Bemoras, Irv : Jews In Sports @ Virtual Museum

Bemoras, Irv

Irving Bemoras

An All-America forward, Bemoras played on the University of Illinois' Big Ten champion teams in 1951 and 1952. In 1957, he was a member of the St. Louis Hawks, which lost to the Boston Celtics in the NBA Finals. Bemoras now runs his own insurance company in the suburbs of Chicago, called Irv Bemoras and Associates.

Birth and Death Dates:
b. Nov. 18, 1930

Career Highlights:
Before playing at the University of Illinois, Bemoras was an awesome high school player. In 1948, Irv led Marshall High School to the Illinois State Tournament. Bemoras was named All-Tournament when he scored 49 points in only two games. Irv moved on to become a force in the college ranks; while at Illinois in the early 1950s, he helped the Illini win back-to-back Big Ten titles. In 1951, Illinois had a conference record of 13-1 (they won the Big Ten title), and were ranked No. 4 by the UPI (No. 5 AP) heading into the NCAA tournament with an overall record of 19-4.

In the first round of the tournament, Bemoras registered eight points and eight rebounds as Illinois decisively defeated No. 3 Columbia (led by Alan Stein and Bob Reiss ), 79-71. In the East Semifinal, Irv scored seven points, and had a team-high 12 rebounds, as Illinois beat North Carolina State, 84-70. In the East Regional Final, Bemoras had 12 points and 7 rebounds, but Illinois fell to eventual NCAA champion Kentucky, 76-74; Kentucky scored the game-winning basket with only 12 seconds remaining. In the consolation game, Illinois defeated Oklahoma A&M, 61-46, to finish third in the tournament, with Bemoras averaging eight points per game.

In 1952, the Illini repeated as Big Ten champs with a 12-2 conference record; Bemoras was named second team All-Big Ten. The Illini had a 19-3 regular season record, and were ranked No. 2 by the AP and UPI polls before the NCAA tournament. In the first round, the Illini defeated Dayton with the help of 11 points from Bemoras. In the Regional Final, Irv had a team-high 16 points as Illinois defeated Duquesne, 74-68. Illinois advanced to the Final Four (the first time there was a Final Four), but lost 61-59 to St. John's. Bemoras was held to only three points. The Illini won the consolation game for the second year in a row when they defeated Santa Clara 67-64. Irv averaged 8.3 points in this tournament.

In 1953, Bemoras had another outstanding season. Irv was named first team All-Big Ten and second team All-America while leading the Illini to a regular season record of 18-4. The Illini were ranked No. 10 by the UPI (No. 11 AP). Unfortunately, they finished second in the Big Ten with a record of 14-4 and did not play in any postseason tournament because, at this time, only one team from each conference was invited to the NCAA tournament.

In 1953, after graduating from Illinois, Bemoras was selected by the Milwaukee Hawks in the NBA Draft. Irv played two seasons in the NBA, and in 1957, he played in 62 games and averaged 5.1 points per game for the St. Louis Hawks (34-38). That year, the Hawks took the Boston Celtics into a ferociously contested game seven of the NBA finals; but the Celtics clawed out a victory, 125-123, in double overtime. That was Boston's first NBA title; there would be 15 more to come.

Chicago, Illinois

Career Dates:
Irv played as a guard and forward at the University of Illinois, 1951-1953. He played in the NBA for the Milwaukee Hawks in 1953-54, and with the St. Louis Hawks in 1956-57.

Physical description:
6'3", 187 pounds

Career Statistics:
In the NBA:
Games: 131
Points: 827
Point Per Game: 6.3

Field Goals Made: 309
Field Goals Attempted: 890
Field Goal Percentage: .347

Free Throws Made: 209
Free Throws Attempted: 311
Free Throw Percentage: .672

Rebounds: 341
Rebounds Per Game: 2.6
Assists: 125
Assists Per Game: 2.0

Personal Fouls: 228
Disqualifications: 2

NBA playoffs:
Games: 3
Points: 9
Points Per Game: 3.0

Field Goals Made: 3
Field Goals Attempted: 8
Field Goal Percentage: .375

Free Throws Made: 3
Free Throws Attempted: 3
Free Throw Percentage: 1.000

Rebounds: 6
Rebounds Per Game: 2.0
Assists: 3
Assists Per Game: 1.0

Personal Fouls: 4
Disqualifications: 0

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encyclopedia of JEWS in sports, by Bernard Postal, Jesse Silver, and Roy Silver (New York: Bloch Publishing Co., 1965)
The Official NBA Encyclopedia: Third Edition, edited by Jan Hubbard (New York: Doubleday, 2000)
The Modern Encyclopedia of Basketball, edited by Zander Hollander (New York: Doubleday, 1979)
Inside Sports Magazine: College Basketball, by Mike Douchant with Jim Nantz (Detroit: Visible Ink Press, 1997)
Ronald Encyclopedia of Basketball, edited by William G. Mokray (Ronald Press: 1962)