January 5, 1947 |
|Listed height||6 ft 4 in (1.93 m)|
|Listed weight||180 lb (82 kg)|
|High school||Lebanon (Lebanon, Indiana)|
|NBA draft||1970 / Round: 8 / Pick: 132nd overall|
|Selected by the Los Angeles Lakers|
|Number||10, 30, 11, 2|
|Career highlights and awards|
|Stats at Basketball-Reference.com|
Richard Carl Mount (born January 5, 1947) is a former American basketball player in the American Basketball Association (ABA). He was the first high school athlete to be featured on the cover of Sports Illustrated.
- 1 Early life
- 2 High school career
- 3 College career
- 4 Professional career
- 5 After Retirement
- 6 See also
- 7 References
- 8 External links
Rick Mount's father, Pete, was an avid basketball player who intended Rick to learn the game as well. He cut out the bottom of a peanut can so Rick could shoot tennis balls through it. Rick's first time playing with an official basketball goal was during the fourth grade. He was known to beat 8th and 9th graders. However, when it was time to try out for the school basketball team, he wasn't able to make a standard left-hand lay up, which was a requirement for making the roster. That very night he practiced for hours until he had it down, and on the next day of tryouts, he made the team.
During the summers, Rick worked as a lifeguard. Learning by repetition, he would shoot for hours at a time between shifts at the local Memorial Park. He gave kids ice cream money to help retrieve loose balls. After the likes of Ken Sailors, Glen Roberts and Paul Arizin, Rick later helped establish the idealistic jump shot form before it was ever textbook, influencing a number of future shooters at all levels in the sport.
High school career
Rick "the Rocket" Mount attended Lebanon High School in Lebanon, Indiana. There, he led his team in scoring, including 33.1 ppg throughout his junior and senior seasons. His game started to attract national attention. In 1965, Lebanon played Crawfordsville High School at Hinkle Fieldhouse in Indianapolis, Indiana. With 10,000 people in attendance, the team made enough money to buy a bus. He scored 57 points in the game. On February 14, 1966, Mount became the first high school athlete to appear on the cover of Sports Illustrated, which featured him standing in front of a barn located in his Boone County homeland. At the end of his Senior year, he won the Indiana "Mr. Basketball" award and was named "USA Basketball Yearbook Player of the Year," given to the nation's best high school player. He finished his Lebanon career with 2,595 points, currently the fourth highest total in Indiana high school history.
Rick was considering committing to the University of Miami. Due to the fact that many in Florida saw basketball as a second sport to football, he stayed home and attended Purdue University, located just 35 miles (56 km) northwest of his hometown, in West Lafayette, Indiana to play basketball under head coach George King.
As a freshman, Mount was unable to play on the varsity team due to NCAA regulations then in effect. Rick scored 33 points in a scrimmage against the varsity team in front of 9,500 in attendance at Lambert Fieldhouse. He averaged 35 points a game while shooting 54.5 percent on the freshman squad, tallying 490 points.
In his first varsity game, Mount scored a game-high 28 points in a last-second, two-point loss to a top-ranked UCLA team. It was also the first game played in Mackey Arena. Averaging 28.4 points a game and leading Purdue to a 15-9 record, he was named a Second Team All-American and First Team All-Big Ten his sophomore season. Following the U.S. Olympic Trials in April, he was selected as an Alternate to the U.S. National Team.
In his junior season at Purdue, along with seniors Billy Keller and Herm Gilliam, he led the Boilermakers to a Big Ten Conference title and the school's first NCAA Tournament appearance, leading to the NCAA Finals game where they eventually lost to a Lew Alcindor-led UCLA.
In a win against Marquette to bring the Boilers to the Final Four, Mount is remembered for his "leaping lofter" game-winning shot with two seconds left in overtime. He led all scorers in the tournament with a 40.6 point average in Purdue's three games. Purdue led the nation with 94.8 points a game during the 1968-69 season fronted by Mount's 33.3 a game, in effect beating Indiana 120-76 in the closing game of the regular season, becoming a school record for most points in a game.
Rick had a keen eye on telling if a goal wasn't balanced. He twice had officials adjust the same goal prior to the NCAA Finals game at Freedom Hall in Louisville, Kentucky. He went through the same procedure earlier in the season before a game at Iowa. He led Purdue to a 23-5 record on the season. He shot 51.5 percent on the season, whereas well-known scorers such as Pete Maravich and Calvin Murphy shot no better than 46 percent. He was selected as a First Team All-American and the Big Ten Player Of The Year.
In his senior year, Rick had two 53-point games plus a 61-point game against conference champ Iowa, which was the NCAA Division I single-game record at the time. Thirty-two of his 61 points were scored in the first half alone. Later research found that if the three-point line had existed in 1970 in the NCAA, he would have scored 74 points in that game, credited with 13 three-point field goals. The official school record is eight, held by Cuonzo Martin, Robbie Hummel, and Ryne Smith.
Leading Purdue to an 18-6 season, he averaged 35.4 points a game and took second straight First Team All-American and Big Ten Player Of The Year honors. Mount left as the school's all-time leading scorer with 2,323 points throughout only three varsity seasons. At the time, it was also the Big Ten scoring record, surpassing the total of Indiana's Don Schlundt. It is currently held by Indiana's Calbert Cheaney's 2,613.
Rick scored in double figures 72 consecutive games, while scoring 30-plus points in 46 of those games. Both remain school records. Rick broke numerous Purdue scoring records held by Dave Schellhase and Terry Dischinger. He led the Boilers to a 56-20 overall record during his career.
Mount was considered an excellent professional prospect, but because the general managers of the NBA knew that Mount was already signed by the ABA, he was not drafted until the middle of the 8th round of the 1970 NBA Draft by the Los Angeles Lakers. Mount was, however, drafted in the ABA by the Indiana Pacers as the 1st overall pick in 1970. As a result, his legendary status in Indiana made it a foregone conclusion that he would sign with the Indiana Pacers of the rival ABA. At the time, the ABA was the only professional league that featured a three-point line, which worked to Mount's advantage, as he was an outside shooter. During his first season in the ABA, Mount was offered $40,000 from Pro Keds to wear its new suede basketball shoe. He declined the offer, because he personally preferred Chuck Taylors of the Converse brand.
Playing for head coach Bob "Slick" Leonard, along with such teammates as George McGinnis and Bob Netolicky, he led the Pacers to the 1972 ABA Championship against Rick Barry and the New York Nets. He handed off 2.9 assists and averaged 14.2 points a game, racking up 57 three-pointers in his second season as a Pacer. Along with old college teammate Billy Keller and Roger Brown, they made Indiana a constant threat beyond the arc.
Rick Mount was traded to the Kentucky Colonels for the 1972-73 season. He averaged 15 points a game on the season. Teamed with Dan Issel, he averaged 17 points in playoff games while leading the Colonels to the ABA Finals against his former Pacers.
In the middle of the 1973-74 season, Rick was traded to the Utah Stars, where he joined Ron Boone. For the third straight season, Mount led a different team to the ABA Finals, eventually losing to the New York Nets.
According to Charley Rosen, Mount displayed the most astounding exhibition of pure, one-on-none shooting he ever saw. Rosen was invited by the Utah coach, Joe Mullaney, to participate in an intra-squad scrimmage. After Mullaney officially terminated the session, several players lingered to play HORSE. Because of Mount, the Stars' rules were unique. Shots had to be perfectly clean, counted only if the ball didn't touch the rim. Despite this wrinkle, Mount won every game. In the end, only Mount and Rosen were left on the court, and Mount was able to adjust the trajectory of every jumper so that the ball hit the inner part of the backside-rim in such a way that the ball would nudge the iron, split the net, and then bounce back to him. He supposedly could do this about 90 percent of the time.
Mount spent the last season of his ABA and professional basketball career playing for the Memphis Sounds. He averaged a career season-high scoring average of 17.1 points a game. Due to a dislocated shoulder, he had the 1974-75 season and his career cut short, possibly keeping him from further progress and improvement in his professional basketball career.
Mount was amongst the top of the league in three-point shooting during the time he spent in the ABA, while averaging 11.8 points a game and in his career with a total of 3,330 points. Known mainly for his scoring abilities in high school and college, Mount contributed in a greater variety of ways during his pro career. As one of the finest passers in the league, he averaged 2.4 assists, tallying a total of 676. He was also a fine free throw shooter with 82 percent accuracy. Rick shot 31.7 percent beyond the arc and held a 43.3 field goal percentage in his five seasons in the ABA.
Today, Rick Mount still lives in his hometown of Lebanon, Indiana with his wife, Donna. His son, Rich, played on the Purdue basketball team for two seasons (1989–1991) before transferring to VCU. Rich, who also played at Lebanon, left high school with the ninth most points in Indiana high school history. He currently works as a police officer in Lebanon.
Rick Mount currently runs "shoot camps" for high school players throughout the Midwest, where each player will take 2,500 supervised shots. The instructional school is based solely on shooting and there is no scrimmaging involved.
An avid quail hunter in his spare time, he opened Rick Mount's Sports Shop, a hunting and fishing shop. Purdue is among Mount's customers for the "Shoot-A-Way" retrieval system, a device which returns a basketball down a track to a player after a shot. Rick left college 10 credits shy of his degree requirements; that decision later affected his opportunity to be a head coach at an Indiana high school.
In 1992, both Rick and his father were inducted into the Indiana Basketball Hall of Fame, located in New Castle, Indiana. In 2014, his son, Rich, was named to the Indiana Basketball Hall of Fame's Silver Anniversary Team.
- Jeff Washburn, Tales from Indiana High School Basketball (Sports Publishing 2004).
- Mike Bresnahan, Covered in Glory (Los Angeles Times, January 3, 2003)
- The Lafayette Journal and Courier, Most Memorable Moments In Purdue Basketball History (Sports Publishing 1998)
- "Rick Mount". Retrieved 21 January 2007.
- "Sports Illustrated Article on Young Rick Mount". CNN. 14 February 1966.
- "Basketball's Man with the Golden Hand"
- 1970 NBA Draft on Basketballreference.com
- 1970 ABA Draft Pick Transactions
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