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From the Editor

Anonymity No More

One of the few good things about getting older is the opportunity to wax poetic about the good ole days. Such is the case with this issue of HQ, much of which is dripping with nostalgia about the glory days of basketball in Huntington. Long before Huntington emerged as a football town, our community was steeped in a rich basketball heritage. Fans across the region were engrossed by great basketball contests staged at both the high school and college level.

In 1972, I was just eight years old when I was first introduced to Marshall University basketball. There probably couldn’t have been a better time for someone to be a Thundering Herd fan than in the early 1970s. Back then, the program featured such stars as George Stone, Mike D’Antoni, Russell Lee and more. The Memorial Field House, where the Herd played their home games, was always jam packed and the electricity in the air was palpable. I remember it being so loud in the arena thatI had to cover my ears with my hands to drown out the noise. In fact, Marshall was so good in 1972 that they were ranked as high as number eight in the nation. I had a scrapbook full of newspaper clippings of my two heroes – D’Antoni and Lee. When I became sick with pneumonia that year, Mike D’Antoni actually came to see me at St. Mary’s Hospital. I will never forget that day. D’Antoni went on to play professional basketball in the NBA and later in Europe as the hugely popular star in Milan, Italy. There, he became the team’s all-time leading scorer and led the club to five Italian League titles and two Cups of Europe. A young Kobe Bryant, who lived in Europe at the time, was such a fan of the Italian star that he wore a number eight jersey in honor of his favorite player. D’Antoni returned to the United States in the late 1990’s to coach the Denver Nuggets and Phoenix Suns, where he was named the NBA Coach of the Year for the 2004-2005 season. Mike is just one example of the rich basketball heritage that can be found in this community.

No discussion of Huntington’s rich heritage would be complete without examining the life’s work of legendary coach Cam Henderson. In this edition we profile the new documentary by local filmmakers John Witek & Deborah Novak about the life and times of this basketball pioneer. The “Old Man,” as he was respectfully known by his former players, was a true genius and is credited with inventing basketball’s zone defense and fast break. Add to that his vast resume of winning seasons and a national championship at Marshall in 1947 and it is baffling that his name is not among those found at the Naismith Memorial Hall of Fame.

This issue of HQ features six articles about basketball in our region. In addition to profiles of Henderson and D’Antoni, we feature NBA?Hall of Famer Hal Greer, former Marshall Coach Billy Donovan and the Thundering Herd’s newest head coach, former Donovan assistant and Point Pleasant, W.Va. native Donnie Jones. Of course all of this newfound interest in basketball was inspired by the recent success of Huntington High School’s “Dream Team.” The talented club featuring McDonald’s All-Americans O.J. Mayo and Patrick Patterson thrilled capacity crowds from here to Charleston, reminding many of us old timers what it was like when basketball was the best ticket in town. Our feature on the “Dream Team” looks back at their exciting season as one of the finest high school basketball squads in the nation.

I hope the readers of HQ will enjoy this trip down memory lane. But even more importantly, I hope that our community fills the stands at area basketball games, fosters rising young stars and returns Marshall University to national prominence. In doing so, we will continue to add new chapters to our rich basketball heritage.





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