Monday, January 22, 2007

"Maravich" in The Mountaineer

EHS Graduate Contributes to "Maravich"

By JOEY KITTLE, Staff Writer

Don Carver was a bright-eyed youngster in 1956 when he first met Peter “Press” Maravich. “I had just graduated from Elkins High School and I received a call from Press Maravich,” Carver recalled. “He was in West Virginia recruiting basketball players to attend Clemson after accepting the coaching job there and was interested in meeting me.”

Carver said Maravich had heard about his skills from a friend in Elkins. Carver was a first-team all-state selection at EHS from his center spot and still holds the school record of 48 points scored in a game against Buckhannon-Upshur.

Carver was unsure if he wanted to attend Clemson. He had signed a letter-of-intent with WVU Tech but still met with Maravich at the YMCA.

“I had never been on a plane and they flew me to South Carolina,” Carver said. “I spent a week down there playing pick-up games then flew back home.”

After another phone call from Maravich, Carver returned to Clemson for another visit and accepted a scholarship.

So began a friendship with Maravich and his young son, Pete, who would later simply be known as “Pistol Pete”.

The life and times of “Pistol” Pete Maravich has been turned into a book, which Carver played a role in helping the co-authors. The recently released publication is called “Maravich” and was written by Wayne Federman and Marshall Terrill.

Pistol’s widow, Jackie Maravich, collaborated in the writing, along with his two sons.

“Marshall Terrill called me in 2000 and asked me about my experiences with Pete,” Carver said. “He wanted to know if I had any pictures or newspaper clippings that I could share with him.

“We have been talking for nearly seven years and developed a friendship. It’s a wonderful book and I believe the first printing sold out.”

The elder Maravich was no stranger to Elkins and the book chronicles his time at Davis & Elkins College, where he played basketball from 1937-41, scoring 1,326 points in his career.

In 1950, he became head coach of the Senators and was instrumental in leading the charge to build Memorial Gymnasium, which still serves the college and community.

Carver remembers playing at the new gymnasium during his high school days.

“I was a freshman at Elkins High School in 1952 and was on one of the first teams to play on the floor,” Carver said. “It was a beautiful gym and seated about 1,500 fans.”

The book recalls how Maravich was determined to get a new gym for the school but there were no funds available. He recruited some retired carpenters to help him with his project and proceeded to build the facility with no building permits or approval from the school.

“There’s probably no way to confirm or deny the story of how Press built the gym,” Carver said. “And no one I’ve talked to has ever heard the story of how he did it.

“The only one that knows is Press.”

After his career at Clemson ended, Carver was contacted about becoming the head basketball coach at Daniel High School in Clemson to replace Press, who had accepted another position.

Carver then coached Pistol for two years.

“I never restricted Pete from shooting,” Carver said. “He was a team player and a good student. He was a fine young man and I never had any problems with him.”

Pistol went on to play at Louisiana State University and averaged a staggering 44.2 points per game, the highest in NCAA history. He then went on to play in the NBA for the Hawks, Jazz and Celtics and later was inducted into the Basketball Hall of Fame.

He was also named one of the top 50 players in NBA history.

Sadly, Pistol died in 1988 after suffering a heart attack while playing in a pickup basketball game. Press, meanwhile, had died just eight-and-a-half months earlier.

Carver, who still resides in South Carolina, had his picture hung on the gymnasium wall at Daniel High School last winter.

He’s pictured with Jim Sutherland, who played at Clemson after he graduated from Daniel High School, and Pistol Pete, who was a 10th-grader at the time.

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