''Blitz Kids': Winning NCAA set players on path to greatness

Excerpt from story of '44 University of Utah hoops champs

Published: Tuesday, March 13 2012 12:08 a.m. MDT

Arnie Ferrin was the first freshman to ever be named Most Outstanding Player in the NCAA tourney. That record stood until 1986 and has only been repeated twice. He also played on the 1947 NIT championship team.

After college, Ferrin played with the Minneapolis Lakers for three years — winning championships in 1949 and 1950. Professional basketball was not a big-money game for the players in the 1940s so Ferrin had to pursue other endeavors in the off-season. He even was part owner of a vaudeville troupe for a time.

Ferrin was named to the College Basketball Hall of Fame in 2008 and the Pac-12 Basketball Hall of Honor in 2012. He is one of only two players to win NCAA, NIT and NBA championships. He was athletic director at the University of Utah and chairman of the NCAA Selection Committee.

Ferrin, now retired, lives within sight of the university he loves. He and his wife, Pat, are at almost every home game. They sit not far from Wat and Katie.

Check back tomorrow to read another excerpt from the recently released book "Blitz Kids" about the University of Utah's unlikely road to the 1944 NCAA basketball championship.

Email: jferrin@desnews.com, Twitter: joshferrin

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