“C.M.” Newton’s legacy in basketball is well known, including his 12 seasons as the head coach at Alabama (1968-80). He had an overall record of 211-123, was named the league’s coach of the year twice and led the Crimson Tide to three SEC Titles (1974, 1975 and 1976).
Newton’s 1975-76 team advanced to the NCAA’s Round of 16. Four of his teams (1973-74, 1974-75, 1975-76 and 1976-77) finished ranked No. 14 or higher in the final national rankings.
But his most interesting team may have been the 1972-73 Crimson Tide.
Wendell Hudson, an All-American who was also named the SEC Player of the Year, led the Southeastern Conference in scoring. Signed by Newton in 1968 as the program’s first African-American student-athlete, he averaged 20.7 points per game.
Meanwhile, Charles Cleveland joined Hudson as a first-team All-SEC selection, while Ray Odums and Leon Douglas were second-team picks.
Among the programs records the 1972-73 Crimson Tide set:
• Most points scored in a single season: Hudson, 620.
• Most field goals scored in a single season: Hudson, 262.
• Most assists, single season: Odums, 177.
• Career assists: Odums, 321.
• Most personal fouls, single season: Douglas, 107.
• Best field-goal percentage, single season: Hudson, .567.
• Best field-goal percentage, career: Hudson, .534.
Among the single-season team records to fall were points scored, field-goal attempts, field goals scored, rebounds, assists, personal fouls, field-goal percentage, most games won and most points scored in a game on a neutral court (107).
The Crimson Tide had four players in the top 20 in conference scoring, and three of the top nine rebounders.
Alabama’s record was 13-5 in SEC play, 22-8 overall. It tied for second in the SEC, one game behind Kentucky at 14-4. It went to play in the NIT, finishing 2-2 (wins against Manhattan and Minnesota, losses to Virginia Tech and North Carolina).
Last year, Hudson was first Crimson Tide former player or coach to have his jersey retired by the school. His No. 20 was unveiled at halftime for the LSU at Alabama men’s basketball game on Feb. 15.
1972-73 Alabama Men’s Basketball Team
Alabama media guide/Jimmy Bank