The Seattle University Men’s Basketball team is one with a rich history. Although the program has seen a stretch of mediocrity, it’s legacy has not been lost on a city that has its fair share of basketball greats.
Believe it or not, the Redhawks used to be the best basketball school in town. Though back then, they were known as the Seattle Chieftains. They had a stretch in the ’50s and 60’s that saw them make 11 NCAA tournaments, including a 2nd place, finish to Adolph Rupp’s Kentucky Wildcats in 57-58. Now, you can’t have a two-decade stretch like that without having some great players walk through your doors and this list highlights five of those players. So without any further ado, here are the top 5 players In Seattle U Men’s basketball history:
Number 5: Clint Richardson (1975-79)
An O’Dea high school graduate, Clint Richardson stayed home for college. The 6’3 shooting guard ranks 4th all-time in points scored for Seattle U at 1,823. He was selected with the 36th pick in the 1979 NBA draft by the Philadelphia 76ers. He played 9 NBA seasons and even won an NBA title in 1983 with the likes of Moses Malone and Julius Erving.
Number 4: Eddie Miles (1960-63)
Eddie Miles was known as “The Man with the Golden Arm” due to his ability to shoot the ball. A highly recruited player out of high school, Miles chose to attend Seattle due to Elgin Baylor. Eddie was 7th in the nation in scoring during his senior year at Seattle. He was selected with the 4th overall pick in the 1963 NBA draft by the Detroit Pistons. He played ninth years in the league averaging 13.4 ppg.
Number 3: Tom Workman (1964-66)
Another Seattle native, Tom Workman went to Bishop Blanchet high school. The center played for the Chieftains from 64′-66′, he ranks 7th all-time in scoring average at 19.2 points per contest. He was apart of the 1965-1966 Seattle team that knocked off the Mighty Miners of Texas Western 74 to 72, the only loss for Texas Western in their national title-winning season. He was twice selected to the First Team All-West Coast Conference while in school. He was drafted 8th overall by the St. Louis Hawks in the 1967 NBA Draft.
Number 2: Johnny O’Brien (1950-53)
Johnny and his brother Ed attended Seattle U from 1950-53. He is the All-Time leading scorer in the history of the Men’s Basketball program at 2,733 points. The scoring machine was the first player in NCAA history to score 1,000 points in a single season in 1953. In arguably one of the biggest accomplishments of his career, he led Seattle to an 84-81 upset win over the Harlem Globetrotters. He scored 43 points in that game. The O’Brien brothers were selected by the Milwaukee Hawks, but neither played in the NBA. Instead, Johnny played professional baseball.
Number 1: Elgin Baylor (1956-58)
Was there ever really a question who #1 was?
Elgin Baylor was a star from birth. He was great in all aspects of the game and showed that during his high school career. The only thing that was lacking was his education, causing Baylor to even drop out at one point. When it came time to attend college, his grades kept him from attending. That was until a scholarship was arranged for him at the College of Idaho. But after only a year, the coach was fired and Baylor’s scholarship was reduced.
Believe it or not, a car dealer is what brought Baylor to Seattle. The forward sat out a season, moved to the Emerald City, and played for the AAU team Westside Ford. He then enrolled at Seattle University, even after getting drafted by the Minneapolis Lakers in the 56′ draft. In his 2nd year with the Chieftains, he led them all the way to the 1958 NCAA Championship game against the Kentucky Wildcats. Although they ended up losing the game, that Seattle team is still the only NCAA team from the state of Washington to reach the tournament’s championship game.
Baylor has the highest scoring average in Seattle history at 31.1 a game and has the 5th most points in the school’s history. He ranks top-10 all-time in 8 different statistical categories for the program.
He would be re-drafted by the Lakers with the #1 overall pick, and this time he decided to leave school in order to enter the NBA. He averaged 27.4 ppg and 13.5 rpg in his hall of fame NBA career. His #22 is retired by the Lakers and Redhawks.