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The Paw Print

Brian Heublein: a Poly legend

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Bradford Hall

More than 53 years after graduating from Poly in 1970, Brian Heublein still finds himself back on campus, reconnecting with students and faculty. On Monday, Jan. 22, he oversaw the boys varsity basketball team’s practice, giving the Panthers veteran advice. “He is one of the guys I think of when I try to build on the basketball culture at Poly,” said head coach Brad Hall.

Heublein was a wonder to watch on Poly’s basketball court and baseball field, filling out stands and attracting dozens of scouts each game. His record-setting numbers make him undoubtedly one of Poly’s greatest athletes of all time, if not the greatest. In his two seasons playing varsity basketball for the Panthers from 1968 to 1970, Heublein averaged 32.6 points per game, ranking him second all-time in the CIF record books for highest career scoring average. In his 1969-1970 season, he averaged 41.2 points per game, ranking him sixth all-time in CIF records for highest season scoring average.

By the end of his senior year, Heublein had received 25 offers from Division 1 schools, including USC, Stanford, Harvard, and Columbia. Heublein would ultimately choose USC, which awarded him a double scholarship for baseball and basketball.

“It came down to the two coaches they had: Bob Boyd in basketball and Rod Dedeaux in baseball,” said Heublein. He continued, “Rod Dedeaux was the best college baseball coach of all time, and Bob Boyd led some pretty good teams against the John Wooden dynasty.”

Heublein had also been hearing “Go Trojans” and “fight on” all his life as his father attended law school at USC.

“I was also dating a girl here who I thought I had a future with. That didn’t happen,” joked Heublein.

Over the course of his basketball career at USC, Heublein put together many stand-out performances against some big names. “My best game at USC was against Bill Walton at UCLA,” recalled Heublein. He scored 28 points in that game against a dominant UCLA team, and he continued to be on the first USC team to go to the National Invitational Tournament.

Heublein’s clear talent for basketball did not overshadow his baseball prowess. Heublein cited a special performance against Major League Baseball Hall of Fame pitcher Dave Winfield in the College World Series: “My biggest thrill in baseball was in the ‘73 College World Series. We were playing against the University of Minnesota, and the pitcher, Dave Winfield, had 16 strikeouts. We had one hit going into the bottom of the 9th inning, and they were ahead seven to nothing. When we came to bat, we had one out, nobody on base, and he was throwing BBs. We couldn’t see the ball, but we started chipping away, hit after hit after hit. And before they got the second out, we tied the game. We went on to win it in that 9th inning. It was probably the best comeback we’ve ever had.”

However, amid the glitz and glamour of collegiate athletics, Heublein never forgot his roots at Poly. In fact, he credits much of his success to the formative experiences he had here, where he developed not only as an athlete but also as a student and individual.

“It was the best thing that ever happened to me. The athletics were fantastic. The education was unparalleled. I just had a wonderful time,” said Heublein. Despite his demanding travel schedule with two sports and involvement in a fraternity, Heublein graduated cum laude for his performance in the classroom at USC.

“I suspect that the reputation of certain athletes is that they don’t study. Well, I happened to study quite a bit because I got good training at Poly,” said Heublein.

While Heublein’s legacy as Poly’s best all-around athlete has undoubtedly left a lasting mark, his character and compassion are what continue to inspire student athletes today. Senior shooting guard Nick Gomez said, “It meant the world to me to witness a true Poly legend, and I am extremely grateful to have been able to listen to such an empowering story.”


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Pierre Vincent, Assistant Sports Editor
Grade: 12 Years on Staff: 4 Fun Fact: I've never had Coke before. Favorite Book: Unbroken Favorite Movie: Princess Bride
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