April 2, 2014

A look at the All-Texas Final Four teams

From Texas Western to Phi Slama Jama, Texans have had a major impact on college basketball’s biggest event.

The Final Four at AT&T Stadium brings back memories of Houston’s great teams of the 1960s and the famed Phi Slama Jama of the 1980s. Many other Texans have also left their mark on college basketball’s biggest stage. Texas Western’s victory over Kentucky in College Park, Md., was history making. The first all-black starting five trumped the all-white and most renowned program in college hoops history. We celebrate Texas’ achievements in the Final Four with the All-Texas Final Four teams. To qualify, one had to play on a Texas team or be a Texan.

First team

C Hakeem Olajuwon

(Houston) “The Dream” played sparingly as a freshman in the Cougars’ semifinal loss to North Carolina in 1982, but lived the nightmare of next year’s upset loss to North Carolina State in the NCAA championship game. Olajuwon had 21 points and 22 rebounds in a 13-point victory over Louisville in the 1983 semifinal and followed with 20 and 18 against the Wolfpack. Olajuwon led his team back in 1984, but lost to Georgetown. The 7-footer had 15 points and nine rebounds against Patrick Ewing.

F Elvin Hayes

(Houston) Hayes led his team to consecutive trips to the Final Four in 1967-68, but lost both times in the semifinals to one of the greatest teams and players in history. The Louisiana native had 25 points and 24 rebounds in a 73-58 loss to Lew Alcindor (Kareem Abdul-Jabbar) and UCLA in the semifinals in 1967. The next year at the Los Angeles Memorial Sports Arena, Hayes had 10 and 5 while Houston went down more quietly, 101-69.

F Jim Krebs

(SMU) One of the country’s best players for two seasons in the 1950s, Krebs took the Mustangs to their only Final Four in 1956. Krebs and his “unstoppable” hook shot poured in 24 points in a semifinal loss to eventual champion San Francisco lead by Bill Russell. The Mustangs advanced to the NCAAs the next season but were booted by Wilt Chamberlain and Kansas in the Midwestern semis.

G Clyde Drexler

(Houston) Before a Hall of Fame NBA career with Portland and Houston, “The Glide” was one of the nation’s best playmakers while helping Houston advance to Final Fours in 1982 and 1983. The Houston Sterling High School product averaged 14 points and eight rebounds in three games, including 21 points and seven rebounds in Houston’s memorable 94-81 victory over Louisville in the 1983 semifinals. He followed though with only four points in the loss to N.C. State after getting in foul trouble early.

G Bobby Joe Hill

(Texas Western/UTEP) The 5-foot-10 guard was the guiding force in the Miners’ victory in 1966 that doubled as a triumph for civil rights and sports desegregation. The Michigan native had 18 points and 11 rebounds in an 85-78 victory over Utah, which was led by Jerry Chambers’ 38 points. In the final that inspired a Hollywood interpretation, Hill led all scorers with 20 points on 7-of-17 shooting in a 72-65 victory.

Second team

C David Lattin, UTEP: The Houston native averaged 13.5 points and 6.5 rebounds in two games in 1966.

F Larry Johnson, UNLV: “Grandmama,” a Dallas Skyline grad, averaged 17 points and nearly 10 rebounds in three games, including semifinal and title-game victories over Georgia Tech and Duke in 1990.

F Michael Young, Houston: The steadiest player during the Cougars’ last two Final Four appearances, Young averaged 14 points in four games.

G Orsten Artis, UTEP: A big part of the Miners’ success in 1966, Artis went for 22 points and five rebounds in the semifinals and 15 and eight in the title game.

G Alvin Franklin, Houston: As a freshman, Franklin had 21 points and nine assists in Houston’s 1983 semifinals victory. In four games, he averaged 11 points and eight assists.

Honorable mentions

Brandon Mouton, Texas: Guard had 25 points on 5-of-9 3-pointers in a national semifinals loss to Syracuse in 2003.

T.J. Ford, Texas: The point guard from Sugar Land Willowridge contributed 12 points and 13 assists in loss to Syracuse.

Jack Robinson, Baylor: Fort Worth Paschal High School grad and future gold-medal winner at the 1948 Olympics had eight points in a national finals loss to Kentucky and Adolph Rupp.

Deron Williams, Illinois: The Colony product, who was the Illini’s hero in a comeback victory over Arizona earlier in the tournament, had 17 points and seven assists in national title-game loss to North Carolina in 2005.

Mookie Blaylock, Oklahoma: The Sooners guard from Garland pitched in 14 points, four assists and five rebounds in the Sooners’ 83-79 loss to Kansas in the 1988 championship game.

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