the Baller’s Almanac: September 5, 2012

It was four years ago today that coach Don Meyer fell asleep while driving, and crashed. No. 2 all-time in coaching wins, Coach Meyer had been leading a six-vehicle procession on a rural South Dakota highway when he fell asleep and his Prius drifted across the centerline. His car collided with a semi hauling 90,000 pounds of grain.

He'd been leading his team to their annual retreat.

His players and assistant coaches were first on the scene. His left side was crushed. His players held his hand while players and used Meyer's own coaching slogans to try and keep him breathing slow and steady until the ambulances arrived. Since they were so far from town, it took the paramedics 30-minutes to get there.

Originally, he was taken by helicopter to Aberdeen, ND, but it was determined that his injuries were too severe to handle at that hospital. The doctors encouraged his wife to spend time with him at Aberdeen before they flew him to Sioux Falls, because it wasn't clear if he would survive the night.

In Sioux Falls they removed his spleen, and reattached his diaphragm (all his ribs were broken on the left side). And then the doctors approached his wife and asked if they'd known about the cancer.

During surgery, it had been discovered that he had lesions on his liver and small intestine.

His recovery from the crash involved eight surgeries, and he lost his left leg below the knee. And to this day coach Meyer considers that crash to be a blessing. Without it, the cancer would not have been discovered until it was likely too late.

He recovered, and coached two more years before retiring at the end of 2010.

It was 51 years ago today that Bill Bradley – the most recruited player of his generation – spurned Duke in favor of Princeton. Bradley had committed to play at Duke, but broke his foot prior to enrollment. This caused him to think about his career outside of basketball, and he says it was an easy decision through that filter to choose Princeton.

"I thought I had him for Duke," said Blue Devil Coach Vic Bubas, pretending to stab himself in the chest. "Every time I hear his name I get a sharp pain right here."

He would go on to become a two-time consensus 1st Team All American, and the Player of the Year.

Today's birthdays include: Mike Barrett 1943 (West Virginia Tech), Charles Williams 1943 (Seattle), Floyd Theard 1944 (Kentucky State), Julius Keye 1946 (Alcorn State), Joby Wright 1950 (Indiana), Russell Cross 1961 (Purdue), Ken Norman 1964 (Illinois), Dennis Scott 1968 (Georgia Tech), Nazr Mohammed 1977 (Kentucky), Justin Dentmon 1985 (Washington), and Lance Stephenson 1990 (Cincinnati)