Alfred N. "Al" Cervi

Known for his scrappy and hustling style, Al Cervi was a premier player of his time. An agile and fluid moving guard, his reputation in sandlot and semipro ball earned him a spot on the National Basketball League's newly formed Buffalo Bisons. After five years in the U.S. Army Air Force, "Digger" joined the Rochester Royals. An intense competitor with superior defensive skills, Cervi was an explosive one-on-one offensive player. This combined with his natural leadership ability, earned Cervi All-Pro honors five straight years. Able to keep his poise and balance after being fouled, Cervi was a master of the three-point play. A total package, Cervi led the league in scoring in 1947. In 1948, as player-coach of the Syracuse Nationals, Cervi instilled his winning attitude in his teammates. Cervi retired from playing in 1953 but continued to coach Syracuse, propelling the Nats to the NBA title in 1955.