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Honorable Draftee: The Case for Sherman White E-mail

The Draft Review’s honorable draftees are comprised of the group of elite basketball players throughout history that were on pace to be drafted by the NBA but did not make it to the pros due to poor off-court behavior, tragedy, or other unforeseen circumstances. TDR will name honorable draftees based solely on the individual’s performance as a basketball player and the potential they possessed to become a major contributor in the NBA. Up first, we name Sherman White.

The Case for Sherman White

Sherman White is the best basketball player you never knew. His greatness is forever tarnished by the one mistake that changed his life forever. White was Long Islands University’s greatest player and perhaps the best in New York City’s history. He was regarded for his feathery soft touch around the basket, agile moves, and warrior-like intensity. White became the model for the hundreds of young basketball players in the northeast part of the country that patterned their game after him. What set him even further apart from his contemporaries was his agility and fluidness; despite being 6-8, he possessed the skills of guard that many in the NBA considered franchise-level talent. The Knicks were eager to select him as a territorial pick in the 1951 NBA Draft as visions of multiple championships flashed in the mind of Vice President Ned Irish. Before the end of his senior year, Sherman White was on pace to break the then all-time scoring record in a single season while becoming the nation’s leading scorer.

The Problem

During the 1949-1950 season, one of White’s teammates, Eddie Gard, played less than stellar ball. White was frustrated with Gard’s clumsy play and confronted him. Gard, along with teammates Adolph Bigos and Dick Fuertado, pulled White to the side and told of the money they were making to keep the points under the spread (about $3,000 for the season, which equates to $26,000 today). White was faced with the pressure and temptation of the situation and decided to join in on the ploy. For him, as long as they won the game he didn’t care about the spread, but the fix soon became more than White bargained for when he and his teammates were ordered to lose games or the suffer consequences. Rumors began to circulate that Long Island was on the take and the events that followed almost ruined the future of college basketball that we enjoy today. The investigation uncovered that 86 games were fixed between the 1947-1951 college basketball seasons. Twenty players were indicted, many of them were very prominent during their time. Sherman White and a host of others were banned from the NBA for life and sentenced to prison time. To this day no one knows why White received the longest sentence, but some allege that racism played a part in his 9-month Rikers Island sentence.


Game fixing is never to be condoned and it’s obvious that Sherman White brought about his own demise. He marred his reputation and didn’t go down in the history of the 1951 NBA draft. The Draft Review recognizes Sherman White on the basis of his on-court excellence during the 1950s era and name him as a TDR Honorable Draftee.



0 #12 Guest 2010-12-06 09:25
I have a Sherman White basketball traiding card from 1951. It says Center Long Island Univ. I wonder if this is the same Sherman White? wbrianholdne@gm ail.com
0 #11 Rev. Connell McHugh 2010-07-12 21:23
I saw almost all of Sherman White's games in Hazleton. He had outstanding moves and was a great ball handler and shooter for a big man. Very few NBA players were his equal. I have his 1951 Berk Ross basketball card which I treasure.
0 #10 Guest 2010-05-05 07:43
Sherman White Greatest of all- tome!! His Godson...Bobby Hurt,JR
0 #9 Guest 2010-03-24 21:10
I had a chance to see mr. white play during the latter part of his life. He was everything that they said he was. I do not believe he was involved and that he was used as a scapegoat. Basketball like everything else has it corrupt side. Look at the official in the NBA who was caught fixing games.
0 #8 Rollie Sims 2009-12-13 17:09
I watched Sherman play in Hazleton every Sunday afternoon. I fact he attended our Lutheran church in Hazleton alon with Freddie Segar. He was in deed a great player. Where is Segar and where did he play?
0 #7 Guest 2009-11-13 23:00
I graduated LIU 1942 saw him at MSG and Ed McCauly of St.Lou
Great Player
0 #6 joe jr chapman 2009-07-31 01:10
last year i couldn't fine all this ink on you home boy. the word is out tv interveiw next.[smiley=laugh]
0 #5 kenny drye 2009-07-13 18:00
as a kid iwould pass the ball to sherman in the brooklyn college gym in pratice and watch him play in games there. he was the greatest i ever seen
0 #4 R. J. Snyder 2009-06-20 14:57
I watched Sherman White and a lot of the other players involved in the 50's basketball scandals play in the Eastern League while I was growing up in Scranton, PA. It's a shame that the young men like Floyd Layne, Ed Roman, Bob MacDonald, Ed Warner,etc. made a mistake that changed their lives forever. It would be interesting to know what happened to Sherman White over the past almost 60 years.
0 #3 jim ragland 2009-02-22 00:09
He was my hero and it broke my heart when I found out that he was involved the shaving of points. I met him at party in Passiac, nj. after a game on the playground. A very important moment in my life.

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