Tuesday, November 12, 2013

Best MAAC Stories: No. 29, Houston Top D-I Scorer

Here's another in the series identifying the MAAC's "Terrific 32," the best happenings in the conference's basketball history.

NO. 29


Who says the service academies, despite lengthy and mandatory military commitments upon graduation, can't find athletes?

They can, but very often have to find ones that were mostly overlooked.

For instance, the Naval Academy, in the mid-1980's, brought in a player who was a 6-foot-6, 175-pound forward as a high school senior.

That was David Robinson, who had sprouted to 6-9 by his freshman season at Navy and eventually grew to be a 7-footer who, because he was too tall for duty on a submarine, was able to begin an NBA career after college and became one of the sport's all-time greats.

Around the same time Army found a woefully thin, undersized guard in Pearl River, N.Y., not far from its West Point campus.

That was 5-foot-9 Kevin Houston.

What else did Robinson and Houston have in common?

In the 1985-86 season Robinson led all Division I players nationally in rebounding with 13.0 per game.

And, Houston led all scorers, averaging an incredible 32.9 points per contest.

It is the only time in college basketball history that players from the service academies topped those two major statistical categories.

Robinson's rebound title -- he was a 7-footer when he led the country in that statistical category -- wasn't much of a surprise.

But, a 5-9 guard leading the country in scoring? That didn't happen very often.

It happened in the 1985-86 season when Army coach Les Wothke let Houston, the team's point guard, fire away at will.

He had a career best 53 points in one game in a MAAC post-season tournament game against Fordham and 953 points in 29 games that season. Both totals remain conference records.

Army was one of the original MAAC members when the league formed in 1981, eventually leaving for the Patriot League after the 1989-90 season.

But, Houston made his mark, and his marksmanship, upon the MAAC, becoming the conference's first of several scoring leaders over the years.

His 32.9 ppg. average in that 1985-86 season remains the single-best for any MAAC player, and only three other college players anywhere since then have bettered that average.

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