MACwood Squares is our summer reading series on the best athletes in Mid-American Conference sports history. This week features Bowling Green. Looking for your MAC school? Consult our schedule for other teams and please submit your nominees as well.
A true statement: Bowling Green has more players in the NBA Hall of Fame than Duke University. End of pitch.
I've got seven nominees for you to peruse, although I think this may be a foregone conclusion as to who the best is. And hey, maybe there's one or two I'm missing, so pipe up. But you decide as we delve into the history of Falcons basketball, which has been better than advertised over the years.
And I'm not gonna lie to you: this sentence means absolutely nothing but is necessary so that the front-page layout looks a lot better.
Charles Share (1946-50) — The only No. 1 pick in school history, when he was taken first in 1950 by the Boston Celtics. (Technically not a MAC pick, since the Falcons didn't join up until 1952.) He was a Third Team AP All-American in '50, when he averaged 19.9 points per game.
Nate Thurmond (1960-63) – He's only one of the nastiest centers in NBA history, but before he was the San Francisco Warriors' big guy inside, the No. 3 pick in the 1963 NBA Draft averaged 17.8 points and 17.0 rebounds for his career. Naturally, all three seasons he was First Team All-MAC, and what a way for legendary coach Harold Anderson to go out on.
Howard Komives (1961-64) — Essentially the forgotten star in Falcons lore. Butch Komives has the highest scoring average (25.8/game), and in his senior year he had an obscene 36.7 points per game, and this is a MAC record. A second-round NBA pick in 1964, Butch sustained a 10-year career, averaging 10.2 points per game.
Walt Piatkowski (1965-68) — Yes, he's the father of former NBAer Eric Piatkowski, if you need that frame of reference. But Father Walt was a little better in college, averaging 21.6 points per game, third best in school history. He had a brief ABA career, playing a couple years with the Denver Rockets and one with The Floridians.
Antonio Daniels (1993-97) — Such a fun player to watch. Daniels was the 1997 MAC POY, who couldn't be stopped as he scored 24.0 per game and finished fourth all time on the BGSU scoring list. He parlayed this into a fourth overall pick by the Vancouver Grizzlies
Anthony Stacey (1995-2000) — He's the all-time leading scorer in school history with 1,938, and for good measure he's their all-time steals leader. Their Bonzi Wells, if you will. He was named the 2000 MAC POY and went on to play about 10 years professionally in Spain. He's finally settled down and received his first head coaching job at Medina (Ohio) HS.
Keith McLeod (1998-2002) — Try as he might, McLeod could not overcome Stacey on the all-time points list, finishing just 43 behind him with 1,892. He was the MAC Player of the Year in 2002, averaging 22.9 points and sinking 199 total 3-point shots, a record he held for all of three years. McLeod wasn't drafted in 2003 but did finagle his way into a four-year NBA career before heading down into the NBDL and then Greece. Sometimes the pro-level can sour a player's greatness — he really was something to watch in college — and this was validated with CollegeInsider.com named him as one of 25 players on their Mid-Major All-Decade Team.
Other nominees: James Darrow (twice scored 52 in a game), Al Bianchi (played, coached, and ran teams in the NBA), and Cornelius Cash (menacing rebounder). One of my favorite players to watch — and sadly he's not at the level of all-time "greats" — was John Reimold. He only played there for two years, but he was all hustle coupled with some talent. The thing was, after every play it looked like he was going to pass out from exhaustion. And he never did.
Who are your nominees for Bowling Green's MACwood Squares? Comment below, tweet us at @HustleBelt or submit a FanPost making your case. The final nine will be revealed Friday.