That 1971 Schenley High School team was one of the best ever! (Bill Neal's Column Oct. 4)


:10—Let’s get right to it. Pictured in the photo are members of the 1971 Schenley High School City League and State Championship Team. Considered by most basketball historians and sports writers as one of the five greatest teams in Western PA history, along with the 1966 Kenny Durrett-led Schenley team, the Dick Devenzio-led Ambridge team, the Simmie Hill-led Midland team and the great Sam Clancy-led Fifth Avenue team. Hey, pick your poison, but every one of those teams take you apart at the seams. But make no mistake about it, few teams possessed the tremendous talent as this “71” Spartan team. The great and future NBA All-Star and World Champion Maurice Lucas…the “Get it all done” force of Tom Thorton…the legendary, and I do mean legendary, Robert “Jeep” Kelly…the complete greatness of Ricky “Black Magic” Coleman (Considered by most the greatest guard in Western PA history) and a support group who, as a unit, could have won the City League as well. Ralph Smith, Jerry Harvey, Norrie Coney, Jeff Matthews, Gary “Dusty” Meyers, Leon Williams, Lester Harper, and James “Squeaky” Nicholson. (All are set to attend.) (Maurice Lucas and Jeep Kelly are deceased.)
1971 CHAMPIONSHIP TEAM—First row, from left: Coach S. Watkins, L. Williams, R. Chambers, S. Wise, R. McCutchen, G. Scott, Asst. Coach R. Young. Second row, from left: J. Matthews, G. Myers, N. Coney, L. McGee, J. Harvey, T. Thornton, M. Lucas, R. Head, E. Woods, J. Nicholson, R. Smith, D. Burley

:09—The 1971 Schenley hoop team will join the 1966 Schenley City League and State Championship team as both are inducted in this year’s 4th Annual Pittsburgh City League Hall of Fame Awards. Say what you want and feel as you may, just about everyone gives the nod to the “66” team as the best ever with Kenny Durrett voted the greatest player in Western PA history and subsequently the greatest player in NCAA Big Five Conference history, it’s hard to argue. But it by no means was a one man show. Durrett told me several times if there was no Petey Gibson, there would not have been a Kenny Durrett. Add to that the legendary names you know so well…the greatness of Marvin Snowden, Jimmy Prince, Jake Williams, Phil Maza, Rod “Hot Rod” Horne, Willie Clay and Montel Brundage. (All are set to attend except for Petey Gibson.) (Kenny Durrett, Montel Brundage and Willie Clay are deceased.)
:08—Oh yea, about that Steeler game this past Sunday. Yes, I am at my spot. No, it’s none of your business. And your Pittsburgh Steelers come out of the darkness of the tunnel…(pun intended) to rip the feathers out of the dirty birds. I knew they’d win, and, well, 26-9 Steelers…
:07—The Penguins are going to the White House, which, by the way, has never been more White. Everybody that’s surprised at the decision please raise your hand… anybody? Anybody? Nope. That’s what I thought.
:06—Your Pitt Panthers overcooked Rice, 42-10. As well they should. But trust me, that’s a good and needed win for the Blue and Gold. Right now every win matters and the season is not lost contrary to popular belief!
:05—Ohhhhh, now the Pirates want to rip the cover off the ball and win some games. C’mon man!!! They beat the Nationals in their final game of the year, 11-8, and not a soul watched or cared…
:04—I still do have your Steelers winning the Super Bowl, but one thing is for sure. In order to do that, “Ben” has got to play better. I mean much better. Right now he’s looking like the quarterback for the Perry Commodores. (No offense Rod Rutherford.)
:03—Speaking of Rutherford, now at the helm of Perry football, one of the greatest student athletes in City League history and quite possibly the 2nd greatest quarterback in Pitt history, greatly under-appreciated. And a true gentleman!
:02—For the few of you still holding onto the idea that the NFL players’ protest should have been kept off the field, just a little reminder…the Boston Tea Party wasn’t held in a back alley somewhere!
:01—Last call. The 4th Annual City League Hall of Fame Inductions—Friday, Oct. 6. Pre-event reception at the Savoy, 6 p.m.-until. Welcome home, everybody, no cost, Dress to Impress, free parking, cash bar & kitchen. The main event Saturday, Oct. 7 at the August Wilson Center – Dress to Impress – $50 Adults, $25 youth 12 and under – elaborate hors d’oeuvres spread by the Savoy – cash bar – street and garage parking – vendors – 50/50 – and a darn good time I promise you! For information, call AGI at 412-628-4856 – Curtis Hefflin at 412-613-9136 – Fred Lucas at 412-999-7664.
:00—O.J. is free! That’s all I got . . . for now! —GAME OVER.—
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