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tBBC Making the List: Mel Nowell


Making the List: Mel Nowell
via our good friends at Buckeye Battle Cry
Visit their fantastic blog and read the full article (and so much more) here


This week for Making the List I have decided to go old school.

There is a host of names in the Ohio State Buckeye history that we can address. Recently I brought up Jerry Lucas. Undoubtedly, Jerry was the man on that Championship team of 1960. But one player who has been sidelined behind the fame who is deserving of notice is Mel Nowell.

Mel is a local, born and raised in Columbus. A product of East High School he was heavily recruited by many schools. The 6’1 guard was a shooting gem from the outside in an era that often fed the ball into the big man. His one-on-one skills also brought notice among the suitors who yearned to hand him a scholarship. Nowell was listed as the # 2 player of all High School players in Ohio behind Jerry Lucas. Mel followed Jerry, John Havlichek and Bobby Knight to Columbus in a historic recruiting class.

In that Championship run, the Buckeyes would head for the Finals three years in a row. Much is made of Lucas and Havlichek specifically – justifiably so too. But an unnoticed contributor to those great years is Mel Nowell.

He was named to the 1960 All-Tournament team and participated in the US Olympic Trails in 1960. But as a black player he was never considered seriously, as more attention was given to his teammates.

Mel never spoke negatively of those experiences – only exemplifying his team attitude. It needs to be addressed that coming out of East High School, his shooting abilities could have made him a star outside of the Oval. But he chose The Ohio State University and sat behind the notice of Lucas, Havlichek, and even Knight. Nowell is a star of the unselfishness mode that is rarely seen.

Mel was drafted in the NBA by the Chicago Zephyrs in the 1962 NBA draft. He would eventually head for the ABA and play for the New Jersey Americans. He never had the stellar career in the pros that other Buckeyes on his team had. Personally I contribute that to the era. Recognition by the scouts of those professional teams saw a player with talent, shooting abilities, and that one-on-one mud-in your face talent. It was an ugly era in America. Either you were an unsurpassed stars such as Oscar Robertson or Wilt Chamberlain or you were not. If you were black and not of those stars elk, then you were “unselfish” and sat behind the “other” stars.

Mel Nowell is a Buckeye. He could have been Alumnus elsewhere. But he chose the Buckeyes. For that I personally am grateful. He displays everything a Buckeye shows and believes. And that is The Ohio State University is first.

The post Making the List: Mel Nowell appeared first on The Buckeye Battle Cry: Ohio State News and Commentary.

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