Bill Russell was one of the greatest winners in basketball history. His Hall of Fame career began on the national stage in college, where he won two National Championships and 55 consecutive games in San Francisco.
Here’s everything you need to know about Bill Russell’s college career in San Francisco.
Statistics and Vitality Bill Russell College
The school: San Francisco
to rise: 6-9
Weight: 215 pounds
Years of activity: 1953-56
NCAA Championship Record: 9-0
Professional averages: 20.7 points per game, 20.3 rebounds per game, 51.6% shots
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How many points did Bill Russell average in college?
Russell averaged 20.7 points per game in three seasons in San Francisco, most notably 21.4 points in 1955.
What was Bill Russell’s college record?
In three seasons with Bill Russell, San Francisco went 71-8, culminating in a 28-1 season in 1955 followed by an unbeaten 29-0 season in 1956.
How many national championships did Bill Russell win in college?
Russell won two college national championships, leading to San Francisco winning back-to-back national titles in 1955 and 1956. San Francisco was named the United Press National College Basketball Champion, prior to the 1955 NCAA Championship, after the Dons went 23-1 in the regular season .
“The prospects for West Coast Dons were viewed so lightly prior to the start of the campaign that no coach mentioned them in pre-season for the race,” United Press reported. “But (Phil) Walbert’s guys, led by Pan American Center Bill Russell, fooled a bunch of basketball officials.”
How was Bill Russell’s game?
Russell was simply dominant, having entered college at the age of six to eight, but he was a resilient and agile athlete – much to the astonishment of many sports writers. His arms were long and his hands large, giving him a level of physical superiority over his opponents. Even on the San Francisco junior team, observers noted that he was well on his way to becoming one of the greats in the game.
This baby Russell, stamped with the word ‘Can’t Miss’, is truly something to see and fans would have been better off going out to Sunday to beat it up because it’s a debatable question as to whether Frosh, though they can be so dependable, He can stay with the Olympians,” Bob Brackman of San Francisco Examiners wrote in March 1953. Russell, of Possible 6:8, of McClymmonds High School in Oakland, showed all assignments a great future. “
A reporter from The Daily Oklahomaman noted that Russell could run the court “in what appears to be four or five easy steps”, often ahead of the group in quick breaks. Some newspaper writers have compared Russell’s level of activity with that of many of the great men of the 1940s and 50s, who did not play with as much energy as Russell.
During Russell’s season with the San Francisco Freshman team in 1953, the San Francisco Examiner described Russell as a “dunker” and a “pivot”, noting that he would be “among the artists to watch closely that day.” Russell helped his team achieve a 19-4 record as a freshman.
Offensively, Russell would usually put himself under the basket and repeatedly take shots from close range that were difficult to defend. Salt Lake City’s Deseret News reported that in a game against BYU, Russell’s San Francisco teammates took long shots, setting up Russell for easy returns. Sports editor Huck Miller wrote that “His buddies shot long to feed Russell in the extension area, and he did most of what came his way.” “He centered really well on a couple of shots to show he could play basketball and he wasn’t on the court just because he was weird.”
This player was one of only five NCAA Division I men’s basketball players to average 20 points and 20 rebounds per game in his career, a writer from The San Francisco Examiner once speculated after watching Russell play for the new San Francisco team. The big guy must have blocked 20 of his opponent’s shots.
John Mooney of the Salt Lake Tribune wrote that Russell was one of the few centers in the country who could “let in the daylight and cover his leg,” with “daylight” referring to the distance between an offensive and defensive player as required by the rules at the time. . In addition to his great height and height, Russell had great reflexes and jumping ability.
Bill Bonnie, a spokesperson for The Spokesman-Review, noted that opposing shooters deliberately shoot away from the basket after being blocked by Russell. Some may add more arc to their jump shots, reducing their chances of getting in. There’s a reason San Francisco was allowing in just over 50 points per game.
After covering San Francisco’s inaugural 51-33 win over Cal in the 1953-54 season, Bill Dunbar of the Oakland Tribune wrote that “Russell’s defensive play left Cal Center Bob McCain so frustrated that Cal’s skinny man had the best look at the basket from the benches.” The benches,” noting that Russell stopped rehearsals that “looked like McCain’s belts.” The San Francisco Examiner reported that Russell had 13 pieces in the game, and he snatched most of them and started the Dons quick tie. McCain was all-American. Russell was the game’s top scorer with 23 points.
After covering Russell’s first breakout, Brachman wrote the San Francisco Examiner that 6,000 fans were in a losing crowd (another 2,000 were reportedly disqualified) for a match between San Francisco and Cal “witnessed the ‘birth’ of a massive court star.”
His game has evolved since his first year in San Francisco, and so has his structure. He is said to have added an inch and 10 pounds in the off season.
The December 1953 Salt Lake Tribune reported: “Russell developed his left-handed jump shot to match his right and left hook shots this year, and he may improve his average compared to his failed attempts.”
There was a level of maturity and confidence in Russell, both the player and the person.
The San Francisco Examiner reported, “Russell is a small version of Gus Tatum’s Globetrotters as a court jester. He does a full cycle of instructions to everyone in the building, including explanations of wrongdoing for officials.”
What are some of the best Bill Russell games?
Russell, in his first year in play, had 19 points in the second half against BYU after one point half. It might slow down for half a year, but it’s rarely a full match.
San Francisco won the All-College Basketball Tournament and Russell was named Player of the Tournament in his second season. It was the only unanimous selection for the championship team. Dons won the championship title with a 16-point victory over No. 8 George Washington, despite entering the tournament as an unknown entrant.
Russell scored 23 points in the match win.
The Salt Lake Tribune reported that Russell’s defensive play against Utah in the 1955 NCAA Regional Semifinals was “close to perfect.” Russell led all scorers with 29 points in a win over West Texas in the first round of the NCAA Championship, then in the regional final against Oregon, Russell earned 18 points from his 30-point team in the first half. After the break, he had one defensive sequence in which he saved three different shots.
Russell laid out huge statistical streaks in each of the San Francisco National Championship games. He had 23 points and 25 rebounds against La Salle in 1955, including 18 points in the first half. The Philadelphia Inquirer reports that legendary Kansas coach Fogg Allen described Russell’s first half as “the most exciting ever in his 45-year coaching career.” La Salle star Tom Gola was tasked with defending Russell but he made two quick errors in the first half and the Scouts had to switch to zone defence.
Russell’s five-pointers with a total of 118 points in the 1955 NCAA Championship set a new championship record, helping Dons win 26 consecutive games to finish the season.
Follow the Russell Waldons where they left off, winning all 29 of their games in the 1956 season, which ended with Russell scoring 26 points and 27 rebounds against Iowa in the national championship game.
The San Francisco center has had six doubles in nine NCAA games in his college career, including four 20-20 games in his last five NCAA games. He had 21 points and 23 rebounds against UCLA and 27 points and 22 rebounds in consecutive games to start the 1956 NCAA Championship. He also worked very well, making at least 60 percent of field shootouts in six of his first seven games in the championship NCAA.
There was an 11-of-14 performance against Oregon, 14 of 18 against Western Texas and 10 of 14 against Colorado, all in 1955.
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What awards did Bill Russell win in college?
Here are some of the awards Russell won in college:
- 1955 First All-American Team Consensus
- 1955 Western Regional Team
- 1955 Final Four Player of the Year
- 1955 All Championship Team
- 1956 First All-American Team Consensus
- 1956 Far West Regional Team
- 1956 Team Championship
- The fifties team
- Named one of the 15 Best Players in NCAA Championship History in the 75 Years of March Madness Celebration
What records did Bill Russell set in college and where does he rank among history’s greats?
Here are some of the records that Russell set in college and where he ranks all the time in notable statistical categories:
- One of five players in NCAA history to have averaged at least 20 points and 20 rebounds in his career
- Highest total rebounds in two games in Final Four history: 50 rebounds
- Led the 1955 NCAA Championship with goals: 118 points
- Seventh all-time average career rebound: 20.3 rebounds per game
- 12th and 18th all-time rebounds of the season: 609, 594 rebounds
- Number 13 of all-time rebounds: 1,606 rebounds
- Tied for 24th place ever with highest bounce rate in a season: 21.0 rebounds per game
What did people say about Bill Russell?
San Francisco coach Phil Walpert prior to Russell’s first season playing varsity: “We’re not even a black horse or a major contender for the California Basketball Association. We have four veterans, and the question mark is sophomore Bill Russell.”
Walbert talks about how good Russell is: “As much as he wants to be great.”
West Texas State coach Jose Miller, after his team won the 1955 NCAA Championship on Texas Tech thanks to a tie-breaker coin flick: “They stopped flipping the coin too soon. They had to keep flipping it until they decided the winner in our game with the USF. That’s the only way we’re going to win, by flipping the coin.”
Utah coach Jack Gardner before playing San Francisco in the NCAA Tournament: “We’re going to have a lot of trouble, especially with their center, Bill Russell. He’s one of the best bouncers in the nation, and he’s going to require some special attention.”
Stanford coach Howie Dalmar: “Russell throws your insult out of it all. He’s a psychological threat with his ability to block shots.”
Former Stanford coach Everett Dean: “When he’s there, the opposing shooter feels like he’s only going to get one shot because Russell is such a formidable goalie. He just makes a huge impact just being there, whether he’s near the basket or not. The other guy has a feeling he has to make his first shot. Otherwise, he won’t get a chance to bounce, so he stresses out. If they don’t block the goal-guiding rule, it’ll be even more exciting.”
Bob Cox in Loyola, California: “Early in the game I was in the key. I rigged right and saw his hand, then the left and the hand there again. So I rigged right again and then went left and shot, and the ball whistled right back – like out of the field.”
Bill Russell quotes
It’s hard to find a lot of quotes from Russell during his playing days, but the following quote sums up his play and college life quite well.
Russell on San Francisco’s win in the National Championship game over La Salle: “I played for the greatest team in the world and we beat the best team we’ve ever played.”