Johnny Wilson, better known as “Jumpin’ Johnny Wilson” was the 1946 Mr. Basketball in the state of Indiana. The Anderson High School graduate was barely 6 foot tall but he had amazing jumping skills. Recently Anderson honored him with a statue in front of the high school. Johnny is the oldest, living Mr. Basketball in the state of Indiana. The 88-year old was one of the first to break the color barrier of “whites only” in basketball.Johnny led Anderson to a state basketball title by scoring 30 of his team’s 67 points in their victory over Ft. Wayne Central in the championship. He wanted to play basketball at IU, but they had no blacks at that time, so he went to nearby Anderson College. I was only 7, so I only heard about Johnny Wilson in later years.Wilson is a good friend of Carl Erskine, another Anderson legend, who played baseball with the Brooklyn Dodgers. Both are still living. Recently, Johnny Wilson played golf with Glen Butte at the Legends Golf Course in Franklin.Part of this information came from an article in the Indianapolis Star.
Zetlin:Well, Mase, we’ve reached the end of the road. Tomorrow’s paper will be the last of ours as editors. It’s been a fun ride since you and I covered the women’s basketball team together two seasons ago. We’ve worked countless nights together in the office; you’ve done the majority of the work, I’ve done the majority of the complaining, but not half as much as Mike Ackerstein.As for my favorite Herald writing memory, I’ve narrowed it down to two, both of which came this semester while covering the football team — probably because my memory disallows me from remembering anything from much farther in time.After Allan Evridge was replaced by Dustin Sherer against Penn State, I attended Bret Bielema’s Monday press conference for one, sole purpose: to ask him about the future.“After starting three senior quarterbacks in three years, does next year have any bearing on your decision for Saturday?” I asked.He stared at me, moved toward the microphone and replied, “Absolutely none,” moved back, eyes still deadlocked with mine.That was fun.Weeks later, following the Badgers’ victory over Illinois, I asked him about a third down timeout call that he called frantically along the sideline.“With everything that happened in the game (it was Wisconsin’s first Big Ten victory of the season) that’s what you want to know?” he said to me. “You’re in the right profession, my man — you’ve always got a good one.”That just about sums up my relationship with ol’ Coach B.I’m gonna miss you, Mase. Who’s going to text me dozens of times a day about women’s hockey this and cross country that? Those days are over, my friend. It was fun while it lasted.Mason:It’s tough for me to pick just one favorite memory after three semesters and three different beats — women’s hoops with you, softball and now men’s hockey the past two seasons.I won’t cop out like you and choose two though. The one I pick, however, may surprise you.It wasn’t the trip to Chicago for Big Ten football media day, where — as you mentioned in your column today — we rubbed elbows with the likes of Joe-Pa, Tressel and Kirk Herbstreit. It wasn’t the NCAA hockey tournament last year, where the Badgers were one period away from advancing to the Frozen Four. (I was already planning a mental vacation to Denver, where Wisconsin would have been headed had it held off North Dakota.)It was two years ago. I wasn’t even an editor yet, just a beat writer covering the women’s basketball team. As you also graciously pointed out in your column, I’ve been in the UW band all four years, and have had to juggle it with the Herald.Only once, however, did I play with the band at a game and cover it for the paper at the same time.I headed out to Indianapolis with the band for the Big Ten Tournament, where Jolene Anderson, Janese Banks and Co. topped Michigan in the opening game before falling to Katie Gearlds and Purdue in the second round.People on campus might not care about the women’s basketball team as much as they do the men’s. They also might not care much about the band. But isn’t the goal in life to do what you love? I got to live out both my passions that weekend — music and writing.Doesn’t get much better than that.It’s been fun beating you in PCP on a weekly basis, Zet. Maybe we could get a TV deal out of it.