Jon Teitel's "Forgotten Legends" Series: Texas Tech's Geoff Huston

    
October 16th, 2011
In the most recent installment in his "Forgotten Legends" interview series, CHN writer Jon Teitel spent some time with Texas Tech great Geoff Huston. After a four-year campaign in Lubbock Huston was drafted by the Knicks in 1979, and he went on to play for five teams in the NBA.

Jon Teitel: You grew up in NYC, which has produced more NBA players than any other city. What was the competition like in the Big Apple?

Geoff Huston: I grew up in the Brownsville area of Brooklyn, and we had a lot of great players. World B. Free was my mentor, and I went to school at the same time as Vinnie Johnson, Albert King, Bernard King, etc.

JT: What are your memories of the 1976 NCAA Tournament in Denton, TX (Texas Tech beat Syracuse in the first round before losing to Missouri)?

GH: It was very exciting even though I was just a freshman. We were ranked #16 in the nation, and we had a great team led by Rick Bullock.

JT: What are your memories of the 1979 NIT in Lubbock (Texas Tech lost to eventual-champion Indiana)?

GH: I remember Bobby Knight. It was a disappointing loss but it showed us how far we had come as a program. My whole college experience was great. Going to Lubbock was eye-opening for a kid from Brooklyn. It taught me a lot and I got to meet a lot of good people. At that time the SWC was a football conference, but Arkansas had Sidney Moncrief and Ron Brewer, and Baylor had a great team.

JT: In the summer of 1979 you were drafted in the third round by your hometown Knicks (15 spots ahead of Bill Laimbeer). Were you thrilled to realize your dream of making it to the NBA, or disappointed that you did not get selected earlier?

GH: I would have paid them just to take me! It is every kid's fantasy to get paid for something you would gladly do for free. To get selected by my hometown team was great: after I made the Knicks I was so proud that I put on every piece of Knicks clothing I owned and slept in them.

JT: Dallas picked you in the 1980 expansion draft, and even though they traded you to Cleveland midway through the season you ended up leading the Mavericks in scoring with 16.1 PPG. What was it like to play for an expansion team, and how did it feel to be traded by a team for whom you ended up being their leading scorer?

GH: That is the business side of basketball. Going to Dallas was great for me personally, as I got more playing time under Coach Motta and was grateful for the opportunity. Going from 85 degrees to the snow was less fun but we had a good team with Randy Smith, Bill Laimbeer, etc. We only missed the playoffs by a couple of games.

JT: In 1982 you scored 24 points and had a franchise-record 27 assists (tied for 6th-most in NBA history) for Cleveland in a four-point win over Golden State. How were you able to record so many assists, and was that the best game you have ever played?

GH: During the game I had no idea how many assists I had. I was grateful that my teammates hit a lot of shots and I hold that game near and dear to my heart.

JT: In 1982 you averaged 7.6 apg (8th-most in the NBA that season). Did you feel like you were one of the best point guards in the league?

GH: I thought I could compete with anyone I faced.

JT: You averaged 8.8 ppg and 5.1 apg (Top 100 all-time) during your eight-year NBA career. How satisfied are you with your career, and how do you want people to remember you on the court?

GH: I am humbled by my career and honored to have been a part of the NBA family. I am grateful that I had opportunity to play in the NBA and live out my dream. I think that it lets people know that anything is possible with hard work.

JT: You ended up playing for five different NBA teams. Did you have a favorite team?

GH: I will always be a Knick. I grew up here and I will always bleed blue and orange.

JT: After retiring you became the director of a recreation center in New York. Why did you take the job, and how has it worked out for you?

GH: I got involved with the City of New York Parks and Recreation Department by coaching and helping the local kids. It was a great way to give back to the community and I really enjoy working with people and trying to help the next generation. The greatest thanks I can get is when a kid comes back and shows me his diploma.

Huston is also on Jon's list of best pro players in Big 12 history.

Baylor: David Wesley (1994)
Iowa State: Jeff Hornacek (1987)
Kansas: Wilt Chamberlain (1960)
Kansas State: Mitch Richmond (1989)
Missouri: Steve Stipanovich (1984)
Oklahoma: Mookie Blaylock (1990)
Oklahoma State: John Starks (1989)
Texas: Kevin Durant (2008)
Texas A&M: John Beasley (1968)
Texas Tech: Geoff Huston (1980)