Unstoppable: Developing a Great Basketball Post Player: Swen Nater

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About the Author

If someone was born in another country and never heard of basketball until he emigrated to the United States at age nine, tried out for his high school basketball team as a junior and was cut, tried out again at the community college level and made the team, only to sit the bench his entire freshman year, and sat the bench for three years at the college level, what do you think would be the odds he would make it to the NBA? 

Swen Nater not only made it to the NBA, he is the only NCAA player to be selected in the first round of the NBA draft who did not start in a college game. Although he was drafted by the NBA, Swen opted to sign with the ABA instead, where he was Rookie of the Year, led in field goal percentage and rebounding, and was a two-time All-Star.

When the ABA folded and Swen jumped to the NBA, he didn't slow down; he was just getting started. He led the league in rebounding and set an all-time rebound record of 18 defensive rebounds in one half, which still stands today. In 1976, Swen became a member of the elite 30/30 Club, one of only five players, since the ABA/NBA merger, to rack up at least 30 points and 30 rebounds in the same game. Swen is also 45th, all time, in field goal percentage for the NBA. 

It will not surprise you, then, that Swen has been nominated for the Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame and has already been inducted into the Cypress College Athletics Hall of Fame.

After his playing career, Swen coached Christian Heritage College to a national championship. To give back to the game, he has written five books that relate to basketball and teaching, including You Haven t Taught Until They Have Learned, a study on John Wooden s teaching co-written with Ronald Gallimore; Playing Big, co-written with the great Pete Newell; and John Wooden s UCLA Offense, co-written with arguably the greatest men s college basketball coach of all time, John Wooden.

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