The center known as the five, or the big man, is one of the five positions in a regular basketball game. The center is the tallest player on the team, has a great deal of strength and body mass as well. In the NBA, the center is 6 feet 10 inches or taller and weighs 240 pounds or more, they traditionally have played close to the basket in the low post. A center with the ability to shoot outside from three-point range is known as stretch five; the center is considered a necessary component for a successful team in professional leagues such as the NBA. Great centers have been the foundation for most of the dynasties in both the NBA and NCAA; the 6'10" George Mikan pioneered the Center position, shattering the held perception that tall players could not develop the agility and coordination to play basketball well, ushering in the role of the dominant big man. He led DePaul University to the NIT title after turning professional, won seven National Basketball League, Basketball Association of America and NBA Championships in his ten-year career, nine of them with the Minneapolis Lakers.
Using his height to dominate opposing players, Mikan invented the shot block. In the 1960s, Bill Russell and Wilt Chamberlain further transformed basketball by combining height with a greater level of athleticism than previous centers. Following the retirement of George Mikan, the rivalry of the two big men came to dominate the NBA. Between the two of them and Russell won nine of the eleven MVP awards in the eleven-year period between 1958 and 1969. Many of the records set by these two players have endured today. Most notably and Russell hold the top eighteen season averages for rebounds. Bill Russell led the University of San Francisco to two consecutive NCAA Championships, he joined the Boston Celtics and helped make them one of the greatest dynasties in NBA history, winning eleven championships over his thirteen-year career as well as five MVP awards. Russell revolutionized defensive strategy with his shot-blocking and physical man-to-man defense. While he was never the focal point of the Celtics offense, much of the team's scoring came when Russell grabbed defensive rebounds and initiated fast breaks with precision outlet passes to point guard Bob Cousy.
As the NBA's first African-American superstar, Russell struggled throughout his career with the racism he encountered from fans in Boston after the 1966–67 season, when he became the first African-American in any major sport to be named player-coach. His principal rival, Wilt Chamberlain, listed at 7'1", 275 pounds, lacked Russell's supporting cast. Chamberlain played college ball for the Kansas Jayhawks, leading them to the 1957 title game against the North Carolina Tar Heels. Although the Jayhawks lost by one point in triple overtime, Chamberlain was named the tournament's Most Outstanding Player. A member of the Harlem Globetrotters before joining the Philadelphia Warriors of the NBA in 1959, Chamberlain won two Championships, in 1967 with the Philadelphia 76ers and 1972 with the Los Angeles Lakers, although his teams were defeated by the Celtics in the Eastern Conference and NBA Finals, he won seven scoring titles, eleven rebounding titles, four regular season Most Valuable Player awards, including the distinction, in 1960, of being the first rookie to receive the award.
Stronger than any player of his era, he was capable of scoring and rebounding at will. Although he was the target of constant double- and triple-teaming, as well as fouling tactics designed to take advantage of his poor free-throw shooting, he set a number of records that have never been broken. Most notably, Chamberlain is the only player in NBA history to average more than 50 points in a season and score 100 points in a single game, he holds the NBA's all-time records for rebounding average, rebounds in a single game, career rebounds. A lesser-known center of the era was Nate Thurmond, who played the forward position opposite Wilt Chamberlain for the San Francisco Warriors but moved to center after Chamberlain was traded to the new Philadelphia franchise. Although he never won a Championship, Thurmond was known as the best screen setter in the league, his averages of 21.3 and 22.0 rebounds per game in 1966–67 and 1967–68, are exceeded only by Chamberlain and Russell. In contrast to the Celtics dynasty of the 1960s, the 1970s were a decade of parity in the NBA, with eight different champions and no back-to-back winners.
At the college level, the UCLA Bruins, under Coach John Wooden, built the greatest dynasty in NCAA basketball history, winning seven consecutive titles between 1967 and 1973. UCLA had won two consecutive titles in 1964 and 1965 with teams that pressed and emphasized guard play. After not winning in 1966, Wooden's teams changed their style, he led UCLA to three championships-in 1967, 68' and 69'-while winning the first Naismith College Player of the Year Award. During his college career, the NCAA enacted a ban on dunking because of Alcindor's dominant use of the shot, his entrance into the NBA with the Milwaukee Bucks in 1969 was timely, as Bill Russell had just retired and Wilt Chamberlain was 33 years old and plagued by injuries. After leading the Bucks to the 1971 NBA championship, te
Power forward (basketball)
The power forward known as the four, is one of the five positions in a regulation basketball game. It has been referred to as the "post" position. Power forwards play a role similar to that of center, they play offensively with their backs towards the basket and position themselves defensively under the basket in a zone defense or against the opposing power forward in man-to-man defense. The power forward position entails a variety of responsibilities, one of, rebounding. Many power forwards are noted for their mid-range jump-shot, several players have become accurate from 12 to 18 feet. Earlier, these skills were more exhibited in the European style of play; some power forwards, known as stretch fours, have since extended their shooting range to three-point field goals. In the NBA, power forwards range from 6' 8" to 7' 0" while in the WNBA, power forwards are between 6' 1" and 6' 4". Despite the averages, a variety of players fit "tweener" roles which finds them in the small forward or center position depending on matchups and coaching decisions.
Some power forwards play the center position and have the skills, but lack the height, associated with that position
Ronald Harper is an American retired professional basketball player and five-time National Basketball Association champion. He played for four teams in the NBA between 1986 and 2001. Ron Harper grew up in Dayton, Ohio. Ron and his twin brother were the youngest of six children raised in a single-parent household by their mother, Gloretha Harper, she worked at several jobs to support the family, including as a school teacher and on an assembly line at a General Motors plant. In high school, he first attended Belmont High School in Dayton, but was cut from the freshman team and didn't play as a sophomore, he transferred to Kiser High School in Dayton and as a senior averaged 20.5 points, 13.4 rebounds, five assists, five steals and six blocked shots and was named first-team All-Ohio. He graduated from Kiser in 1982; the Kiser High School facility is now an elementary school. In 2006, Harper attended a ceremony. Harper starred at Miami University in Oxford, Ohio for four seasons from 1982–83 through 1985–86.
As a freshman, Harper scored 12.8 points per game and led Miami in rebounding with 7.0 per game as the team went 13-15. As a sophomore, he led the Redskins in scoring with 16.3 points per game and in rebounding with 7.6 per game as the Redskins went 24-6 and won the Mid-American Conference championship, the MAC tournament championship, earned a berth in the NCAA tournament. In his junior season, he set personal bests and again led the team with 24.9 and 10.7 rebounds per game and led in steals with 2.6 per game. He was named MAC Player of the Year as the Redskins went 20-11, finished second in the MAC and earned a berth in the NCAA tournament. In his senior season, on March 8, 1985, he set both a Miami and a MAC tournament single-game scoring record of 45 points in one game, his scoring average of 24.9 per game is second all-time at Miami behind Fred Foster's 26.8 in 1967–68. He again steals, he became the first MAC player in history to record a triple-double with 38 points, 19 rebounds and 12 assists against Ball State University.
He was again named MAC Player of the Year and named second-team All-American by both the Associated Press and United Press International. The Redskins went 24-7 to earn a berth in the NCAA tournament. Harper is Miami's all-time leading scorer with 2,377 points, leads both in rebounding with 1,119, he was the first men's player in MAC history to score 2,000 points and grab 1,000 rebounds in a career. He holds the Redskins/RedHawks' all-time records for career scoring average, games started, minutes played, field goals, blocked shots, he had a career field goal percentage of.534. At his final home game in 1986, he became the first basketball player in Miami history to have his number retired. Harper was selected in the first round in the 1986 NBA draft by the Cleveland Cavaliers. Harper made his NBA debut on November 1, 1986, he broke 30 points in just his sixth game, with 34 against the Sacramento Kings on November 11, 1986. He scored a season-high 40 points against the Boston Celtics on February 4, 1987 and had one of his finest all-around games on February 10, 1987 against the New York Knicks with 25 points, 16 rebounds, four assists and five steals.
Harper started all 82 games and averaged 22.9 points per game and 4.8 rebounds per game along with 4.8 assists and 2.5 steals. He placed second in Rookie of the Year balloting behind Chuck Person of the Indiana Pacers. In his second season, he was limited to 57 games due to a sprained ankle suffered in the second game of the season that kept him out until late December. For the season, he averaged 15.4 ppg. The Cavaliers were eliminated by the Chicago Bulls, three games to two; the following season, 1988–89, he again started all 82 games, averaging 18.6 ppg, 5.0 rpg, 5.3 assists and 2.3 steals as the Cavaliers advanced to the playoffs, where they were eliminated in the first round, again by the Chicago Bulls three games to two, this time with a one-point loss in game 5 in Chicago. In his fourth season, 1989–90, after seven games with the Cavaliers, on November 16, 1989 he was traded to the Los Angeles Clippers. Harper started all 28 games he played for the Clippers, but his season was cut short by a serious right knee injury suffered in a game in January 1990.
Diagnosed with both a torn anterior cruciate ligament and torn cartilage, he underwent surgery. For the 1989–90 season overall, he averaged 22.8 ppg, 5.9 rpg, 5.2 assists, 2.3 steals and a career-high 1.2 blocks per game. His season was highlighted by back-to-back 39-point games against Denver and Indiana in December 1989, both of which the Clippers won. In his next season, 1990–91, he was limited to 39 games, but still posted averages of 19.6 ppg and 4.8 rpg along with 5.4 assists and 1.7 stealsBy 1991–92, his sixth NBA season, he bounced back to start all 82 games, averaging 18.2 ppg, 5.5 rpg, 5.1 assists and 1.9 steals. as the Clippers advanced to the playoffs, where they were eliminated three games to two by the Utah Jazz. In 1992 -- 93, in 80 games, Harper averaged 5.3 rpg, 4.5 assists and 2.2 steals. The Clippers again made the playoffs, but yet again Harper's team was eliminated in the first round, this time three games to two by the Houston Rockets. In 1993–94, his fourth full season with the Clippers and eighth in the NBA, he played and started in 75 games, averaging 20.1 ppg, 6.1 rpg, 4.6 assists and 1.9 steals.
On March 11, 1994, he tallied a triple-double with 26 points, 10 rebounds and 10 assists along with six steals in a win over the Dallas Mavericks. Two ni
Helms Foundation College Basketball Player of the Year
The Helms Foundation College Basketball Player of the Year was an annual basketball award given to the most outstanding intercollegiate men's basketball player in the United States. The award was first given following the 1904–05 season and ceased being awarded after the 1978–79 season, it was the first major most valuable player award for men's basketball in the United States, the Helms Athletic Foundation was considered within the basketball community to be the authority on men's college basketball for that era. Thus, the award was viewed as the premier player of the year award one could receive up until the 1960s, at which point the Naismith College Player of the Year and John R. Wooden Award took over as the national season MVP awards. "Helms Foundation Player of the Year Winners". Sports-reference.com. Sports Reference LLC. 2010. Archived from the original on June 19, 2014. Retrieved December 7, 2010. Bjarkman, Peter. Hoopla: A Century of College Basketball. Masters Press. ISBN 1-57028-039-8
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
The five basketball positions employed by organized basketball teams are the point guard, the shooting guard, the small forward, the power forward, the center. The point guard is the leader of the team on the court; this position requires substantial ball handling skills and the ability to facilitate the team during a play. The shooting guard, as the name implies, is the best shooter; as well as being capable of shooting from longer distances, this position tends to be the best defender on the team. The small forward has an aggressive approach to the basket when handling the ball; the small forward is known to make cuts to the basket in efforts to get open for shots. The power forward and the center are called the "frontcourt" acting as their team's primary rebounders or shot blockers, or receiving passes to take inside shots; the center is the larger of the two. Only three positions were recognized based on where they played on the court: Guards played outside and away from the hoop and forwards played outside and near the baseline, with the center positioned in the key.
During the 1980s, as team strategy evolved. More specialized roles developed. Team strategy and available personnel, still dictate the positions used by a particular team. For example, the dribble-drive motion offense and the Princeton offense use four interchangeable guards and one center; this set is known as a "four-in and one-out" play scheme. Other combinations are prevalent. Besides the five basic positions, some teams use non-standard or hybrid positions, such as the point forward, a hybrid small forward/point guard; the point guard known as the one, is the team's best ball handler and passer. Therefore, they lead their team in assists and are able to create shots for themselves and their teammates, they are quick and are able to hit shots either outside the three-point line or "in the paint" depending on the player's skill level. Point guards are looked upon as the "floor general" or the "coach on the floor", they should study the game and game film to be able to recognize the weaknesses of the defense, the strengths of their own offense.
They are responsible for directing plays, making the position equivalent to that of quarterback in American football, playmaker in association football, center in ice hockey, or setter in volleyball. Good point guards increase team efficiency and have a high number of assists, they are referred to as dribblers or play-makers. In the NBA, point guards are the shortest players on the team and are 6 feet 4 inches or shorter; the shooting guard is known as the two or the off guard. Along with the small forward, a shooting guard is referred to as a wing because of its use in common positioning tactics; as the name suggests, most shooting guards are prolific from the three-point range. Besides being able to shoot the ball, shooting guards tend to be the best defender on the team, as well as being able to move without the ball to create open looks for themselves; some shooting guards have good ball handling skills creating their own shots off the dribble. A versatile shooting guard will have good passing skills, allowing them to assume point guard responsibilities known as combo guards.
Bigger shooting guards tend to play as small forwards. In the NBA, shooting guards range from 6 feet 4 inches to 6 feet 8 inches; the small forward known as the three, is considered to be the most versatile of the main five basketball positions. Versatility is key for small forwards because of the nature of their role, which resembles that of a shooting guard more than that of a power forward; this is why the small forward and shooting guard positions are interchangeable and referred to as wings. Small forwards have a variety such as quickness and strength inside. One common thread among all kinds of small forwards is an ability to "get to the line" and draw fouls by aggressively attempting plays, lay-ups, or slam dunks; as such, accurate foul shooting is a common skill for small forwards, many of whom record a large portion of their points from the foul line. Besides being able to drive to the basket, they are good shooters from long range; some small forwards have good passing skills, allowing them to assume point guard responsibilities as point forwards.
Small forwards should be able to do a little bit of everything on the court playing roles such as swingmen and defensive specialists. In the NBA, small forwards range from 6 feet 6 inches to 6 feet 9 inches; the power forward known as the four plays a role similar to that of the center, down in the "post" or "low blocks". The power forward is the team's most versatile scorer, being able to score close to the basket while being able to shoot mid-range jump shots from 12 to 18 feet from the basket; some power forwards have become known as stretch fours, since extending their shooting range to three-pointers. On defense, they are required to have the strength to guard bigger players close to the basket and to have the athleticism to guard quick players away from the basket. Most power forwards tend to be more versatile than centers since they can be part of plays and are not always in the low block. In the
Walter Luckett, Jr. is an American former basketball player, best known for his career at the high school and college levels. Luckett starred at the prep level for Kolbe High School in his hometown of Bridgeport, Connecticut before playing at Ohio University for the Bobcats between 1972–73 and 1974–75. Following his junior season at Ohio he declared for the NBA Draft, where he was selected in the second round by the Detroit Pistons. Due to a knee injury, Luckett never played a single game in the National Basketball Association. Growing up, Luckett honed his talents at Nanny Goat Park in Bridgeport; as an eighth-grade student he once scored 59 points against another high school's junior varsity team. This scoring outburst previewed what Luckett would do at Kolbe Boys High School—establish a record-setting career that saw him score more points than any other high school player in New England history, win a state championship, get named the national high school player of the year as a senior in 1971–72.
Throughout his four-year varsity career, Luckett scored 2,691 points, which as of 2012 is still the highest total in the New England region history. In one game during his sophomore season, he scored 53 points against an opponent, for his career he averaged 31.1 points per game. As a junior, Luckett led Kolbe to a state championship victory; as a senior, he averaged a triple-double of 39.5 points, 16 rebounds and 13 assists per game en route to being named the national high school player of the year. His great success early on has been attributed to his hard work ethic and the fact that he grew up with, played every day against, Frank Oleynick and Barry McLeod, both of whom were drafted to the NBA. Toward the end of high school, Luckett suffered a freak knee injury, it was not serious enough to sideline him from playing his freshman year at Ohio University, but it would prove to be the undoing of any professional career. In 1972–73, his first year at college, Luckett was featured on the cover of the November 27 issue of Sports Illustrated during the first week of his Bobcat career.
He was a confident freshman, proclaiming that he would "drive those rascals wild" when referring to the Missouri Tigers, his first college opponent. After a 3-for-12 shooting performance against them and a rough introduction to National Collegiate Athletic Association Division I basketball, Luckett found his groove and ended up averaging 13.5 points per game for his freshman season. The following season, Luckett averaged 22.8 points per game and led the Mid-American Conference in scoring. The Bobcats earned a berth in the 1974 NCAA Tournament after winning the conference championship. For his efforts he was named the MAC Men's Basketball Player of the Year. In 1974–75, Luckett's junior season, he increased his scoring average to 25.2 points per game, bringing his career average to 20.5. He earned numerous All-America honors, becoming just the second player from Ohio University to do so. For the second consecutive year he led the league in scoring and repeated as a First Team All-MAC performer.
Luckett decided to turn professional after the season, forgoing his NCAA eligibility and hoping to become the next National Basketball Association star. When he departed he had scored 1,625 points in just three seasons, the most in school history at the time. Luckett was selected in the 1975 NBA Draft by the Detroit Pistons. Following the draft, Luckett gained further notoriety for scoring 28 points in a game against a team that had players like Julius Erving and Earl Monroe on its squad; this game became the highlight of his post-collegiate basketball career, because he re-injured his knee while walking up an escalator. He could not run or lift his leg, thus was cut by Detroit prior to playing a game in the league, he went back home to Bridgeport, now with his high school sweetheart-turned-wife, within a year enrolled at the University of Bridgeport. He finished his undergraduate degree at the school, for the first several years after graduation he played semi-professional basketball on top of working full-time in business.
His company, Unilever Home and Personal Care, paid for his Master of Business Administration that he earned at the University of New Haven. Luckett became the company's manager of community relations after 25 years he retired. Today he resides in Hamden, Connecticut with his wife Valita