With the University of Pittsburgh swamping No. 1 ranked University of Connecticut (for the second time) this past weekend to remain at the top of the N.C.A.A. Men’s Basketball Rankings, we should remember the history of African Americans in basketball in that city.
On March 8, 1912, the Monticello Athletic Association, featuring Cumberland Posey, defeated heavily favored reigning black basketball national champion Howard University, 24-19, putting Pittsburgh on the African American basketball map for the first time.
From a prior post here at the Black Fives Blog:
The Monticellos got no respect and were considered “a huge joke” by Howard, who thought they would show the steel town “just how basketball is played in polite circles.”
The game was played at Washington Park Fieldhouse in the predominantly black Hill District, at a site that is now occupied by Pittsburgh’s Mellon Arena.
But while “Monticello girls” served refreshments to “as large and as fine an audience of local society people as it would be possible to assemble,” the Monticellos crushed Howard.
The victory put Pittsburgh on the black basketball map and earned the Monticello Athletic Association the Colored Basketball World’s Championship for 1911-12.
The current day Pitt team is no joke. They are peaking and are surely a lock for the No.1 seed in one of the brackets of the upcoming N.C.A.A. Tournament.
By the way, it should be noted that Cumberland Posey attended the University of Pittsburgh briefly as a pharmacology major.