Mager was a member of the 1950 City College of New York (CCNY) basketball team, which was the only team in history to win both the NIT and NCAA tournaments in the same season. Along the way, City defeated the No. 12, No.6, No. 5, No. 3, No.2 and No. 1 teams in the country. After No. 5 Kentucky lost to CCNY in a 89-50 rout in the NCAA tournament, the Kentucky state legislature passed a resolution calling for the capitol building's flag to be flown at half mast. In the NCAA championship game against top-ranked Bradley, Mager scored 14 points, including the final two in a 71-68 victory. Earlier in the game, Norm had collided with a Bradley player and required 5 stitches over his eye. He returned to the game to score the final basket.
Mager was one of only two regulars who were seniors (captain Irwin Dambrot was the other), lending stability to a team full of talented sophomores. After two and a half years in the Air Force, Norm returned to the 1950 team as the sixth man. "We were a smart, unselfish club...We looked for the open man all the time," he said of the team. Unfortunately for Mager and some other City players, they were also involved with some unsavory characters. During the regular season, Mager introduced to his teammates a gambler named Eli Kaye, who talked about easy money and controlling the margin of victories. In other words, point shaving. Mager later said of that season: "three of the five we lost, we should have won." In 1951, seven CCNY players, along with players from NYU, LIU, and other big-name schools were indicted in a point-shaving scandal. Thirty-two players were involved and all were banned from the NBA. Only Mager played in the league before the ban took effect (he was thrown out of the NBA during the 1950-51 season). In 1953 CCNY de-emphasized the sport in its athletics program.
Birth and Death Dates:
March 23, 1926
During the 1950 NIT and NCAA title season, Mager scored 3.6 points per game for CCNY. He averaged 12.6 points per game in the NCAA tournament and 4.7 in the NIT, and was named All-East Regional in the NCAA. The 1949-50 CCNY team was inducted into the New York City Basketball Hall of Fame in 1994.
In 1950, Mager was selected in the 5th round of the NBA Draft by the Baltimore Bullets. That season, he played in 24 games, scored 124 points and grabbed 47 rebounds for the Bullets before being banned from the NBA for his involvement in the point-shaving scandal in college basketball. The Bullets finished the year 24-42 and missed the playoffs.
Mager played forward and center at CCNY from 1948-1950.
He played in the NBA with the Baltimore Bullets in 1950-51.
6'5", 185 pounds
In the NBA:
Points: 124 (5.2 average)
Points Per Game: 5.2
Field Goals Made: 40
Field Goals Attempted: 142
Field Goal Percentage: .282
Free Throws Made: 44
Free Throws Attempted: 56
Free Throw Percentage: .786
Rebounds Per Game: 2.0
Assists Per Game: 0.9
Personal Fouls: 68
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encyclopedia of JEWS in sports, by Bernard Postal, Jesse Silver, and Roy Silver (New York: Bloch Publishing Co., 1965)