On this day: Celtics Gene Englund, Tom Kelly debut; Hoot Gibson born




 

On this day in Boston Celtics history, big man Gene Englund made his debut with the storied franchise way back in 1949 when the team was still in its infancy.

A product of the University of Wisconsin Badgers - who he led to an NCAA title in 1941 - Englund would play in the National Basketball League (NBL - not be confused with the Australian league of today) before it merged with the Basketball Association of America (BAA) in 1949 to form the NBA. After stints with the defunct Oshkosh (Wisconsin) All-Stars and (also defunct) Brooklyn (New York) Indians in the NBL, Englund made his way to the NBA at the end of his pro career.

He played 24 games with the Celtics before being traded to the (then) Tri-Cities Blackhawks (now Atlanta Hawks) for John Mahnken in 1950.

His first game for Boston came in a 93-82 loss to the (now defunct) Indiana Olympians on this date in 1949, with Englund putting up a very solid 14 points on 6-of-8 shooting.

We don't know too much else about the outing, however, as few other statistics were being tabulated in that era.

Speaking of NBA yesteryear, it is also the date of a less auspicious debut, that of Celtic guard Tom Kelly.

Kelly played collegiately for New York University, drafted 33rd overall from the 1948 BAA draft by Boston.

Finally, that era of basketball seems to be the theme of the day given it is also the birthday of former Boston big man Ward "Hoot" Gibson, born this day in Des Moines, Iowa in 1921.

An undrafted prospect out of Creighton, Gibson played just two games for the Celtics in the 1949-50 season, over which he averaged 3.5 points per game.

Needless to say, very short stints with the team were much more common in that era.

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Story originally appeared on Celtics Wire

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