Feb. 27, 2013
FRISCO, Texas – The Southland Conference, as part of its year-long 50th Anniversary commemoration, has announced its All-Decade Men’s Basketball Team from the 1960s and 1970s. The team includes stars from its member institutions from the league’s inaugural 1963-64 season through 1968-69, and from the 1969-70 season through 1979-80.
UT Arlington had three players recognized: Mike Nau (1964-67) and Eddie Stallings (1967-69), and Jerry Johnson (1972-75).
A total of 10 student-athletes makeup the 1960s All-Decade Team, two players from each of the five institutions that made up the membership during that period.
“It’s great to recognize a group of players and coaches that really put the Southland Conference on the basketball map in its formative years,” league commissioner Tom Burnett said. “When you go back through the annals of the conference, it’s very obvious these were tremendous players that enjoyed success at all levels.”
In addition to the selection of the 10 all-decade players, one of the picks, Larry Jeffries (1965-69) of Trinity University, was selected as the Player of the Decade after he became the first four-time all-Southland choice, a two-time Southland Conference Player of the Year, and a three-time All-American. Jeffries also led the Tigers to the Southland’s first-ever berth in the 1969 NCAA University Division (Division I) Tournament.
The 1968-69 Southland Conference Basketball Records Book referred to Jeffries as Trinity’s “nonpareil,” or having no equal. The Alton, Ill., native also led Trinity to a third-place national finish in the NCAA College Division Tournament, and still ranks in the Southland’s top 10 in five statistical categories.
Joining Jefferies on the all-1960s team was another two-time Southland Player of the Year, Jerry Rook (1963-65), of Arkansas State, and Rook’s ASU teammate John Dickson (1963-67), another Southland Player of the Year. Lamar is represented on the all-1960s squad with standout forward Don Bryson (1963-65) and sharpshooting guard Earl Dow (1967-69), while Abilene Christian’s John Ray Godfrey (1964-68) and Charles Cleek (1964-66) were also tabbed for the team. Trinity’s Pete Ranucci (1963-65) also earned all-decade recognition, as did Texas-Arlington’s Mike Nau (1964-67) and Eddie Stallings (1967-69).
The Co-Head Coaches of the Decade honor was shared between Abilene Christian’s Dee Nutt and Lamar’s Jack Martin. Nutt led ACU to three Southland championships and three NCAA Regionals during the decade, while Martin’s Lamar team won the inaugural 1964 league title, advanced to a pair of NCAA Regionals, and led the nation’s No. 1 ranked College Division Team in 1969.
A total of 20 student-athletes makeup the 1970s All-Decade Team with at least one player from seven different member institutions during that period.
In addition to the selection of the 20 all-decade players, one of the picks, Dwight “Bo” Lamar (1971-73) of Louisiana-Lafayette, was selected as the player of the decade after he was a two-time all-conference selection, the 1972 Southland Conference Player of the Year and a third-round NBA draft pick by the Detroit Pistons. Lamar led the Ragin’ Cajuns to two conference titles, two NCAA tournament appearances and two tournament wins. In 1972, he led the league in scoring with 1,054 points (36.6 points per game), which still ranks as the most points in a single-season in Southland history. Lamar was the conference’s most prolific scorers, holding the conference record for most field goals made in a game (23), season (429) and career (1,445) along with the record for most career points (3,493) and highest scoring average (31.2).
The Columbus, Ohio, native still holds four of the top 10 single-game scoring records and two of the top five single-season scoring records. In the Southland’s record books, Lamar’s name still appears 14 times.
Joining Lamar on the all-1970s team from Louisiana-Lafayette is two-time Southland Player of the Year Andrew Toney (1976-80), a guard from Birmingham, Ala., and Roy Ebron (1971-73), a two-time all-conference center.
Arkansas State is represented by five members during the decade including centers John Belcher (1968-72) and Steve Brooks (1969-74), forward Dan Henderson (1973-77) and guards Allen Pruiett (1969-71) and Dan Scaife (1972-75). Louisiana Tech and McNeese State each have four members on the all-decade team. Mike Green (1971-73), the 1973 Player of the Year, represents the Bulldogs along Mike McConathy (1973-77), the current head coach at Northwestern State, as well as Lanky Wells (1973-77) and Victor King (1975-79). McNeese is headlined by three-time all-conference forward John Rudd (1974-78), Edmond Lawrence (1972-76), David Lawrence (1976-79) and Henry Ray (1972-75). Lamar’s Clarence Kea (1976-80) and Luke Adams (1970-72) also earned all-decade recognition, along with Abilene Christian’s Ronnie Hearne (1968-71) and Texas-Arlington’s Jerry Johnson (1972-75).
The 1970s all-decade team consists of 12 NBA draft picks, including three first-round selections, 10 conference players of the year and four three-time first-team all-conference selections.
Lamar’s Billy Tubbs, who coached the Cardinals from 1976-80, was selected as the head coach of the decade. Tubbs led them to three conference titles and two NCAA tournament appearances. During the two years in the NCAA tournament, Lamar picked up three wins, including a trip to the Sweet 16 in 1980. As the coach at Lamar, Tubbs posted a 75-46 overall recorded with a 31-9 mark in conference play. He would later return to coach at Lamar from 2004-06.
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