Noah Gottlieb, Santa Monica College’s two-time all-Western State Conference guard, has decided to continue his basketball career at Chaminade University in Honolulu.
Gottlieb will be a junior in the coming season with two years of eligibility remaining.
Chaminade is a Division 2 school best known for its 77-72 victory over Virginia, which featured 7-foot-4 future pro Ralph Sampson, on Dec. 23, 1982.
That game has been called the biggest upset in college basketball history.
“It was more of a miracle than an upset,” said then-Chaminade coach Merv Lopes, who is now 75 and retired. “Could it happen? No way.”
Virginia’s record at that time was 8-0. The Cavaliers, who were rated No. 1 in the nation, had won their previous game from Houston, which had Hakeem Olajuwon and Clyde Drexler. Chaminade’s previous game was a loss to Wayland Baptist.
The upset occurred in Chaminade’s annual eight-team Maui Invitational, where it hosts some of the top teams in Division 1. The event is considered the nation’s premier early season tournament and is televised by ESPN, with a Chaminade game included, giving the team’s players national exposure.
Sampson was on his way to becoming National College Player Of The Year that season. He then was the first pick in the 1983 NBA draft and played until 1992.
“Coach Matt Mahr runs a strong program and he really wants Noah,” said SMC Coach Jesse Teplitzky. “The team won its conference last season. Most of the players are back except the point guard. So I think this is a very good fit for Noah.”
Mahar has been named the Pac West Conference Coach of the Year twice in the last three years. The Silverswords played in the NCAA Division 2 tournament last season and finished with 20 wins.
The way big-time recruiting works is that most coaches rate their top 8 possible recruits, inform them of an interest but don’t make a commitment. If a player is rated sixth, for example, and the No. 5 player says yes, No. 6 is dropped from consideration.
Gottlieb received calls and letters from several Division 1 schools who did not follow up. But Mahr demonstrated a consistent interest, calling frequently and coming here to meet the player he hoped would become his next point guard.
“I told Noah it’s very important to go somewhere where they truly want you,” said Teplitzky.
Gottlieb began his basketball career on a lower level team at Santa Monica High, but transferred to Venice when he reached the varsity level.
He grew to 6-foot-1, led the Gondoliers in scoring and similarly excelled at SMC. Late last season he went on a scoring spree, averaging 25 points in the final five games. And SMC ended three years with losing records by going 17-14.
Chaminade, which was founded in 1955, has 3,000 students.
Several other members of the 2007-’08 Corsair team are considering scholarship offers, primarily from Division 2 teams.
Teplitzky said those arrangements should be completed soon.
It is also known that New York Tech has a strong interest in Corsair forward Arthur Braswell.