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Nemelka, 12 others honored by West

Published: Thursday, Feb. 21 2008 12:11 a.m. MST

No boys basketball player in West High history has received as many honors as Dick Nemelka.

He was a high school All-American in 1962 at West, then went on to become a collegiate All-American at BYU.

He received another honor last week, but a few teammates joined him for this one.

Nemelka was one of 13 players named to the Panthers' half-century team in boys basketball. He was joined by Ray Hale (1948), Dave Van Wagnen (1956), Rick Miller (1967), Gary Erickson (1970), Dan Dressen (1970), Weymouth Anderson (1972), John Freed (1973), Bob Lyman (1974), Scott Runia (1976), John Ottosson (1978), Duncan Miles (1982) and Nate Grant (1982).

The team was announced at a school assembly on Friday.

Clark Godfrey, who coached at West from 1966-1980, headed up the event and said he'd been working on getting these players together for 20 years.

Former West coach Steve Heiner made a special presentation to Nemelka at the assembly.

"The game today is boring," Nemelka said. "They slow it down too much. It doesn't take a Rhodes Scholar to tell if you score 100 points in a game, the fans get double their money's worth than if you only score 50."

Hale is the oldest former player named to the team.

"We were a lot better then," he joked.

He also said he could sink shots from the top of the circle and lamented that he only got two points for his efforts instead of three.

But the player who would have benefited most if that change would have been in effect was Erickson. Bill Marcroft, who MC'd the assembly, said Erickson would have scored 60 points in a couple of games if the three-point line would have been in effect. Marcroft told a story about him stealing the ball one time in a game, and with nobody around him, he let it fly just after he crossed mid-court for a 30-foot shot that went in.

Marcroft said he was the best shooter he had ever seen from around 25 feet.

The player who traveled the furthest to attend the reunion was Ottosson. He is currently the vice president of William Penn College in Iowa.

"I wouldn't trade my time playing at West for anything," Ottosson said.


E-mail: wjewkes@desnews.com

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