Bonus Reusse: Ollie Shannon belongs among U's notable JUCO players

  • Article by: PATRICK REUSSE , Star Tribune
  • Updated: January 17, 2014 - 1:27 AM

DeAndre Mathieu’s impact with the Gophers led to reflection on the history of junior college transfers with this basketball team. Several prominent JUCOs were mentioned in a Star Tribune blog, with the covenant that there were probably some prominent players missing from the list.

As it turned out, the forgotten included Ollie Shannon, not the best of the JUCOs but perhaps the most interesting.

In today’s game, Shannon would be referred to as a “volume scorer,” a generous label. Back in his two seasons at Minnesota, from 1969 to 1971, we looked at Ollie as the ultimate “gunner.”

Shannon had been a prolific scorer in New York City, finishing his high school days at the famed Erasmus Hall in Brooklyn. There was one item lacking from his résumé: a high school diploma.

This was discovered after he arrived at Cameron Junior College in Texas. His enrollment there had been arranged by North Texas State.

The lack of diploma meant Shannon couldn’t play, so he played pickup basketball and went to night school. He ran into Jerry Kindall, then a Gophers baseball assistant, at a gathering for Christian athletes.

Kindall told Ollie to consider Minnesota. Shannon came to Minneapolis and enrolled at Metropolitan Junior College. This later would become Minneapolis Community College.

Shannon had 70 points in one game for Metro. It still stood as a school record when the program was shut down four years ago.

Ollie was lined up to play for the Gophers. Bill Fitch was the coach and his team had weapons beyond Shannon. Larry Mikan and Larry Overskei were a couple of senior standouts and that team and Ollie had to use some restraint with his mad shooting.

He did lead the team in scoring at 18.9 points per game. The highlight of a season in which the Gophers finished 13-11 and 7-7 in the Big Ten came early at Williams Arena. The Gophers took the dynastic UCLA Bruins into overtime before losing 72-71.

Fitch left after the season to become the coach of the expansion Cleveland Cavaliers. The Gophers kicked around candidates and then decided to give the job to assistant George Hanson.

Shannon was turned loose under Hanson. He scored 26 apiece in nonconference games against Bradley and Marquette.

There were questions being raised about Hanson’s ability to discipline his team, particularly Shannon. He decided to suspend Shannon for missing a practice without a proper excuse, and Ollie missed another with an injury.

Today, we would never have found out that Shannon had missed a practice. He might not have started, for an unspecified reason, and then life would have gone on.

Back then, the media and the fans were such stuffed shirts — so into the idea that the coach was a ruler and players were subservient — that missing a practice caused Shannon to become a controversial character with the public.

The Big Ten started and Ollie was putting up 24, 26, 27 points, and the Gophers were losing. Finally, Shannon had 26 in a 97-86 victory over Michigan State, and kept putting up his points.

The Gophers were 4-8 in the Big Ten and 10-12 overall going into Shannon’s last game at Williams Arena on March 7, 1971.

“I wanted to look good for the people in my last game here,” Shannon said after the game. “I wanted to leave doing something. My main motivation was that I never felt like I had done here what I was capable of doing.”

  • get related content delivered to your inbox

  • manage my email subscriptions

ADVERTISEMENT

Texas - WP: N. Martinez 7 FINAL
Oakland - LP: S. Gray 2
Boston - LP: B. Workman 2 FINAL
Pittsburgh - WP: G. Cole 3
Toronto - LP: A. Sanchez 2 FINAL
NY Yankees - WP: D. Robertson 3
Washington - WP: G. Gonzalez 6 FINAL
Miami - LP: B. Hand 2
Los Angeles - WP: P. Rodriguez 8 FINAL
Chicago Cubs - LP: N. Ramirez 4
Cleveland - WP: K. Crockett 2 FINAL
Houston - LP: S. Deduno 1
Milwaukee - LP: J. Nelson 2 FINAL
St. Louis - WP: S. Freeman 3
Arizona - LP: A. Reed 6 FINAL
Colorado - WP: L. Hawkins 7
Philadelphia - LP: K. Kendrick 3 FINAL
San Diego - WP: R. Erlin 7
Seattle - WP: T. Wilhelmsen 3 FINAL
LA Angels - LP: K. Jepsen 1
Tampa Bay 14 FINAL
Atlanta 56
San Diego 9/21/14 12:00 PM
Buffalo
Dallas 9/21/14 12:00 PM
St. Louis
Washington 9/21/14 12:00 PM
Philadelphia
Houston 9/21/14 12:00 PM
NY Giants
Minnesota 9/21/14 12:00 PM
New Orleans
Tennessee 9/21/14 12:00 PM
Cincinnati
Baltimore 9/21/14 12:00 PM
Cleveland
Green Bay 9/21/14 12:00 PM
Detroit
Indianapolis 9/21/14 12:00 PM
Jacksonville
Oakland 9/21/14 12:00 PM
New England
San Francisco 9/21/14 3:05 PM
Arizona
Denver 9/21/14 3:25 PM
Seattle
Kansas City 9/21/14 3:25 PM
Miami
Pittsburgh 9/21/14 7:30 PM
Carolina
Chicago 9/22/14 7:30 PM
NY Jets
(5) Auburn 20 FINAL
(20) Kansas State 14
Connecticut 7:00 PM
So Florida
Old Dominion 9/20/14 11:00 AM
Rice
Troy 9/20/14 11:00 AM
(13) Georgia
Georgia Tech 9/20/14 11:00 AM
Virginia Tech
Eastern Mich 9/20/14 11:00 AM
(11) Michigan State
Iowa 9/20/14 11:00 AM
Pittsburgh
Bowling Green 9/20/14 11:00 AM
(19) Wisconsin
Maryland 9/20/14 11:30 AM
Syracuse
Tulane 9/20/14 11:30 AM
Duke
Hawaii 9/20/14 1:00 PM
Colorado
Marshall 9/20/14 1:00 PM
Akron
North Carolina 9/20/14 2:30 PM
East Carolina
Army 9/20/14 2:30 PM
Wake Forest
Virginia 9/20/14 2:30 PM
(21) BYU
(6) Texas A&M 9/20/14 2:30 PM
SMU
Rutgers 9/20/14 2:30 PM
Navy
Central Mich 9/20/14 2:30 PM
Kansas
Utah 9/20/14 2:30 PM
Michigan
Florida 9/20/14 2:30 PM
(3) Alabama
Louisville 9/20/14 2:30 PM
FIU
Fla Atlantic 9/20/14 3:00 PM
Wyoming
Indiana 9/20/14 3:00 PM
(18) Missouri
San Jose St 9/20/14 3:00 PM
Minnesota
Texas State 9/20/14 3:00 PM
Illinois
Massachusetts 9/20/14 3:00 PM
Penn State
Georgia State 9/20/14 5:00 PM
Washington
Appalachian St 9/20/14 6:00 PM
Southern Miss
Miss State 9/20/14 6:00 PM
(8) LSU
Northern Ill 9/20/14 6:00 PM
Arkansas
Middle Tennessee 9/20/14 6:00 PM
Memphis
Utah State 9/20/14 6:00 PM
Arkansas State
Miami-Ohio 9/20/14 6:00 PM
Cincinnati
Idaho 9/20/14 6:00 PM
Ohio U
Ball State 9/20/14 6:00 PM
Toledo
(14) So Carolina 9/20/14 6:30 PM
Vanderbilt
(4) Oklahoma 9/20/14 6:30 PM
West Virginia
Ga Southern 9/20/14 6:30 PM
South Alabama
UNLV 9/20/14 7:00 PM
Houston
(22) Clemson 9/20/14 7:00 PM
(1) Florida State
Miami-Florida 9/20/14 7:00 PM
(24) Nebraska
New Mexico 9/20/14 7:00 PM
New Mexico St
California 9/20/14 9:00 PM
Arizona
Louisiana 9/20/14 9:30 PM
Boise State
(2) Oregon 9/20/14 9:30 PM
Washington St
San Diego St 9/20/14 9:30 PM
Oregon State
Texas Tech 9/25/14 6:30 PM
(25) Oklahoma State
Appalachian St 9/25/14 6:30 PM
Ga Southern
(12) UCLA 9/25/14 9:00 PM
(15) Arizona State
Toronto 9:00 PM
Brt Columbia
Edmonton 9/20/14 6:00 PM
Hamilton
Calgary 9/21/14 12:00 PM
Montreal
Ottawa 9/21/14 3:00 PM
Saskatchewan
Montreal 9/26/14 6:00 PM
Ottawa
Saskatchewan 9/26/14 9:00 PM
Edmonton
Hamilton 9/27/14 5:30 PM
Winnipeg
Brt Columbia 9/27/14 8:30 PM
Calgary
Connect with twitterConnect with facebookConnect with Google+Connect with PinterestConnect with PinterestConnect with RssfeedConnect with email newsletters

ADVERTISEMENT

Date/Opponent Time W L Score
2014 season     
Aug 28 - vs. E. Illinois 6 pmX42-20
Sep 6 - vs. M. Tennessee St. 2:30 pmX35-24
Sep 13 - at TCU 3 pmX30-7
Sep 20 - vs. San Jose St. 3 p.m.
Sep 27 - at Michigan TBA
Oct 11 - vs. Northwestern TBA
Oct 18 - vs. Purdue 11 am
Oct 25 - at Illinois 11 am
Nov 8 - vs. Iowa TBA
Nov 15 - vs. Ohio State TBA
Nov 22 - at Nebraska TBA
Nov 29 - at Wisconsin TBA

ADVERTISEMENT

ADVERTISEMENT

ADVERTISEMENT

question of the day

Poll: How will the Vikings and Gophers do this weekend?

Weekly Question

ADVERTISEMENT

 
Close