Big Day For Former Auburn Basketball Star

Auburn, Ala.--The greatest rebounder in Auburn basketball history is now the fifth former Tiger star to have his men's basketball jersey retired by the university.

In halftime ceremonies at Auburn's regular season home finale vs. South Carolina, 1950s star Rex Frederick was honored and received cheers as some of his impressive exploits were announced to the crowd by John Searby, director of basketball operations for AU.

An All-SEC player in both basketball and baseball, Frederick holds the school record for rebounds in a game with 27 in Dallas, Tex., vs SMU on Dec. 19, 1957.

Playing in an era for Coach Joel Eaves, when all freshmen had to be on separate teams, his first varsity season was 1956-57 and he made an impressive debut setting a school record of 15.3 rebounds per game. The only person who has approached that mark in AU history is Frederick himself. The 6-5 leaper averaged 14.7 as a junior and 12.9 as a senior on a team that was part of the longest winning streak in school history, a 30-game stretch.

Despite suffering a major knee injury, Frederick played one season professionally in the American Basketball Association before retiring to become a coach and later a banker. He currently runs a vacation "dude ranch" in Burnsville, N.C., called Clear Creek Ranch.

Rex Frederick is in the middle with his wife Aileen and AU teammate Terry Chandler.

Frederick was a three-sport star at Corner High School where he was All-State in football. He concentrated on two sports at Auburn and got pro offers in both basketball and baseball.

He told the crowd on Saturday, "It is just a great day for me and my teammates. War Eagle to everybody."

Frederick, who is close to many of his former teammates, said it was special to have a group of them at Beard-Eaves Memorial Coliseum to see him honored. "When the going got tough, they were always there with me," he noted.

Earlier this season, the Person brothers, Wesley and Chuck, had their numbers retired to join John Mengelt and Charles Barkley with that honor.

"When John Searby called and told me (my jersey would be retired), when I hung up I guess I kind of broke down a little bit," said Frederick, who said that he is truly honored to have his alma mater remember him.

"To have my jersey hanging up in the rafters with four other great players is the ultimate thing any Auburn athlete can have," Frederick said.

He noted that he was surprised when he found out that the university wanted to honor him. "I never thought about it," he said. "When I played, I never worried about whether I scored one point or 20. I just wanted the team to win. I feel like with my jersey going up, there are a lot of other players equally as good or better than I am."

Frederick is the only player from his generation to have his Auburn basketball jersey retired. "A lot of the players who played with me, before and after me, I hope they feel like part of them will be going up with old No. 32," the former All-American said. "To be a representative of the 1950s, it is a great honor.

Teammate Terry Chandler, who played against Frederick in high school and with him at AU, said that he has no doubt that this 1950s star had the talent to be a star in this era of college basketball.

"There is no doubt about that," Chandler said. "Rex didn't shoot the ball long, but from 20 feet in he had a good jump shot. He was most effective from about 15 feet radius around the bucket. He was deadly with his jump shot and he was a good ball-handler for someone his size. He was very fast. Not only that, he was All-Southeastern Conference as a center fielder on the baseball team.

"If he hadn't had the knee problems, he would have been a tremendous NBA player."

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