The Greatest IU Basketball Player of All-Time Bracket: Pre-Knight Round of 64

  • 03/23/2020 10:15 am in

Welcome back to the “Greatest IU Basketball Player of All-Time” tournament bracket, where Inside the Hall and Assembly Call teamed up to put together a field of 68 former Hoosiers who have left a tremendous impact on the Indiana basketball program.

On Friday, voting took place for the play-in games of each region, and today the voting will begin for the Round of 64 in the Pre-Knight era region.

Among the factors to consider when voting:

– Impact on winning at IU
– Statistical achievement
– How they represented the program and university
– Qualitative impact on the culture and tradition of IU basketball overall

Remember, go to Inside the Hall’s Twitter account to vote on these matchups (the polls will also be embedded in this post once they go live), and you have 24 hours from when the polls go live to vote. The Round of 64 for the Knight-Pre’85 region will take place tomorrow. (The updated bracket can be found at the bottom of the article.)

Today’s matchups are below:

No. 1 Don Schlundt vs. No. 16 Lou Watson

Don Schlundt (1951-1955)

Schlundt did everything an IU player needs to do to be remembered as a legend in Bloomington. He averaged 23.3 points per game across his Indiana career, scoring 2,192 points in 94 games. It was enough to earn the IU school scoring record for 32 years and Schlundt still ranks 3rd all-time on the list. He also won a lot, helping Indiana win the 1953 NCAA title and the school’s first two undisputed Big Ten regular season championships. In that 69-68 title game win over Kansas, Schlundt scored 30 points. Nicknamed “Ox,” Schlundt was a revolutionary big man (listed as 6-foot-9 or 6-foot-10 during his playing days) who is a member of both the Indiana Basketball and IU Athletics Hall of Fame.

Lou Watson (1947-1950)

Watson defeated Verne Huffman in the play-in matchup on Friday. He was a two-sport athlete who played both baseball and basketball at Indiana, before later going on to coach basketball at the school. A native of Jeffersonville, Indiana, he was IU’s Most Valuable Player in basketball in both 1949 and 1950, and earned first team All-Big Ten and All-American honors in 1950. When Watson finished his collegiate career, he was Indiana’s all-time leading scorer with 757 points. He was inducted into the Indiana University Athletics Hall of Fame in 1990.

No. 8 Jimmy Rayl vs No. 9 Ernie Andres

Jimmy Rayl (1960-1963)

Nicknamed the “Splendid Splinter,” Rayl’s Indiana basketball legacy goes back to his days as a star at Kokomo High School, where he was named the state’s Mr. Basketball in 1959. Plenty of college accolades soon followed, specifically in 1962 and 1963 when he was named an All-American with the Hoosiers. He went from averaging four points per game as a sophomore in the 1960-61 season to averaging nearly 30 points a game as a junior, and his career has stood the test of time in terms of scoring. Rayl owns the IU record for single-game scoring (he scored 56 points in a game twice), and his average of 32.4 points per game in Big Ten contests in 1961-62 remains the school record for conference play. Rayl scored 1,401 points in his college career. He was inducted into the Indiana Basketball Hall of Fame in 1989.

Ernie Andres (1937-1939)

A Jeffersonville, Indiana, native, Andres was a three-year varsity player at IU for both the basketball and baseball teams. He was twice given the Balfour Award, which is given to Indiana University’s top athlete, honors that came in 1938 and 1939. On the hardwood, Andres was twice named an all-Big Ten player and also once earned All-American honors. He owned the Big Ten single-game scoring record for a period after scoring 30 points in a game. Andres remains the only IU athlete to ever play two sports professionally (basketball and baseball), and after World War II cut his pro careers short he became the varsity baseball coach at IU from 1948 to 1973. He was an assistant coach for the basketball program from 1949 to 1958, a span which includes Indiana’s 1953 national title campaign.

No. 5 Bill Garrett vs. No. 12 George McGinnis

Bill Garrett (1948-1951)

Garrett’s impact on Indiana, the Big Ten and college basketball in general is monumental. He was the first African American to play basketball in the Big Ten, an achievement permanently signified on the IU campus with a state historical marker. In addition, Garrett was a remarkable player who led the Hoosiers in scoring and rebounding each year from 1949 to 1951. He was selected as IU’s most valuable player in 1951, a year in which the Hoosiers went 19-3 and rose to a No. 2 national ranking. After being named an All-American as well that season, Garrett would go on to play for the Harlem Globetrotters after his NBA plans were altered due to his service in the U.S. Army. He is a member of the IU Athletics Hall of Fame and the Indiana Basketball Hall of Fame (he won a state title at Shelbyville High School in 1947).

George McGinnis (1970-1971)

In just one season with Indiana before moving on to play professionally, McGinnis had himself quite a historic season. He averaged an IU record and Big Ten-best 29.9 points and 14.7 rebounds per game that season. Just twice has any Big Ten player averaged more points or rebounds per game since in league play. In just his third game, he had 38 points and 20 rebounds. He scored 30 points or more 13 times, with a career-high of 45, and he was the first sophomore to lead the Big Ten in scoring and rebounding.

No. 4 Branch McCracken vs. No. 13 Ralph Hamilton

Branch McCracken (1927-1930)

There’s a reason the court inside Simon Skjodt Assembly Hall is named in McCracken’s honor. Under coach Everett Dean, the 6-4 McCracken played all positions for the Hoosiers, leading the team in scoring for three consecutive seasons and being named the Big Ten’s Most Valuable Player in 1928. At the time of his graduation in 1930, McCracken owned the Big Ten single-season scoring record (147 points) and was the conference’s leading career scorer. His later stints as Indiana’s coach from 1938 to 1943 and again from 1946 to 1965, brought a pair of NCAA titles and four Big Ten championships to Bloomington. McCracken’s IU teams went 364-174 overall and 210-116 in Big Ten games. The gymnasium in his hometown of Monrovia, Indiana, is also named in his honor.

Ralph Hamilton (1941-1943; 1946-1947)

Hamilton, a native of Fort Wayne, Indiana, played for Indiana from 1941-43 before leaving to go serve in World War II for three years. Hamilton came back as a 25-year-old senior and was the captain of the IU team and led them in scoring in 1946-47. He earned First Team All-Big Ten and First Team All-American honors, and he nearly eclipsed 1,000 points in his IU career.

No. 6 Slick Leonard vs. No. 11 Marv Huffman

Slick Leonard (1951-1954)

A point guard for the Hoosiers for three seasons, Bobby “Slick” Leonard has grown to be a fixture in the Indiana basketball scene. His playing career in Bloomington came with plenty of on-court success, as he was a two-time All-Big Ten team selection as well as an All-American in 1954. Leonard was a captain for the 1953 national title-winning team and he hit the game-winning free throw in the closing seconds to defeat Kansas in the championship game. His professional playing career took him to the NBA, and he then coached the Indiana Pacers from 1968 to 1980, winning three ABA championships. Starting in 1985, Leonard became a color commentator with the Pacers (a role he still holds) and he was inducted into the Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame in 2014.

Marv Huffman (1937-1940)

After playing for four years in the historic New Castle gym as a high schooler, Huffman came to IU and was a member of Indiana’s very first national championship team in 1940. He scored a team-high 12 points in the title game against Kansas, and with that performance he was given the second ever NCAA Basketball Tournament Most Outstanding Player Award. He also earned first team All-American honors. He was inducted into the Indiana Basketball Hall of Fame in 1981 and the IU Athletics Hall of Fame in 1989.

No. 3 Archie Dees vs. No. 14 Tom Van Arsdale

Archie Dees (1955-1958)

Dees is remembered as an All-American player who became the first player to win multiple Big Ten MVP awards. Those honors came in 1957 and 1958, two seasons in which Indiana won consecutive Big Ten titles. Dees was an All-American in both those seasons, recognition that was well deserved after he averaged 25.4 points and 14.4 rebounds per game in 1957 (in addition to making an astounding 85 percent of his free throws in Big Ten play). In 1958, Dees led the Hoosiers in scoring, rebounding and field goal percentage. Dees’ IU career ended with him being ranked in the top-10 in school history in rebounds, field goal attempts, free throw attempts and free throw percentage. He was named a member of the Indiana University All-Century team in 2001.

Tom Van Arsdale (1962-1965)

Tom Van Arsdale played at Indiana from 1962-65, and he averaged 17.4 points per game during his career. His highest scoring season was 1963-64 when he put up 21.3 points per game. He played in 72 games for the Hoosiers, scored 1,252 career points, grabbed 723 rebounds and shot 44.8 percent from the field. He went on to enjoy a career in the NBA with the Detroit Pistons, and he was inducted into the Indiana Basketball Hall of Fame in 1988.

No. 7 Everett Dean vs. No. 10 Bill Menke

Everett Dean (1919-1921)

Several distinctions offer a glimpse into how impressive Dean’s time was with the IU basketball program. He captained the Hoosiers as a center on the hardwood in 1921, played baseball for the same period he played basketball and would serve as the school’s basketball and baseball coach from 1925 to 1938. He was the first Hoosier to be named an All-American (in 1921), and as a coach he helped pilot Indiana to three Big Ten regular season titles (all of them shared with another school). The title won in 1926 was IU’s first Big Ten championship in school history. Dean was inducted into the Indiana Basketball Hall of Fame in 1965.

Bill Menke (1938-1941)

Menke was an All-American player at Indiana and was a starter for the program’s very first national championship team in 1940. Henke played under Branch McCracken from 1938-1941 and he averaged 8.8 points per game during his career. During Indiana’s championship run in 1939-40, Henke earned third team All-American honors. When he graduated IU, he left as the program’s all-time leading scorer with 530 career points. Henke was inducted into the Indiana Basketball Hall of Fame in 1988.

No. 2 Walt Bellamy vs. No. 15 Dick Van Arsdale

Walt Bellamy (1958-1961)

For three seasons in the middle of the 20th century, there was likely not a more dominant college basketball player than Bellamy at Indiana. He averaged 20.6 points and 15.5 rebounds per game for his career, famously going on to become the first Hoosier ever selected No. 1 overall in an NBA draft. The All-American still holds IU records for most rebounds in a single game (33), most rebounds in a season (428) and Bellamy has the second-most career rebounds (1,087) among all IU players. Bellamy closed his storied college career with 59 double-doubles. He won a gold medal at the 1960 Olympics with the United States, and is a member of the IU Athletic Hall of Fame and the Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame.

Dick Van Arsdale (1962-1965)

Dick Van Arsdale, the twin brother of Tom Van Arsdale, was a three-year starter from 1962-65 at Indiana under Branch McCracken. He was Indiana MVP in one season, named to All-Big Ten, All-American and Academic All-American honors while with the Hoosiers. He went on to play in the NBA with the New York Knicks and Phoenix Suns and was a three-time All-Star. He was inducted into the Indiana Basketball Hall of Fame in 1988.

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