We tracked down the current whereabouts of every single Heisman Trophy winner last summer, and wanted to do the same for hoops. While the Naismith Award is basketball’s closest thing to the Heisman, it’s only been around since 1969. Therefore we decided to focus on the whereabouts of each Final Four’s Most Outstanding Player – dating back to the first Big Dance in 1939.
In the first of this four-part series, we look at the winners from the 1930s and ’40s.
1939: Jimmy Hull (Ohio State)
Following his All-America senior season at Ohio State, Jimmy Hull became a successful dentist, staying in Columbus – where he lives to this day in his 90s. His success on the court and in the dental office made him eligible for induction into the Rocky Mountain Orthodontics Dentist Athletic Hall of Fame.
1940: Marvin Huffman (Indiana)
Marvin Huffman played just 22 games for the National Basketball League’s Akron Wingfoots. He averaged 5.1 points during that span. He died in May 1983.
1941: John Kotz (Wisconsin)
John Kotz played just one season professionally for the National Basketball League’s Sheboygan Red Skins in the 1945-46 season. He stayed in the area to work for Badger Sporting Goods, where he was president. He died May 8, 1999.
1942: Howie Dallmar (Stanford)
Howie Dallmar played professionally from 1946-1949 with the Basketball Association of America’s Philadelphia Warriors and won the 1947 BAA Championship. He coached Penn’s basketball team from 1948-1954 then moved back west in 1954 to coach Stanford for 21 seasons. He was 256-264 during that time. He died of congestive heart failure in 1991.
1943: Ken Sailors (Wyoming)
Ken Sailors served in the military for two years and returned to school in 1946 for his final year of eligibility. From 1946-1951 he scored 3,480 points in his professional career, and he’s credited with inventing the one-handed jump shot. He moved to Alaska in 1965 with his wife, ran a ranch and outfitted outdoorsman for hunting and fishing trips. He returned to Laramie in 2002 after his wife died, where he remains at age 89.
1944: Arnie Ferrin (Utah)
Arnie Ferrin won two NBA titles with the Minneapolis Lakers, making him one of just two players to be a part of NIT, NCAA and NBA championship teams. He eventually became Utah’s athletic director in 1976. He held that position until 1985 when he retired. He also served as Chairman of the NCAA Men’s Basketball Committee. He now resides in Salt Lake City at the age of 84.
1945 and 1946: Bob Kurland (Oklahoma A&M, now Oklahoma State)
Bob Kurland never played professionally but he won gold medals with Team USA at the ’48 and ’52 Olympics. He eventually became an insurance salesman for Phillips Petroleum in Oklahoma. He was the first person to regularly dunk in games and was the reason the NCAA banned defensive goaltending in 1945. He recently turned 85 and resides in Bartlesville, OK and Sanibel Island, FL.
1947: George Kaftan (Holy Cross)
George Kaftan played professionally from 1948-1953 with the Celtics, Knicks and Baltimore Bullets, averaging 7.5 points per game during his career. Following basketball Kaftan became a practicing dentist and college professor at Long Island University, where he was also a basketball coach. Now 81, he lives in New Jersey.
1948 and 1949: Alex Groza (Kentucky)
Alex Groza’s professional career lasted just two seasons; he was banned from the NBA for life after being implicated in the CCNY point-shaving scandal from his college years. He became the head coach at Bellarmine University and won a conference championship in 1963. Between 1971 and 1975 he coached with the ABA’s Kentucky Colonels and San Diego Conquistadors. He remained in San Diego and worked as a sales manager for Reynolds International until his death in 1995 due to cancer.
Got a question or comment? E-mail us here
Liked this story? Click here for Lost Lettermen’s RSS feed and receive all our great content
Click here to start contributing to our wiki database of over 150,000 former college athletes and help us answer the question, “Where Are They Now?”