Saturday, May 30, 2015

GOLA SNUBBED

The list of the 15 greatest players in the 75 years of MARCH MAdness does not include the ailing LaSalle legend.

GOLA SNUBBED

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I know. Tom Gola wore shiny short-shorts and played in an era when set-shots and center jumps were still integral parts pf the game.

 But that's no reason to forget about the LaSalle legend.

 The NCAA today released its final listing of the 15 greatest players in NCAA Tournament history. Gola wasn't on it. Here, in alphabetical order, are the deserving members:

Kareem Abdul-Jabbar

Larry Bird

Bill Bradley

Patrick Ewing

Grant Hill

Earvin "Magic" Johnson

Michael Jordan

Christian Laettner

Jerry Lucas

Danny Manning

Hakeem Olajuwon

Oscar Robertson

Bill Russell

Bill Walton

Jerry West

 Gola clearly belongs near the head of that list.

 He played in 10 NCAA games over two seasons. His teams won nine of them. LaSalle was the NCAA champion in 1954, the runner-ups to the great Bill Russell-K.C. Jones San Francisco team in 1955.

 Gola averaged 22.9 points a game and nearly as many rebounds. He was the MVP of the '54 tournament and the runner-up in '55.

 The numbers, like the man himself, are worthy of honor.

Inquirer Sports Columnist
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Reporter Frank Fitzpatrick, a 2001 Pulitzer Prize finalist, is covering his eighth Olympic Games and has yet to win a medal in anything except caffeine consumption. He has also been the beat writer for the Phillies, Eagles and Penn State football.

Frank Fitzpatrick Inquirer Sports Columnist
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