Lebanon, Indiana is a tiny town just north of Indianapolis in Central Indiana. Though all of Indiana is a basketball loving state, it’s the small towns that really get behind the sport. Basketball gives young Hoosiers a chance to leave the cornfields and small town values of rural Indiana behind to pursue a dream. One of the first small town Indiana basketball players to achieve such a dream is legendary Boilermaker Rick Mount, a Hall of Fame emissary from rural Indiana to the rest of the hoops world.
|Video: a staff member of HoosierAuthority.com visits with famous Lebanon native Rick Mount, a star of Purdue University and an Indiana Mr. Basketball|
Born in January of 1947 in Lebanon, Rick Mount was playing basketball virtually from the time he could walk. His father had played basketball in his time, so he made it his mission to train young Rick. Rick perfected his jump shot through endless practice and revision, and before long he was good enough to join the high school squad at Lebanon High School. Mount had played competitively all his life, but his stint at the Lebanon school earned Mount his first taste of glory. From the get go, he led his team in scoring, but it wasn’t until a blockbuster appearance at Hinkle Fieldhouse (home of the Butler University Bulldogs) in Indianapolis that Mount became a household name.
The game, against Crawfordsville High School, took place in front of 10,000 rabid Indianapolis sports fans. Mount scored a whopping 57 points and earned the attention of national media. In 1966, Rick Mount’s senior year, he was the first Indiana high school student to be featured on the cover of Sports Illustrated. He was also honored with the Indiana Mr. Basketball Award and given the highest honor a United States high school basketball player can achieve: the USA Basketball Yearbook Player of the Year award. His scoring total is currently the fourth highest in all Indiana high school history.
Needless to say, Rick Mount had plenty of college offers. In the end, he decided to stay in his home state and attend an Indiana university: Purdue University in West Lafayette, Indiana. Though Rick Mount wasn’t allowed to play varsity in his freshman year because of NCAA regulations, he showed the school what they were missing: in a scrimmage against the Purdue varsity squad, he scored 33 points in front of 9,500 Purdue fans. Throughout his time with Purdue, Mount would prove himself to be a legendary Boilermaker: he played in the first game at Mackey Arena, made First Team All Big Ten his sophomore season, led the Boilermakers to their first ever NCAA Final Four tournament on his way to Big Ten Player of the Year honors, and broke the Big Ten scoring record at the time.
|Video highlight reel of Lebanon, Indiana native Rick Mount’s high school basketball career during his Indiana Mr. Basketball season|
Rick Mount continued to stay in Indiana after his graduation from Purdue University. In 1970, he was drafted by the then ABA (American Basketball Association) Indiana Pacers and came to play in the Circle City. His first season with the Pacers was extremely successful: averaging 14.2 points per game, he led the Pacers to the 1972 ABA Championships, where the Indianapolis sports team dominated the New York Knicks for the title. Unfortunately, Mount only spent one season with the Pacers. Later in 1972, he was traded to the Kentucky Colonels. The move would almost come back to bite the Pacers; Mount led the Colonels to the 1973 ABA Championship game against the Pacers, which the Colonels lost.
Rick Mount spent two more years in professional basketball, first going to the Utah Stars in 1973 (where he again went to the ABA Championships) and then to the Memphis Sounds in 1974. In 1974, Mount’s basketball career was brought to an untimely end by a dislocated shoulder he suffered in the middle of the season. Rick Mount returned to his childhood home of Lebanon, Indiana and lives there still. Something of a hometown hero, this famous Lebanon person is still considered one of the top shooters to ever grace the court, and his trademark jump shot is now textbook. Rick Mount and his father were inducted to the Indiana Basketball Hall of Fame in 1992, an honor befitting one of the most dangerous Hoosiers behind the three point line.
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