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tyra
04-24-2015, 07:39 PM
Wow! I had the pleasure today to talk to Jerry at great length. What a joy. Still trying to get my head around 1670 career rebounds from a guy 6'4". Not only is that a career record that will never be exceeded, but he also has the top four season records. Plus he is a kind man -- he signed my hat and his book for me. Wish someone could tell me why his jersey is not retired.

Oregonzagnut
04-24-2015, 07:46 PM
Wow! I had the pleasure today to talk to Jerry at great length. What a joy. Still trying to get my head around 1670 career rebounds from a guy 6'4". Not only is that a career record that will never be exceeded, but he also has the top four season records. Plus he is a kind man -- he signed my hat and his book for me. Wish someone could tell me why his jersey is not retired.

This may be the best question I've heard in a long time. Maybe #36 is too popular?

Mr Vulture
04-24-2015, 08:49 PM
I've been trying to figure the right approach to this post but I keep coming back to the same thing. Really? I can't believe his number is not retired. I'm not sure the majority realize this frankly..might be time for a campaign because just the historical factors alone would make him worthy.

There was a thread a few weeks ago about the greatest Zags ever and I know myself, as a younger fan from the 80's wasn't able to speak first hand for guys like Burgess, Vermillion, or McPhee. I did some online research and was blown away by what I read on Jerry. I guess I assumed he was retired with his accomplishments. I think it's just right when all is said and done for that to happen.

MDABE80
04-24-2015, 09:09 PM
It's a head scratcher. It's getting late for him. I'm thinking he deserves our HOF. We're Beginning to look foolish over this.

hondo
04-24-2015, 09:36 PM
I agree 100% Doc.

Zag 77
04-24-2015, 10:07 PM
Remember that before the Catholic Church proclaims a Saint, there is an appointment of a "Devil's Advocate" to look for arguments against or flaws. I suspect that even some people at GU would want to be 1000% sure that the record is 1000% accurate. The last thing they would want is for him to have his number retired only to have some research geek find out 5 years later that there is a problem. His record is ridiculously ahead of GU basketball players who have had better size, better training and years of training that he did not have in the 1950's. How is that possible? How were records and stats recorded in the days of Coach Hank Anderson? Was there a reasonably responsible person keeping stats, or was it a 12 year old kid who was related to a coach?

How do Vermillion's numbers stack up against all-time NCAA stats? Are they in the same ballpark as the top 10 Career Rebounders of all time? Are they in the same ballpark as any other players of his era? Where do his numbers rank him for national season stats for the seasons he played? How did his numbers compare to his team-mates? What do sports articles from his time say? Even in an era of little sophistication, his mind-boggling numbers must have drawn some comment.

In all these years, has any rigorous study of these statistics ever been done? Sounds like a good project for a dissertation. Do they award a Masters in Phys. Ed?

If there is a preponderance of evidence that supports his numbers, then I agree that his number should be retired, especially while he is still around to enjoy the honor.

tyra
04-24-2015, 10:30 PM
Jerry's rebounding prowess (hugely disproportional to his height) is attributable to several factors. He had a great vertical. His wing span was freakishly long. And he had unusual upper body and shoulder strength. He also credits his very high shoulders and claims his 6'4" really equated, all things considered, to more like 6'8" or 9. Then, too, he must have been able to read an angle and anticipate like a magician. As for the stats, well, I don't know but this was 1951 to 1955, NOT pre World War for goodness sakes.

gonzagafan62
04-25-2015, 06:03 AM
Such a true question. This is an embarrassment to the university. He should have been in long ago

DixieZag
04-25-2015, 06:19 AM
I don't know but this was 1951 to 1955, NOT pre World War for goodness sakes.

If this is going to be done, it should be done this coming season.

Perhaps we could start a petition or drive through this thread? Maybe it's not the right way to go about it, someone here will know better, but it's an idea.

Also, it will help people to appreciate and advocate for him and his record if people who know of this history would tell us some of the stories from that era. There is nothing I like more or find more satisfying than hearing stories regarding the pre-Stockton days at GU. Those players didn't fly in a private jet, get thousands in dollars in clothes, have a locker room nicer than some people's living rooms, play in front of millions or go on to professional riches, they played b/c they loved the game and school.

We should honor them more.

zag67
04-25-2015, 07:54 AM
I agree with Dixie. Unless it is done soon, why do it. He deserves it even though some of the games were not D1. Let me know when and where to sign

vandalzag
04-25-2015, 09:01 AM
Remember that before the Catholic Church proclaims a Saint, there is an appointment of a "Devil's Advocate" to look for arguments against or flaws. I suspect that even some people at GU would want to be 1000% sure that the record is 1000% accurate. The last thing they would want is for him to have his number retired only to have some research geek find out 5 years later that there is a problem. His record is ridiculously ahead of GU basketball players who have had better size, better training and years of training that he did not have in the 1950's. How is that possible? How were records and stats recorded in the days of Coach Hank Anderson? Was there a reasonably responsible person keeping stats, or was it a 12 year old kid who was related to a coach?


How do Vermillion's numbers stack up against all-time NCAA stats? Are they in the same ballpark as the top 10 Career Rebounders of all time? Are they in the same ballpark as any other players of his era? Where do his numbers rank him for national season stats for the seasons he played? How did his numbers compare to his team-mates? What do sports articles from his time say? Even in an era of little sophistication, his mind-boggling numbers must have drawn some comment.

In all these years, has any rigorous study of these statistics ever been done? Sounds like a good project for a dissertation. Do they award a Masters in Phys. Ed?

If there is a preponderance of evidence that supports his numbers, then I agree that his number should be retired, especially while he is still around to enjoy the honor.

So by this logic the number 12 should be taken down since his career numbers of 12 pts and 5 assists per game would not merit being retired, if they were compared to stats at the time and current stats. His place on the all time stats for GU would also not warrant consideration.

BurgessEraZag
04-25-2015, 10:36 AM
Records were kept from 1957-1961 by a student hired to fill position of Sports Information Director (age 18-22). I considered myself responsible, loyal, brace, reverent and all the Boy Scout things. To my knowledge all the SIDs preceding me were students (thankfully on Full Rides) who were journalism students and most became professional journalists, Associated Press, Spokesman-Review and United Press International. Vermillion's younger brother Dennis played for GU in my tenure and was a journeyman 6-4 forward but not as prolific as Jerry. My opinion is that college players in the 50s and before were not as accurate shooters as they are now days. Therefore more rebounds were available for stat purposes. Nevertheless Jerry's numbers are I believe accurate and attest to his amazing ability to hit the boards.
The GU record books have Charlie Jordan in 1957-58 with record numbers and I kept his statistics. In either 57 or 58 GU led the nation in team rebounding even though our record was not great. I did not "fudge" on the stats. Unfortunately Hank Anderson is gone now but Jack Stockton (John's father) would probably remember Jerry. I never saw him play. I suspect Jed Heathcote would be a source of appraisal for Vermillion since he coached West Valley high school in the 50s. On the numbers alone there seems to be little argument why Vermillion's number should not be retired and honored. We had no computers in the 50s so I was affectionately known as "the Pencil Pusher" as a stat keeper.

BurgessEraZag
04-25-2015, 10:42 AM
GU's basketball gym in the 50s was what is currently used as a performance theater (I believe the Russell Theater) so it was a band box tiny place.
My proudest moment as SID was Burgess being named All-American and leading the nation in scoring on my watch.

tyra
04-25-2015, 12:30 PM
Jerry also told me that he believes the introduction of the three point line reduced rebounding opportunities for centers (unlike in his era) because of the longer bounce from a three point miss. I have no idea if data bears that out in general but it seems plausible.

scott257
04-25-2015, 12:46 PM
Not to dishonor anyone, but I personally think the concept or retiring numbers should be done away with. Have a hall of fame or ring of honor. I think that the actual retiring of a number stands in the way of honoring a number of recognition worthy individuals. Certainly Mr. Vermillion is one that is worthy of recognition.

MDABE80
04-25-2015, 01:37 PM
We have a HOF. Vermillion belongs in it.

Fonebone
04-25-2015, 02:14 PM
I guess I have a quick couple questions related to this. What was Jerry's overall strength and dominance and success as a basketball player? Does a player warrant having a number retired if he or she really only dominates in one facet of the game? I'm not saying that's the case with Jerry but I've never heard anything other than his rebounding numbers. If someone has a tremendous number of assists or steals or high three point shooting percentage but otherwise is not an outstanding lifetime program player should their number be retired?


John Stockton's numbers that may not have been number retiring statistically but his overall achievements have been judged to warrant having his number retired. So it seems to be based on something more than statistics


The fact that we've only had two players numbers retired ever tells me that whoever is determining retirement of numbers considers it to be a very high and unusual honor to retire a number. So again the question is does anyone know what Jerry's overall dominance as a player was and in general do you think that extremely high dominance in one specific facet warrants retiring someone's number?

tyra
04-25-2015, 02:57 PM
Until very recently, Fonebone, Jerry was in the Top Ten All Time scorers in GU history with more than 1500 career points. And by the way, every single player ahead of him is more recent. Indeed, for many years he was the Number One All Time leading scorer (until Burgess of course). He lead the team twice, I believe averaging 21 and 19 his last two years. He is also one of the few in the 40+ club. The guy was the real deal. Period.

Oregonzagnut
04-25-2015, 03:05 PM
I guess I have a quick couple questions related to this. What was Jerry's overall strength and dominance and success as a basketball player? Does a player warrant having a number retired if he or she really only dominates in one facet of the game? I'm not saying that's the case with Jerry but I've never heard anything other than his rebounding numbers. If someone has a tremendous number of assists or steals or high three point shooting percentage but otherwise is not an outstanding lifetime program player should their number be retired?

Here is a previous thread a couple years ago:http://guboards.spokesmanreview.com/showthread.php?47135-Zags-Player-amp-Coach-Seeks-Support-to-Retire-Jerry-Vermillion-s-Number

Fonebone, great question (in bold) and you posted in the 2013 thread below. But first check out these "lists":

WHY is he not listed here: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_NCAA_Division_I_men%27s_basketball_career_ rebounding_leaders

Or worse yet, EVEN HERE:http://isportsweb.com/2013/10/24/top-5-gonzaga-basketball-players-time/

Here is my opinion. Retiring the collegiate jersey #s should be based solely on collegiate stats. Who knows how many numbers are retired after the player has gone on to NBA success and the university is wanting to build momentum in the program and highlight the best players for any reason. There may be nothing wrong with that as long as the collegiate stats are the biggest part of the analysis and decision. But Vermillion's lack of professional basketball stats (or otherwise) has put him in the "out of sight, out of mind" category of alumni. So his epic collegiate career and stats are largely ignored or forgotten by all but the most die hard fans, like ourselves.

OF course the biggest variable in this discussion is that the game isn't even the same anymore and comparing players from before 1973 and after 1973. It's like comparing apples and oranges. The rules are different, lines are different, scoring options, the training technology, the medical technology and I won't even go into the racial issues.

Players are compared to players now. But the plain fact is that Vermillion's 1670 rebounds are the Top 25 highest IN THE HISTORY OF COLLEGE BASKETBALL no matter how you calculate it or from what era!

My prediction: that BECAUSE OF THE THREADS AND FANS HERE AT GUBOARDS (and our not dropping this issue) his number will be retired within 2 years.

Thanks Tyra for bringing this up again, and to answer Fonebone's question in bold, IMO Vermillion has one of the Top 50 NCAA Div1 careers of all time. So there is no good reason for his lack of recognition. I am sure the media and general arguments of the "East Coast Bias", the "weak" conference Gonzaga was in", and his lack of NBA stats have led to this GROSS oversight by all sports "experts" and statisticians.

Jazzgirl_127
04-27-2015, 11:05 AM
What do sports articles from his time say? Even in an era of little sophistication, his mind-boggling numbers must have drawn some comment.

I just quickly browsed some old newspapers on Google Archives, in one article they were referred to as "cagers!" So far I've only found 2 games, rebounds aren't listed in the box score (just field goals, foul shots, personal fouls and total points), no rebounding stats were mentioned in the articles either. Does anyone have an old schedule with the dates of games? I couldn't find it on Basketball reference and that would make it infinitely easier to find the news articles and see if any of them mention numbers.

CDC84
04-27-2015, 12:43 PM
Anyone have an idea as to why GU has been so reluctant to retire men's basketball uniform numbers? Dan Dickau, Adam Morrison........there are blue blood programs who have retired uniform numbers of players with less significance. Both were AP first team All Americans, national POY finalists and first round draft picks. Enough time has passed........

cjm720
04-27-2015, 12:49 PM
Wow! I had the pleasure today to talk to Jerry at great length. What a joy. Still trying to get my head around 1670 career rebounds from a guy 6'4". Not only is that a career record that will never be exceeded, but he also has the top four season records. Plus he is a kind man -- he signed my hat and his book for me. Wish someone could tell me why his jersey is not retired.

Are the rebounds accurate? He's not listed in the records. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_NCAA_Division_I_men%27s_basketball_career_ rebounding_leaders

Fonebone
04-27-2015, 01:38 PM
Anyone have an idea as to why GU has been so reluctant to retire men's basketball uniform numbers? Dan Dickau, Adam Morrison........there are blue blood programs who have retired uniform numbers of players with less significance. Both were AP first team All Americans, national POY finalists and first round draft picks. Enough time has passed........

This kind of speaks to my perspective. If a player were first team all American, national player of the year finalist, and first round draft pick etc, then that seems to take them to the very top of the list for consideration, at least for me. Those are all objective measures of how they stacked up against the best of the best across the entire nation. Jerry used to be in the top ten scorers, and was an amazing rebounder, and I still question if that is enough to retire a number. I could see one of those big wall photos at the Kennel honoring him, listing his stats etc though . I realize I'm in the minority on this.

DixieZag
04-27-2015, 03:06 PM
Anyone have an idea as to why GU has been so reluctant to retire men's basketball uniform numbers? Dan Dickau, Adam Morrison........there are blue blood programs who have retired uniform numbers of players with less significance. Both were AP first team All Americans, national POY finalists and first round draft picks. Enough time has passed........

Just a guess but part of it might relate to the ethos pervading the whole program that it is always about the team, not individuals. The reluctance to shine the light on individual stats and stardom leads to a reluctance to look back in the same light?

Just a guess, others will know far more.

SteelZag
04-27-2015, 08:41 PM
Have the Zags always been in Division 1?

hondo
04-27-2015, 11:31 PM
No, Gonzaga basketball entered Division 1 sometime around 1960 as I recall.