It’s not every day that you get to share a meal with an active NBA player. Yet we received just that very treat on Friday night when Mike Muscala ’13 returned to campus for the Second Annual Celebration of Bison Basketball dinner.
While Mike was the keynote speaker at the jam-packed event, he was not the only well-known alum in attendance. The guest list included several Hall-of-Famers, including Mike Joseph ’90, Pat Flannery ’80, Ellis Harley ’59, Mickey Melberger ’61 (football), Lori Houck Steigerwald ’00 (women’s basketball) and former Bucknell president Gary Sojka. Chris McNaughton ’07, Abe Badmus ’07 and John Griffin ’08 represented Bucknell’s great teams that won games in the NCAA Tournament a decade ago. Dave Steigerwald ’96, Kevin Wenk ’96, Ed Sigl ’84, Chuck Carroll ’68, Chris Riley ’71 and John Rodgers ’67 were also back with us.
The highlight of the evening was the Q&A with Muscala, who will soon be headed back to training camp in preparation for his fourth NBA season with the Atlanta Hawks. If you are not familiar with Mike’s career at Bucknell, just know that he will go down as one of the all-time greats in Bucknell basketball history. He graduated as our all-time points leader and first 2,000-point scorer. He was a two-time Patriot League Player of the Year who led the Bison to two NCAA Tournament appearances and one NIT appearance (that included a win over Arizona). And he was also an Academic All-American and Patriot League Scholar-Athlete of the Year.
Here’s a little taste of Mike in action:
And some more from the Hawks:
— Atlanta Hawks (@ATLHawks) September 8, 2016
During Mike’s Q&A with Todd Newcomb ’88 on stage, he told some funny and interesting anecdotes about life in the NBA, but he also reflected on his time at Bucknell.
“Bucknell will always be a special place for me,” he said fondly. “It’s not just about basketball. I got a great education here. I learned a lot, not just on the basketball court or even just in the classroom, but with my teammates and my peers.”
It was also neat catching up with Chris McNaughton, who has been playing professionally in Germany since wrapping up his own brilliant Bucknell career in 2007. Chris just retired from pro basketball and is relocating back to the U.S., where he and his wife Ashley will reside in Hollidaysburg, Pa.
What a neat photo this is with Mike and Chris side-by-side, two of Bucknell’s greatest centers. That’s almost 14 feet of human, who combined for 3,565 points, 1,739 rebounds and four trips to the NCAA Tournament.
The dinner concluded with an introduction of the 2016-17 Bison by sophomores Kimbal Mackenzie and Matt O’Reilly, who would make quite a comedy duo. Senior John Azzinaro and head coach Nathan Davis provided some remarks on the upcoming season, as the Bison look to defend their Patriot League regular-season title.
We are just getting into the heart of the fall season here, but it was nice to spend an evening talking hoops with some of our all-time greats.
Some additional video coverage: