It’s such a great thrill to me, when I learn of something I’ve been totally oblivious to for so long – and it was right under my nose the whole time. Come on my people, momma – you’re a high school basketball historian!! Monte Towe, why did nobody inform me of the incredible man?!!
As you would expect, being from Kokomo and watching high school basketball teams from the North Central Conference roll in and out of Memorial Gym, I’d known of Kojak Fuller; standing at 5’7” he is one of the greatest small guards Indiana has ever seen out of Anderson High school. With the recognition he received, how could I not know of Kojak, his extraordinary ability and performances earned him Indiana’s Mr. Basketball in 1993. Being right around 8 years old when he graduated, I was plenty old enough to be a basketball fanatic by that point. Fuller known for his prolific scoring ability was expected to do great things, even having immense promise for the NBA. But well, the Lord had other plans for Kojak – and he is living life for God impacting the lives of young people wherever he goes through the game of basketball.
How could this one slip by me though? It took a lady I work with in Fairmount mentioning who he was, for me to hear his name for the first time – ever. Monte is from Converse, Indiana and attended Oak Hill High school and graduated in 1971, he’s a “Golden Eagle”. When the lady I worked with pulled him up on the internet, I was amazed by what I saw probably more because he’s just so close to where I’m from, and I had no idea. A contributing factor that could have played a role in me hearing very little about Monte, is the fact that he’s older. He was born in Marion, Indiana in 1953, that’s one year ahead of my beautiful mother, (who is not ashamed of her age btw lol) and if you’ve ever seen her, doesn’t look near the age of 63. Anyway, Towe also standing only 5’7” was such an excellent high school basketball player he was given the opportunity to play at North Carolina State for Norm Sloan. He played college ball for NC State from 1972-1975 and in his time there won the NCAA National Championship in 1974. Amongst some of Towe’s greatest honors, was earning All-ACC recognition and receiving the Frances Pomeroy Naismith Award as the year’s best college player under 6 feet tall. In my mind probably the coolest thing about Towe is his connection to greatness. To me if it weren’t for Monte Towe throwing up the alley-oop pass for his teammate to drop in the bucket, a young North Carolina kid from Wilmington maybe wouldn’t have looked up to David Thompson as his biggest role model growing up. Michael Jordan was that young kid, and in 2009 when Michael was inducted into the Naismith Memorial basketball Hall of Fame, Thompson was there by his side the entire speech.
Towe went in the 4th round of the NBA draft in 1975 to the Atlanta Hawks, but played for the Denver Nuggets from 1975-1977. When his playing days were over he joined his old former coach Norm Sloan on the NC State coaching staff and stayed with him over ten years, even when Sloan went to Florida. Monte himself received the wonderful honor of being inducted into the Indiana Basketball Hall of Fame in 2002.
Monte Towe is just one of so many incredible stories of a small town kid, small in stature – with giant size heart. He as well as many others are living proof that no matter your circumstances growing up, or what size you are – you can do anything.