In this 21-part series, I count down the 100 greatest Mountaineer male basketball players of all time.
Admittedly, this list is not scientific. It’s completely subjective, and of course opinions may differ. Feel free to visit our message boards at BlueGoldNews.com to provide feedback on this list, whether for or against.
Below is another installment in this long-running series with a countdown from #45 to 41.
Top Previous Players
100-96 95-91 90-86 80-76 75-71 70-66 65-61 60-56
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41 – Bob Smith (1957-59) – The 6ft 4in Charleston forward was known as Bob Smith for the first 19 years of his life until Mountaineers voice Jack Fleming stuck the nickname Bobby Joe Smith on him. Whatever you called him, Smith could play hoop. Although he played alongside other offensive forces like Hot Rod Hundley in 1956-57 and Jerry West in 1957-58 and 1958-59, Smith managed to average double-digit goals in each of his three college seasons – 11.7 per game in sophomore, 12.4 in junior and 12.6 in senior. Along the way, he helped WVU amass an 80-12 record and earn three NCAA Tournament berths. His Mountaineer teams have been ranked in the AP’s top 20 throughout his career, including eight weeks at No. 1 and 29 weeks in the top 10. Starting each of his 97 games with WVU University, Smith has finished his career at West Virginia with 1,127 points, 576 rebounds (6.3 per game) and 289 assists. He was a Southern Conference first-team selection in 1958 and a second-team selection in 1959. Drafted in the third round in 1959 by the Minneapolis Lakers of the NBA, Smith played a year in Minnesota as well as the next when they moved to Los Angeles. He concluded his professional career with a season in the American Basketball League with the Pittsburgh Rens. He then became a coach and spent seven seasons with Gale Catlett’s team in West Virginia. Smith was inducted into the WVU Sports Hall of Fame in 2009. He died in 2020.
42 – Marshal Glenn (1928-30) – Hailing from Elkins, West Virginia, “Little Sleepy” Glenn is one of the greatest multi-sport athletes in mountaineering history. His achievements in football, basketball, and track and field earned him inducted into the WVU Sports Hall of Fame in 1992, making it into the second class in that hall’s history. Marshall followed his brother, Albert “Big Sleepy” Glenn, from Elkins to WVU. The pair each played soccer and basketball for the mountaineers. Both were good football players, helping coach Ira Errett Rodgers’ grid teams succeed, but Little Sleepy was the better of the two on the basketball court. At a time when coach Francis Stadsvold’s hoop teams were averaging less than 40 points per game, Glenn scored nearly double in each of his three college seasons — 9.9 as a sophomore, 12.4 as a junior. and 10.4 as a senior. He led the Mountaineers to scoring his final two years. He helped West Virginia to what was then a school-best 16-6 mark in 1928-29. Glenn replaced Stadsvold as WVU basketball head coach in 1934, serving in the position for five years and accumulating a 61-46 record. In an unprecedented move, West Virginia athletic director Harry Stansbury also named Glenn the school’s head football coach in 1937, and he held both roles for a year, while studying to be a doctor. . He eventually gave up those coaching jobs at the WVU to focus on medicine. Glenn served as a doctor during World War II before starting a medical practice in Charles Town, West Virginia. He died in a car accident in 1983 at the age of 75.
43 – Chris Brooks (1988-91) – The 6-foot-6, 220-pound Brooks was one of the greatest inner strengths in modern Mountaineer basketball history. Born in London, England and raised in Bronx, New York, Brooks became a McDonald’s All-American at Oak Hill (Va.) Academy. Academic shortcomings coming out of the prep ranks forced him to redshirt his true freshman season at WVU, but over the next four years he proved to be a dominant player in the paint. He averaged double digits in each of his seasons with the Mountaineers (12.6 points per game as a redshirt freshman, 12.5 as a sophomore, 13.0 as a junior, and 16.7 as a senior). He helped West Virginia secure an NCAA berth in 1989 and NIT slots in 1988 and 1991 under head coach Gale Catlett. A member of the Atlantic 10 freshman team in 1988, he was a league second-team all-star in 1989 and first-team in 1991. His career-high 37 points against UMass in 1991 has only been passed by a mountaineer twice since – 38 by Alex Ruoff in 2008 and 43 by Da’Sean Butler in 2009. And unlike those two, Brooks did it without 3 points. basket, even though he was 16 of 19 from the floor against the Minutemen. While his free throw has always been difficult (43.5% in his career), his strength and power in the low block allowed him to make 690 of 1,147 field goal attempts. That 60.2% of the terrain is more than four percentage points more than any other mountaineer ever. His 1,661 career points are also the 12ethe most in school history, and his 755 rebounds are the 16emore. He died at his Bronx home in January 2021 at the age of 54.
44 – Jack Gocke (1935-37) – A native of Clarksburg, West Virginia, where he was a star prep athlete at Victory High School, Gocke also stood out in three sports at WVU. The 6-foot-1 right-handed pitcher won 18 baseball games for West Virginia, and he was a two-year running back for the Mountaineer football team. His 72-yard punt was the longest in school history until the 1990s. His best sport, however, was basketball. He led West Virginia in scoring during his three seasons in college, averaging 10.3 ppg in 1934-35, 11.1 in 1935-36, and 11.9 in 1937 -38. His 770 career points were the highest by a mountain climber until Leland Byrd (1,000 career points) surpassed him in 1948. A pre-medical major at WVU, Gocke eventually earned his medical degree and joined the United States Army during World War II, serving as a medic in the Pacific Theater. He returned to his hometown of Clarksburg after the war and opened a medical practice. He eventually specialized in ophthalmology and worked in that medical discipline until his retirement in 1991. Gocke, who was also a member of WVU’s Athletic Council (1960-62) and president of the WVU Alumni Association (1975), died in 1999. .
45 – Bobby Carroll (1945-48) – Playing alongside other greats like Leland Byrd, Clyde Green, Eddie Beach and Fred Schaus, Carroll was able to carve out a career that eventually earned him inducted into the WVU Sports Hall of Fame in 2010. 5-foot-11 came to WVU from Wheeling, West Virginia in the fall of 1944. Freshmen were eligible for varsity play at that time because World War II caused a student shortage -athletes, and Carroll used the opportunity to start all 18 games as a frosh, leading the Mountaineers in scoring (12.2 points per game) that year. He followed that up with an average of 11.1 points per game as a sophomore. He remained an important factor for the club in its final two collegiate seasons, although Byrd, Beach, Schaus and Eddie Sterling took on more attacking responsibilities in those seasons. Carroll averaged 8.4 points per game in his four years at West Virginia (698 total points) and helped the Mountaineers to three straight NIT appearances (1945-47). He earned both a bachelor’s and master’s degree in physical education from WVU, then became a basketball teacher and coach, originally in Wheeling and later across the river in Ohio. . He was the Ohio High School Coaches’ Association Basketball Coach of the Year in 1970 at Chagrin Falls High. He died on January 31, 2022 at the age of 96.