Johnny Neumann forged an unconventional path in life.

As a prep basketball phenom at Overton High School in Memphis, Tennessee, in the late 1960s, Neumann was recruited by UCLA's John Wooden and Kentucky's Adolph Rupp, coaching titans of powerhouse programs in that era. He had more than 400 college scholarship offers, but decided to attend the University of Mississippi, which wasn't a powerhouse hoop program.

"I knew it was all football here," Neumann told Sports Illustrated in 1971, "but I talked with Coach (Robert 'Cob') Jarvis and Archie Manning, and they said the people in Oxford wanted a good basketball team, finally. The Ole Miss cheerleaders even drove up to one of my high school games and said hello. Everyone seemed interested. They love their athletes at Ole Miss. That's all anybody has to do in this town is go to sporting events and make heroes out of their athletes. I took all the football interest as a challenge."