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John "Hondo" Havlicek (National Champion, NBA Champion, CBB/NBA HOF, R.I.P.)


Wears Scarlet-colored glasses
Since I don't feel like talking about the game, I'll talk about this. I don't have anything against John Havlicek--great player, especially in the NBA, played on the greatest OSU team of all-time. However, while I think he is worthy of this honor, he would not at all be my first choice. First of all, it has been OSU policy so far to only honor National Players of the Year(Lucas, Bradds, and JJ in basketball and the 5 Heisman winners in football). Hondo will be the first non-POY to get the honor. Why not Chic Harley in football, who played prior to the Heisman? Ditto for Johnny Miner in basketball. And will this lead to football retiring, say John Hicks or Keith Byars number? Neither won the Heisman but both finished 2nd. I think this sentence from the story is very telling:
He ranks 25th in career scoring at Ohio State and is one of just 41 players to score more than 1,000 points.

25th in career scoring...I know he played with Lucas who was gobbling up the points, but why not Kelvin Ransey or Dennis Hopson? Herb Williams or Dick Schnittker or Jim Cleamons or even Michael Redd. I think if you started a policy of retiring everybody's number who achieved what Havlicek did, at OSU, you'd have a whole lot of them up there.

I was wondering if retiring Havlicek's number is partially a recruiting ploy. While he didn't make his mark during his OSU playing days, he is legendary for his NBA exploits. Could it be we are trying to get another well known name up there for recognition by recruits? Most HS players probably don't know of anyone who played here with the possible exception of Redd. I know it's impossible for them to have seen Havlicek, but they may have heard their dad or uncle talk about Celtic teams of the past. The fact that Scoonie knew of Havlicek but not Lucas kind of put this in my brain.

Personally I was thinking they should concider retiring Fred Taylor's number. He didn't put up huge numbers as a player here, but his coaching record deserves more than just a street behind the Schott.
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I think it's wrong to say "he didn't make his mark during his OSU playing days". I know I sorta said that, but I mean, he was a first team AA in 1962. On my website I pick my all time OSU starting 5, and it's Lucas, Havlicek, JJ, Miner, and Ransey. Havlicek WAS a great player at OSU--but not that much greater of a player then Kelvin or Dennis Hopson or Jimmy Hull or Herb Williams or Clark Kellogg or Michael Redd or Jim Cleamons. If I had my druthers, Ransey's number would be the first retired.

As for Taylor, I think the street is enough(compared to what other people have). I mean, Woody only has the WHAC and a street. I would love to see a statue of Woody on Jesse Owens plaza(and I would donate $20 to see it happen:)--that'll really get it done), and then once Woody has some more recognition than Coach Taylor could get something.
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I know Havlicek was an great player while he was here, but what I was saying is his name would not be as prominent now if not for his accomplishments outside of his OSU career. I agree with you that the other AA players you named probably had careers here that were just as deserving, but he does have the NC ring, Olympic medal, and NBA career. If you took a list of former OSU basketball players outside of Big10 country, Havlicek might be the most recognized name.

Personally I think Taylor got shafted when they sold the naming rights to the VCA/Schott. Hayes has the WHAC which is a football structure, Taylor deserves something associated with basketball. This is not unique to athletics either, prominent professors and adminstrators from the past have structures named after them, but I couldn't tell you who 90% of them were. I just thought retiring his number would be an easy way remember him and associate him with basketball.
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It's kind of a catch-22. If you took a poll of Ohio State Buckeye fans from days gone by and ask them to name the top 4 "greatest" Sports figures (players- so Coach Hayes Doesn't count) the top 4 will be:

Archie Griffin
Jerry Lucas
Jesse Owens
Jack Nicklaus

Archie and Jerry for what they did while at TOSU, Jesse and Jack for what they accomplished "outside" of TOSU. Specifiacally for Jesse the 1936 Olympics, although what he did in track here was phenominal.

Now, you can make the argument for Warfield or Carter in football, although Boston has better career numbers than Carter. Warfield was a RB here and had basically no serious receiving stats.

My feeling is that I'm not a big fan of "retiring" numbers. And in the lore of TOSU basketball, Hondo does not deserve to get this honor based solely on his College accomplishments.
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How bout we compromise and retire Fred's number for baseball:) He was a better baseball player at OSU then basketball and played in the Senators system(and had a few cups of coffee in the bigs but was stuck behind Mickey Vernon).
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I believe Taylor's #27 baseball jersey was retired last season. I understand your view regarding retiring a jersey for Taylor, but I just never thought renaming part of the street was adequate. I grew up watching Eldon's teams in the 80's, and didn't know much about Taylor other than he was coach in 1960. I guess I feel guilty for my ignorance, but I would just like something visible in the basketball stadium so that kids and new fans would understand what a huge part he played in the history of OSU basketball. A jersey seemed a simple way to do this, something similar to how the Cowboys honored Landry in their ring of honor.

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I think the Havilicek issue is a catch 22 in another way.

Jerry Lucas is my number one sports hero of all time - period. But he would not have had his scoring numbers without Hondo. He would have been great, but not as great (Havilicek didn't rebound for him and those are his most remarkable numbers of all).

By the same token Havilicek would have had much different numbers if he had played on a team without Lucas - much bigger numbers.

But the question becomes how much do you weight what a player could have accomplished under different circumstances in determing how 'great' they were? What if Eddie George and Keith Byers had been in the same recruiting class? Would Eddie have ever seen the field (he was clearly the late bloomer of the two)? You simply can't start down that path.

Havilicek was great, and arguable the best of any of the remaining players whose numbers have not been retired. But that argument is difficult to make outside of subjective opinions of what he contributed outside of his 'numbers', or what he could have contributed, or what he accomplished in the NBA.
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I think the fact that Havilicek carried himself with so much class while at OSU, as a Celtic and after his basketball carreer are a large part of why he receives more accolades than his overall "Inividual" Statistics indicate. I believe many of our opinions are based on age and the era we grew up. I always considered Archie, Nicklaus, Owens and Havilicek as the 4 greatest athletes from OSU. There have been so many great OSU athletes from different sports, however, it so much more refreshing when they come with the merit, wisdom and class that are personified in the likes of Tessel, Griffin, Havilicek and Nicklaus.
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#5 to be retired

from an email from the ADs office
former Buckeye and NBA great John Havlicek will have his #5 jersey retired at halftime of the Wisconsin game. A two-time All-Big Ten Selection, he helped the Buckeyes play in three consecutive national championship games from 1960-1962, winning the title in 1960. Havlicek went on to star in the NBA for the Boston Celtics where he was named to 13 consecutive All-Star games, played on eight championship teams, and was elected to the Hall of Fame.
tickets still avaible hangonsloopy.com this is a great oppurtunity to show appreciation to a buckeye legend/have your kid see one of the 50 greatest basketball players of all time. and see the wisc game.
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Ohio State to Retire Havlicek's No. 5 Feb. 27 vs. Wisconsin
John Havlicek, who lettered from 1960-62 for the Ohio State men's basketball team and later starred for the NBA's Boston Celtics, will be back on campus Feb. 27, 2005 to celebrate the retirement of his No. 5 jersey. Havlicek helped the Buckeyes to three-consecutive trips to the NCAA Final Four and three national championship games during his career. The Buckeyes won the 1960 NCAA title and were runners-up in 1961 and 1962. As a Buckeye, Havlicek scored 1,223 points (14.6 ppg.) and grabbed 720 rebounds (8.6 rpg). He ranks 25th all-time in career scoring at Ohio State and is one of just 41 players all-time to score more than 1,000 points. The Buckeyes were 78-6 during his career. He was a two-time All-Big Ten selection and a first-team All-American as a senior in 1962. A member of the Basketball Hall of Fame in Springfield, Mass., Havlicek made nearly 51 percent of his shots from the field and 73 percent of his free throws. As a senior, he averaged 17.0 points and almost 10 rebounds a game. Havlicek is the fourth Ohio State men's basketball player to have his number retired. He joins No. 11 Jerry Lucas (Feb. 23, 2000), No. 35 Gary Bradds (Jan. 27, 2001) and No. 22 Jim Jackson (Feb. 10, 2001).
I am looking forward to this game, I have tickets. A part of OSU history.
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