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Hall of Fame 28: Russ Schoene


Russ Schoene induction into the Olimpia’s Hall of Fame is almost a miracle. After starring for the University of Chattanooga-Tennessee, he was drafted in the second round (number 45) by the NBA’s Philadelphia 76ers and traded to Indiana after a few months. He stayed with the Pacers for one and half seasons and in 1984 he arrived in Milano. It was the team coached by Dan Peterson and led by Mike D’Antoni and Dino Meneghin. It was also a team coming from two devastating losses in the Italian league finals, in 1983 against Roma and in 1984 against Bologna. But the first few games by Schoene were not very brilliant. Olimpia, at the time, was always looking to hit an home-run on the American market. It was able to get through the Earl Cureton case making up with Antoine Carr, the year before. Schoene didn’t have a definite position. He was 2.08, he played center in college, but in Milano Meneghin was the starting center and he was penciled at the power forward position while the othe American player, Wally Walker, was the small forward. When Olimpia was close to sign the great Joe Barry Carroll, the common idea was to cut Schone. If that was going to happen nobody would have had anything to say and Schoene’d have been forgotten. Instead… instead, at the last minute, Schoene’s game took off and coach Peterson had a great idea, moving him to the perimeter to use his outside shot. The move worked out for the best: Olimpia in 1984/85 used Carroll, Meneghin and Schiene all together winning the Italian league and the Korac Cup. If Carroll dominated the playoffs, Schoene was the hero in the Korac Cup final against Varese. One year later, he took another step and was basically the team best player. In 1986 because of his two great years in Milano, Schoene moved back to the NBA, in Seattle. He’d have returned in Italy toward the end of his career playing for Verona and then Bologna.