Raveling, Kent & Co. at induction (NABC photo)

George Raveling's legacy burns bright at WSU, Ernie Kent tells luminaries in NYC

ERNIE KENT was pressed into a starring role Wednesday night in New York when Mike Krzyzewski was sidelined with emergency ankle surgery. Kent had just landed in the Big Apple on Tuesday when his phone rang and he was asked – make that informed -- that he, not Coach K, would be the master of ceremonies at the dinner gala bestowing George Raveling with the highest honor given by the National Association of Basketball Coaches.

“Here I was planning to relax with a glass of wine and suddenly I’m in production mode,” Kent told Cougfan.com. “It turned out great – so many people, a who’s who of basketball, were there to salute Coach Rav.”

In addition to a cast of well-known coaches, NBA rookie of the year Karl-Anthony Towns was among those on hand,

Raveling was inducted into the NABC’s Court of Honor, joining previous winners such as John Thompson, Bill Bradley and Dick Vitale.

Kent shared two stories about Raveling to begin the evening. The first related to Cougar Cage Camp, the summer youth hoops camp Raveling built into one of the largest in the nation during his 11 seasons in Pullman.

To this day, more than 30 years since Raveling last roamed the Palouse, people come up to talk about Cougar Cage Camp, Kent said.

“Everybody has a story," Kent said. "George made an impact on those kids: his message resonated – and resonates with them to this day – because it was about life, not just basketball."

Kent also offered up a vignette to highlight Raveling’s marketing skills.

“Kids would fly into Spokane on recruiting trips, George would pick them up in a motor home for the drive to Pullman, pull down the curtains and then turn on a cassette tape of highlights in which that kid is scoring the winning basket for the Cougs at the buzzer. By the time they got to campus, they were ready to sign.”

The NABC’s Court of Honor award is presented to an individual whose roots in college basketball helped send him on to a distinguished career of leadership.

Raveling was a standout player at Villanova who later served as an assistant coach there and at Maryland before becoming WSU’s head man from 1972-83. Many of the greatest players in school history, from Steve Puidokas and Don Collins to James Donaldson and Craig Ehlo, played for him.

Raveling was a college head coach for more than 20 years, also leading the programs at Iowa and USC, and served as a network analyst for a time before going on to a long career at Nike as director of international basketball. He has been inducted into the WSU Athletics, National Collegiate Basketball and Naismith Memorial Basketball halls of fame.

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