In case you missed it, Oxbeau was happy to host Keith B. Wood for a signing of his newly released book Memphis Hoops!
Memphis Hoops tells the story of basketball in Tennessee’s southwestern-most metropolis following the 1968 assassination of Marin Luther King Jr. Keith B. Wood examines the city through the lens of the Memphis State University basketball team and its star player-turned-coach Larry Finch. Finch, a Memphis native and the first highly recruited Black player signed by Memphis State, helped the team make the 1973 NCAA championship game in his senior year. In an era when colleges in the south began to integrate their basketball programs, the city of Memphis embraced its flagship university’s shift toward including Black players. Wood interjects the forgotten narrative of LeMoyne-Owen’s (the city’s HBCU) 1975 NCAA Division III National Championship team as a critical piece to understanding this era. Finch was drafted by the Lakers following the 1973 NCAA championship but instead signed with the American Basketball Association’s Memphis Tams. After two years of playing professionally, Finch returned to the sidelines as a coach and would eventually become the head coach of the Memphis State Tigers.
Keith B. Wood teaches history at Christian Brothers High School in Memphis.