AIR073: Kelly Tripucka (Part I) – Notre Dame star, two-time NBA All-Star and broadcaster | Podcast

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Kelly Tripucka - Detroit PistonsNotre Dame great, two-time NBA All-Star and broadcaster, Kelly Tripucka.

Part one of an in-depth, wide-ranging conversation about Kelly‘s career.

 

Topics / links discussed (include):

  • High School: Bloomfield, New Jersey
  • Jersey City Collegiate League and summer pick-up games
  • College: University of Notre Dame
  • A Class with Class‘ [Sports Illustrated: Nov 27, 1978]

'A Class with Class' - Kelly Tripucka

Kelly Tripucka - Notre Dame

People mentioned in this episode, include: Peyton Manning, Isiah Thomas, Bill Laimbeer, Julius Erving, Mark Aguirre, Dave Bing, Kiki VanDeWeghe, Pete Maravich, Danny Ainge, Bill HanzlikAlbert King, Orlando Woolridge & Magic Johnson.

 

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AIR072: Michael Holton – NCAA Championship finalist, NBA / CBA veteran and broadcaster | Podcast

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Michael Holton - Portland Trail BlazersNCAA Championship finalist, NBA / CBA veteran and broadcaster, Michael Holton.

 

High School: Pasadena, California

Michael was a great player in high school. As a senior (1979), he averaged 27 points per game. He discusses his fondest memories of playing high school basketball. Fifteen years later – when Michael entered the coaching ranks – he’d reunite with his high school coach, George Terzian. Michael also talks about his decision to sign with the UCLA Bruins.

 

College: University of California Los Angeles

Years: 1979-80 – 1982-83 | Coaches: Larry Brown & Larry Farmer

Michael was a starter as a freshman and was named the Bruins’ outstanding first-year player. He recalls his initial fear of perhaps not being good enough to succeed on the next level – that fear was quickly allayed. After winning only eight of the first 14 games, the Bruins caught fire at the perfect time; steamrolling through the 1980 NCAA Tournament, all the way to the Championship Game versus the Louisville Cardinals. For perspective, here’s the list of teams that UCLA defeated and some of the big-time players Michael encountered:

  1. Old Dominion (Mark West)
  2. DePaul (Terry Cummings & Mark Aguirre)
  3. Ohio State (Kelvin Ransey & Clark Kellogg)
  4. Clemson (Larry Nance & Mitchell Wiggins)
  5. Purdue (Joe Barry Carroll).

In the 1980 Championship game, UCLA lost 59-54. The Cardinals were littered with future-NBA players: Darrell Griffith, Derek Smith, Rodney McCray & Jerry Eaves. Michael reflects on that amazing run to the final.

Holton’s freshman season was the senior year for Kiki VanDeWeghe – who went on to star in the NBA, notching-up seven seasons of 20-plus points per game in the 1980s – Michael talks about the importance influence of the Bruins’ junior and senior players.

As a sophomore in 1981 (outright) and junior in 1982 (tied with Ralph Jackson), Michael was named the Bruins’ Outstanding Team Player. UCLA made the second round of the 1981 NCAA Tournament, but missed the post-season in 1982. Former guests and friends of the show, Mark Eaton and Nigel Miguel, joined the Bruins around this time, too. Michael talks about the transition from (coaches) Larry Brown to Larry Farmer.

As a senior, Michael was named captain and led the team in free-throw percentage. His college career ended (1983) with a second-round exit to the Utah Utes. After reaching the title game as a freshman, Michael contrasts his feelings about exiting the tournament early (as a senior).

 

1983 NBA Draft

Date: June 28 | Location: New York | Pick: 53 (Round 3) | Team: Golden State Warriors

 

NBA / CBA career | Years: 1983-84 – 1991-92

Season: 1983-84 | Team: Puerto Rico Coquis

Coach: Herb Brown (Larry’s older brother)

Michael’s opportunity to play in the NBA would have to wait one season. After Golden State waived him (October, 1983), he signed with the Coquis; the Continental Basketball Association’s (CBA) newly-minted expansion franchise. The Coquis made it to the playoffs, before bowing out to Phil Jackson’s Albany Patroons in the semi-finals.

 

Seasons: 1984-85 – 1985-86 | Teams: Phoenix Suns / Florida Stingers / Chicago Bulls

Coaches: John MacLeod / Bobby Bowman (CBA) / Stan Albeck

In late September of 1984, Michael signed with the Phoenix Suns as a free agent – joining former Bruins teammates, Mike Sanders and Rod Foster. Holton recalls the step-up from Puerto Rico to the Suns. His Suns met the would-be NBA Champion, L.A. Lakers, in the first round (0-3) of the 1985 Playoffs. As he displayed throughout our chat, Michael has a great sense of humor, regaling his first taste of playoff basketball.

After a 0-4 start to season, Phoenix waived Holton. He returned to the CBA and played a key role – scoring 13 points – leading his CBA All-Star team to a 110-108 win over defending champs, Tampa Bay, in Florida. That was February 11, 1986. Michael details the wonderful background behind his meeting with the Chicago Bulls’ VP of Operations, Jerry Krause, moments after the aforementioned CBA game. Holton signed the first of two 10-day contracts with the Bulls – he’d later sign with the team for the rest of the season.

Michael Holton joined the Bulls franchise at a fascinating time in its history. Michael Jordan had broken his foot in just the third game of the season; he hoped to make an on-court return before season’s end. Holton’s future with the Bulls was largely dependent on Jordan’s injury rehabilitation. He shares unique insight into his early interactions with not only his new teammates, but his practice-court battles with a young Air Jordan.

We discuss the details behind this incredible promotional poster – Raging Bulls – that Michael appeared on.

Raging Bulls - Michael Holton

When Michael was left off the Bulls’ (1986) post-season roster – to make way for Jawann Oldham – he accepted an offer to play overseas for the Great Taste Coffee Makers, in the Philippine Basketball Association. He enjoyed considerable success in a short span – including two 40-plus point games.

 

Seasons: 1986-87 – 1987-88 | Team: Portland Trail Blazers

Coach: Mike Schuler

Michael signed as a veteran free agent with the Blazers, in August of 1986. He joined the team for its Summer League games in Los Angeles. In one of those games, he scored 37 points against his former team, the Phoenix Suns.

The Trail Blazers’ Mike Schuler, replaced the legendary Dr. Jack Ramsay. In his first season (1987) at the helm, Schuler led the Blazers to a 49-33 record – the best effort for a Portland team since the 1978 campaign – and won Coach of the Year honors.

Holton’s second season with the Blazers resulted in an even-better regular season (53-29). His responsibilities also increased significantly as he became a trusted part of the rotation. Michael discussed his increased role with the team and some of the all-time Blazer greats that he played with, including Clyde Drexler and Terry Porter.

 

Seasons: 1988-89 – 1989-90 | Team: Charlotte Hornets

Coaches: Dick Harter & Gene Littles

As one of the (Blazers) players left unprotected for the (June 23, 1988) NBA Expansion Draft, Michael was picked by a new franchise – the Charlotte Hornets. He was selected sixth by the Hornets (12th overall), who alternated picks with the other new franchise – the Miami Heat. We chat about the build-up to the Hornets’ NBA debut and how the city at-large, immediately fell in love with the new franchise.

The new franchise’s amazing fans ensured that Charlotte Coliseum would be packed to the rafters. The Hornets led the league in attendance in eight of its first 10 seasons – they were in second place, the other two occasions.

Holton started at point-guard in Charlotte’s first 60 games and arguably had his best NBA season in 1989, averaging 8.3 points, 6.3 assists and one steal per game, in just over 25 minutes per contest.

Michael required back surgery prior to the start of the 1990 season. After an 8-32 start, Coach Harter was replaced by Gene Littles. He steered the team to an 11-31 finish, as the Hornets ended the season at 19-63. Holton only managed 16 games in total and didn’t return to the court until late February (1990). He talks openly about his recovery from surgery, watching from the sidelines as the team really struggled, and the franchise’s expectations of his return. Three days shy of the start to the 1991 season, Charlotte waived Michael.

 

Seasons: 1990-91 & 1991-92 | Teams: Tulsa Fast Breakers & Tri-City Chinook

Coaches: Henry Bibby (Breakers) & Steve Hayes (Chinook)

Michael finished his playing career with stops in the CBA. First, with the Tulsa Fast Breakers and then, the expansion Tri-City Chinook. He reflects on how his on-court career played out, including his last attempt to make it back to the NBA.

Michael transitioned into coaching, not long after retiring as a player. Following stints in high school and two seasons with Oregon-based colleges, he returned to UCLA – this time as an assistant coach and recruiting coordinator. The team enjoyed great success (1996 through 2001). Michael talks about what it was like to return to the Bruins, almost 15 years after he left the school as a player.

We also talk about Michael’s tenure as head coach at the University of Portland. He left the Pilots in 2006, after five seasons. He shares his thoughts on leading the team and highlights from the journey. NBA great, Terry Porter – Holton’s former teammate on the Blazers – was recently named head coach at the University of Portland. We briefly talk about the task ahead of Terry, as the upcoming season approaches.

These days, Michael works for the Portland Trail Blazers’ broadcasting team. Recently, he teamed up with his former (UCLA and NBA) teammate, Mike Sanders, for a camp in the Czech Republic – part of the Michael Holton Basketball Academy. He talks about the importance of giving back to the community.

I ask Michael to recall “The Game I’ll Never Forget”. Our conversation concludes with a brief discussion about the significance of the jersey numbers that Michael wore throughout his career.

People mentioned in this episode, include: Sidney Green, John Paxson, Kyle Macy & Gene Banks.

 

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NB86-6: Michael Jordan’s second NBA season – December 9 through 23, 1985 | Podcast

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Manute Bol eviscerates Jawann Oldham

Adam & Aaron celebrate the 30th anniversary of Michael Jordan’s second season in the National Basketball Association. This episode covers:

 

* NBA regular season – December 9 through 23, 1985

* Insightful minutiae, all but lost to the annals of basketball history

 

In this episode, we discuss numerous happenings from the next 15-day block of the 1985-86 NBA season. The Chicago Bulls played seven games in this span – three wins and four losses.

Around the league, the Boston Celtics and Los Angeles Lakers continued their fantastic starts to the season. We chat about a (possible) ‘cast-breaking ceremony’, to check whether Michael Jordan‘s broken foot had healed. However, this news only plays the role of ‘supporting cast’, in an episode where Manute Bol stands tall…very tall. In the absence of Jeff Ruland (broken ankle), Bol’s first-career start resulted in 18 points, 12 blocks and nine rebounds.

We also talk about the reasoning behind Jordan’s decision to (mostly) not travel with his team. The Chicago Tribune reported that teammates were voicing their disappointment in MJ’s ‘lack of moral support’ – he even declined the request (to attend games) of Bulls’ GM, Jerry Krause.

The Dallas Mavericks’ Mark Aguirre, was suspended by his team, after refusing Coach Dick Motta’s request to re-enter a game, in Atlanta. Motta took exception to Mark helping his friend, Dominique Wilkins, to his feet, after the pair collided, earlier in the game.

Further, we discuss some milestones. It was a great span for the San Antonio Spurs. Alvin Robertson was named the NBA’s Player of the Week, notching a career-high 41 points against the Denver Nuggets. In that same game, Artis Gilmore eclipsed 23,000 career points (ABA and NBA).

This episode continues our coverage of the 1985-86 NBA season. We encourage your interaction. Feel free to suggest specific games, moments and events from within the season, for us to cover in future episodes of the series. Thanks for taking the time to listen to the show. If you enjoy the content, please share it with your friends!

Others mentioned in this episode, include: Sidney Green, Melvin Turpin, Hot Rod Hundley, Jawann Oldham, Mark EatonFat Lever, Rolando Blackman & Doug Moe.

 

Chicago Bulls games discussed:

 

85-12-10 – San Antonio Spurs @ Chicago Bulls

85-12-12 – Philadelphia 76ers @ Chicago Bulls

85-12-14 – Sacramento Kings @ Chicago Bulls

85-12-15 – Chicago Bulls @ Boston Celtics

85-12-17 – Boston Celtics @ Chicago Bulls

85-12-19 – Washington Bullets @ Chicago Bulls

85-12-21 – Utah Jazz @ Chicago Bulls

 

Editor’s note: sign-up for the monthly newsletter – receive exclusive details on upcoming podcast episodes and future, high-profile guests to appear on the show.

 

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NB86-5: Michael Jordan’s second NBA season – November 24 through December 8, 1985 | Podcast

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Stan Albeck - Chicago Bulls

Adam & Aaron celebrate the 30th anniversary of Michael Jordan‘s second season in the National Basketball Association. This episode covers:

 

* NBA regular season – November 24 through December 8, 1985

* Insightful minutiae, all but lost to the annals of basketball history

 

In this episode, we discuss numerous happenings from the next 15-day block of the 1985-86 NBA season. The Chicago Bulls played nine games (all on the road) in this span – two wins and seven losses. 18 of the Bulls’ first 24 games, were away from home.

We chat about the increased productivity of Chicago’s Quintin Dailey. His scoring ability was needed more than ever, with Michael Jordan still on the sidelines. Never short of a post-game quote, Dailey had choice words about the Washington Bullets’ Darren Daye, after an incident with the Bulls’ John Paxson.

We also talk about the Boston Celtics’ tremendous early-season form. The team’s nine-game win streak was broken by the visiting Portland Trail Blazers – it would be the Celtics’ sole regular-season loss at home.

Stan Albeck (Chicago coach) extraordinarily asked permission from his regular starters, to have his four former-Spurs players, in the starting lineup, for the Bulls’ game at San Antonio. It worked beautifully, with each of the ex-Spurs having good performances.

Further, we discuss some scoring milestones. The Denver Nuggets’ Alex English racked up 15,000 career points, whilst the Cleveland Cavaliers’ World B. Free, surpassed 16,000 for his career.

This episode continues our coverage of the 1985-86 NBA season. We encourage your interaction. Feel free to suggest specific games, moments and events from within the season, for us to cover in future episodes of the series. Thanks for taking the time to listen to the show. If you enjoy the content, please share it with your friends!

Others mentioned in this episode, include: George Gervin, Fat Lever, Terence Stansbury, Adrian Dantley, Mel Turpin, Jawann Oldham, Herb Williams, Maurice Lucas & Jeff Ruland.

 

Chicago Bulls games discussed:

 

85-11-24 – Chicago Bulls @ Washington Bullets

85-11-26 – Chicago Bulls @ Denver Nuggets

85-11-27 – Chicago Bulls @ Utah Jazz

85-11-29 – Chicago Bulls @ Portland Trail Blazers

85-12-01 – Chicago Bulls @ Los Angeles Lakers

85-12-03 – Chicago Bulls @ Sacramento Kings

85-12-04 – Chicago Bulls @ Phoenix Suns

85-12-06 – Chicago Bulls @ San Antonio Spurs

85-12-07 – Chicago Bulls @ Houston Rockets

 

Editor’s note: sign-up for the monthly newsletter – receive exclusive details on upcoming podcast episodes and future, high-profile guests to appear on the show.

 

I appreciate all feedback, FB Page ‘Likes’ and iTunes ratings / reviews.

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NB86-4: Michael Jordan’s second NBA season – November 9 through 23, 1985 | Podcast

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George Gervin - Chicago Bulls

Adam & Aaron celebrate the 30th anniversary of Michael Jordan‘s second season in the National Basketball Association. This episode covers:

 

* NBA regular season – November 9 through 23, 1985

* Insightful minutiae, all but lost to the annals of basketball history

 

In this episode, we discuss numerous happenings from the second 15-day block of the 1985-86 NBA season. The Chicago Bulls played eight games in this span – three wins and five losses.

We chat about the Bulls’ transition from its heavy reliance on (recently injured) Michael Jordan. Chicago was trying to adapt to not having MJ on the floor – this allowed star, Orlando Woolridge, to mesh with lesser-known talents like Sidney Green, Dave Corzine, Jawann Oldham and Kyle Macy; assuming more responsibility for the team’s fortunes.

Kyle Macy - Chicago Bulls
 

We also talk about the role that Michael Jordan played, helping the North Carolina Tar Heels, secure the signature of Scott Williams (future three-time NBA Champion).

Jordan helped secure Williams' UNC signing

 

Further, we discuss the Lakers’ best start to a season since the franchise moved to Los Angeles in 1960, Quintin Dailey‘s return to playing duty, Alex English‘s 54-point explosion versus Houston, Xavier McDaniel‘s cameo in (1992 movie) Singles and much more.


 

This episode continues our coverage of the 1985-86 NBA season. We encourage your interaction. Feel free to suggest specific games, moments and events from within the season, for us to cover in future episodes of the series. Thanks for taking the time to listen to the show. If you enjoy the content, please share it with your friends!

Others mentioned in this episode, include: George GervinSteve Stipanovich, Ken Bannister, Bill Walton, Terry Cummings, Mychal Thompson & Derrick Gervin.

 

Chicago Bulls games discussed:

 

Box Score: Nov 9, 1985 – Chicago Bulls @ New York Knicks

Box Score: Nov 12, 1985 – Milwaukee Bucks @ Chicago Bulls

Box Score: Nov 13, 1985 – Chicago Bulls @ Philadelphia 76ers

Box Score: Nov 15, 1985 – Chicago Bulls @ Milwaukee Bucks

Box Score: Nov 16, 1985 – Cleveland Cavaliers @ Chicago Bulls

Box Score: Nov 19, 1985 – Indiana Pacers @ Chicago Bulls

Box Score: Nov 20, 1985 – Chicago Bulls @ Atlanta Hawks

Box Score: Nov 23, 1985 – Golden State Warriors @ Chicago Bulls

 

Editor’s note: sign-up for the monthly newsletter – receive exclusive details on upcoming podcast episodes and future, high-profile guests to appear on the show.

 

I appreciate all feedback, FB Page ‘Likes’ and iTunes ratings / reviews.

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NB86-3: Michael Jordan’s second NBA season – October 25 through November 8, 1985 | Podcast

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Michael Jordan - sidelined with a broken foot

Adam & Aaron celebrate the 30th anniversary of Michael Jordan‘s second season in the National Basketball Association. This episode covers:

 

* NBA regular season – October 25 through November 8, 1985

* Insightful minutiae, all but lost to the annals of basketball history

 

In this episode, we discuss numerous happenings from the first 15 days of the 1985-86 NBA season. The Chicago Bulls played seven games in this span – three wins and four losses. Without doubt, the biggest news of the young season, was Michael Jordan‘s fractured left foot – initially reported to be a ‘jammed ankle’ – suffered in the team’s third game. He’d miss 64 regular-season games.

We chat about Larry Bird‘s near quadruple-double that opened the Celtics’ season. That same game was also Bill Walton‘s debut with Boston. We also talk about the great play of the L.A. Clippers’ Derek Smith, who lit up the newly-relocated Sacramento Kings, for 36 points. Patrick Ewing made his NBA debut, however, suffered more losses in his first two weeks as a pro (seven), than he did in his entire senior season at Georgetown (three).

Further, we discuss John Paxson signing with the Bulls and Manute Bol‘s first NBA points. Also, we mention 40-plus point performances from Mark Aguirre, Alex English and Akeem Olajuwon, chat about Chris Mullin‘s heroics in his first regular-season game and much more.

This episode continues our coverage of the 1985-86 NBA season. We encourage your interaction. Feel free to suggest specific games, moments and events from within the season, for us to cover in future episodes of the series. Thanks for taking the time to listen to the show. If you enjoy the content, please share it with your friends!

Others mentioned in this episode, include: Buck Williams, Terence Stansbury, Wes Matthews & Georgi Glouchkov.

 

Chicago Bulls games discussed:

 

Box Score: Oct 25, 1985 – Cleveland Cavailiers @ Chicago Bulls

Box Score: Oct 26, 1985 – Detroit Pistons @ Chicago Bulls

Box Score: Oct 29, 1985 – Chicago Bulls @ Golden State Warriors

Box Score: Oct 31, 1985 – Chicago Bulls @ L.A. Clippers

Box Score: Nov 2, 1985 – Chicago Bulls @ Seattle SuperSonics

Box Score: Nov 6, 1985 – Chicago Bulls @ Detroit Pistons

Box Score: Nov 7, 1985 – Chicago Bulls @ New Jersey Nets

 

Editor’s note: sign-up for the monthly newsletter – receive exclusive details on upcoming podcast episodes and future, high-profile guests to appear on the show.

 

I appreciate all feedback, FB Page ‘Likes’ and iTunes ratings / reviews.

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Feedback: e-mail (audio welcome) | Voicemail