The Greatest IU Basketball Player of All-Time Bracket: Pre-Knight Round of 32

  • 03/30/2020 10:34 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 March 20, voting took place for the play-in games of each region, last Monday voting took place for the Round of 64 in the Pre-Knight era region, last Tuesday voting took place for the Round of 64 in the Knight Pre-’85 era region, last Wednesday voting took place for the Round of 64 in the Knight Post-’85 era region and last Thursday voting took place for the Round of 64 in the Post-Knight era region.

Today, it’s time to vote in the Round of 32 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 Knight Pre-’85 Round of 32 will begin tomorrow. (The updated bracket can be found at the bottom of the article.)

Today’s matchups are below:

No. 1 Don Schlundt vs No. 8 Jimmy Rayl

Don Schlundt (1951-1955)

Schlundt defeated Lou Watson in the Round of 64. He 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 halls of fame.

Jimmy Rayl (1960-1963)

Rayl defeated Ernie Andres in the round of 64. 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.

No. 12 George McGinnis vs. No. 4 Branch McCracken

George McGinnis (1970-1971)

McGinnis defeated Bill Garrett in the Round of 64. 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.

Branch McCracken (1927-1930)

McCracken defeated Ralph Hamilton in the round of 64. There’s a reason the court inside Simon Skjodt Assembly Hall is named in McCracken’s honor. Under coach Everett Dean, the 6-foot-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.

No. 6 Slick Leonard vs. No. 3 Archie Dees

Slick Leonard (1951-1954)

Leonard defeated Marv Huffman in the round of 64. 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.

Archie Dees (1955-1958)

Dees defeated Tom Van Arsdale in the Round of 64. He 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.

No. 7 Everett Dean vs. No. 2 Walt Bellamy

Everett Dean (1919-1921)

Dean defeated Bill Menke in the Round of 64. 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.

Walt Bellamy (1958-1961)

Bellamy defeated Dick Van Arsdale in the Round of 64. 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.

High Resolution Bracket – Click Here

Filed to: