One of the great figures of US basketball, Pete Newell, died today. He was best known in his later years for his yearly Big Man Camp, whose NBA Alumni list includes the premier big men of the last 30 years. O'Neal, Olajuwon, Jabbar, Walton - the list of important big men who didn't go is shorter. When you look at the 250 names on the list and realize that Newell instructed all of them, he has to be credited with making NBA frontcourt play what it is.
Making the news accounts extra-special for me were the frequent mentions of Newell in connection with Clair Bee as the most influential college basketball coaches of the 30's-50's. Bee is dear to my heart as the author of the Chip Hilton sports series of books. Comeback Cagers was my favorite.