The Crusaders men’s basketball team at the College of the Holy Cross has the most successful program in the NCAA’s Patriot League. The program has 12 NCAA Tournaments and a national championship and itproduced two Hall of Famers from the Boston Celtics’ first six NBA Championships. The best NBA players from Holy Cross are Celtics’ legends Tommy Heinsohn and Bob Cousy.
Hall of Fame forward Tommy Heinsohn was an elite NBA player from Holy Cross. As a player, Heinsohn spent nine seasons in the league from 1956 to 1965. He was a versatile forward, capable of scoring inside and outside. After earning All-America honors twice with the Crusaders, Heinsohn was named to six All-Star teams and four All-NBA teams. He put together career averages of 18.6 points, 8.8 rebounds, and 2.0 assists per game.
Few players have enjoyed as much success as Tommy Heinsohn. He won the Rookie of the Year Award in 1957 as he helped the Celtics win the first NBA Championship in franchise history. In nine years in Boston, he was a part of eight champions alongside several other Hall of Famers including Bill Russell and Bob Cousy.
Heinsohn has been as big a part of Celtics’ history as anyone. After his brilliant playing career, he became the team’s head coach in 1969; he spent nine years in the role and won two more championships as a coach. He has since had an iconic broadcasting career with the Celtics, serving as the color commentator for the team’s television broadcasts for the last three decades and counting.
Teammate of Heinsohn and one of the greatest point guards to ever play, Hall of Famer Bob Cousy was an elite NBA player from Holy Cross. Cousy was not just one of the greatest point guards, but one of the greatest players in NBA history. He played 13 brilliant seasons in Boston and put together a stretch of eight straight years in which he led the NBA in assists. In 917 games, he totaled 16,955 points, 4,781 rebounds and 6,945 assists and he remains the all-time assists leader in the history of the legendary Boston Celtics franchise.
Cousy was a member of six Celtics’ championship teams. He was named to the All-Star team in all 13 of his seasons with the team. In 1956-57, he was named NBA MVP as his Celtics won their first title. Cousy’s post-playing career has been similar to Heinsohn’s. In 1969, he became head coach of the NBA’s Cincinnati Royals and he eventually went into broadcasting for the Celtics. Today, the NCAA’s award for the best point guard in the nation is named after Bob Cousy.
Former swingman Togo Palazzi had a solid six-year career as an NBA player from Holy Cross. Palazzi had three great collegiate seasons with the Crusaders as he accumulated averages of 20.4 points and 13.6 rebounds as an All-American forward. The Celtics chose him fifth overall in 1954 and he spent two-and-a-half seasons with the team. He spent the second half of his career with the Nationals and posted career averages of 7.4 points and 3.4 rebounds per game.
NBA & ABA Players Who Attended College of the Holy Cross. Basketball-Reference.com