Installed August 2018
Introduction and Background
The names of George Mikan, Ray Meyer and DePaul basketball are often spoken in the same breath. The two men define DePaul basketball’s 1945 national glory, with Mikan as the instrument of M
eyer’s basketball inventiveness.
George was considered huge by anyone’s standards (he was 6’10” and 245 pounds), and that size did not make him at all graceful. Coach Ray changed that. Meyer developed a system of workouts for Mikan that had him jump roping, dancing and punching the speed bag, among many other exercises, including the Mikan Drill. All of this made Mikan into a fierce competitor, and an all American in 1944 and ’45.
DePaul won the NIT tournament in 1945, with Mikan as a member of the team, when it was more prestigious than the NCAA tourney. George Mikan went on to play professional basketball in what wa
s known as the ABL, which eventually merged with the BAA to become the present day NBA. Nicknamed ‘Mr. Basketball,’ Mikan was voted as ‘the best basketball player of the first half of the Twentieth Century.’ Many argue that Mikan is responsible for many of the rule changes that make up the contemporary game of basketball today, including goaltending and lane violations. When Mikan was the first commissioner of the American Basketball Association (in the early seventies), he was responsible for introducing the three point shot.
Both George Mikan and Coach Meyer are members of the National Basketball Hall of Fame in Springfield, MA.
Historical yearbook photos used on the pillar itself or found in research leading to the creation of the composition, the ’99’ on the back. Red pictures are from Mikan’s days after DePaul.
Red photos for NBA player and Commissioner of the ABA
(1) Commissioner Mikan of the American Basketball Association
(2) As a Laker
(3) Mikan at Madison Square Garden
(4) NBA Hall of Fame
Blue for his DePaul days
(1) Mikan 1945 All American
(2) Mikan in action (rebounding) 1945
(3) Blue Demons w/ 1946 NIT trophy
(4) Basketball team from 1943