Ed Odeven Reporting

This Hoop Scoop column appeared in The Japan Times in May 2019, days after Johnny Neumann passed away in late April.

Nomadic Neumann lived an incredible basketball life

By Ed Odeven

Johnny Neumann forged an unconventional path in life.

As a prep basketball phenom at Overton High School in Memphis, Tennessee, in the late 1960s, Neumann was recruited by UCLA’s John Wooden and Kentucky’s Adolph Rupp, coaching titans of powerhouse programs in that era. He had more than 400 college scholarship offers, but decided to attend the University of Mississippi, which wasn’t a powerhouse hoop program.

“I knew it was all football here,” Neumann told Sports Illustrated in 1971, “but I talked with Coach (Robert ‘Cob’) Jarvis and Archie Manning, and they said the people in Oxford wanted a good basketball team, finally. The Ole Miss cheerleaders even drove up to one of my high school games and said hello…

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