Friday, December 21, 2007

Where Have You Gone Frank Selvy?

In the history of college basketball only two players have ever scored 100 points in a college basketball game. Many would guess Pete Maravich whose career scoring average of 44.2 points per game over three seasons will never be topped. Wilt Chamberlain who holds the NBA single game mark averaged only 30 points per game over his college career at Kansas. The two players who accomplished the feat make a great trivia question. Only Bevo Francis and Frank Selvy can lay claim to having scored 100 or more points in one college basketball game.

On December 20th and 21st Utah State hosts the Gosner Foods Classic among the teams appearing is Selvy's alma mater Furman University. Furman, enrollment 3349, enters the tournament with an 0-8 record, a far cry from the glory days during which Selvy led the program to national prominence.

When I was a boy living in North Carolina, my father took me to see Selvy play, and his smoothness on the court seemed ethereal. When he shot a basketball, it was like he was folding silk scarves to put in a drawer. Conroy on first seeing Frank Selvy play.

Selvy accomplished the feat against tiny Newberry College on February 13, 1954. Selvy's effort was in response to Bevo Francis of Rio Grande College who had scored 113 only two weeks prior against tinier Hillsdale College. Essentially, the storyline of the 1954 season was the Bevo Francis vs. Frank Selvy scoring race.

Francis played at the NAIA level, his scoring barrage over the previous season against obscure schools of over 50 points per game was met with skepticism. In response, Rio Grande upped it's level of competition and played NCAA schools including Butler, Wake Forest, Miami, and North Carolina State which was led by Conroy's future coach Mel Thompson in 1954. In spite of the upgraded schedule, because of the questionable compeition from the previous season, much of Francis' accomplishments go almost unnoticed. Selvy, playing at the division I level averaged a Maravich like 41.7 points per game during the 1954 season.

Although the crowd, television crew on hand, and opposition is mesmerized by Jaycee Carroll during the two games of the tournament -- Carroll scores 32 points in the opening night game against Utah Valley and then follows it with 33 points in the championship against Northern Arizona, he is less than two thirds of the way to what Selvy did in one game!

After I shook Dick Esleeck's hand (a Furman player Conroy had squared away against) someone slapped me on the behind and said, 'Good game, Pat'.

When I turned to see who it was, it was a startling encounter for me. I am the first novelist in the world who has ever been slapped on the fanny by the incomparable Frank Selvy." Conroy on his second encounter with Frank Selvy.

Selvy has long been forgotten by anyone in the Dee Glenn Spectrum and Furman drops it's opening game against Northen Arizona and it's second game against Utah Valley. The two losses drop the Paladines season record to 0-10.

No comments:

Post a Comment