The Case for Ed Warner
He became one of the most prestigious collegiate players of the early 1950s, yet Ed Warner not only tarnished his legacy, but also destroyed his chance at a professional career in the same manner as his friend and fellow honorable draftee, Sherman White. Warner played a huge part in leading CCNY to both the NIT and NCAA championships in 1950. To date it is the only school to accomplish this feat and will probably remain so unless the current scheduling and popularity of the NIT changes.
Despite his 6-3 stature and lack of explosive leaping ability, he was blessed with a quick step, body control, and toughness that few could match. Warner was also the blueprint for hundreds of young African American ball players on the east coast who sought to pattern their game after him. As a sophomore in 1950 he earned the (formerly) prestigious MVP award in the NIT. Warner was on track as a first round draft pick with most NBA teams rumored to be eyeing his talents, including the Celtics.
From the minute Warner entered college scene there were questions surrounding his transcripts. Despite graduating 827th out of 927 students at DeWitt Clinton High School in the Bronx, he gained admission into CCNY despite their high academic standards. Warner's admission raised a few eyebrows, but no one publicly challenged the legitimacy of CCNY’s respected head coach Nate Holman’s program.
Ever the hustler, Warner grew up on the mean Harlem streets living with aunts and grandparents after both his parents died before his 6th birthday. Through the acquaintance of Sherman White’s teammate, Eddie Gard, Warner was approached to throw games in return for quick cash (about $3,000 for the season, which equates to $26,000 today). This was a major coup for gambler Salvatore Sollazzo in his effort to lock down New York City basketball betting.
Warner later recruited CCNY players Al Roth, Floyd Lane, and Ed Roman to join him in the fix. The selling point was "no games lost", only a change in the spread, which also proved tempting to other CCNY players, Norman Mager, Irwin Dambrot and Herb Cohen. They all agreed to take part, but an investigation was launched amid rumors of the fix. This led to Warner's indictment and bribery charge which earned him a 6-month sentence at Riker’s Island. The other players involved in the fix all recieved suspended sentences.
It's all pretty clear. Ed Warner brought about his own demise. He's not on the list of 1952 NBA draftees, but The Draft Review recognizes Ed Warner on the single basis of his on-court excellence during the 1950s era and names him as a TDR Honorable Draftee.