JERRY LODRIGUSS / INQ LODRIGUSS Enlarge
In Their Words is a weekly feature appearing Sundays in the Blade sports section.
Blade sports writer Ron Musselman talked with former University of Toledo basketball standout Steve Mix.
Steve Mix wasn't a very highly recruited basketball player coming out of Rogers High School in 1965.
But University of Toledo coach Bob Nichols liked Mix's work ethic and offered the 6-foot-7, 220-pound center/forward a scholarship.
Mix went on to become a three-time, first-team All-Mid-American Conference pick. He helped lead UT to a MAC championship and a 23-2 record in 1966-67.
In 1969, Mix received the league's first player of the year award. He averaged 22.9 points over three seasons, scoring 1,676 for his career.
Mix, a fifth-round pick of Detroit in 1969, played 13 seasons in the NBA with the Pistons, Philadelphia, Milwaukee and Los Angeles. A defensive specialist, he scored 8,355 career points, averaging 10.6, and played on four teams that reached the NBA Finals. In 1975, Mix was an NBA All-Star. He retired after the 1983 season.
Mix, 57, is in his 18th season as a broadcaster for the 76ers, including the last 11 as a television color analyst.
His daughters, Courtney and Stephanie, played Division I basketball in the Philadelphia area at Villanova and Drexel, respectively.
Youngest son Andrew plays at Muskingum College, a Division III school in New Concord, Ohio.
Mix lives with his oldest son, Darrick, an attorney in Philadelphia, during the NBA season. But Mix and his wife, Maryalice, still make their permanent home in Perrysburg, and he operates the Steve Mix Basketball Academy in Maumee.
"THE ONE THING you learn about Toledo pretty quickly is that it is a great place to grow up. When you take a look at the overall city, it's a great community that has a lot of pride. There's a lot of things you can do, like go to the lake. I think there are an awful lot of friendly people in the Midwest, and I think Toledo shows that. I have some great friends back there. And the whole town lends itself to the family values that I believe in."
"WINNING THE MAC championship at Toledo as a sophomore was really cool, as was getting to the NCAA tournament when there were just 32 teams. I was pretty fortunate. I had a great high school coach in Will Collins who helped develop me. I learned a lot from him. I didn't have a lot of college offers. My grades weren't all that great. I had full rides to Memphis and Toledo and a half-ride to Bowling Green. I ended up choosing Toledo because of Bob Nichols. It helped, too, that my brother was already there. Bob was a senior when I was a freshman."
"I WAS CUT FIVE TIMES in my career, including the first time by Detroit. The fact that I believed in myself and was able to get back into the league was one highlight, culminated by making the NBA All-Star Game. I played in the NBA championship four times, including three times with the Sixers. I was 0-4, but that doesn't matter. It was a great experience."
"JULIUS ERVING WAS the best NBA player I ever played with. He was my roommate on the road for six of my nine years in Philadelphia and I got to know him extremely well. Why is he the best? He made everybody better on the court around him. 'Doc' was special."
"I THINK THE PLAYOFFS are going to come down to Miami and Detroit in the East. I am going to take Detroit, because the Pistons are physical. I could be wrong, but I think they can defend Shaq. I should point out, I guess, that the Pistons have to get by the Sixers first in the playoffs. In the West, I see Phoenix and San Antonio. I would love to see Phoenix win it all. If they do, it will be really interesting to see how the rest of the NBA responds to a team pushing it up the floor all the time. I like 115-110 games. I don't like 82-78 games. They're boring."
"MY SCHEDULE WORKS out perfectly. As soon as the NBA season ends, I head back to Toledo. We have roughly 10 weeks of camp from June to August. I am there every single day. And we have all of our grade school, junior high and high school kids, somewhere between 250 to 280 teams, playing there from June until October. The thing I am most proud of is that 60 to 65 kids who have gone through that place over the years have gone on to play college basketball. I think that says a lot about the facility, the coaches, and the people who run it."
Contact Ron Musselman at: firstname.lastname@example.org