As South Carolina prepares to host a weekend honoring legendary basketball coach Frank McGuire, The State takes a look back at the some of the best players who won for him.
10. GARY GREGOR (1965-68)
A part of McGuire’s first team at USC, Gregor led the ACC in rebounding and earned All-ACC honors in 1967 and 1968. He averaged 15.6 points and 12.6 rebounds in his career. He was an All-NBA rookie with Phoenix.
9. ZAM FREDRICK (1978-81)
Despite having his best season in the first year after McGuire left (he led the country with 28.9 points per game as a senior in 1980-81), Fredrick was a staple of McGuire’s last teams. His career scoring average was 13.7).
8. BRIAN WINTERS (1972-74)
Despite a career hampered with injuries and a bout with mononucleosis, Winters scored 1,079 points and became a lethal long-range shooter – and passer, as he specialized in throwing length-of-the-court hurls to streaking teammates for layups. His No. 32 jersey was retired by the Milwaukee Bucks.
7. SKIP HARLICKA (1966-68)
One of McGuire’s first recruits, Harlicka scored over 1,200 points, averaging 17.5 per game and leading the team in scoring in every season. As a senior, he was named first-team All-ACC and ACC All-Tournament .
6. TOM RIKER (1970-72)
One of the players that helped turn USC into one of the most feared teams (physically) in the league, the burly Riker was a first-team All-American, averaging 15.8 points. In hree seasons, he scored over 1,300 points, including 42 points in an NCAA tournament game.
5. MIKE DUNLEAVY (1972-76)
A 1,500-point scorer in his career, Dunleavy averaged 14.3 points per game and helped usher in the next wave of success of USC basketball. Dunleavy became a veteran NBA coach, leading four franchises.
4. KEVIN JOYCE (1970-73)
“Jump to the moon.” Joyce’s career will be forever tied to one simple remark from McGuire, as he prepared to face 6-foot-10 North Carolina center Lee Dedmon for a jumpball. Joyce, at 6-3, somehow got his hand on the ball and tapped it to Tom Owens, who scored the winning basket for the 1971 ACC tournament championship. Joyce’s No. 43 was retired by USC in recognition of a 1,400-point All-American career.
3. TOM OWENS (1969-71)
A rebounding machine who led the ACC for three straight seasons. Owens is the only USC player to score 1,000 points and haul in 1,000 rebounds in three seasons. The lanky Owens averaged 13.3 rebounds per game and scored over 1,300 career points. Some say his No. 24 needs to be retired.
2. ALEX ENGLISH (1972-76)
The player who took the mantle from McGuire’s all-time greatest player and carried it forward, as a local kid who decided to stay and play for his hometown school. He started every game of his career (111). As an NBA player, English scored over 25,000 points and was the No. 7 career scorer when he retired. He was enshrined into the Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame in 1997. His No. 22 hangs in the CLA rafters.
1. JOHN ROCHE (1969-71)
There have been better scorers and better players, but nothing could match the impact that Roche had on USC basketball. The first USC athlete to be featured in USC uniform on the cover of “Sports Illustrated,” Roche was a three-time All-American who left behind the career scoring record, along with his retired No. 11. Roche also became one of the most fabled USC athletes, but he stayed away from Columbia until former coach Dave Odom coaxed him into making an appearance several years ago. That he was such a lost son only added to his mystique as the best player to ever wear a USC uniform.
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