“Ro” was one of the greatest players in Kansas State history. The 6-6 guard was a three-time All-Big Eight selection, and the conference’s player of the year in 1980 and defensive player of the year three times, 1978-80. Blackman’s 1,844 career points stand third in Wildcats history. He provided perhaps the biggest shot in school history, a 17-foot baseline jumper in the final seconds to defeat top-ranked Oregon State in the 1981 NCAA Tournament.
Beyond college: Blackman was a first-round draft selection and ninth overall by the Dallas Mavericks and spent 11 of his 13 seasons in Dallas, becoming a four-time NBA All-Star. He spent his final two seasons with the New York Knicks and played in the 1994 NBA Finals. Blackman was a member of the 1980 Olympic basketball team that boycotted the Moscow Games.
Did you know? Blackman, a native a Panama, retired from the NBA as the league’s career scoring leader (17.623 points) among Hispanic/Latin players (born in Iberian, Latin America and Spanish-speaking countries). He was surpassed on the list by Pau Gasol last season.
Career: After helping East High in Columbus, Ohio, to two state championships, Ratleff headed west to play for coach Jerry Tarkanian at Long Beach State. The 6-6 guard was chosen conference player of the year and first-team All-American in 1972 and 1973. Ratleff averaged 21.4 points in his career, and his teams went 74-12, twice reaching the NCAA Tournament West Regional final before falling to UCLA. His No. 42 was retired by Long Beach State.
Beyond college: Ratleff was the sixth overall selection in the 1973 NBA Draft by the Houston Rockets. He played five seasons, all with Houston, averaging 8.3 points. He later served as an assistant coach on the 49ers’ staff and has worked in the insurance industry in Long Beach.
Did you know? Ratleff’s college career was one of the most anticipated of his era. Freshmen weren’t eligible and Ratleff averaged 39.7 points and 25.4 rebounds on the school’s freshman team. In his final freshman game, against San Diego State, he scored 65 points. Ralteff was a member of the 1972 Olympic team that fell in the controversial gold-medal game to the Soviet Union.
Career: One of Indiana’s all-time greats, Buckner was a four-year starter and three-year captain for coach Bob Knight. As a freshman, the Hoosiers reached the Final Four. His junior and senior teams swept through the regular season undefeated, and the 1976 Hoosiers stand as college basketball’s last perfect team. The 6-3 guard was a terrific defender and averaged 10 points during his career.
Beyond college: A first-round draft selection by the Milwaukee Bucks, Buckner spent 10 years in the NBA with the Bucks, Celtics and Pacers. He as a four-time second-team all-defense selection, four times finishing in the top five in steals. Buckner won n NBA title with the Celtics in 1984. He was the Dallas Mavericks coach for one season and is a television analyst for the Pacers.
Did you know? Buckner is one of the greatest winners in basketball history. His Thornridge High team in Illinois won two state titles. He won championships with Indiana and the Celtics and a gold medal with the 1976 Olympic team. Also, Buckner played football for two years at Indiana, enrolling on a football scholarship.
Career: A member of the 1960 NCAA champion Ohio State Buckeyes, Havlicek averaged 14.6 points over his three-year varsity career. He was a second-team All-American in 1962 and fell to Cincinnati in the title game the next two seasons.
Beyond college: When Havlicek retired after the 1978 season, he was the NBA’s third leading career scorer and first in games played. He was an eight-time NBA champion and 13-time All-Star with the Celtics, after starting his pro career as the “sixth man.” He remains the career scoring leader for the storied franchise. He was enshrined in the Naismith Hall of Fame in 1984 and in 1997 was chosen one of the 50 Greatest Players in NBA history.
Did you know? Havlicek was a football star. He had been all-state selection in basketball, football and baseball at Bridgeport High (Ohio). Ohio State coach Woody Hayes wanted Havlicek to play football and kept a locker and jersey ready for him. Hayes once said that Ohio State had the best quarterback in the Big Ten, “but he’s playing basketball.”
Career: One of North Carolina’s all-time greats, Scott averaged 22.1 points and 7.1 rebounds, including 27.1 points as a senior. He was a three-time All-ACC selection who led the Tar Heels to Final Fours in 1968 and 1969. The 1968 team played for the NCAA title. He hit the game-winning shot to beat Davidson in the 1969 East Regional that sent North Carolina to the Final Four.
Beyond college: Scott was drafted by the Boston Celtics but signed with the Virginia Squires of the ABA, where he dominated. Two years later, Scott was in the NBA with the Phoenix Suns and won an NBA title with the Celtics in 1976. Scott lives in Atlanta and works for Russell Athletics in a consulting position. His son Shanno, just completed a career at Ohio State.
Did you know? Scott was the first black scholarship at North Carolina when he enrolled in 1966. He helped the U.S. win a gold medal at the 1968 Oympics. Scott nearly enrolled at Davidson. Then-Wildcats coach Lefty Driesell was among the first to recruit Scott, but he selected North Carolina and established a life-long friendship with Tar Heels coach Dean Smith.
Career: Caesar Felton “Zip” Gayles joined the Langston University faculty as an instructor in 1930 as a professor in social science, athletic director and head coach of the football, basketball and baseball teams. He excelled in all. Gayles’ basketball teams went 571-281 and once amassed a 51-game winning streak. His teams won or tied for 10 Southwestern Athletic Conference championships and two National Negro championships. In March 1946, Langston became the first college team to defeat the Harlem Globetrotters. Gayles’ football teams won nine conference championships and two National Negro championships.
Did you know? Gayles coached Marcus Haynes, perhaps the greatest dribbler in basketball history. During Haynes’ time in college, the Langston Lions went 112-3. Haynes went on to become one of the most famous of the Harlem Globetrotters. Gayles and Oklahoma State coach Henry Iba became friends, and Iba offered to play Langston in the mid-1940s. Oklahoma State’s Board of Regents said no.
Career: Not many coaches spent their entire coaching career at their alma mater. Don Donoher did, having played for Dayton in the 1950s and coaching the Flyers from 1964 to 1989. Donoher hit the ground running, taking his first two teams to the Sweet 16 and his third team to the NCAA championship game. His fourth team, in 1968, didn’t make the NCAA Tournament but beat Kansas for the NIT title. In 1984, the Flyers reached the regional final before falling to eventual champion Georgetown. In 25 seasons, Donoher’s teams finished 437-275 with 15 postseason appearances.
Did you know? After his playing days at Dayton, Donoher did a two-year hitch in the Army and started selling office equipment. He got a part-time gig scouting opponents for then-Dayton coach Tom Blackburn. In 1963, Blackburn hired Donoher as a full-time assistant, but before the end of the season Blackburn died of cancer and Donoher was promoted to the top job.
Career: From Las Cruces High to Hardin-Simmons to New Mexico State to Illinois, Henson won at every stop. He went 67-35 at Hardin-Simmons, reached the NCAA Tournament in six of his nine years at New Mexico State — including the 1970 Final Four — and won 423 games in 21 years at Illinois. His 1989 team reached the Final Four. Henson then returned to New Mexico State for his final eight years and finished with a career record of 779-412. His 214 Big Ten victories were the third most in league history at the time of his retirement.
Did you know? Henson was offered the Oklahoma job in 1975. He turned it down for Illinois, and the Sooners hired Indiana assistant Dave Bliss. When Henson returned for his second tour at New Mexico State, he coached the entire 1997-98 season for $1 per month, because state law wouldn’t allow him to work for free.