“Observe caution in the disposal of cigarette butts,” 1952

I’m still working my way through the boxes that came from the Cal and Virginia Hill estate sale a while ago and it really does look like an exceptionally rich and interesting collection. Something I’d never seen before is one of these single-sheet basketball programs. There’s a bunch of them but this one caught my attention right away and not just for the jaw-dropping instructions for getting rid of your cigarette butts in the gym:

What grabbed me was the Kansas team itself, which had won the national championship the year before in fairly spectacular style. At least two members of this ’52-’53 squad are worth noting. LaVannes Squires, a reserve guard, was the first African-American to play basketball at Kansas and Dean Smith, also a reserve guard, was Dean Smith! Smith went on to a legendary coaching career at North Carolina where he won two national championships and was named coach of the year four times.

We won, by the way, 54-51.



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8 Responses to “Observe caution in the disposal of cigarette butts,” 1952

  1. Classic headline, compete with sports jargon, “Rice Cagers Clobber Jayhawks 54-51”. Three points is not exactly a “clobber”, but I’ll give RaLPH WILLIAMS (what is with the small caps “a”?) some slack for being a homer.

    When I was at The Thresher, we worked hard to come up with new verbs for wins and losses. I don’t think we ever used “cagers” for the basketball team. Might have to check with Phil Parker for that.

  2. grungy1973 says:

    Sigh: J. Fred byline

  3. Francis Eugene "Gene" Pratt, Rice Institute 1956 says:

    I remember that game, kind of.

    Swinger and Lance were All-Southwest Conference basketball selections ultimately.
    Robicheaux may have been, as well. Robey married one of the identical twin Rice cheerleaders, a Ryba.

    Wilt Chamberlain played for one of the Kansas teams, during those years. His coach said no one in collage ball could match up with him. That proved true in Pro Basketball subsequently.

    James “Popeye” Beavers one year won a game at Austin against the T-sippers with a buzzer-beating tip in.

    The 2-handed overhand shot that J. Fred Duckett mentioned had become popular a few years earlier by an All-American basketballer at Kentucky, whose name eludes me at the moment (fancy that!).

  4. George Webb '88, '91 says:

    “Cagers” was a common term for basketball players up until the 1950s. Supposedly it comes from the idea that in the early part of the 20th century, basketball was often played with a wire fence or net surrounding the court — hence, “cage”.

    • John Coles says:

      On the Rice Roster is Billy Wohn. Annual Rice Men’s Basketball MVP Award is named in his honor.

  5. Joe Durrenberger says:

    As a member of the Freshman Basketball team in Dec.’52 and later a member of the Varsity, I can offer some info on my ‘ol buddy Gene Pratt’s comments. That game would have been Schwinger and Lance’s junior year, both of whom were unanimous All-Conference their junior and senior years. Yes Monte was All-Conference hi senior year 54-55.
    The season following this year would have been 53-54, Gene and Don were the leaders of our 23-5 team who beat Texas in the playoffs for the Southwest Conference, and then beat Kansas for third place in the NCAA Regionals at Stillwater,OK
    As for Wilt, he was a Freshman in 55-56 and did not accompany that Kansas team to Houston to play us, it might have been more difficult for me to grab 22 rebounds that game, my senior year, and yes we did wallop them.
    Joe Durrenberger, Rice HOF

    • Francis Eugene "Gene" Pratt, Rice Institute 1956 says:

      Joe Durrenberger wqw still playing the “dribble and shoot” game when last we talked.
      Or he talked and I listened, as I recall.

      He was still winning, on a national scale, in the Senior Basketball League.
      (He probably still cheats.)
      I think it was Joe who kneed me in the chin one day playing some pick-up basketball at the Rice gym.
      I quit playing with the big boys shortly thereafter.

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