Wilt Chamberlain - Recruited By Kansas
Recruited by Kansas
Beginning with his 1952-53 varsity year, Chamberlain led the Overbrook team to a series of victories, with season records of 19-2, 19-0, and 18-1. His reputation as a
rebounder began at this early stage: the Overbrook high coach actually taught his players to miss free throws so that Chamberlain could rebound them and score more valuable field goals. In those days, goaltending, or hovering over the basket, was still legal, and Chamberlain was known to tip a ball thrown by a teammate into the hoop even when it would have gone in anyway—a practice that irritated his fellow Overbrook players.
At Overbrook, Chamberlain did not confine himself to a single sport, gaining notoriety on the cross country and track and field teams, and even winning a conference title—not surprisingly—in the long jump. It is also not surprising that college recruiters had their eye on Chamberlain, and that the University of Kansas gave him a scholarship. In terms of talent, he qualified for the varsity team, but NCAA (National Collegiate Athletic Association) rules at the time prohibited freshmen from playing varsity basketball, so Chamberlain took his place on the Jayhawks' freshman squad. In a significant showing of his skills, Chamberlain led the freshmen to victory in their first game—which happened to be against their varsity counterparts. Thanks to some 40 points, 30 rebounds, and 15 blocks courtesy of their extraordinary new player, the freshmen trounced the varsity Jayhawks 81-71.
On December 3, 1956, Chamberlain, now a sophomore, played his first game for the Jayhawks' varsity team. In that game, against Northwestern, he set a school record by scoring 52 points, helping to ensure an 87-69 victory. In 1957, Kansas went to the NCAA championships against the University of North Carolina, and though the Jayhawks lost by a single point in triple overtime, Chamberlain himself earned the title of MVP (most valuable player) for the tournament.
- Wilt Chamberlain - From The Jayhawks To The Globetrotters To The Warriors
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