Golden Basketball Magazine
March 11, 2021

"Create unselfishness as the most important team attribute." 

Bill Russell, Celtics great player and coach

Tiger Den Basketball

LSU Post-Season Games - 1984

The Tigers were back in the Big Dance after two seasons in the NIT.

Read more ...

NBA Finals - Game 7: 1974

Boston Celtics @ Milwaukee Bucks

The visiting team won five of the seven games, including the final one.

Read more ...

Basketball Quiz

Arrange these former LSU basketball coaches in order from earliest to latest.

  1. John Brady
  2. Dale Brown
  3. Trent Johnson
  4. Johnny Jones
  5. Press Maravich
  6. Harry Rabenhorst

Robert Parish's Road to the NBA - 3
The Big Three: Larry Bird, Kevin McBride, and Robert Parish:
The Best Frontcourt in the History of Basketball
, Peter May (1994)
Read Part 1 | Part 2
As he finished his record-setting career (at Woodlawn High School in Shreveport), Robert Parish had coaches around the country drooling, hoping to land him for college. Jerry Tarkanian, then the coach at Long Beach State, had seen Parish play at Wood­lawn when his team arrived in town to play Centenary. He told assistant coach Riley Wallace of Centenary, "If that kid ever gets out of town, they should fire you all." Wallace was concerned about Houston, which had successfully recruited Lou Dunbar from Minden, outside Shreveport. He remembered being excited when he was invited to Dunbar's home for the letter of intent signing, thinking Centenary had bagged a good one. He quickly discovered that was not the case when he entered the house and saw Houston coach Guy Lewis there along with a horde of cameras.
But Wallace told Ada Parish that Houston had a reputation for not graduating its players, and Ada Parish wanted her son to graduate. He would be the first in the family to do so. Countless other schools drifted in and out of the picture, and Wallace visited the Parish home one day to ask where Centenary stood and who was behind the decision-making process.
"Honey, I'm going to tell you something right now," Ada Parish said sternly. "Robert Parish is a man and is making his own decision." ...

L: Robert Parish, Riley Wallace, Bob Knight, David Berst
Parish eventually whittled his choices down to five schools: Centenary, Indiana, Florida State, Jacksonville, and Illinois State.
Indiana coach Bob Knight was one of many persistent pursuers of Parish and got Parish and Ivy to make a visit to Bloomington. The weather was horrible and nothing Knight could do could make up for Mother Nature.
During the interview, Knight sat Parish down and asked him what he wanted. "How much money do you want a month?" Knight asked. "What kind of car? What kind of clothes?" Parish, typically, said nothing, though he was wondering where this all was leading. He and Ivy had had an agreement that any time a coach promised something that looked shady, he would tell the coach without mentioning names.
"The reason I'm asking you if you want all of this is because you'll get none of it if you come to Indiana," said Knight. "You come here, you come here because you want to play for a national championship. If you want that other stuff, I can give you some phone num­bers because I know guys who can and will give you that stuff."
Knight also told Parish something more important and more critical to Parish's short-term future. If was something Parish would hear elsewhere: we can't take you on schol­arship because your grades and test scores are too low.
The NCAA was watching Parish closely. The organization knew he was being heavily recruited and wanted to make sure everything was on the up-and-up. It dispatched a young employee named David Berst to oversee the matter. He met with Parish at Woodlawn and, sitting in the bleachers after a faculty game, advised him on what was proper and what was not. "I interviewed him because he was a seven-footer and in those days we all tried to figure out if there might be a problem," Berst said. ...
Parish decided to go to hometown Centenary.
Centenary and Parish were, are, and always will be an utterly unfathomable mix. There is no other instance of such a valuable high school commodity - he was, at worst, the number two recruit in the country - selecting a school so utterly devoid of basketball tradition or excellence. There simply is nothing that even comes close. (Bob Lanier and St. Bonaventure Bonnies might be the closest.)
"It was totally his decision," his mother said. "All I told him was that he could go all across the country, but what he might need the most would still be in his own backyard." Parish was an incorrigible homebody. Had he lived in Monroe, he probably would have gone to Northeast Louisiana.
In Parish's days, Centenary was the smallest Division I school in the country - its student body consisted of only 700 students. Today, it has 1,100 students. It is the oldest private liberal-arts-college west of the Mississippi and has a beautiful campus of brick Georgian buildings and flowering magnolia trees. It also has a 3,000-seat gym, the Gold Dome, which opened the year Parish arrived. ...
Curiously, however, despite its reputation as an academic institution, Centenary's procedures for admitting freshmen scholarship athletes were among the most lenient and favorable in the country. And that played a big part in the Parish courtship.
In those days, an incoming freshman had to predict to a 1.6 grade point average (out of 4.0) to be eligible for an athletic scholarship. The school arrived at this number by taking the player's grades, high school rank, and test scores, throwing them into an education Veg-o-Matic, and getting a numerical result.
To this day, there are two very different views on Parish's projected eligibility. He says it was not a problem, and Wallace, who recruited Parish, concurs. The NCAA, however, did not see it that way, nor did the federal courts. The disagreement occurred when Cente­nary converted Parish's ACT score to an SAT number after being advised repeatedly, in writing and by phone, that such conversions were not allowed and would result in Parish's being declared ineligible.
The killer wasn't Parish's grades; he had a 2.1 average at Woodlawn. It was his score on the ACT. ... Parish took the ACT twice. His highest score was an 8, which put him in the first percentile for men. In other words, 99 percent of the male students who took the test did better. The low score was a red flag to several schools, which decided there was no way Parish could be eligible or predict to a 1.6. Indiana was one of those. Florida State told Parish he would need a 21 on the ACT to project to a 1.6 and suggested he take it again. But Parish was tired of taking tests, and Wallace agreed, calling him "gun-shy."
Another option Parish did not consider was attending a state school - LSU or North­east Louisiana were two possibilities - which he could have done merely by graduating from high school. And he could have become eligible for a scholarship at a state school once he had an academic track record. But Parish said he could not afford to pay for college, even a state school.
Centenary, which saw a chance to land a premier player and knew that Parish wanted to remain close to home, went hard after the homegrown talent. As it had with many ath­letes before - including twelve the previous year, when conversions also were not allowed - Centenary converted Parish's ACT score to an SAT score. The problem was that Parish was being watched, and so Centenary was playing with the big boys. No one had cared or noticed before, and Centenary had never revealed anything, either.
To be continued ...