredible run for Virginia as they knocked off Auburn in a Final Four thriller and survived against Texas Tech in overtime.  We also look at the NIT, CBI, and CIT finals and look at what it means to some of those programs as they move forward into next year.  There have been several major coaching changes, particularly in the SEC and most recently at UCLA, and we discuss some of those big moves.  And lastly, we look back at some of the memorable moments from this past season in our final thoughts…


And for all you radio lovers, below is an audio only version of the show…

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