For his Backroads Indiana columns, Mike Barrett has decided to feature people who made a name for themselves on the basketball court in Indiana. Below are three he recently spotlighted.
More than four decades after his college basketball days ended at Purdue University, Rick Mount still is widely regarded as the greatest pure shooter in the history of basketball.
Mount was a big name before he ever reached Purdue. As a star at Lebanon High School in Boone County he became a national high school icon. In 1966, he was the first high school athlete to appear on the cover of Sports Illustrated magazine.
Story continues below gallery
At Lebanon, he scored 2,595 career points, which was the second-highest in the history of Indiana at the time. When he was in elementary school, more than 1,000 fans would show up at his games to watch him play.
At Purdue, Mount played in only 72 games over his three-year career, but he is still the school’s all-time leading scorer with 2,323 points while averaging 32.3 points a game for his college career. (Freshmen weren’t eligible for varsity prior to 1972). He still holds the Big Ten record for the most points in one game, as he scored 61 points against Iowa in 1970.
Mount played five years in the pros and was a member of the 1972 Indiana Pacers ABA championship team.
Mount still lives in Lebanon, and at 68 years old he still shoots several hundred jump shots every day.
Quinn Buckner was the starting guard on the 1976 Indiana Hoosiers NCAA undefeated basketball championship team. He remains one of the most popular players ever at Indiana University.
Buckner is one of only three basketball players in the history of the game to have won championships at every level.
In 1973, he led Thornridge High School to the Illinois state championship. In 1976, he won the NCAA championship with Indiana and later that summer played on the Olympic gold medal-winning basketball team. In 1984, he won an NBA championship with the Boston Celtics.
The only other two players to accomplish the feat are Jerry Lucas of Ohio State and Magic Johnson of Michigan State. There is an irony of sorts related to Lucas and Buckner. Bob Knight was a teammate with Lucas on the 1960 Ohio State championship team and coached Buckner at Indiana in 1976.
When Knight first came to Indiana University in 1971, he had a serious recruiting problem. Most of the best high school seniors from southern Indiana were already committed to playing elsewhere.
Jeffersonville’s Mike Flynn (Mr. Basketball) and Floyd Central’s Jerry Hale had signed with the Kentucky Wildcats and Seymour’s Baron Hill with Furman. Silver Creek’s Steve Green was leaning toward Vanderbilt when Knight came calling.
After talking with Knight, Green changed his mind, and the rest is history.
Green played on Indiana’s 1973 Final Four team and three Big Ten championship teams. He was an All-American and All-Big Ten twice and in 1975 was a star on an Indiana team that finished undefeated in the regular season and eventually lost in the NCAA tourney to Kentucky. The year after Green graduated, Indiana went undefeated and won the national championship.
Green played five seasons of pro basketball, including three with the Indiana Pacers in the NBA.
One other note on Green, his father, Ray Green, coached at Austin in the 1950s.
Mike Barrett is a local resident with an interest in history. Send comments to email@example.com.