Tuesday, December 14, 2010

That's Historical

TigerBlog orginally was going to be a political science major and ultimately lawyer when he headed to college, and he started down that path first semester freshman year with a course on the Supreme Court.

It was taught by an extremely monotone professor, and TB's main memories of that class are that 1) it was in the University Museum opposite Franklin Field, 2) TB got a B and 3) the monotone guy really, really loved the Supreme Court. In fact, one part of the class included "The Official Monotone Professor Guy's Supreme Court All-Stars," which consisted of what he believed were the nine greatest justices of all time.

Eventually, the whole law school idea began to fade away once TB realized that there were people in the world who got paid to go to games and that TB would like to be one of them.

The political science part was a little too theoretical for TB, so he switched his major to history. American Political History, to be exact.

As an aside, TB took two semesters of the History of the American South with Drew Gilpin Faust, who is now the president of Harvard. He also took some great classes on unionization with a professor named Walter Licht, whose specialty was the railroads.

Anyway, one of his seminars had each student select a book and then a week to write a paper and give a presentation on that book. The order was determined by a random draw, and TigerBlog's name was called first, giving him the option of which book and which week he wanted.

One of the books on the list was written by Dr. Licht, and TB selected that book and Week 1. He then read the book (pretty interesting stuff about the railroads), wrote his paper, gave his presentation and cruised through the remaining three months of the class.

Years later, BrotherBlog's friend Ira - another Penn academic - asked TB if he could leave him four tickets to the Princeton-Penn game, and one of the people Ira brought with him was Dr. Licht. TigerBlog introduced himself and said that he had been a student of his years earlier, but Dr. Licht didn't remember - until TB mentioned how he had picked his book and Week 1. Dr. Licht then smiled and pointed out that nobody else had ever done that in any of his seminars.

TigerBlog much preferred the history classes, whether it was European history through 1870 (complete with a lecture that featured a recitation of a speech from the French Revolution delivered in French for effect) or Jeffersonian/Jacksonian America or the American Civil War or the origins of the Cold War or even the history of the 1960s.

Since graduation, TB has still been a fan of history, and he's read many books and watched many documentaries about any number of historical areas.

And, while he's working in a career that pays him to go to games, his career path is also heavy on the history. In fact, TB considers himself a Princeton athletics historian as much as anything else.

With that background, TB has always been fascinated by putting the achievements of current athletes and coaches into historical context.

All of which brings us to Kareem Maddox and his scoring outputs of late.

Maddox increased his scoring averages from 3.7 as a freshman to 5.0 as a sophomore to 6.2 a year ago. He then scored seven, six, four, eight and four points in Princeton's first five games this season.

And since? How about 30, six, 10, 13 and 31.

His two 30-point games make him one of just eight players in program history with at least two in the same season. He's also the only one in the last 27 seasons to accomplish the feat.

You know what that means? It means that Kit Mueller didn't do it. Neither did Brian Earl, Gabe Lewullis, Chris Young, Steve Goodrich, Rick Hielscher, Bob Scrabis, Judson Wallace, Will Venable and many other great Princeton players.

For that matter, only Mueller, Lewullis and Hielscher out of that group had even one 30-point game.

So who were the other seven?

Brian Taylor did it six times in 1971-72 after doing it four times the year before. Geoff Petrie did it four times as both a junior (1968-69) and senior (1969-70).

Going back to the 1950s, Carl Belz had 31 against both Illinois and Brown in his sophomore year of 1956-57, while Jim Brangan had 32 against both Temple and Army in 1958-59, his junior year.

Pete Campbell, who just happens to be the third-leading scorer in program history, had 30 against Yale and Dartmouth as a senior in 1962.

The most recent to pull it off was Kevin Mullen, who had 30 against Yale and then 38 against San Diego in the NCAA preliminary round game in 1984.

As with any discussion of Princeton basketball history, the large shadow of Bill Bradley is all over this one as well.

Bradley did it eight times as a sophomore (1962-63) and 13 times as a senior (1964-65). As a junior? How about 22 times. In 29 games.

TigerBlog also thought about looking up the last time Princeton had four players average in double figures for a full season, as Maddox, Ian Hummer, Dan Mavraides and Douglas Davis are all currently doing. TB figured it'd be a complete rarity, but it actually isn't.

Yes, it hasn't happened since 1987, when Scrabis, Alan Williams, Dave Orlandini and Joe Scott all did so. But it happened a bunch of times through the years, and Pete Carril's first Princeton team (1967-68) actually had five players do it: Petrie, Joe Heiser, John Hummer, Chris Thomforde and John Haarlow.

Then TB had one last historical thought. Maddox has two 30+ games, but he has no games in his career in which he finished with a point total in the 20s. Had any other player in program history done this?

Armed with the old blue notebooks written in pencil, TB went back ... and back ... and back ... and back.

All the way until Dec. 19, 1901, in the second season of Tiger basketball, when William McCoy scored 30 against Newark Academy. His next-best game was 16, a year later against Swarthmore.

Kareem Maddox and William McCoy. The only two to have done it.

And TB has a hunch that McCoy will be getting that distinction back for himself before the end of this season.

1 comment:

TigerBlog said...

TigerBlog stands corrected. The 2003 Tigers had four players average in double figures: Spencer Gloger, Judson Wallace, Will Venable and Ray Robins.