The Perfect Season: A Memoir of the 1964-1965 Evansville College Purple Aces

By Russell Grieger | Go to book overview

4
THE BEGINNINGS

I MUST HAVE BEEN FIVE or six the first time I picked up a basketball. I lived on Covert Avenue, directly across the street from a coal yard where trains stopped to refuel. The trains provided an endless source of fascination, but I was banned from visiting them because of the dangers posed by the elephantine boxcars that thunderclapped as they stopped.

That left the humdrum backyards as my playground. One fall day I roamed these unkempt yards, past soiled concrete stoops, clotheslines that drooped empty between rusted poles, and weather-beaten doghouses. Down the block, I came upon a dilapidated wooden backboard and hoop topping a pole stuck into a barren patch of ground. God only knows how many previously played basketball games made the earth beneath it smooth and indented.

As if to beckon me further, an old rubber basketball, worn slick and shiny through many seasons of use, lay lifeless on the ground. I picked it up and tried every possible way I could to launch it up and into the basket—underhanded from between my legs; backward, two-handed, over my head; one-handed from alongside my right ear; two-handed from my chest; a sideways sling vaguely

-31-

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The Perfect Season: A Memoir of the 1964-1965 Evansville College Purple Aces
Table of contents

Table of contents

  • Title Page iii
  • Contents vii
  • Acknowledgments ix
  • Author’s Note xi
  • Prologue xiii
  • Part One - The Aces Get Ready 1
  • 1 - The Armory Days 3
  • 2 - Carson Center Preparation 9
  • 3 - The Iowa Hawkeyes 20
  • Part Two - The Ace Grows Up 29
  • 4 - The Beginnings 31
  • 5 - From Bullpup to Bulldog 41
  • 6 - Flailing and Falling 53
  • 7 - Flying 63
  • 8 - St. Louis Blues 74
  • 9 - Return to Evansville 87
  • 10 - A Dream Comes True—Almost 96
  • Part Three - The Aces Succeed 119
  • 11 - Northwestern 121
  • 12 - Notre Dame 129
  • 13 - A Holiday Feast 138
  • 14 - The Black Hills and the Badlands 148
  • 15 - Larry, Then the Holy Grail 157
  • 16 - Fans into Redshirts 165
  • 17 - Southern Illinois Surprise 175
  • 18 - Depauw and More 184
  • 19 - Five Games, Five Snapshots 194
  • 20 - Southern Illinois Redux 208
  • Part Four - The Aces Triumph 217
  • 21 - The NCAA Regional 219
  • 22 - The NCAA Finals 231
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