NE Hall of Fame

1965 Springfield College basketball team, John Calipari, Derek Kellogg, and Bruiser Flint inducted into New England Basketball Hall of Fame

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Basketball has developed into a true global sport; the NBA’s wild popularity in China and other foreign countries is evidence of this. The number of players from overseas playing in the NBA and in the college game is at an all-time high.

Nearly 50 years ago, the Springfield College men’s basketball put the game we know and love on display for thousands to see. According to Garry Brown of MassLive.com:

In 1965, coach Ed Steitz took his Springfield College men’s basketball team on an around-the-world goodwill tour sponsored by the State Department, playing exhibition games and conducting clinics in eight countries from France to Japan. Over 62 days from mid-July to mid-September, the Springfield team played 26 games (winning them all) and conducted 111 clinics. It was estimated that the team played before 250,000 fans, including one crowd of 30,000 in India.

The trip took Springfield College to France, Italy, Ceylon, India, Pakistan, Thailand, Hong Kong and Japan. In a time where college teams are taking summer trips to Europe and foreign countries every four years, I’d venture to guess that none of these trips can top what Springfield College did in 1965.

One may wonder — why Springfield College? They’re not a Division 1 program and are barely a blip in the world of college basketball. But, the city is regarded as the birthplace of basketball, so that made  Springfield College a natural choice to represent the United States on this extensive tour.

The New England Basketball Hall of Fame does not have yearly inductees; the last one took place in 2009. The 2013 ceremony took place this past Saturday evening in Worcester, MA and inducted, along with the 1965 Springfield team, current Division 1 head coaches Derek Kellogg (Massachusetts), John Calipari (Kentucky), and Bruiser (Flint)–both of whom were coaches at UMass earlier in their careers.

Cal had this to say about the evening:

 

 

You can find Kevin on twitter @KLDoyle11

Akron reveals special bobble heads for LeBron, high school teammates

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When it comes to discussing some of the game of basketball’s best players, specifically those who went directly from high school to the NBA, a question that’s often asked is where said player would have attended college if forced (by rule) to do so. Kevin Garnett, Kobe Bryant and LeBron James are among those who have been discussed in this manner, and in the case of LeBron he’s got connections to two programs within his home state of Ohio.

LeBron’s connected with the Ohio State program, which is outfitted by the Nike’s LeBron signature line, but there’s another program with an even closer connection. That would be Akron, which is led by head coach Keith Dambrot, and all he did was serve as LeBron’s high school coach at St. Vincent/St. Mary’s HS in Akron during the player’s freshman and sophomore years at the school. Also on those teams were two future Akron Zips in guard Dru Joyce and forward Romeo Travis.

Thursday the school announced that it would be honoring James, Joyce and Travis with bobble head dolls to be given out before Akron’s home games against Buffalo (February 16; Joyce’s bobble head), Bowling Green (February 26; Travis) and Ohio (March 1; James).

All three bobble head dolls are wearing Akron uniforms, which in the case of LeBron allows fans to think back and imagine what could have been. Season ticket holders guaranteed one bobble head per account (on each of the three giveaway days), with the first 750 fans in attendance to receive one as well.

NEW PODCAST: Indiana, Cal, troublesome trends and a weekend preview

California's Jabari Bird celebrates a score against Oregon in the first half of an NCAA college basketball game Thursday, Feb. 11, 2016, in Berkeley, Calif. (AP Photo/Ben Margot)
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The gang is back together again for another episode of the NBCSports.com College Basketball Talk Podcast, with Rob Dauster hosting and Raphielle Johnson and Scott Phillips joining him. Today’s episode touched on big wins picked up Thursday night by California and Indiana, discussing the performances of those teams and also touching on their prospects down the line.

Also discussed were the recent performances of Iowa State, Providence and Texas A&M (which are you more worried about?), and some of the top games on this weekend’s schedule headlined by Kansas visiting Oklahoma. And if you’re a fan of seafood, you may take umbrage with some of Rob’s comments at the beginning of the podcast.

As always, you can subscribe to the podcast on either iTunes or Stitcher, and there’s also a link to listen to this podcast below. Thanks for listening.