The Northwestern basketball program has flown under the radar in the Big Ten for decades. The school is known for their exceptional academic programs, but they are not known for sustained success in basketball or football. There are a few players who have set themselves apart from the rest during their careers at the school, and one name will jump out at the reader for very different reasons than they believe. This article shows players who have had amazing careers at the school despite its relative lack of success in the sport.
#1: Jim Burns
Jim Burns led in scoring all three years he started although freshmen were not allowed to play in his time. The period from 1964 to 1967 saw Burns become an All-American, and he earned all-academic honors for the school. His tenure with the program made Northwestern competitive, but he was not able to force the school into a more-competitive force. He had a lovely career at the school, but his career was not one where the school compiled wins in his honor.
#2: Drew Crawford
Drew is second in scoring in school history, leads the school in games played and he was a three-time selection to the All Big Ten team. His career occurred during a hard time for the team, and he was the one bright spot on the team. His tenure with the team allowed him a good look with pro scouts, and he was feared by other teams as he could score at-will. One player does not make a team, and Northwestern spent much of their time with Drew learning to win in a conference where Michigan, Ohio State and Indiana reign.
#3: Max Morris
Max Morris was a two-sport All American at Northwestern from 1944 to 1946. He is the last to do so in school history, and he is a man who brought glory to the team simply by playing a solid where the school did not have much else to turn to. His career began just as Otto Graham’s ended, and he continued a tradition at the school for having one player who is a cut above the rest. His prowess on the court was needed at a time when school like Indiana were making their mark on the sport, and he was left with the legacy of Otto Graham to uphold.
#4: Otto Graham
Otto Graham is best known as the hall of fame quarterback who took the Cleveland Browns to an NFL title before the Super Bowl era. His name conjures images of the early days of the NFL where the players wore leather helmets, they ran a running game with almost no pass and the quarterbacks ran the ball just as much as they passed it. His tenure at Northwestern began with a basketball scholarship, and he slowly branched into football over the years after his career at Northwestern ended. His name is famous for football, but it began as a big name in Northwestern basketball.
Northwestern basketball has featured a few players who have made an impact on the course of Big Ten basketball. The most famous of these is Otto Graham, and his name will stir even the casual sports fan who realizes he is an important figure in the growth of sports in America. He created a traditional at Northwestern that is fulfilled time and again by young men who come to the school seeking the finest education, sports glory and an opportunity to honor the wildcats. The next great player in school history may well be with the school now, and his path is yet to be written.