The Memphis Grizzlies are an American professional basketball team based in Memphis, Tennessee. The Grizzlies compete in the National Basketball Association as a member team of the league's Western Conference Southwest Division; the Grizzlies play their home games at FedExForum. The team is owned by Robert Pera; the Grizzlies are the only team in the major professional North American sports leagues based in the city of Memphis. The team was established as the Vancouver Grizzlies, an expansion team that joined the NBA for the 1995–96 season. After the 2000–01 season concluded, the Grizzlies moved to Memphis; the Vancouver Grizzlies were a Canadian professional basketball team based in Vancouver, British Columbia. They were part of the Midwest Division of the Western Conference of the National Basketball Association; the team was established in 1995, along with the Toronto Raptors, as part of the NBA's expansion into Canada. Following the 2000–01 season, the team relocated to Memphis, United States, were renamed as the Memphis Grizzlies.
The Grizzlies played their home games at General Motors Place for the entirety of their six seasons in Vancouver. The Vancouver Grizzlies applied to the NBA to relocate to Memphis on March 26, 2001, granted on July 3; as a result, the Grizzlies became the first major professional sports team from the "big four" major leagues to permanently play its home games in Memphis, as well as leaving the Toronto Raptors to be the only Canadian basketball team in the NBA. Memphis became the easternmost city in the Western Conference. In their first three seasons in Memphis, the Grizzlies played their home games at the Pyramid Arena. In the 2001 NBA draft, the Atlanta Hawks chose Pau Gasol as the third overall pick, traded to the Grizzlies. Forward Shane Battier was selected with the sixth pick in the same draft by the Vancouver Grizzlies, they acquired Jason Williams from the Sacramento Kings in exchange for Mike Bibby that same year. After the Grizzlies' first season in Memphis, Gasol won the NBA Rookie of the Year Award.
However, despite the strong draft class, general manager Billy Knight was let go. After Knight's departure and the season, the team hired former Los Angeles Laker and Hall of Famer Jerry West as general manager in 2002, who received the 2003–04 NBA Executive of the Year Award. After West's arrival the team was changed a great deal from Knight's team, with the removal of Sidney Lowe as head coach after 0–8 start to the season and a great deal of player movement, with players such as Mike Miller and James Posey becoming vital to the team's success. During the 2002–03 season, Hubie Brown was hired to coach the Grizzlies. Brown won the NBA Coach of the Year Award during the next season when the Grizzlies made the NBA playoffs for the first time in team history in 2004 as the sixth seed in the Western Conference in a drastic change from being perennially one of the worst teams in the NBA, they won a record 50 games under Gasol and Williams. In the playoffs they faced the San Antonio Spurs. Brown stepped down as head coach during the 2004–05 season.
At the time of his resignation, the Grizzlies had a losing record but West hired TNT analyst and former coach Mike Fratello to replace Brown. The Grizzlies' record improved and the team advanced to the postseason for the second consecutive season. However, the Grizzlies were swept out in the first round again, this time by the Phoenix Suns. After the season, which ended with anger between Fratello and many of the players, namely Bonzi Wells and Jason Williams, the team had an active 2005 off-season in which they revamped the team and added veterans. While the Grizzlies lost Wells, Stromile Swift, James Posey, they acquired Damon Stoudamire, Bobby Jackson, Hakim Warrick, Eddie Jones, they made the playoffs for the third consecutive year as well. With their record they had the fifth seed in the Western Conference playoffs and would face the Dallas Mavericks, who swept the Grizzlies in four games. Following the 2006 NBA draft, Jerry West traded Shane Battier to the Houston Rockets for their first round pick Rudy Gay and Stromile Swift.
Before the 2006–07 season, they suffered a blow when Gasol broke his left foot while playing for Spain in the World Championships. The Grizzlies started the season 5–17 without Gasol, went 1–7 while he was limited to about 25 minutes per game. At that point, Fratello was replaced by Tony Barone, Sr. as interim coach. Barone was the team's player personnel director and had never coached an NBA game though he had coached at the collegiate level for both Creighton and Texas A&M being named coach of the year in their conferences three times during his tenure; the Grizzlies finished the 2006–07 season with a league-worst 22–60 record, Jerry West announced his resignation from his position as the team's general manager shortly after the end of the regular season. The team hired Marc Iavaroni, with the Phoenix Suns as an assistant coach, to be the team's new head coach. Despite the last-place finish, the Grizzlies, who held the best chance of landing the first pick, ended up with the fourth pick in the 2007 NBA draft, with which the Grizzlies selected Mike Conley, Jr.
On June 18, 2007, the Grizzlies named former Boston Celtics general manager Chris Wallace as the team's general manager and vice president of basketball operations, replacing the retired West. A few days they hired former Philadelphia 76ers and Orlando Magic head coach Johnny Davis, longtime NBA assistant coach Gordon Chiesa, the head coach of the 2007 NBA Development League champion Dakota Wizards, David Joerger, as the team's new assistant coaches. Gene Bartow was named the Grizzlies' president of basketb
The Indiana Pacers are an American professional basketball team based in Indianapolis, Indiana. The Pacers compete in the National Basketball Association as a member club of the league's Eastern Conference Central Division; the Pacers were first established in 1967 as a member of the American Basketball Association and became a member of the NBA in 1976 as a result of the ABA–NBA merger. They play their home games at Bankers Life Fieldhouse; the team is named after Indiana's history with the Indianapolis 500's pace cars and with the harness racing industry. The Pacers have won three championships, all in the ABA; the Pacers were NBA Eastern Conference champions in 2000. The team has won nine division titles. Six Hall of Fame players – Reggie Miller, Chris Mullin, Alex English, Mel Daniels, Roger Brown, George McGinnis – played with the Pacers for multiple seasons. In early 1967, a group of six investors pooled their resources to purchase a franchise in the proposed American Basketball Association.
For their first seven years, they played in the Indiana State Fairgrounds Coliseum. In 1974, they moved to the plush new Market Square Arena in downtown Indianapolis, where they played for 25 years. Early in the Pacers' second season, former Indiana Hoosiers standout Bob "Slick" Leonard became the team's head coach, replacing Larry Staverman. Leonard turned the Pacers into a juggernaut, his teams were buoyed by the great play of superstars such as Mel Daniels, George McGinnis, Bob Netolicky, Rick Mount, Freddie Lewis and Roger Brown. The Pacers were – and ended – as the most successful team in ABA history, winning three ABA Championships in four years. In all, they appeared in the ABA Finals five times in the league's nine-year history, an ABA record; the Pacers were one of four ABA teams that joined the NBA in the ABA–NBA merger in 1976. For the 1976–77 season the Pacers were joined in the merged league by the Denver Nuggets, New York Nets, San Antonio Spurs; the league charged a $3.2 million entry fee for each former ABA team.
Since the NBA would only agree to accept four ABA teams in the ABA–NBA merger, the Pacers and the three other surviving ABA teams had to compensate the two remaining ABA franchises which were not a part of the merger, the Spirits of St. Louis and Kentucky Colonels; as a result of the merger, the four teams dealt with financial troubles. Additionally, the Pacers had some financial troubles which dated back to their waning days in the ABA; the new NBA teams were barred from sharing in national TV revenues for four years. The Pacers finished their inaugural NBA season with a record of 36–46. Billy Knight and Don Buse represented Indiana in the NBA All-Star Game. However, this was one of the few bright spots of the Pacers' first 13 years in the NBA. During this time, they had only two playoff appearances. A lack of continuity became the norm for most of the next decade, as they traded away Knight and Buse before the 1977–78 season started, they acquired Adrian Dantley in exchange for Knight, but Dantley was traded in December, while the Pacers' second-leading scorer, John Williamson, was dealt in January.
The early Pacers came out on the short end of two of the most one-sided trades in NBA history. In 1980, they traded Alex English to the Nuggets in order to reacquire former ABA star George McGinnis. McGinnis was long past his prime, contributed little during his two-year return. English, in contrast, went on to become one of the greatest scorers in NBA history; the next year, they traded a 1984 draft pick to the Portland Trail Blazers for center Tom Owens, who had played for the Pacers during their last ABA season. Owens played one year for the Pacers with little impact, was out of the league altogether a year later. In 1983–84, the Pacers finished with the worst record in the Eastern Conference, which would have given the Pacers the second overall pick in the draft—the pick that the Blazers used to select Sam Bowie while Michael Jordan was still available; as a result of the Owens trade, they were left as bystanders in the midst of one of the deepest drafts in NBA history—including such future stars as Jordan, Hakeem Olajuwon, Sam Perkins, Charles Barkley, John Stockton.
Clark Kellogg was drafted by the Pacers in the 1982 and finished second in the Rookie of the Year voting, but the Pacers finished the 1982–83 season with their all-time worst record of 20–62, won only 26 games the following season. After winning 22 games in 1984–85 and 26 games in 1985–86, Jack Ramsay replaced George Irvine as coach and led the Pacers to a 41–41 record in 1986–87 and their second playoff appearance as an NBA team. Chuck Person, nicknamed "The Rifleman" for his renowned long-range shooting, led the team in scoring as a rookie and won NBA Rookie of the Year honors, their first playoff win in NBA franchise history was earned in Game 3 of their first-round, best-of-five series against the Atlanta Hawks, but it was their only victory in that series, as the Hawks defeated them in four games. Reggie Miller from UCLA was drafted by the Pacers in 1987, beginning his career as a backup to John Long. Many fans at the time disagreed with Miller's selection over Indiana Hoosiers' standout Steve Alford.
The Pacers missed the playoffs in 1987–88, drafted Rik Smits in the 1988 NBA draft, suffered through a disastrous 1988–89 season in which coach Jack Ramsay stepped down following an 0–7 start. Mel Daniels and George Irvine filled in on an interim basis before Dick Versace took over the 6–23 team on the way to a 28
The Toronto Raptors are a Canadian professional basketball team based in Toronto, Ontario. The Raptors compete in the National Basketball Association, as a member club of the league's Eastern Conference Atlantic Division. Founded in 1995 as part of the NBA's expansion into Canada, the Raptors are the only Canadian-based team in the league, they play their home games at the Scotiabank Arena. Like most expansion teams, the Raptors struggled in their early years, but after the acquisition of Vince Carter through a draft day trade in 1998, the team set league-attendance records and made the NBA playoffs in 2000, 2001, 2002. Carter was instrumental in leading the team to their first playoff series win in 2001, where they advanced to the Eastern Conference semifinals. During the 2002–03 and 2003–04 seasons, they failed to make significant progress, Carter was traded in 2004 to the New Jersey Nets. After Carter left, Chris Bosh emerged as the team leader. In the 2006–07 season, Bryan Colangelo was appointed as General Manager, through a combination of Bosh, 2006 first overall draft pick Andrea Bargnani, a revamp of the roster, the Raptors qualified for their first playoff berth in five years, capturing the Atlantic Division title.
In the 2007–08 season, they advanced to the playoffs, but failed to reach the post-season in each of the next five seasons. Colangelo overhauled the team's roster for the 2009–10 season in a bid to persuade pending free agent Bosh to stay, but Bosh departed to sign with the Miami Heat in July 2010, ushering in yet another era of rebuilding for the Raptors. Masai Ujiri replaced Colangelo in 2013, helped herald a new era of success, led by backcourt duo Kyle Lowry and DeMar DeRozan; the Raptors returned to the playoffs the following year and became a consistent playoff team in every year of Ujiri's tenure. Under Ujiri, the team won five Division titles and registered their most successful regular season in 2018. However, the team's failure to reach beyond the conference finals prompted Ujiri to fire head coach Dwane Casey shortly after the playoffs concluded and conduct the high-profile trade of DeRozan for Kawhi Leonard and Danny Green that summer, as well as Marc Gasol before the trade deadline.
The Toronto Raptors were established on November 4, 1993, when the NBA, as part of its expansion into Canada, awarded its 28th franchise to a group headed by Toronto businessman John Bitove for a then-record expansion fee of $125 million USD. Bitove and Allan Slaight of Slaight Communications each owned 44 per cent, with the Bank of Nova Scotia, David Peterson, Phil Granovsky being minority partners. Wagering on NBA games in Ontario nearly cost Toronto the expansion franchise, due to strict league rules at the time that prohibited gambling. However, an agreement was reached whereby the Ontario Lottery and Gaming Corporation, the provincial lottery corporation that regulates gambling in Ontario, agreed to stop offering wagering on all NBA games in exchange for a donation by the Raptors of $5 million in its first three years and $1 million annually afterwards to its charitable foundation to compensate OLG for its loss of revenue; the Raptors, along with the Vancouver Grizzlies, played their first game in 1995, were the first NBA teams based in Canada since the 1946–47 Toronto Huskies of the Basketball Association of America, though the Buffalo Braves had played a total of 16 regular season games at Maple Leaf Gardens in Toronto from 1971 to 1975.
The Raptors marked a return of professional basketball to the city after a 48-year absence. Initial sentiment was in favour of reviving the Huskies nickname, but team management realized it would be nearly impossible to design a logo that did not resemble that of the Minnesota Timberwolves; as a result, a nationwide contest was held to help develop their colours and logo. Over 2,000 entries were narrowed down to eleven prospects: Beavers, Dragons, Hogs, Scorpions, T-Rex, Tarantulas and Towers; the final selection—Toronto Raptors—was unveiled on Canadian national television on May 15, 1994: the choice was influenced by the popularity of the 1993 film adaption of the 1990 science fiction novel Jurassic Park by Michael Crichton. The name "Raptor" is a common informal name for the Velociraptor, a swift medium-sized dromaeosaurid theropod non-avian dinosaur. On May 24, 1994, the team's logo and first General Manager, Isiah Thomas, were revealed at a press conference; as part of the deal, Thomas received an option to purchase part of the team for under market value.
He would purchase 4.5 per cent in May 1995 and a further 4.5 per cent in December 1995, half each from Bitove and Slaight, decreasing their share to 39.5 per cent. The team's colours of bright red, purple and silver were revealed; the team competed in the Central Division, before the inaugural season began, sales of Raptors merchandise ranked seventh in the league, marking a successful return of professional basketball to Canada. As General Manager, Isiah Thomas staffed the management positions with his own personnel, naming long-time Detroit Pistons assistant Brendan Malone as the Raptors' head coach; the team's roster was filled as a result of an expansion draft in 1995. Following a coin flip, Toronto was given first choice and selected Chicago Bulls point guard and three-point specialist B. J. Armstrong. Armstrong refused to report for training, Thomas promptly traded him to the Golden State Warriors for power forwards Carlos Rogers and Victor Alexander. Thomas selected a wi
The point guard called the one or point, is one of the five positions in a regulation basketball game. A point guard has the most specialized role of any position. Point guards are expected to run the team's offense by controlling the ball and making sure that it gets to the right player at the right time. Above all, the point guard must understand and accept their coach's game plan. While the point guard must understand and accept the coach's gameplan, they must be able to adapt to what the defense is allowing, they must control the pace of the game. A point guard, like other player positions in basketball, specializes in certain skills. A point guard's primary job is to facilitate scoring opportunities for his/her team, or sometimes for themselves. Lee Rose has described a point guard as a coach on the floor, who can handle and distribute the ball to teammates; this involves setting up plays on the court, getting the ball to the teammate in the best position to score, controlling the tempo of the game.
A point guard should know when and how to instigate a fast break and when and how to initiate the more deliberate sets. Point guards are expected to be vocal floor leaders. A point guard needs always to have in mind the times on the shot clock and the game clock, the score, the numbers of remaining timeouts for both teams, etc. Among the taller players who have enjoyed success at the position is Ben Simmons, who at 6’ 10” won the 2018 National Basketball Association Rookie of the Year Award. Behind him is Magic Johnson, who at 6’ 9” won the National Basketball Association Most Valuable Player Award three times in his career. Other point guards who have been named NBA MVP include Russell Westbrook, Bob Cousy, Oscar Robertson, Allen Iverson, Derrick Rose and two-time winners Steve Nash and Stephen Curry. In the NBA, point guards are about 6' 4" or shorter, average about 6' 2" whereas in the WNBA, point guards are 5' 9" or shorter. Having above-average size is considered advantageous, although size is secondary to situational awareness, speed and ball handling skills.
Shorter players tend to be better dribblers since they are closer to the floor, thus have better control of the ball while dribbling. After an opponent scores, it is the point guard who brings the ball down court to begin an offensive play. Passing skills, ball handling, court vision are crucial. Speed is important. Point guards are valued more for their assist totals than for their scoring. Another major evaluation factor is assist-to-turnover ratio, which reflects the decision-making skills of the player. Still, a first-rate point guard should have a reasonably effective jump shot; the point guard is positioned on the perimeter of the play, so as to have the best view of the action. This is a necessity because of the point guard's many leadership obligations. Many times, the point guard is referred to by announcers as a "coach on the floor" or a "floor general". In the past, this was true, as several point guards such as Lenny Wilkens served their teams as player-coaches; this is not so common anymore, as most coaches are now specialized in coaching and are non-players.
Some point guards are still given a great deal of leeway in the offense. Point guards who are not given this much freedom, are still extensions of their coach on the floor and must display good leadership skills. Along with leadership and a general basketball acumen, ball-handling is a skill of great importance to a point guard. Speaking, the point guard is the player in possession of the ball for the most time during a game and is responsible for maintaining possession of the ball for his team in the face of any pressure from the opponents. Point guards must be able to maintain possession of the ball in crowded spaces and in traffic and be able to advance the ball quickly. A point guard that has enough ball-handling skill and quickness to be able to drive to the basket in a half-court set is very valuable and considered by some to be a must for a successful offense. After ball-handling and scoring are the most important areas of the game for a point guard; as the primary decision-maker for a team, a point guard's passing ability determines how well a point guard is able to put his decision into play.
It is one thing to be able to recognize the player, in a tactically advantageous position, but it is another thing to be able to deliver the ball to that player. For this reason, a point guard is but not always, more skilled and focused on passing than shooting. However, a good jump shot and the ability to score off a drive to the basket are still valuable skills. A point guard will use his ability to score in order to augment his effectiveness as a decision maker and play maker. In addition to the traditional role of the point guard, modern teams have found new ways to utilize the position. Notably, several modern point guards have used a successful style of post play, a tactic practiced by much larger centers and forwards. Working off of the fact that the opposing point guard is in all probability an undersized player with limited strength, several modern point guards have developed games close to the basket that include being able to utilize the drop step, spin move, fade away jump shot. In recent years, the sport's shift from a fundamental style of play to a more athletic, scoring-oriented game resulted in the proliferation of so-called combo guards at the po
Bob Cousy Award
The Bob Cousy Award presented by The College of the Holy Cross is an annual basketball award given by the Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame to the top men's collegiate point guard. It is named after six-time National Basketball Association champion Bob Cousy, who played point guard for the Boston Celtics from 1950 to 1963. Cousy won six championships with the Celtics. Annually, a list of players is nominated by college head coaches, members of College Sports Information Directors of America, members of the National Association of Basketball Coaches. A screening committee of CoSIDA members reviews the nominations, selects 16 players from each division. A selection committee appointed by the Hall selects the winner; this 30-member committee is composed of Hall of Famers, head coaches, sports information directors, the media, Cousy himself. When Maryland's Greivis Vásquez won the award in 2010, the Venezuelan became the first player born outside the U. S. to receive this award. The University of North Carolina has fielded the greatest number of award winners, with Raymond Felton winning the award in 2005, Ty Lawson receiving the honor in 2009 and Kendall Marshall winning in 2012.
Nancy Lieberman Award – the counterpart to the Bob Cousy Award. General"Winners". Bob Cousy Award. Archived from the original on April 6, 2009. Retrieved May 4, 2009. Specific Official website
John R. Wooden Award
The John R. Wooden Award is an award given annually to the most outstanding men's and women's college basketball players; the program consists of the men's and women's Player of the Year awards, the Legends of Coaching award and recognizes the All–America Teams. The awards, given by the Los Angeles Athletic Club, are named in honor of John Wooden, the 1932 national collegiate basketball player of the year from Purdue. Wooden taught and coached men's basketball at Indiana State and UCLA. Coach Wooden, whose teams at UCLA won ten NCAA championships, was the first man to be inducted into the Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame as a player and coach, his 1948 Indiana State team was the NAIB National Finalist. The award, given only to male athletes, was first given in 1977. Starting in 2004, the award was extended to women's basketball. Additionally, the Legends of Coaching Award was presented first in 1999; the 2015 presentation was broadcast on ESPN2 and the show was presented by Wendy's at Los Angeles' Club Nokia on Friday, April 10, 2015.
Each year, the Award's National Advisory Board, a 26-member panel, selects 20 candidates for Player of the Year and All-American Team honors. The candidates must be full-time students and have a cumulative grade point average of 2.00 or higher throughout their college career. Players who are nominated must have made outstanding contributions to team play, both offensively and defensively, be model citizens, exhibiting strength of character both on and off the court; the selection ballot is announced prior to the NCAA basketball tournament. The voters sportscasters representing the 50 states; the top ten vote-getters are selected to the All-American Team, the results are announced following the Elite Eight round of the NCAA Tournament. The person who receives the most votes is named the Player of the Year, the winner is announced following the NCAA championship game; the Player of the Year is awarded a trophy consisting of five bronze figures. The player's school receives a duplicate trophy, as well as a scholarship grant.
The other top four members of the All-American Team receive an All-American Team trophy, a jacket, a scholarship grant which goes to their school. Each coach of the top five All-American Team members receives a jacket; the All-American Team members ranked six through ten receive an All-American Team trophy and a jacket, but their schools do not receive a scholarship. The criteria for the women's Player of the Year award and All-American Team honors are similar to those for the men. For the women's award, the National Advisory Board consists of 12 members, 15 candidates are selected for the ballot; the voters are 250 sportscasters. In contrast to the men's All-American Team, only five members are selected for the women's team; the Player of the Year receives a trophy, her school receives a duplicate trophy and a scholarship grant. The trophy features five bronze figures, each depicting one of the five major skills that Wooden believed that "total" basketball player must exhibit: rebounding, shooting and defense.
The concept for the trophy originated with Richard "Duke" Llewellyn. Work began on the trophy in 1975, sculptor Don Winton, who had sculpted many top sports awards, was given the task of designing the model of the trophy; the figures are bronze attached to a pentagonal base plate. The tallest figure is 10¼ inches high; the trophy's base is 7½ inches high, is made from solid walnut. The total height of the trophy is 17 3⁄4 inches, it weighs 25 lb; the Wooden family announced in August 2005 that he would no longer participate because of a trademark dispute concerning the use of his name. However, he never contested the use of his name prior to his death in 2010, the award continues to bear his name. “I don’t want anything to interfere with the continuation of the award,” told The Associated Press at the time. In 2011 the Wooden Family began participation. Coach John Wooden’s son, presented the Wooden Award to Brigham Young senior Jimmer Fredette. In 2012 John Wooden’s grandson, Greg, on behalf of The Los Angeles Athletic Club, presented the Wooden Award to University of Kentucky freshman Anthony Davis.
Greg Wooden made the announcement on ESPN College GameDay. The John R. Wooden High School Player of the Year awards are given to the most valuable player in each of the five divisions of the California Interscholastic Federation Southern Section, one Los Angeles City division; the Legends of Coaching Award recognizes the lifetime achievement of coaches who exemplify Coach Wooden's high standards of coaching success and personal achievement. When selecting the individual, the Wooden Award Committee considers a coach's character, success rate on the court, graduating rate of student athletes, his or her coaching philosophy, identification with the goals of the John R. Wooden Award. List of U. S. men's college basketball national player of the year awards John R. Wooden Classic Official website
Utah Utes men's basketball
The Utah Utes men's basketball team represents the University of Utah as an NCAA Division I program that plays in the Pac-12 Conference. They are led by head coach Larry Krystkowiak and play their home games at the Jon M. Huntsman Center; the school has made the NCAA Tournament 27 times, which ranks 20th in NCAA history and tied for third most appearances behind UCLA and the University of Arizona in the Western United States. They last made the tournament in 2016. Utah won the NCAA Championship in 1944, defeating Dartmouth College 42–40 for the school's only NCAA basketball championship. However, the school claims the 1916 AAU National Championship, awarded after winning the AAU national tournament, they have won the NIT once, defeating Kentucky in 1947. In 1998, the Utes played in the NCAA championship game. Utah began play in 1908, finishing with a record of 3–8. However, by 1916, they had won their first national championship, winning the National AAU Tournament; the team would compete in the tournament two other times, in 1918 and 1919.
But it wasn't until 1927 that Utah began laying the foundation for what would become one of the winningest programs in college basketball. That began with the hiring of Vadal Peterson, who would become the winningest coach in Utah basketball history. Peterson would guide Utah to 6 conference and state championships and reached the ultimate prize in 1944, when the Utes won the national championship. Oddly enough, Utah had turned down a bid to the NCAA Tournament because they wanted to play in the NIT. Back the NIT was a far more prestigious tournament and drew the big time college basketball programs. However, after being bounced in the first round by Kentucky, Utah was given a second chance to play in the NCAA Tournament; the Arkansas Razorbacks were forced to withdraw after two of their players were badly injured in a car accident. Needing another team to take the Razorbacks' place, the NCAA invited Utah; the Utes accepted and went on to defeat Dartmouth 42–40. The legendary Arnie Ferrin was named the tournament's Most Outstanding Player after scoring 28 points in the final two games.
Three years Peterson would lead Utah to the more prestigious NIT championship, as they defeated enough, Kentucky 49–45. Peterson would retire from Utah with a 385–230 record and is the only coach in Utah history to have won a national championship. After Peterson retired, Utah basketball was known as one of the strongest in the west; that tradition helped convince Kansas State head coach Jack Gardner to accept the job. Gardner had led the Wildcats to two Final Fours prior to accepting the job and during his 18 years at Utah, he built a legacy that many today feel is the strongest in Utah history. Jack Gardner was known for his quick offenses, where Utah got its name as the Runnin' Redskins; because of his radical offensive sets, the Utes were regarded as the team that helped usher in a new era of college basketball. By his second season, Gardner had the Utes in their first NCAA Tournament since the 1945 season and the Utes dominated their way to a conference championship. Finishing the year 24 -- 4, Utah was eliminated in the second round.
In Gardner's third season he once again guided the Utes to a conference championship and an NCAA tournament berth. That year the Utes climbed to 11th in the polls and made it to the Elite Eight, before bowing out to eventual champion San Francisco, led by future NBA legend and Hall of Famer Bill Russell; the Utes kept their postseason streak alive for Gardner's fourth and fifth seasons, making the NIT, they lost in the first round both years. In 1959, Utah again returned to the NCAA Tournament, before losing to Idaho State in the second round; the Utes would make the NCAA Tournament again in 1960, like in'59, were defeated in the second round, this time by USC. After getting eliminated in the second round in consecutive years, Jack Gardner and Utah made a run at the national championship in 1961; that year the Utes finished 23 -- 12 -- 2 in conference play. They were faced Loyola-California in the first round; the Utes won 91–75 and advanced to the Elite Eight, where they defeated Arizona State 88–80, to make the school's first Final Four in 17 years.
There they would face the eventual national champions Cincinnati Bearcats, losing 82–67. Though the season had ended short of the national championship, Utah had returned to the national stage and would prove to be a worthy national foe for years to come. A season after the 1961 Final Four ushered in great change for Utah athletics; the Utes, along with the Arizona, Arizona State, BYU, New Mexico, Wyoming decided to form the Western Athletic Conference. The competitive conference made it far more difficult for the Utes to win, as Gardner struggled in the first three years of the conference's formation. During that span the Utes would go 12–14, 19–9 and 17–9. However, by 1966 Utah was once again ready to make a national splash, after cruising to a conference championship and the program's first tournament berth since the 1961 season during that season. Utah faced Pacific in the semifinals. After a easy 83–74 victory over the Tigers, Utah advanced to the Elite Eight where they would face the Oregon State Beavers.
In a competitive game, the Utes came out on top, defeating the Beavers 70–64 to once again advance to the Final Four. This was a historical achievement for Jack Gardner, because it made him the first, only, coach to guide two different teams to two Final Fours, but it was the cultural significance of this Final Four that would have far reaching historical impact and change the game