Celtics coach Red Auerbach and Red Cousy were at the Holiday Festival at MSG with the expressed sole purpose of re-examining Holy Cross star Tom Heinsohn. Tom Heinsohn was just one of several big names in the race for the Holiday Festival MVP award, other big names included Willie Naulls of UCLA, K.C. Jones of San Francisco, Sihugo Green of Duquesne, Alonzo Lewis of LaSalle, Vince Cohen of Syracuse, and of course the dominant Bill Russell.
Heinsohn at 6'7 appeared to be a more versatile player than Bill Russell with more speed and a better outside shot. Heinsohn figured to end up with the Boston Celtics after graduation. Celtics star Bob Cousy said, "I have seen Heinsohn play several times, he's got all the equipment, size, speed, shot, drive needed to perform in the N.B.A." Red Auerbach had only seen Heinsohn play once years earlier and said, "At the time I thought Heinsohn might not have the size, but he's 230 which is 30 pounds more than he weighed the last time I saw him." Auerbach didn't say so but it was very likely Heinsohn would be ending up in Boston as a territorial draft pick.
Bill Russell would be drafted by some club in the NBA but the professionals would probably have to wait a year to get him in uniform as Russell wanted to be in the Olympics. 6'5 Willie Naulls also impressed at the tournament as the smoothest performer who had the ability to be a first-stringer among the professionals. Si Green's coach Dudley Moore called him the perfect pro player with the ability to be a standout backcourt player in the NBA. Duquesne being in open territory means any team can claim Green in the draft.