Johnny Stroud, John's dad, could play…
Jones Junior College this past weekend became the first Mississippi two-year school to win the juco Division I National Championship. The Jones Bobcats won five games in five days to claim the title.
Back in 1951, Northeast Community College in Booneville played for the national championship at Hutchinson, Kan.
The story is worth retelling…
Northeast was coached by Mississippi Sports Hall of Famer Bonner Arnold, who had been a high school All American at Wheeler and who coached Northeast to seven Mississippi junior college titles, including he one in 1951.
Arnold was nothing if not competitive and he badly wanted to win the national championship. He coaxed John R. “Johnny” Stroud a former four-time All-State player from Macedonia, to play for Northeast in the national semifinals and championship game at Hutchinson. Stroud had led tiny Macedonia (now part of West Union) to an overall state championship.
Stroud, who dearly loved basketball, apparently saw it as a chance to play the game he loved and play against outstanding competition.
Stroud scored 24 points in the semifinal game, helping the Booneville team advance. Then, he scored a championship game record 44 points in a 93-75 loss to Tyler (Texas) Junior College.
Northeast later had to forfeit the runner-up trophy because Stroud was declared ineligible.
Now then, if the name sounds familiar, it should. J.R. “Johnny” Stroud is the father of Ole Miss basketball great and Hall of Famer John Stroud.
“People all my life have told me that I was the second best player named John Stroud, and that’s OK with me,” John Stroud said.
Johnny Stroud went on to play several years for the Whiskered Wizards, a barnstorming professional team similar to the Harlem Globetrotters.
Johnny Stroud died of a massive heart attack in 1969 when John was 12 but not before introducing his son to the game he loved so much, himself.
John Stroud, who learned to play on an outdoor basket with his dad, twice led the SEC in scoring during his Ole Miss career.