A great day at Guilford on Saturday(World B. Free comes home)

Posted by Andy Durham on February 1, 2009 at 3:46 pm under College | 2 Comments to Read

The Guilford men won their ODAC contest with Randolph-Macon 71-66 and guess who showed up for the naming of the Jack Jensen Court and the jersey retirement ceremony?????

He had not been back to to the Guilford College campus since 1975 and now you know him as World B. Free, but back then he was Lloyd Free to everyone who followed Guilford College basketball.

The word was that Free was not going to show. He wasn’t supposed to be there Saturday afternoon. At least that’s what they were telling us. Free had left, never to return. And he never came back, at least until yesterday, 34 years later. He was a welcome sight. Everyone was glad to see, World B. Free.

Dan Kuzma, Bob Kauffman, M.L. Carr, and Lloyd/World B. Free….Everyone showed up and you should have seen the crowd. The Ragan-Brown Fieldhouse was packed.

Coach Jerry Steele was back and so was his entire team from 1961-1962. Every single man, from that very first Steele-coached team, was in attendance. This was the biggest crowd to see a game at Guilford in the history of this building(Ragan-Brown Fieldhouse).

Nothing could compare to the crowds they used to get in the “Old Crackerbox”, called Alumni Gym, where most all of the Quaker greats played their games.

But this was a great day again at Guilford College on Saturday afternoon. There was no rush, as MC Dave Odom requested. The ceremonies were held after the men’s win over Randolph Macon and MC Odom said let’s take our time and get this right and enjoy the moment, and everyone did.

Since we had been told that World B. Free was not going to be there, when he was announced and he walked to the center of the Jack Jensen Court, the place erupted. Lloyd/World B. Free was back and he looked great.

I see a comparison with Free and George Foreman. They were perceived as mean and tough in their younger days, the kind of guys you couldn’t talk to, but they came back in later life as nice guys. The analysts would tell us Free and Foreman were men that were misunderstood.

It was like Lloyd was a new man, a real nice man. The thing that got me the most and it was a revealing defining moment, was when he was naming many of his former teammates and he called them all out in a good way and then he shocked the Guilford College community in a way like never before.

Free called out this one man, the guy I remember as blonde-headed, skinny male basketball player from Western Guilford High School and a kid that grew up right in the heart of the Guilford College community.

Free said the one man that helped make him what he is today, the man that made him the pro player he became in the NBA, the man that pushed him in practice every day for the three he was at Guilford. The man that World B. Free said he owes a certain degree of gratitude to, was none other than current Ledford girls basketball coach, John/Johnny Ralls. Free called out Johnny Ralls; the QB, the hoops guard, the baseball player from Western Guilford; the man that now sits in the Guilford College Hall of Fame along with his uncle Jayce Ralls.

Ralls’ dad Marion Ralls was the area dentist back in the Guilford College days even though his office was down by the Friendly Shopping Center. Doc Lineberry grabbed most of the teeth as time went on in the Guilford College area, Doc was a former Quaker hoopster at Guilford.

So, they called out Johnny Ralls, they called out Robert Kent and so many other Guilford basketball players and like I have stated, when Free called out Ralls as “The Man”, it was one of those defining moments like you almost never see or hear, but we did on Saturday afternoon. I thought it was also a nice gesture when M.L. Carr mentioned Dr. James Brewer and his family, who were such a strong part of the Guilford College Quaker community.

They also mentioned a guy named Charlie Hendricks several times, but for the life of me, I don’t remember him. Nobody mentioned the Muirs Chapel Curb Market, but I guess we will have to wait for a later time to go back there. Coach Jensen did mention men in the key SID support roles, like Ted Mallick and Johnny Moore.

Saturday was a great trip down memory lane at Guilford College and let’s hope they do it again in about 35 years and that we can see guys like M.L Carr and World B. Free all over again……

*****Hope you enjoy your Super Bowl game. I do think I saw mine on Saturday afternoon.*****

  • joe said,

    Charlie Hendricks passed away this year. He was one of the most beloved members of the Guilford community. He has a building on campus named after him. He was a long time admissions person at the college and was a huge supporter of the athletic program. Anyone who went to Guilford from the early 60’s through the 2000’s know Charlie Hendricks.

  • Andy said,

    I followed Guilford by way of radio and newspaper and never met or heard of Mr. Hendricks.

    Sounds like he was a grear man. I hate that I didn’t get to know him. Several people mentioned him on Saturday and Jack Jensen said you could almost see him walking into the gym through the back door of the Ragan-Brown Fieldhouse.

    No one mentioned him on Saturday, but there was a Charlie Harrison, that was a basketball manager at Guilford who later coached at East Carolina.