Huskies basketball honoree list set to grow Friday

Staff Writer
Pawhuska Journal-Capital

Four names will be added Friday to the Pawhuska Basketball Hall of Fame — Donnie Martin Jefferson, B.J. Smith, Jim Rowland and W.N. “Bill” Palmer.

The annual induction banquet for the Hall of Fame is scheduled for 5 p.m. Friday at Calvary Baptist Church, located at the intersection of Lynn Avenue and 15th Street in Pawhuska, just south of the public schools complex that includes the high school.

The doors for the banquet are to open at 4:30 p.m. and the banquet is to start at 5 p.m., event organizer Dale Christenson said. The idea is to complete the induction in time for everyone to attend the girls and boys varsity basketball games that evening at Pawhuska High School. The Huskies and Lady Huskies will be taking on Newkirk.

Banquet admission is $10.

Christenson issued an appeal for as many past honorees of the Basketball Hall of Fame as possible to at least attend the ball games versus Newkirk, so they can be introduced to the crowd.

Donnie Martin Jefferson, known to peers in is high school days as Donnie Martin, attended Pawhuska High School and played basketball during the 1970-1972 seasons. He was a member of the state championship teams of 1970 and 1971 under the guidance of Coach Max Shuck and was the free throw champion in 1972.

“I was also chosen to be the captain of the team,” he said in a short biographical submission. “After graduation, I attended Claremore Junior College and played basketball along with Julius Gilkey, a fellow Huskie. We both started on the team and had a winning season.

“I met my future wife there at college and later married,” he said. “We have three children and seven grandchildren. I am currently employed in Tulsa at Dieco Manufacturing and have worked there for 24 years. I am an active member of Christ Gospel Church in Tulsa.”

Jefferson told the Journal-Capital he feels “privileged” to be chosen for the Pawhuska Basketball Hall of Fame “because we’ve had some tremendous players come out of Pawhuska.

“It stays with you the rest of your life,” he said regarding the special feeling he still has about his days as a high school basketball player.

B.J. Smith played basketball at Pawhuska High School in the early 1980s. He was a part of two district championships, an area championship, and played on the 1980 state qualifying team.

Smith averaged 15.8 points per game and 6.4 rebounds per game as a senior and played for Mike Hastings as well as hall of famer Max Shuck. He was a four-sport letterman, participating in basketball, football, track and cross-country.

After running track his freshman year at Eastern Oklahoma College, Smith transferred to play basketball for former Huskie, Ron Brown at Northern Oklahoma College. From there Smith finished his playing career at Southwestern Kansas, where he was selected to play in the District 3 all-star game his senior year.

After college graduation, Smith started on his coaching career. Overall he has made stops at each level (high school, community college, NAIA and NCAA DI).

As a community college head coach, Smith has five national tournament appearances and two national runner-up finishes. His career record is 335-49, and his teams have been ranked No. 1 in the NJCAA poll for 14 weeks. His players have gone on to Oklahoma, Kanas, Iowa, University of Memphis, Depaul and numerous other NCAA schools.

Smith is in his eighth season as head coach for the Highland Community College women’s basketball program and has compiled an impressive resume as Scottie head coach. Smith has a career record of 219-31 (as of 1/15/19) with a home record of 119-8 and a 59-20 mark in Kansas Jayhawk Community College Conference play. During his tenure at Highland, Smith owns two KJCCC titles, three region titles and three national tournament appearances.

Smith told the Journal-Capital he is grateful to Christenson, who was his eighth-grade coach, for helping to get his basketball career off the ground. Before Christenson took over as coach, Smith had been a bench warmer. Christenson gave him playing time.

Smith said he has received numerous awards, but “this is probably the most meaningful to me just because of what it meant to me to play at Pawhuska.”

“You learned how to compete,” he said.

Jim Rowland is a 1986 graduate of Pawhuska High School. He is the son of Thressa York, who still resides in Pawhuska. Jim lettered four years in football, basketball, baseball and track. He was an all-state honorable mention in football and received a football scholarship to Northwestern Oklahoma State University, but a life-threatening injury forced him to retire from the game. Rowland majored in Physical Education Recreation at the University of Central Oklahoma and received his bachelor’s degree in 1992.

Rowland has been the Director of Housing at Northeastern Oklahoma A&M College since 2000 and the head women’s basketball coach for 14 years. Under his leadership, Rowland has guided the Lady Norse to a 323-101 record as of January 2019, which makes him the all-time winningest coach in NEO history. His efforts and achievements at the helm have kept the tradition of NEO women’s basketball program in the spotlight of the National Junior College Athletic Association D-1 Women’s Basketball.

Coach Rowland has led the Lady Norse to five consecutive conference titles. He has won five region titles and had five national tournament appearances. He has been named conference Coach of the Year four times and regional Coach of the Year for District B five times.

Jim is married to his Pawhuska High School sweetheart, Tonya Cass Rowland, and together they have two daughters, Haiden and Tori; one son, Mason; and one grandson, Cason.

“Pawhuska means a lot to me,” Rowland told the Journal-Capital. “We come back every summer to head out to Bluestem Lake.”

He said that being inducted into the Pawhuska Basketball Hall of Fame is a special honor.

“It’s an honor just to be inducted and to be a part of that,” he said.

W.N. “Bill” Palmer, who passed away in January 1982, kept statistics for Pawhuska High School basketball teams for more than 50 years. Palmer was a local lawyer who took a special interest in Pawhuska Huskies sports and in the Boy Scouts of America.

According to a 1972 story printed in a Tulsa newspaper, Palmer developed his own approach to keeping records on Pawhuska football and basketball games and kept records throughout decades.