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by Lut Williams

msu hull bcsb4Lee “Mr. Cool“ Hull, new head coach of the now 2-2 Morgan State Bears, usually operates from the sidelines with the cool demeanor of a deft strategist. Hull, who also serves as the Bears‘ offensive coordinator, works from behind his chart of plays as he calmly walks up and down the field.
But, that all changed Saturday when his placekicker Chris Moller sailed a 38-yard field goal through the uprights with 28 seconds left to give the Bears a 38-35 win over Howard, in the first MEAC game of the season.
It was the first conference win in Hull‘s young head coaching career and he reacted accordingly, leaping into the air and even throwing in a couple of chest bumps.

“Yeah, you saw me get excited,“ said the usually stoic Hull.  “Yeah, I got a couple of phone calls on that saying they haven‘t seen me get that excited in a long time. But it was a great feeling. It was my first MEAC win, against our rivals, and I wanted it more for the players because they have worked hard for eight months. And for them to win in that dramatic ending, especially after the way we lost the first two games (both late-game losses by three points) was special.“

Of the eight new FCS coaches in the black college ranks, Hull, with his 2-2 Morgan State team, has perhaps the best early results. The Bears lost two close games to Eastern Michigan (31-28) and Monmouth (29-26) before back-to-back wins over Bowie State (28-3) and Howard (38-35). The Bears play at Norfolk State Saturday.

Running a close second behind Hull in the new coach of the year running is likely Grambling State‘s new head man, Broderick Fobbs.

gsu fobbs bcsb4Though the G-Men are just 1-3, they are playing competitively despite the turmoil that wracked the storied black college team last season. After losses to Lamar (42-27) and Houston (47-0) to open the season, they led then BCSP No. 1 and FCS No. 13 Bethune-Cookman midway through the fourth quarter before losing 36-23 a couple of weeks ago. They followed that up with a 40-35 win over rival Jackson State Saturday, getting five turnovers to effectively give Fobbs and his squad an edge over new JSU and new head coach Harold Jackson, whose team fell to 2-2.

A resurrection at Grambling? We‘ll have to wait and see. The G-Men play in the Cotton Bowl in Dallas Saturday vs. Prairie View A&M.

A host of the other new coaches are 1-3 including James Spady (Alabama A&M), Connell Maynor (Hampton), Jerry Mack (N.C. Central), Rick Comegy (Miss. Valley State) and Gary Harrell (Howard).

In the preseason, most everyone figured Fayetteville State would provide the greatest challenge to Winston-Salem State‘s dominance in the CIAA South Division. But it doesn‘t look that way so far.

The Broncos, in their second year under head coach Lawrence Kershaw, showed plenty of promise a year ago, finishing 6-4 overall and second to WSSU in the South with a 5-2 mark. They lost to WSSU by just a 28-14 score.

But the Broncs lost their opener this year to Chowan (26-22) and lost subseqent games to UNC-Pembroke (16-14) and to Virginia Union this past Saturday (23-13), to fall to 0-3.

lc williams bcsb4Conversely, Livingstone, in its first full season under Daryl Williams, is at 3-0, one of just two undefeated teams in black college football (4-0 Texas Southern is the other). The Blue Bears are humming along scoring a black college-best 51.3 points per game. But before we crown the Blue Bears the real challenger to WSSU in the CIAA South, keep in mind the three teams they‘ve beaten (Millersville, Paine and Virginia-Lynchburg) are a combined 0-10 on the season.

Livingstone hosts winless and hungry-for-a-win, 0-3 Bowie State Saturday. Win and the Blue Bears will be 4-0 against winless teams.
Speaking of Texas Southern, the Tigers 4-0 start has included SWAC wins over Prairie View A&M (37-35) to open the season and Alabama A&M (45-23) last week. Head coach Darrell Asberry‘s troops are second in the SWAC putting up 41.0 points per game. TSU is up to eighth in the Black College Sports Page ranking this week and has its biggest test thus far travelling to Montgomery, Alabama to take on BCSP No. 3 Alabama State (3-1) Saturday.
The other big game in the SWAC has BCSP No. 2 Alcorn State  (3-1, 1-0 E) hosting defending conference champ and BCSP No. 10 Southern (2-2, 1-0 W).
A few reminders on the MEAC race.

Co-defending champion Bethune-Cookman (2-1) does not face new BCSP No. 1 North Carolina A&T (3-1) or up-start Morgan State (2-2) this season, part of the MEACs rotational schedule that limits each school to only eight conference games each year. But the Wildcats do face co-champ South Carolina State on the road on Oct. 25. In addition to B-CU, A&T also does not match up with Norfolk State this season, the only team in the conference to defeat Cookman last year. B-CU plays at Norfolk State on Nov. 6.

“Sam, “Skull“ and the Coach
sam jones bcsb4JonesFirst let me say, Thank God for NBA Hardwood Classics on the NBATV Channel. And, just for the record, I hate(d) the Boston Celtics.
I‘m one of those people who grew up thinking that all the times the old Boston Celtics defeated Wilt Chamberlain‘s Philadelphia Warriors or Wilt Chamberlain‘s Lakers, or Jerry West and Elgin Baylor‘s Lakers, or whoever they defeated to win an unprecedented eight NBA titles in a row (1959 thru ‘67) and nine (‘69) in 10 years, was because of the largesse of a horde of biased NBA referees determined to stiff Wilt and the legion of challengers and literally crown the Celts as the NBA‘s “chosen“ team.

That was the thinking of a biased 9- to 19-year old who refused to appreciate greatness. I‘m a grown man now.
The reality is, the Celtics were good, great, even. No, they were exceptional.

I thank God for Hardwood Classics because it is one place that great NBA games and teams from the past, like the old Celtics, can be seen and great players from the past can be appreciated.

In that vein, I watched the Celtics/ Los Angeles Lakers sixth game of the 1963 NBA Finals won by the Celtics on NBA Hardwood Classics this past Saturday afternoon. It was the final game of the Celtics‘ fifth straight NBA Finals title-winning series and I was struck by the cohesiveness, unselfishness and all-around basketball ability of the C‘s.

As I watched, I understood why Bill Russell was a rebounding machine and defensive genius and perhaps the greatest center to ever play the game. He was awesome. Bob Cousy was perhaps the sloppiest, most uncoordinated, no-handle, great point guard in the league history. Tom “Satch“ Sanders, John Havlicek, Frank Ramsey, Tom Heinsohn and K. C. Jones are what you‘d have to call the ideal supporting cast – talented and relentless. And Red Auerbach was one helluva basketball coach to design a system, get the players to fit the system, and get them to play consistent championship basketball.
It also showed just how great Elgin Baylor was, he of the head nod and hang time. And it showed the great and prolific NBA scorer and icon Jerry West and just how good the Celtics had to be to overcome those two.

But the video also showed two black college prospects that were as good as any – Sam Jones of North Carolina College (now N. C. Central) with the Celtics and Dave Barnett of Tennessee State with the Lakers. What both Jones and Barnett had in common, other than their black college roots, was they both played for legendary coach John McLendon.

Samuel “Sam“ Jones was with Coach Mac at NCC in his freshman year, the 1951-52 season. A 6-4 guard, Jones would go on to score 1,745 points in his NCC career, still second in school history, after playing high school basketball at the renowned Laurinburg Institute. His career scoring average at NCC was 17.8 points per game.john mclendon bcsb4McLendon

McLendon posted a 239-68 record at Central, a .779 winning percentage, still the best in school history, winning four CIAA regular season (visitation) championships and becoming one of the founders of the now legendary CIAA Tournament. His team won the first CIAA Tournament title in 1946 and won it again in 1950.

McLendon took over at Tennessee State in 1955 and brought in Barnett as a freshman that year. He, Barnett and the TSU “Whiz Kids“ would go on to make college basketball history.

TSU won the NAIA national title in 1957, becoming the first black college team to win an integrated national tournament. They went on to repeat as national champs in 1958 and 1959, becoming the first college team in America, black or white, to win three straight national crowns.

Richard “Dick“ Barnett, also known as “Skull,“ was the catalyst. He finished his TSU career with 3,209 points, the most in school history, averaging 23.8 points per game for his career, while leading the Tigers to a 122-16 record,  96-8 (31-4, 31-3 and 32-1) over the three national championship seasons. Barnett was the two-time NAIA national tournament MVP. He averaged 22.4 points per game as a sophomore, 32.1 as a junior and 29.9 ppg. as a senior.
McLendon told me he was put on to Jones by his mother. It seems their houses in Durham had adjacent back yards and one day while hanging out her laundry, Mrs. Jones told McLendon that she heard he was a basketball coach and she had a son she‘d like him to take a look at. The lanky 6-4 Jones sauntered out the door to the amazement of the coach. The rest as they say is history.

Jones, known for his quickness, defensive prowess and clutch shooting was drafted with the eighth pick in the first round in the 1957 NBA Draft. He was a five-time NBA All-Star, averaged 17.7 points during a 12-year NBA career and won ten NBA titles with the Celtics, the second most all-time to Russell. His signature shot was the bank shot.

dick barnett bcsb4BarnettBarnett was a first round pick of the Syracuse Nationals in the 1959 NBA Draft, fourth overall. He played in the American Basketball League with the Cleveland Pipers owned by George Steinbrenner of the New York Yankees in 1962 and led them to an ABL Championship. Barnett rejoined the NBA with the Los Angeles Lakers and played with Elgin Baylor and West for three seasons. He was later traded to the New York Knicks where he played on the only two championship teams in Knicks’ history (1970 and 1973).

He averaged 15.8 points during a 15-year NBA career and played in the 1968 NBA All-Star game. His number was retired and hangs in the rafters of Madison Square Garden. His signature shot was the “fold-up“, where he would fold and then kick his legs while shooting his jumper.
In addition to his .878 (144-20) and .779 (239-68) marks at TSU and NCC, McClendon also coached at Hampton (1954-55) and Kentucky State (1964-66). He became the first African American head coach in any professional sport when he took over as head man of the Cleveland Pipers of the ABL in 1961-62 and the first African-American basketball coach at a predominantly white university when he became head coach at Cleveland State in 1967. He also coached the Denver Nuggets of the ABA in 1969.naia chmps bcsb4



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