DeWitt Menyard

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DeWitt Menyard

Postby rlee » Sun Jun 21, 2009 5:52 pm

Friends honor gentle giant

TYLER JAMES
South Bend Tribune

SOUTH BEND — Friends and family of Dewitt Menyard, a 1963 gradate of South Bend Central High, gathered Saturday to celebrate the life of the former basketball player.

Nearly 70 people congregated at the Greater St. John Missionary Baptist Church in remembrance of Menyard.

Living in France with his wife, Odette, Menyard passed away on May 21 at the age of 64.

Menyard played basketball for four years at Central, culminating with a state-runner up finish to Muncie Central his senior year.

At 6 feet 10 inches, Menyard was almost always the biggest man on the court and scored 336 points in his career at Central.

Even though Menyard had an overpowering presence, Central teammate John McCullum said he never saw him get mad.

"He was always quiet," McCullum said. "Sometimes you wouldn't even know he was on the court, and he was the biggest thing in the building."

Former Central teammate and childhood neighbor Calvin Edwards described Menyard as a fun-loving guy.

"He was a big guy that loved to laugh and have fun," Edwards said. "For such a big giant, he was a mild-mannered person."

Playing with Mike Warren, who later won two national championships playing for John Wooden at UCLA, Menyard was never the star of the team but gradually developed as a force in the paint.

"In elementary he was about 6-foot-3 and nobody really knew how to develop a big man then," McCullum said.

Menyard continued to work hard. When he was a freshman, veteran teammate Ed Samelton helped him to improve.

"He was just getting started back then," Edwards said. "Playing with Ed every day, Dewitt naturally got tougher and tougher as the year went on. He turned out to be quite a player."

After high school Menyard first went to Allan Hancock College in Santa Maria, Calif. before transferring to the University of Utah. Menyard lettered for the Utes' basketball team in 1966 and '67.

Menyard was then drafted by the Houston Mavericks of the American Basketball Association and was named to the 1968 ABA All-Star team, averaging 9.1 points and 7.8 rebounds per game in his only season in the league.

Menyard spent several years playing professional basketball and scouting for a team in Tours, France, where he met his wife. Years later, Menyard came back to South Bend to work at the Family and Children's Center.

"He was gone for quite awhile over in France playing ball, so he lost contact with a lot of people," Edwards said. "Even though he was gone for awhile, everybody still was back here to pay tribute to him."

"I'm missing not only a teammate, but a very close personal friend."
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Re: DeWitt Menyard

Postby MCT » Wed Aug 12, 2009 3:49 pm

rlee wrote:Menyard was then drafted by the Houston Mavericks of the American Basketball Association and was named to the 1968 ABA All-Star team, averaging 9.1 points and 7.8 rebounds per game in his only season in the league.

Menyard has been cited as possibly the most obscure player ever to make an NBA or ABA All-Star team. Of course, it was in the ABA, in its inaugural season. Interesting that basketball brought him to France, and he wound up living much of his adult life there.
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Re: DeWitt Menyard

Postby Mike Goodman » Tue Aug 18, 2009 2:04 pm

MCT wrote:
rlee wrote:Menyard was ... named to the 1968 ABA All-Star team, averaging 9.1 points and 7.8 rebounds per game in his only season in the league.

Menyard has been cited as possibly the most obscure player ever to make an NBA or ABA All-Star team...

Obscure owing largely to the fact that he was out of the league thereafter. His .370 eFG% is surely one of the worst since the 1950's to earn an Allstar berth, as is a .413 TS%.

In an 11-team ABA, 12 western Allstars included Menyard and Art Becker from the Mavs. Perhaps DeWitt started the season better than his final numbers indicate. In 64 playoff minutes, he totaled 15 pts, 11 boards.

Not a shooter, he also didn't rebound real well. Of 13 ABA centers who played 1000 minutes in '68, he ranks 9th in Reb% (13.7).

At 6-10, he was the only Houston Maverick over 6-7. Fellow center (sometimes forward) Wilbert Frazier was an equal rebounder and better scorer, and got more minutes.
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Postby rlee » Tue Aug 18, 2009 3:44 pm

Menyard was pretty obscure as an all-star all-right having played a total of 6 minutes in the game.

I think Mike Breen, Mike Fratello & Mark Jackson would say it was Byron Beck: He played in 2 all-star games, one as late as 1975-76 & all three pf them admitted on national TV that they had never heard of him.
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Postby Mike Goodman » Tue Aug 18, 2009 4:23 pm

But Ray: Byron Beck was brought to their attention by his number hanging from the ceiling. Dewitt Menyard is nowhere near that kind of prominence.
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Postby rlee » Tue Aug 18, 2009 8:51 pm

Mike,

My post was just intended as a dig at the announcers, not to suggest that Beck was actually more obscure than DeWitt.
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Postby Mike Goodman » Thu Aug 20, 2009 12:54 pm

rlee wrote:... Byron Beck: He played in 2 all-star games, one as late as 1975-76 ...

Maybe Beck is one of the most obscure Allstars whose number is retired?

In any case, it strikes me as odd that in 1976, at the tail-end of his career, not one of the team's featured stars, Beck was an ABA Allstar. Of course! All of the Nuggets were allstars that year.

James Foster, Roger Brown (not that one), Monty Towe, Gus Gerard, and 7 other Nuggets are credited with an Allstar appearance for 1976, verified at - http://www.basketball-reference.com/pla ... eja01.html

Denver beat the rest of the league, 144-138 in this unique format. Largely due to a 50-29 advantage in FT attempts. Bobby Jones had 24 and 10, DT 29-8, Issel 19-9 with 5 assists. These 3 made more FT than the other squad. Simpson chipped in 19-7-5.
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