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Unfulfilled Potential: Howie Shannon

Howie Shannon

Credit: Wikipedia

Let's look back at the past ten years (2010-2020) and see how each Rookie of the Year (ROTY) winner is doing:

  • 6/11 of the ROTYs have become All-Stars: Luka Doncic, Ben Simmons, Karl-Anthony Towns, Damian Lillard, Kyrie Irving, and Blake Griffin

  • 3/11 of the ROTYs are near All-Stars: Andrew Wiggins, Malcolm Brogdon, and Ja Morant.

  • 1/11 of the ROTYs, although not the best, is still a role-player in the league: Michael Carter-Williams

  • And 1/11 of the ROTYs is no longer in the league, but that has to do with a ban rather than him being bad: Tyreke Evans.

Most Rookie of the Year's end up with long NBA careers, even if they aren't the best, but there is one exception. Howie Shannon was named ROTY for the 1948-49 NBA season. However, just one year after he was named ROTY, he vanished from the NBA.

Here's the story of the ROTY that only played two seasons, Howie Shannon.

It won't be a long story since he literally just played two seasons.

Heads Up: there are barely any pictures of Howie Shannon because this was EIGHTY years ago. The only available pictures have EXTREMELY horrible quality.

College Career:

In the 1947-48 NCAA season, Howie Shannon played Guard/Small Forward for the Kansas State Wildcats. With the Wildcats, Shannon averaged:

9.9 Points

3.9 Field Goals, 2.1 Free Throws, and 2.4 Free Throw Attempts

2 Personal Fouls

Of the seven teams that were a part of the Big Seven Conference, the Wildcats would end up first with a 9-3 Win/Loss record (75.0%). The Wildcats overall record was 22-6 (78.6%). In the NCAA Tournament, the Wildcats would make it all the way to the Final Four but would end up losing to Baylor University.

This isn't the most impressive achievement since there were only eight teams in the NCAA Tournament, but still an achievement.

In the Quarterfinals (Elite Eight) against the University of Wyoming, the Wildcats won 58-48. Howie Shannon had 14 points and shot 100% (6/6) from the free-throw line!

The Semifinals did not end as well. The Wildcats lost 52-60 to Baylor University. This was one of Shannon's worst games in this series, as he only scored four points but still shot 100% (4/4) from the free-throw line.

In a game for Third Place, the Wildcats would also unfortunately lose. They lost 54-60 to the College of the Holy Cross. Although they lost, this was, without a doubt, Howie Shannon's best game. Shannon had 17 points, the most in the game, and once again, shot 100% (5/5) from the field.

Even with this impressive performance, the Wildcats couldn't win because 5/11 of the players on the team scored ZERO POINTS! Whereas the Holy Cross Crusaders had seven players score more than five points, the Wildcats only had four players score more than five points.

After the 1947-48 NCAA season, Howie Shannon was not allowed to play due to a re-interpretation of a rule. Unfortunately, I couldn't even understand the re-interpretation because it was stated in such a weird way, so instead, I'll just put what Wiki has to say.

I think this has to do with the fact that Howie Shannon played for the University of North Texas in the 1942-43 NCAA season as a 19-year-old and then played for Kansas State University in the 1947-48 NCAA season as a 24-year-old.

Due to this new rule, Howie Shannon was not allowed to play in the NCAA and instead opted into a one-year contract with the Providence Steamrollers.

NBA Career:

In the 1948-49 NBA season, Howie Shannon averaged:

13.4 Points, 2.3 Assists

36.4 FG%, 80.4 FT%

2.8 Personal Fouls

As a rookie, Shannon had the highest field goal and free-throw percentage on the team. He also had the second-highest number of points and assists as well!

Shannon's best game was on February 12th, 1949, against the Indianapolis Jets. Shannon scored 27 points and shot 100% (7/7) from the free-throw line. If you haven't already noticed, Howie Shannon was an amazing free-throw shooter. He actually had the 5th best free-throw percentage in the 1948-49 NBA season!

As mentioned earlier, Howie Shannon would win Rookie of the Year and became THE OLDEST Rookie of the Year winner (25). HOWEVER, the NBA does not recognize Shannon's ROTY as legitimate. There isn't any explanation why, but every ROTY winner from 1947-51 is "unofficially recognized."

Even though Shannon had a good individual season, the Providence Steamrollers were garbage. The Steamrollers would end up with a 12-48 Win/Loss record, making them the worst team in the league. In addition, the Steamrollers let teams score the most points (87.6) and scored the fourth-least points (78.5).

After the 1948-49 NBA season, although Howie Shannon had already signed with the Steamrollers, the team had to draft him to secure his rights. As a result, in the 1949 NBA Draft, the Steamrollers chose Shannon as the first overall pick. HOWEVER, before the season started, the Steamrollers would disband, leaving the rights to Shannon to the Boston Celtics.

Howie Shannon's season with the Boston Celtics was pretty disappointing. He went from being the Rookie of the Year to an, at best, above-average role player. In the 1949-50 NBA season, Shannon averaged:

8.8 Points, 2.6 Assists

34.4 FG%, 78.6 FT%

2.2 Personal Fouls

His points, field-goal percentage, and free-throw percentage all went down. Unlike with the Steamrollers, where Shannon had the highest stat in every statistical category, Shannon, at the highest, was only the fourth in assists.

What makes this even worse is that the Boston Celtics were just as bad as the Providence Steamrollers. The Celtics would end up going 22-46 and were the worst team in the Eastern Division. The only upside was that the Celtics weren't THE WORST team in the NBA.

To leave this section on a brighter note, Howie Shannon's best game was on February 4th, 1950, against the Waterloo Hawks. Shannon would score 22 points and shoot 100% (6/6) from the free-throw line.

Coaching Career:

After only two seasons in the NBA, Howie Shannon would retire and work as a coach for numerous teams. From 1950 to 1954, Shannon worked as the head coach for Topeka High School before becoming an assistant coach at his alma mater, Kansas State.

After his time with Kansas State, Shannon would become the head coach for Virginia Tech from 1964-71. In every season besides the 1969-70 NCAA season, Virginia Tech always had a positive Win/Loss record.

In the 1966-67 NCAA season, Shannon would lead Virginia Tech to one of its best regular-season records and its best NCAA tournament run. In the regular season, Virginia Tech went 20-7. As for the NCAA tournament, Virginia Tech would make it all the way to the Mideast Regional Finals but would lose 71-66 to the University of Dayton.


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