11/2/12: Happy Birthday to…

Whitey Skoog (University of Minnesota)

Whitey Skoog (86) – A legend in the state of Minnesota since he was born there, was a 3x All-American at the University of Minnesota and a 2x NBA champ with the Minneapolis Lakers. His career was cut short due to back troubles, but at least he never suffered the wrath of teammate George Mikan. Here’s Skoog recalling one such scene of a vengeful Mikan:

Mikan was a hard competitor,” Skoog said, “and one time he was going to shoot a layup and he got tunneled by [Syracuse guard] George King. George went down flat on his can and he lay there for a quite a while before he was able to get up and play again. Well about a month later, we were playing in Minneapolis and King went in for a layup. Mikan didn’t do much about blocking the shot, but he blocked King – right up into the third row. And I heard him say, right out loud, ‘I’ll teach that son of a gun.'”

Rodney Buford (35) – the former 2nd round pick spent five seasons in the NBA with five different teams. He was last seen in the National Basketball League of Canada last season. He was decent from the games I saw. Yes, I watch NBL Canada games.

Andy Rautins (26) – So far, the Syracuse product has made $1.388 million for hitting 3 shots in the NBA. That’s one helluva pay rate. Kareem Abdul-Jabbar would be worth $7.2 billion if he were paid the same. This nonsensical analysis and I don’t care. Happy birthday, Andy!

11/1/12 – Happy Birthday to…

It’s Voskuhl’s party and he’ll cry if he wants to

Joe Caldwell (71) – the mercurial 4x All-Star turns 71 today. A terrific all-around forward, I’m unfairly choosing to dredge up his quirky days on the St. Louis Spirits and his “interesting” influence on Marvin Barnes. From Terry Pluto’s Loose Balls:

Bob Costas: Looking back, the whole thing is pretty funny. The Spirits claimed that Joe Caldwell had led Marvin Barnes “astray.” Believe me, Marvin spent much of his life “astray.” He didn’t need a map or someone else to take him there. He was found in a pool hall in Dayton, Ohio, of all places. Then Marvin came back, Caldwell was suspended, and then Joe showed up at a Spirits game. They wouldn’t let him in, so he had to buy a ticket and he sat by himself upstairs. Really, the whole thing was crazy.

Corky Calhoun (62) – The Corkster was career reserve in the NBA, despite being the 4th overall pick in 1972. Still, he has more rings than Charles Barkley, Patrick Ewing and Kwame Brown combined. He actually was a decent player for the 1977 and 1978 Blazers, coming off the bench to give some offensive punch. Even scored 24 points on 11-12 FGs in one game. Yowzahs!

Jake Voskuhl (35) – I did not like watching this man play. I hate trying to spell his name. And I’m glad David West is terrorizing him in the opening photo.

Derek Smith – The father of former Duke player Nolan Smith, Derek Smith would have turned 51 today, but sadly he died at age 34 in 1996 from a heart complicaton. The promising wingman averaged 22 ppg on 54% shooting in 1985 for the Clippers. But of course, a player that good for the Clippers has to have knee problems and sure enough Smith’s Knee gave way the next season after just 11 games. He was torching the league with 23.5 points per game in just 30 minutes.

Just a tremendous player whose career was too short. Just a tremendous person whose life was too short.