Dick Barnett whispers loudly

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When you call his cell, or he calls you, the gravelly voice responds both as a statement and fact.


Dick Barnett – Dr. Dick Barnett – an owner of two championship rings with the Knicks and a Doctor of Education from Fordham University, is nothing but relentless when he wants to accomplish something worthwhile.

Now 85 years of age, Barnett is the focus of a decades long obsession to tell the story of the first college basketball team to win three consecutive national championships. And no, it’s not John Wooden’s UCLA Bruins.

It’s Barnett’s team.

His squad, the Tennessee A&I State College Tigers (now Tennessee State University), is one of the many Historical Black Colleges and Universities (HBCU) across this nation whose sports exploits have been forgotten.

During the 1957-59 three-peat, the Tigers went 99-10 with team captain Barnett winning back-to-back NAIA tournament MVP awards.

“They wouldn’t put us in the NCAA tournament,” recalls Barnett, a native of segregated Gary, Indiana. “We wanted to play Bill Russell (of San Francisco University). They wouldn’t even put us in the Garden for the NIT.”

TSU has had it’s share of name athletes like the NFL’s Ed “Too Tall” Jones and Richard...

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Karin Slaughter is one of the world’s most popular and acclaimed storytellers. Published in 120 countries with more than 35 million copies sold across the globe, her 21 novels include the Grant County and Will Trent books, as well as the Edgar-nominated Cop Town and the instant New York Times bestselling stand-alone novels Pretty Girls, The Good Daughter, and Pieces of Her

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