The Centenary Award. An annual award handed out by the staff here at HoopsHD.com to the worst team in college basketball. It began three seasons ago when Centenary College in Louisiana finished the season 1-29 and then promptly drop down out of Division I hoops after years upon years of struggling to be competitive at this level. In 2012, the award went to the Towson Tigers (who have had a remarkable turnaround since then which will certainly be highlighted in an upcoming SCGD) and last season it was given to the NCAA record 0-28 Grambling State Tigers.
This season Grambling is among the favorites to repeat, though South Carolina State, UMBC, UMKC, and Alabama State may also be in the mix as well. However, today’s SCGD column is not about this year’s Centenary Award. Rather, it is about the team that started it all, the Centenary Gentleman.
The Gents biggest claim to fame came back between 1972-1976 when NBA Hall of Famer Robert Parish played for the school….if in fact he ever did play there. The NCAA does not acknowledge any of his statistics because he and five other players were ruled ineligible academically, a ruling Centenary never agreed with. As a result, Parish played for four seasons, averaging 21.6 points and 16.9 rebounds, and leading the school to an 87-21 record during his career. But according to the NCAA’s official statistics, which only count the statistics of eligible players, Parish never played a game.
Recent years have been much more difficult for the Gents, though since their drop down in division they did post a .500 11-11 record in 2011-12 before dropping back last season to 9-15. Tonight, they kick off their 2012-13 season with a road trip to take on the Bulldogs of Louisiana Tech. Tech began their season Friday night with a loss at St. Mary’s, though they still look to be one of the top teams (on paper at least) in the new 16-team Conference USA. The Gents should not be much of a problem for them tonight. However, the SCGD could not pass up the chance to highlight Centenary during one of two games against D1 opponents they will play this season (they are also at Louisiana-Lafayette on December 17).