More than 70 people at the Brainerd Dispatch All-Century Men's Basketball Team reception Friday night received an accurate history of the first jump shot in Minnesota as told by the man who first tried it in a game.
Despite the cold and the snow falling outside the feeling was warm and receptive inside as 19 of the 24 men selected to the team were either in attendance or were represented.
According to Brainerd's Myer "Whitey" Skoog basketball has been a group of sequences from one event to the next. It all just fell into place for the man who didn't know what a basketball looked like until he was in the ninth grade.
"I didn't think about going to the University of Minnesota to play basketball until my senior year when my coach told me that the basketball coach was interested in me coming down there," said Skoog, a three-time All-Big Ten selection and two-time All-American at Minnesota. "It was my home state. I had loyalty to my home state. I had a chance to go to a number of other places but I wanted to go there."
MYER "WHITEY" SKOOG -- He helped the Lakers to glory
It was a logical sequence and Skoog was fortunate enough to play with a coach that highlighted his skills. He then was drafted by the Minneapolis Lakers, helping them win three NBA championships.
From there Skoog went to Gustavus Adolphus College as the Gusties' men's basketball coach for 24 years.
Also in attendance was Frank Wachlarowicz, a 1975 Little Falls graduate. Wachlarowicz was a standout at St. Johns University where he set Minnesota's all-time collegiate men's scoring record and remains second overall in Minnesota.
"When I first found out I made the team I thought it was a real terrific honor just because of the number of athletes that central Minnesota has produced," Wachlarowicz said. "To be selected one of those 24 athletes I found to be a very worthy honor.
FRANK WACHLAROWICZ -- State scoring record setter
"Basketball has meant a variety of things, not only the friendships with teammates and players from opposing teams. Just to work and play in a unified sport like basketball has really meant a lot," Wachlarowicz added.
The gathering gave former players the opportunity to relive their glory days and get together with some of the players they had played with or against.
"I did get to see Chuck Warnberg (a teammate of Skoog's and a member of the all-century team) this afternoon and spend some time with him," said Skoog. "This is a wonderful time for me to meet with Chuck. He himself was truly an outstanding basketball player. He has to be one of the very best that ever played in Brainerd.
"It was just great to sit and exchange old memories and talk about people we knew. It's one of those nice things about coming home again."
The 24 men were recognized at halftime of the Brainerd Warriors boys' basketball game against Tartan.
As far as the the first jump shot ever in Minnesota, according to Skoog, it didn't find the bottom of the net.
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