Sherman White (basketball)
Sherman White was an American
United States
The United States of America is a federal constitutional republic comprising fifty states and a federal district...

 college basketball player at Long Island University
Long Island University
Long Island University is a private, coeducational, nonsectarian institution of higher education in the U.S. state of New York.-History:...

 (LIU) who is best remembered for being indicted in a point shaving
Point shaving
In organized sports, point shaving is a type of match fixing where the perpetrators try to prevent a team from covering a published point spread. Unlike other forms of match fixing, sports betting invariably motivates point shaving. A point shaving scheme generally involves a sports gambler and one...

 scandal that resulted in him being stripped of numerous honors and awards, having to serve an 8-month jail sentence, and being prohibited from ever playing in the National Basketball Association
National Basketball Association
The National Basketball Association is the pre-eminent men's professional basketball league in North America. It consists of thirty franchised member clubs, of which twenty-nine are located in the United States and one in Canada...

 (NBA). As a college senior in 1950–51, White was the nation's leading scorer at 27.7 points per game and was only 77 total points shy of becoming the National Collegiate Athletic Association
National Collegiate Athletic Association
The National Collegiate Athletic Association is a semi-voluntary association of 1,281 institutions, conferences, organizations and individuals that organizes the athletic programs of many colleges and universities in the United States...

's (NCAA) all-time single season leading scorer when he was caught, thus forcing him to prematurely quit and never getting to finish his college basketball career.

Early life

White was born in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania
The Commonwealth of Pennsylvania is a U.S. state that is located in the Northeastern and Mid-Atlantic regions of the United States. The state borders Delaware and Maryland to the south, West Virginia to the southwest, Ohio to the west, New York and Ontario, Canada, to the north, and New Jersey to...

 but moved to and grew up in Englewood
Englewood, New Jersey
Englewood is a city located in Bergen County, New Jersey. As of the 2010 United States Census, the city had a total population of 27,147.Englewood was incorporated as a city by an Act of the New Jersey Legislature on March 17, 1899, from portions of Ridgefield Township and the remaining portions of...

, New Jersey
New Jersey
New Jersey is a state in the Northeastern and Middle Atlantic regions of the United States. , its population was 8,791,894. It is bordered on the north and east by the state of New York, on the southeast and south by the Atlantic Ocean, on the west by Pennsylvania and on the southwest by Delaware...

. His father was a certified refrigeration engineer who supported the family while also taking night classes. In the fall of 1943, White began entered Lincoln High School
Lincoln High School (Jersey City, New Jersey)
Lincoln High School is a four-year public high school located in Jersey City, in Hudson County, New Jersey, United States, operated as part of the Jersey City Public Schools, serving students in ninth through twelfth grade....

 as a freshman
A freshman or fresher is a first-year student in secondary school, high school, or college. The term first year can also be used as a noun, to describe the students themselves A freshman (US) or fresher (UK, India) (or sometimes fish, freshie, fresher; slang plural frosh or freshmeat) is a...

. After one year, however, he transferred to Dwight Morrow High School
Dwight Morrow High School
Dwight Morrow High School is a four-year comprehensive public high school located in Englewood, New Jersey, United States, operating as part of the Englewood Public School District. The school also serves students from Englewood Cliffs, who attend as part of a sending/receiving relationship...

 as a sophomore
Sophomore is a term used in the United States to describe a student in the second year of study at high school or university.The word is also used as a synonym for "second", for the second album or EP released by a musician or group, the second movie of a director, or the second season of a...

 and immediately became the star basketball player under coach Tom Morgan. He felt close to Morgan, would follow his directions well and always heeded his advice. As a senior
Senior (education)
Senior is a term used in the United States to describe a student in the 4th year of study .-High school:...

 in 1946–47, White guided Morrow High to an undefeated season (28–0) and a Northeastern High School championship, scored a then-New Jersey prep record of 49 points in a single game, and was a unanimous first team all-state selection.

Academically, Sherman White was a rather poor student and graduated 230th in a class of 263 students. However, he had an innate ability to recall the names and statistics of the leading college basketball players in the country. Although athletic scholarships were being offered, some of the schools that showed initial interest became weary of his grades and rescinded their offers, such as Duquesne University
Duquesne University
Duquesne University of the Holy Spirit is a private Catholic university in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, United States. Founded by members of the Congregation of the Holy Spirit, Duquesne first opened its doors as the Pittsburgh Catholic College of the Holy Ghost in October 1878 with an enrollment of...



When White was deciding on which college to attend, he sought advice from Morgan. As a Villanova University
Villanova University
Villanova University is a private university located in Radnor Township, a suburb northwest of Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, in the United States...

 graduate, Morgan pushed White to attend because he felt that the Wildcats
Villanova Wildcats men's basketball
This is the article about the men's basketball team from Villanova University. The team has competed since the 1920–21 season. Nicknamed the "Wildcats", Villanova is a member of the Big East Conference and the Philadelphia Big Five. The Villanova Wildcats have appeared in the NCAA...

 were a good fit. Not wanting to displease his coach, a man White both respected and trusted, he agreed.


In the fall of 1947, Sherman White matriculated at Villanova University. It did not take long for him to rethink his decision to attend. Villanova was a Catholic school
Catholic schools in the United States
Catholic schools in the United States are accredited by independent and/or state agencies, and teachers are generally certified. Catholic schools are supported through tuition payments and fund raising.-Operation:...

, and at the time no other African Americans were in attendance. White did not feel comfortable. Additionally, the physical education
Physical education
Physical education or gymnastics is a course taken during primary and secondary education that encourages psychomotor learning in a play or movement exploration setting....

 major that he had been promised was not even an option. In his six months at the school, White received two Cs, two Ds and one F before dropping out and moving back to Englewood.

Long Island

Shortly after returning home, Long Island University
Long Island University
Long Island University is a private, coeducational, nonsectarian institution of higher education in the U.S. state of New York.-History:...

 (LIU) head coach Clair Bee
Clair Bee
Clair Francis Bee was an American basketball coach, who led the team at Long Island University in Brooklyn, New York to undefeated seasons in 1936 and 1939, as well as two National Invitation Tournament titles...

 contacted White for a second time. He asked him if he was still interested in playing, and after a conversation Bee "permitted" White to play in a scrimmage with the LIU varsity team. Despite having never competed against such a group of accomplished players, White stood out as the best player among them. He was offered a scholarship, and in February 1948 he joined the LIU freshman team for the remainder of the near-to-end season.
Bee saw to it that White, his future star, was provided the comfort and special assistance he needed. He would tip the local YMCA
The Young Men's Christian Association is a worldwide organization of more than 45 million members from 125 national federations affiliated through the World Alliance of YMCAs...

's janitor to make sure that the courts were open all night, for example. White, who deferred socially to his older, more street-wise teammates, became friendly with a guard, coincidentally named Eddie Gard. White liked him for his personable nature and sense of style. Gard, however, was also thievish, and it was he who ultimately got White involved in the point shaving scandal that followed.

White's varsity career started inauspiciously, and it was not until the ninth game of his sophomore season that he earned the starting job. His playing time increased and so did his productivity. Although he deferred to teammates more than should have, White still managed to average 9.4 points per game (ppg) for the season. The following year as a junior
Junior (education)
"Junior" is a term used in the United States to describe a student in their 3rd year of study . A Junior is considered an upperclassman...

 (1949–50), White exploded onto the national scene. He averaged over 22 ppg, was named a Consensus Second Team All-American
1950 NCAA Men's Basketball All-Americans
The Consensus 1950 College Basketball All-American team, as determined by aggregating the results of five major All-American teams. To earn "consensus" status, a player must win honors from a majority of the following teams: the Associated Press, Look Magazine, The United Press International,...

, was named the New York Metropolitan Area's top player by receiving the coveted Haggerty Award
Haggerty Award
The Haggerty Award is given to the All-Metropolitan New York Division I men's college basketball player of the year, presented by the National Invitation Tournament and the Met Basketball Writers Association...

, and led the Blackbirds to a berth in the 1950 National Invitation Tournament
1950 National Invitation Tournament
The 1950 National Invitation Tournament was the 1950 edition of the annual NCAA college basketball competition. For the only time in history, the same school won both the NIT and NCAA tournaments as CCNY took both championships, beating Bradley in both finals...

. On February 28, 1950, White set still-standing LIU single game records of 63 points and 27 field goals made against John Marshall College.

Midway through his junior season, White began to notice that several of his teammates, especially Gard, had been having consistently "off" games. On January 17, 1950, in a 55–52 loss to N.C. State
NC State Wolfpack men's basketball
The NC State Wolfpack men's basketball team represents North Carolina State University in NCAA Division I men's basketball competition. The Wolfpack currently competes in the Atlantic Coast Conference, of which it was a founding member....

, White had noticed Gard was "giving me some bad passes." At the time, White did not know about, nor was participating in, the point shaving scandal. Only three players—Gard, Adolph Bigos and Dick Fuertado—were purposely trying to lose games.

By the time White's senior season rolled around in 1950–51, he knew about and was participating in the scandal. In a March 22, 1998 interview with The New York Times
The New York Times
The New York Times is an American daily newspaper founded and continuously published in New York City since 1851. The New York Times has won 106 Pulitzer Prizes, the most of any news organization...

, White said,

"After that N.C. State game, Eddie Gard befriends me. We sat down and started talking. He brought in Bigos and Fuertado. He gave me the same old story: 'We control the game. We're good enough to beat these guys anyway and we can make some money. They ain't giving you no money here at L.I.U.' The same old story. We can control the game and nobody will get hurt except the gamblers. Now I'm one of the guys. Peer pressure."

Not wanting to be the odd man out and having succumbed to peer pressure, in addition to wanting to provide money for his poor family, White agreed to either mess up point spreads while winning, or lose games outright, during his senior year.

Point shaving scandal

Eddie Gard had been contacted by Salvatore Sollazzo, the man responsible for operating the point shaving scandals at several New York City
New York City
New York is the most populous city in the United States and the center of the New York Metropolitan Area, one of the most populous metropolitan areas in the world. New York exerts a significant impact upon global commerce, finance, media, art, fashion, research, technology, education, and...

 schools between the late 1940s and 1951 (City College of New York
City College of New York
The City College of the City University of New York is a senior college of the City University of New York , in New York City. It is also the oldest of the City University's twenty-three institutions of higher learning...

, Manhattan College
Manhattan College
Manhattan College is a Roman Catholic liberal arts college in the Lasallian tradition in New York City, United States. Despite the college's name, it is no longer located in Manhattan but in the Riverdale section of the Bronx, roughly 10 miles north of Midtown. Manhattan College offers...

, New York University
New York University
New York University is a private, nonsectarian research university based in New York City. NYU's main campus is situated in the Greenwich Village section of Manhattan...

 and Long Island University). Sollazzo was a 45-year old jeweler and gambler who had spent five years in prison during the 1930s. Gard's family was poor and he did not want to give up a steady income of cash, which amounted to $1,000 per player per thrown game. The original LIU players involved were Gard, Bigos and Feurtado. Eventually White and LeRoy Smith joined.

Toward the end of White's junior season he had participated in two fixes. The first was an 83–65 loss to Cincinnati
Cincinnati Bearcats men's basketball
The Cincinnati Bearcats basketball team is the NCAA Division I men's basketball program of the University of Cincinnati in Cincinnati, Ohio. They currently compete in the Big East Conference and are coached by Mick Cronin. The team last played in the NCAA Division I Men's Basketball Tournament in...

, and the other was the first round in the 1950 NIT. Syracuse
Syracuse Orange men's basketball
The Syracuse Orange men's basketball program is the intercollegiate men's basketball team representing Syracuse University. The program is classified in the NCAA's Division I, and the team competes in the Big East Conference...

 beat LIU 80–52, although White admitted that they were beaten soundly enough that the fix did little to decide the outcome.

In the early stages of the 1950–51 season, LIU players won several games that were kept close on purpose to mess up the point spreads:
  1. December 2 – Favored by 7½ points over Kansas State
    Kansas State Wildcats men's basketball
    The Kansas State Wildcats men's basketball team represents Kansas State University in college basketball competition. The program is classified in the NCAA's Division I, and is a member of the Big 12 Conference. The current head coach is Frank Martin....

     (won by one, 60–59)
  2. December 7 – Favored by 4 over Denver (won by two, 58–56, in double overtime)
  3. December 25 – Favored by 11 over Idaho
    Idaho Vandals men's basketball
    The Idaho Vandals men's basketball team represents the University of Idaho, located in Moscow, Idaho, in NCAA Division I basketball competition. They currently compete in the Western Athletic Conference...

     (won by two, 59–57)
  4. January 4 – Favored by 8 over Bowling Green
    Bowling Green Falcons men's basketball
    The Bowling Green Falcons men's basketball team is the basketball team that represent Bowling Green State University in Bowling Green, Ohio. The school's team currently competes in the Mid-American Conference. The team last played in the NCAA Division I Men's Basketball Tournament in 1968...

     (won by six, 69–63)

Suspicions slowly began to arise that something awry was going on, not only with the Long Island Blackbirds men's basketball team, but also with the other prominent New York City programs. CCNY were losing games they were supposed to win, as were NYU and Manhattan. The public did not speak outwardly about their suspicions, although police were already undergoing an investigation.

Sherman White, along with teammates Bigos and Smith, disregarded Sollazzo's intended fix for a game played on January 16 against Duquesne
Duquesne Dukes men's basketball
The Duquesne Dukes represent Duquesne University in college basketball. The team, which started in 1914, has only ever played in NCAA Division I and has had five appearances in the NCAA Tournament...

. The three combined for 64 points as the Blackbirds downed the Dukes, 84–52. Sollazzo supposedly lost a $30,000 bet because of it and threatened White for it to never happen again.

Getting caught

On February 18, several CCNY players that had just gotten off of a train at Penn Station
Pennsylvania Station (New York City)
Pennsylvania Station—commonly known as Penn Station—is the major intercity train station and a major commuter rail hub in New York City. It is one of the busiest rail stations in the world, and a hub for inbound and outbound railroad traffic in New York City. The New York City Subway system also...

 after playing in Philadelphia that night were arrested. Police and detectives had researched and followed the previous several years' games and the CCNY players, respectively, that led to their arrests. Two days later, police arrested Sherman White at the Carlton YMCA in Brooklyn
Brooklyn is the most populous of New York City's five boroughs, with nearly 2.6 million residents, and the second-largest in area. Since 1896, Brooklyn has had the same boundaries as Kings County, which is now the most populous county in New York State and the second-most densely populated...

. White later said, "I knew it was a matter of time. I was in a fog. As far as I was concerned, my life was shot." Bigos and Smith were also arrested that day.


As soon as White was arrested, he gave back the $5,500 he had saved in an envelope that he kept in his room. He was forced to miss the last few games of the season, and at that time he was averaging 27.7 points per game and was the nation's leading scorer. He was only 77 total points from setting the new NCAA single season scoring record. When his career came to an abrupt halt, White had scored 1,435 points. On February 19, 1951—the day before his arrest—White was named the The Sporting News Player of the Year
Sporting News Men's College Basketball Player of the Year
The Sporting News Men's College Basketball Player of the Year is an annual basketball award given to the best men's basketball player in NCAA Division I competition...

. The only reason that he was still able to accept the honor was because The Sporting News
The Sporting News
Sporting News is an American-based sports magazine. It was established in 1886, and it became the dominant American publication covering baseball — so much so that it acquired the nickname "The Bible of Baseball"...

 had already mailed out their newest issue and it was too late to recall the magazine. Although he had been a Consensus Second Team All-American the year before, and was on track to be named a Consensus First Team All-American (and, probably, the Consensus National Player of the Year) as a senior, the NCAA refused to allow any awards or recognition to be bestowed upon any of the schools, players and coaches found to be involved in the match-fixing scandal that rocked college basketball in the late 1940s into 1951. LIU shut down its entire athletic program from 1951 to 1957 as a result of the scandal.

Judge Saul Streit presided over the entire case involving all of the schools. When deciding all of the players' fates, Streit was noticeably hard on White. Although Eddie Gard was the primary catalyst for LIU's involvement in the gambling and point shaving, White was the only player from Long Island University to be handed more than a suspended sentence
Suspended sentence
A suspended sentence is a legal term for a judge's delaying of a defendant's serving of a sentence after they have been found guilty, in order to allow the defendant to perform a period of probation...

. While five other players indicted from LIU got off relatively easily, White was handed a 12-month sentence to serve in Rikers Island
Rikers Island
Rikers Island is New York City's main jail complex, as well as the name of the island on which it sits, in the East River between Queens and the mainland Bronx, adjacent to the runways of LaGuardia Airport. The island itself is part of the borough of the Bronx, though it is included as part of...

, the main prison in New York City typically used for rehabilitation of hardened criminals (he ended up serving 8 months and 24 days). Additionally, he and all of the other players involved in the scandal were banned from ever playing in the NBA. White recalled his feelings of the stiff sentence handed down by Judge Streit:

"To this day, I believe there was some kind of collaboration between my lawyer and the prosecution. Riker's [sic] Island was supposed to have been built for rehabilitation, but it was the worst place in the world for a kid to try and straighten out his life. I often wonder why I never came out of there a criminal. With all the characters and perverts I met, it certainly would have been the easy way to go."

Years later, White, along with others, wondered if racism played a role in the harsh punishment. However, White admitted that he did not possess the necessary respect or humility in the courtroom that was probably necessary for the situation.

The man who started the whole gambling scandal, Salvatore Sollazzo, served 12 years in prison and was handed a $1,128,493 lien
In law, a lien is a form of security interest granted over an item of property to secure the payment of a debt or performance of some other obligation...

 for evasion of taxes. One positive thing to come of the scandal, a journalist for TIME
Time (magazine)
Time is an American news magazine. A European edition is published from London. Time Europe covers the Middle East, Africa and, since 2003, Latin America. An Asian edition is based in Hong Kong...

 wrote in the March 5, 1951 issue, was the awareness of how much influence the game had over gambling and illicit money-making ventures, which got the ball rolling to clean not just college basketball, but all college sports across the country.

Career statistics

Sherman White played during the era before many of the basketball statistics
Basketball statistics
Statistics in basketball are kept to evaluate a player or a team's performance.Some statistics are* GP, GS: games played, games started* PTS: points* FGM, FGA, FG%: field goals made, attempted and percentage...

 that are kept today were recorded, such as rebounds
Rebound (basketball)
A rebound in basketball is the act of successfully gaining possession of the basketball after a missed field goal or free throw. Rebounds in basketball are a routine part in the game, as all possessions change after a shot is successfully made...

, assists
Assist (basketball)
In basketball, an assist is attributed to a player who passes the ball to a teammate in a way that leads to a score by field goal, meaning that he or she was "assisting" in the basket. There is some judgment involved in deciding whether a passer should be credited with an assist...

, blocks
Block (basketball)
In basketball, a block , not to be confused with blocking, occurs when a defensive player legally deflects a field goal attempt from an offensive player. The defender must not touch the offensive player's hands or otherwise a foul is called. In order to be legal, the block must occur while the shot...

, steals
Steal (basketball)
In basketball, a steal occurs when a defensive player legally causes a turnover by his positive, aggressive action. This can be done by deflecting and controlling, catching, or batting to a teammate a pass or dribble of an offensive player...

 and turnovers
Turnover (basketball)
In basketball, a turnover occurs when a player from one team gives possession to a member of the opposing team by losing the ball. This can result from the ball being stolen, the player making mistakes such as stepping out or throwing the ball out of bounds, or committing a violation or committing...

. generated with :de:Wikipedia:Helferlein/VBA-Macro for EXCEL tableconversion V1.7<\hiddentext>>
Sherman White Statistics at LIU

| G

| FG



| FT





| A

| TO

| B

| S



Freshman stats not available
1948–49 30 N/A N/A N/A N/A N/A N/A 281 9.4
1949–50 25 204 465 .438 .692 N/A N/A N/A N/A N/A N/A 551 22.0
1950–51 22 N/A N/A N/A N/A N/A N/A 603 27.7
Totals 77 N/A N/A N/A N/A N/A N/A 1,435 19.8


Sherman White was a can't-miss pick in the upcoming 1951 NBA Draft
1951 NBA Draft
The 1951 NBA Draft was the fifth annual draft of the National Basketball Association . The draft was held on April 25, 1951 before the 1951–52 season. In this draft, ten remaining NBA teams took turns selecting amateur U.S. college basketball players. In each round, the teams select in reverse...

 and the New York Knicks
New York Knicks
The New York Knickerbockers, prominently known as the Knicks, are a professional basketball team based in New York City. They are part of the Atlantic Division of the Eastern Conference in the National Basketball Association...

 were going to select him as their territorial pick. They were ready to pay him approximately $12,000 to $13,000, a very large amount in 1951. However, shortly after he was sent to prison, he was banned from ever playing in the NBA, along with all of the other players involved in the scandal.

Due to the lifelong ban from playing in the NBA, White will mostly be remembered as one of the best players in college basketball history whom no one ever saw play professionally. In 2007, TheDraftReview named him as its first "Honorable Draftee," acclaiming him as "the best basketball player you never knew" and "perhaps the best (college) player in New York history." It can only be speculated that if White had been allowed to play in the NBA, he may have been the piece needed for the Knicks to win the 1952
1952 NBA Finals
-Series Summary:Lakers vs. Knicks. Start of the first dynasty 1952-1954 Lakers. Lakers won 4-3.Lakers win series 4-3-Team rosters:-External links:*...

 and 1953
1953 NBA Finals
-Series Summary:Lakers win series 4-1-Team rosters:-External links:*...

 NBA Finals
NBA Finals
The NBA Finals is the championship series of the National Basketball Association . The series was named the NBA World Championship Series until 1986....

 rather than lose them both to the Minneapolis Lakers. In 1984, Madison Square Garden
Madison Square Garden
Madison Square Garden, often abbreviated as MSG and known colloquially as The Garden, is a multi-purpose indoor arena in the New York City borough of Manhattan and located at 8th Avenue, between 31st and 33rd Streets, situated on top of Pennsylvania Station.Opened on February 11, 1968, it is the...

 named White to its all-time college basketball team.

Later life

After White served his sentence at Rikers Island he played in the Eastern Professional Basketball League on the weekends. He played for the Wilkes-Barre Barons
Wilkes-Barre Barons
The Wilkes-Barre Barons were a legendary basketball team from Wilkes-Barre, Pennsylvania.The Barons played between 1933 and 1972 in different American leagues. The team won 11 titles during this time, and the most memorable are those were won while playing in the American Basketball League and the...

 and Hazleton Mountaineers
Hazleton Mountaineers
The Hazleton Mountaineers were one of the original six franchises in the Eastern Professional Basketball League. The Mountaineers were the league's first team to have an integrated roster, as two former members of the New York Rens, Bill Brown and Zack Clayton, joined John Isaacs on the...

 for nine years while simultaneously selling storm windows, automobiles and liquor. Sherman married twice, and with his second wife Ellen they raised six children. He also coached basketball at the Newark
Newark, New Jersey
Newark is the largest city in the American state of New Jersey, and the seat of Essex County. As of the 2010 United States Census, Newark had a population of 277,140, maintaining its status as the largest municipality in New Jersey. It is the 68th largest city in the U.S...

 and East Orange
East Orange, New Jersey
East Orange is a city in Essex County, New Jersey, United States. As of the 2010 United States Census the city's population 64,270, making it the state's 20th largest municipality, having dropped 5,554 residents from its population of 69,824 in the 2000 Census, when it was the state's 14th most...

 YMCAs in New Jersey.

Home Box Office
Home Box Office
HBO, short for Home Box Office, is an American premium cable television network, owned by Time Warner. , HBO's programming reaches 28.2 million subscribers in the United States, making it the second largest premium network in America . In addition to its U.S...

 (HBO) wanted to interview him for a feature length documentary on the college basketball scandal of 1951 called City Dump: The Story of the 1951 CCNY Basketball Scandal
City Dump: The Story of the 1951 CCNY Basketball Scandal
City Dump: The Story of the 1951 CCNY Basketball Scandal is a 1998 documentary film by George Roy and Steven Hilliard Stern, produced by Black Canyon Productions, and HBO Sports about the CCNY Point Shaving Scandal...

, but he refused. White was upset that HBO had also wrongly claimed that part of the reason for his harsher punishment compared to the other players was that he had a juvenile criminal record, which he claims is not true.

White died on August 4, 2011 in Piscataway, New Jersey of congestive heart failure
Congestive heart failure
Heart failure often called congestive heart failure is generally defined as the inability of the heart to supply sufficient blood flow to meet the needs of the body. Heart failure can cause a number of symptoms including shortness of breath, leg swelling, and exercise intolerance. The condition...


See also

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