December 28, 1955 Bill Russell to the Olympics in Basketball and Track?

This post is gathered from the article "How High Is Up" by Arthur Daley in the December 28, 1955 edition of the New York Times talking about basketball phenom Bill Russell who was in New York for the Holiday Festival.

"It scared me the first time it happened and I had the same strange feeling the other two times as well. I leaped up for a jump shot and was-well let's say I was shocked to find myself looking down into the basket." Those were the words of 6'10 center Bill Russell of the University of San Francisco. Bill Russell's Dons were the winners of 34 straight games and were in New York to face Holy Cross at the Holiday Festival. In the opening round game against LaSalle, Russell had 26 points and 12 blocked shots. Phil Woolpert coach of the Dons said "The best defensive job he ever did I guess was against California 2 years ago. He blocked twenty five shots. I don't necessarily mean to imply that each would have dropped through the hoop. Actually it's difficult to measure Bill's defensive value because much of it is psychological- a shooter hurrying a shot he shouldn't take in order to avoid him or not taking one he should take."

Professional scouts had their eye on Russell but they would have to wait because Bill Russell's goal was to compete in the 1956 Olympics not only in basketball but also in track. Bill Russell had a high jump of 6'7 and 1/2 half inches and also wanted to compete in the 400 meter hurdles, and had run the quarter in 49.5 seconds.

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