Wednesday, March 17, 2010

Dick Triptow Donates Treasured Basketball

DePaul All-American Dick Triptow and his wife Helen present DePaul President Fr. Dennis Holtschneider, C.M. with the game ball from DePaul 1944 NIT win over Oklahoma A&M.

Following DePaul Alumni Association's 50-year Club Reception on March 15, DePaul Athletics received a treasure for display in McGrath Arena's Hall of Fame Collection.

All-American Dick Triptow donated the game ball that he received in DePaul's 41-38 win over Oklahoma A&M in Madison Square Garden in 1944.  The Aggies were coached by legend Hank Iba and featured 7-1 center Bob Kurland, setting up quite a match-up with Ray Meyer and George Mikan.

The Blue Demons trailed 15-2 after the first ten minutes in front of more than 18,000 fans.  The Blue Demon rally was led by Gene Stump and Jack Dean hitting key shots to get close the lead to 24-18 at halftime.

The Kurland-Mikan match-up should have been was one for the ages. At that time, to many experts Kurland was not only bigger than Mikan, he was also a bit more refined as a player. The "Battle of the Big Men" was set to be a sight to behold because of their complete dominance on both ends of the court. In the 1944 season, no goal tending rule existed so the two "giants" would sweep "seemingly made" shots off the rim or out of the basket. As a result, the NCAA created the goal-tending rules for the 1945 season.

The marquee match-up never materialized as Mikan fouled out with four minutes expired in the second half and he had scored just nine points.  Kurland followed several minutes later with 14 points.

In a basketball oddity, A&M was in worse shape once Kurland fouled out. They later had to play the final 90 seconds with only four players which DePaul used to its advantage in the victory.

The win allowed the Blue Demons to advance to the finals of the NIT. Unfortunately, DePaul would fall to St. John's, 47-39, in the Championship game. The 1944 Blue Demons ended their season with a 22-4 mark and set several offensive records. Four times the Blue Demons would score more than 80 points in a game to set a new standard of scoring for DePaul.

Following his DePaul career, Triptow played six years of professional basketball, starting with the Chicago Gears in the National Basketball League. Triptow penned the book, "The Dynasty that Never Was", which chronicles Chicago's first professional basketball championship.

Nicknamed "Tip Toe" Triptow by legendary Chicago broadcaster Jack Brickhouse, Triptow averaged 10 points a game as a rookie and would play three years for the Gears before being claimed by the Fort Wayne Zollner Pistons. In 1948-49, the Fort Wayne franchise entered the Basketball Association of America which eventually would become the Nation Basketball Association (NBA). The Blue Demon guard finished his career playing for the Baltimore Bullets.

After his professional career, Triptow taught and coached at St. Patrick's High School in Chicago from 1950-59. He then accepted a coaching position at Lake Forest College in Lake Forest, where he remained until 1973. His final move was to Lake Forest High School where he worked until retirement in 1988.

Triptow was been honored by several Halls of Fame, receiving induction into DePaul University Athletic Hall of Fame in its second induction class, the Catholic League Coaches Hall of Fame, Illinois Basketball Coaches Hall of Fame and the Chicagoland Sports Hall of Fame.