Monday, September 13, 2010

Legendary Players of Cornell Basketball's History

Continuing our themed postings on Cornell Basketball's history, the following are just some of the notable players in the program's past.

R.L. Elton (1912) was the second Cornell basketball player in program history to receive a postseason honor as he was placed on the EIBL First Team in 1912. The program's first honoree for All-EIBL honors was Edwin S. Crosby in 1908.

Arguably the most decorated player in Cornell basketball history, Gil Halstead (1914) was a two-time First Team All-American and a member and captain of Cornell's 1913 and 1914 EIBL (Ivy League) Championship teams.
Walter Lunden (1914) was a 1914 First Team All-American selection and was a member of the 1913 and 1914 EIBL (Ivy League) back-to-back champion squads.

Leslie Brown (1916) was a First Team All-American and a First Team All-EIBL selection in 1915. He was a member of Cornell's repeat Ivy League championship team from the 1914 season.

John Luther ('23) was a 1923 First Team All-American. He was also a First Team selection All-EIBL (Ivy League) in 1922 and 1923.

Gene Berce never graduated Cornell after playing during the 1940s. He played three games for Tri-City in the NBA during the 1949-50 season after being drafted by the New York Knicks a year earlier.

Robert E. Gallagher ('44) was elected to the Cornell Athletics Hall of Fame in 1998 in recognition of his basketball career at Cornell, and for his work as chairman of the Cornell Athletics Alumni Advisory Committee. He won varsity letters in Cornell basketball in 1942, 1943 and 1947, after earning his numerals as a member of the freshman team in 1941. Gallagher ranked third on the squad in scoring in 1943 and was captain-elect of the 1944 team, but he left the University to join the Navy as an ensign and served until 1946, when he was discharged as a lieutenant in the Naval Air Corps. He later returned to Cornell for the 1946-47 season, and was acting captain of the team, helping the squad to an overall record of 14-8 and a second-place finish in the Eastern Intercollegiate League (Ivy League).

Robert Gale ('48) averaged 16.7 points per game his senior season and was named Second Team All-America. He was picked up by St. Louis of the NBA in 1948.

Paul Gerwin ('51) was a three-year starter and was co-captain of the 1951 team that compiled an overall record of 20-5, which set the school record for wins in a season, and placed second in the Eastern Intercollegiate League (EIBL/Ivy League). He led the Big Red in scoring in two of his three varsity seasons and over his three-year varsity career, he scored 818 points in 76 games for a career average of 10.8 points. He was named to the EIBL first team in 1951, and he ranked fourth in the league in scoring with an average of 14.2 points. He was drafted in the 10th round (85th overall) by Philadelphia in the 1951 NBA Draft.

Jerry Szachara ('63) scored 1,114 points during his three-year career at Cornell, including 18 points per game as a senior during the '62-'63 campaign. Twice named to the All-Ivy League Team, he was drafted in the 13th round, 81st overall by the New York Knicks in 1963.

Gary Munson ('66) remains one of Cornell's most prolific rebounders. He averaged 11.5 rebounds per game during the 1965-1966 season and was named Second Team All-Ivy League.

Gregg Morris ('68) a two-time All-NABC District selection, was the first African-American selected to the All-Ivy League First Team, receiving the honor in 1967 after he led the Ivy League in scoring with an average of 20 points per game. He also led the Big Red in scoring in 1968, averaging 16.2 ppg. Over this three-year varsity career, he scored 1,133 points to rank third on Cornell's all-time scoring list. One of his most memorable games in a Cornell uniform was against the University of Kentucky in 1966-67, when the Big Red defeated the favored Kentucky team 92-77 behind Morris' 37 points. He was selected in the 17th round, 200 overall, by Baltimore in the 1968 NBA Draft.

Hank South ('69) averaged 22.6 points per game as a senior for the Big Red. He was signed by the Carolina Cougars of the ABA in 1969.

For some other noteworthy alums, see our profiles on Howie Ortner ('19), Charles Capron ('24), Henry Buncom ('55), Chuck Rolles ('56), Mike Davis ('80), Ken Bantum ('85) and John Bajusz ('87), Cody Toppert and Eric Taylor ('05) Lenny Collins ('06), Adam Gore ('09).

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