Hoosiers receive Palestra history lesson #iubb

PHILADELPHIA — Indiana’s private practice on Thursday morning was held at the historic Palestra, known as the Cathedral of College Basketball, and home to not only more NCAA Tournament games than any arena in history, but the epicenter of Philadelphia Big 5 basketball.

That means it was also the site of many games involving Boo Williams, who starred at St. Joseph’s from 1977-1981, scoring 1,554 career points and grabbing 838 rebounds before seeing his career come to an end in the Elite Eight of the 1981 NCAA Tournament with a loss to Indiana and Bob Knight.

Thursday’s practice gave his nephew, Troy Williams, his first look at Uncle Boo’s old stomping grounds, though Troy said he’d heard few stories over the years.

“Not a lot,” Troy said. “I didn’t really hear about it until I heard we were coming here to Philly.”

Still, the chance to see and experience history was a highlight for the Hoosier junior forward.

“I haven’t called (Boo) yet, but it was really nice though,” Troy said. “It’s a really nice gym, so I got to see some of the pictures, the Big Five, the multiple MVPs and all.

“He’s headed up here sooner or later, so I can’t wait to talk to him about it.”

While Williams received his own private history lesson, teammate Collin Hartman also appreciated the building’s legacy.

“It feels just like being in a high school gym,” Hartman said. “I couldn’t imagine playing a game there and how loud it would get.”