John D. "Honey" Russell

A fiercely competitive player and a motivating bench coach, John “Honey” Russell’s career impacted a large span of basketball history. As a pro, he played during the barnstorming days, and later, when the sport modernized itself and moved to big city arenas, Russell shifted to coaching. At the tender age of 16, Russell began his professional career. Over the next three decades, he played in more than 3,200 games for a wide variety of teams in virtually every pro league. Russell, considered the top defensive player of his era, starred with the Brooklyn Pros of the Metropolitan League from 1921 to 1923, and was a four-time All Star with Cleveland and Chicago in the American Basketball League from 1925 to 1931. During many of his 21 seasons in the pros, Russell served as a player-coach. That translated into future success as Russell later had two successful terms as Seton Hall’s coach, including an NIT championship in 1953.