Monday, June 1, 2015

A Meeting At Reunions Of 4,186 Points

Another Reunions has now come and gone.

Again, if you're a Princetonian, make sure you don't forget that your annual tradition is very unique in the world of college alma maters. There are probably more people who have been to every Reunions at Princeton for the last 25 years than people who have been to every one of their major reunion years at pretty much every other college.

One of the best part of Reunions at Princeton is the way different generations of alums meet up and get to know each other.

In athletics, this often means athletes from decades ago play in alumni games with and against athletes 15, 20, 25 years younger. And yet they have that common bond of having played at Princeton, often for the same coach. They have similar experiences, if not common ones, and they are a living history of Tiger Athletics.

Some, of course, transcend any generation, and their names by themselves are the living history of Princeton.

In athletics, none is bigger than Bill Bradley.

To TigerBlog, Bradley is without question the greatest living Princeton athlete. In fact, a very strong case could be made that he is the greatest athlete who ever played sports at Princeton, from its beginning in 1864 through today.

If not him, then who? The only other case TigerBlog can make is for Hobey Baker.

 Bradley was back on campus for Reunions. It was his 50th.

Sandi Leland was back as well. It was her 25th.

No players - male or female - have ever scored more points for Princeton basketball than the two of them.

Bradley is Princeton's all-time leading scorer in men's basketball with 2,503 career points. Leland, who used to be Sandi Bittler, is Princeton's all-time leading scorer in women's basketball with 1,683.

No other men's player other Bradley has ever scored more than she did.

If you want a trivia question, there are five other players between the men's and women's programs who reached 1,600 points. Can you name them?

TigerBlog will give you a few paragraphs to think about it. Bonus trivia question - what Princeton basketball player will enter the 2015-16 season with the most career points?

Meanwhile, the statue of Bill Bradley in front of Jadwin Gym was official dedicated at an event during Reunions.

TigerBlog thinks it's important to remember just how dominant Bradley was during his career, so consider some of what he accomplished.

He has the 11 highest scoring games in Princeton basketball history. He is the only player in program history ever to reach 40 points. He scored at least 16 points in every game he played in his career.

His 2,503 points came in three seasons, without a three-point line. He has scored 878 more points than the next-best total in men's basketball history - and 820 more than Leland did in her Princeton career.

He led Princeton to the Ivy League championship and NCAA tournament in each of his three seasons, and the 1965 team advanced to the national semifinals. To this day, 50 years later, Bradley still holds the record for the most points in a Final Four game, with his 58 against Wichita State in the third-place game, which Princeton won.

His other accomplishments include a gold medal at the 1964 Olympic Games (he was the U.S. captain), a Sullivan Award as the nation's top amateur athlete, a Rhodes Scholarship, two NBA championships with the Knicks (who haven't won one since he retired) and three terms in the U.S. Senate from New Jersey.

As for Leland, the Princeton record book is littered with her name - her maiden name, at least.

In addition to the scoring record, she also holds the program records for both three-pointers made in a career and three-point shooting percentage, which is a pretty good double. She also has the record for three-pointers made in a game with 10.

And, even though she was joking with her three children (Emma, Max, Jack) that she played no defense, she is fifth all-time in steals at Princeton.

Oh, and the trivia answers?

The 1,600-point club is Bradley (2,503), Leland (1,683) and then Meagan Cowher (1,671), Ian Hummer (1,625), Claire Tomasiewicz (1,622) and Becky Brown (1,608).

And the leading active scorer is Michelle Miller of the women's team, who enters her senior year with 916. Hans Brase leads the men with 831.

Bradley and Leland met for the first time, TigerBlog believes, at Reunions this weekend. They posed for a picture together, the leading scorers in Princeton basketball history, all 4,186 points worth between them.

To TigerBlog, that's what Reunions is about.

Princeton history.

It may be dressed up in oddly designed, ghastly ugly orange and black jackets and outfits.

But it's Princeton history nonetheless. Alive and well.

It's unique, Princetonians.

TigerBlog would tell you to cherish it, but he knows you already do.

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