Didn’t expect to write a blog about a founding member of the college basketball Hall of Fame the same week that The Valley added another (Hersey Hawkins – ’21 HOF Class).
I will mention that Oscar Robertson is one of those players that I know very little about, due to my tenure as a Valley fan, but always wanted to do more research on.
Since they are no longer a Valley member, I think its important to start with the Cincinnati Bearcats. Cincinnati was a member institution from 1957-1969 (12 seasons). Representing The Valley, they made the Final Four in five straight seasons, winning in 1961 and 1962 beating Ohio St. both years. Interesting enough they made the National Championship game in 1963 losing to current Valley member Loyola-Chicago.
Oscar joined the Bearcats for the three varsity seasons (1957-1960). He led Cincinnati to two Final Four appearances and at that time there was a third place game in which they won in both 1961 and 1962. After only three seasons, freshman were ineligible in those days, he was the NCAA leading scorer and essentially created the triple-double statistic.
In Valley play during Oscar’s reign, the Bearcats only lost three games (39-3), all to Bradley.
He has a lasting legacy on college basketball, where annually the USBWA awards the Oscar Robertson Trophy. This trophy has been won by two Valley players, Larry Bird (1979) and Doug McDermott (2014).
Seriously, check out this rebounding by Oscar. Can you imagine how many flagrant fouls he would have had in the Jackie Carmichael era?
In conclusion, Oscar Robertson, had a storied college career, was an Olympian, and a successful professional career with the Cincinnati Royals and Milwaukee Bucks.
His impact on college basketball spans the entire NCAA. Personally, when walking around the concourse of the Enterprise Center each March, I’ll make sure to stop at the the Oscar Robertson banner to reflect on him putting The Valley on the map.