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Dr. James Naismith, Berlin Olympics 1936, March Madness, NCAA Final Four, Phog Allen, Universal Pictures Universals, McPherson Refiners
Netting Out Basketball 1936
The Remarkable Story of the McPherson Refiners, the First Team to Dunk, Zone Press, and Win the Olympic Gold Medal.
1936 was the most significant year in basketball’s first half century. For the first time, Olympic basketball ended with a gold medal game. Dr. James Naismith was honored at the Berlin Olympics for his wonderful invention, as basketball achieved widespread international acceptance in a short period of time. 45 years after creating an exciting indoor sport for a physical education class, Naismith watched 23 countries vie for the gold. Boycotts protested Hitler’s policies within the Olympic host country of Germany, and as a result, politics and sports were forever linked.
Other meaningful firsts for the 1935-36 playing season included controversy in the US Olympic Tryout system, a problematic lack of funding for US Olympians, and the actualization of new basketball strategies. Fast breaking offenses, dunking the ball, and full court zone pressure were important new techniques that radically changed the game. This book tells the little known story of the 1936 team which transformed basketball. The book documents the McPherson Refiners significant role in developing basketball’s faster, dynamic playing style. The mishaps and fortunes of the Refiners and three other AAU teams who placed men on Berlin’s muddy clay court will be the focus of the book.
Rich Hughes was born in McPherson, Kansas. While educated in the McPherson public school system, Hughes only first learned of basketball's 1936 Olympians in 2004 while reading about the origins of the dunk shot. Hughes has earned degrees from the University of Kansas and Kansas State University, and has worked in various Information Technology jobs. Hughes lives in Overland Park, Kansas, with his wife Nancy; they have two children and three grandchildren.
Hughes can be reached at email@example.com, and followed on Twitter at @rhughes134.
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