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Joe Niland '46 - Niland first played at Canisius on the freshman basketball team of 1939 under Canisius Hall of Fame coach and player Johnny Rybak and helped that five captured the Freshman Little Three title. From that time, Joe Niland meant championship basketball at Canisius. In one post-season tournament he scored 52 points in two games. One of those games, against a team led by the two Notre Dame stars Moir and Nowak, saw him hit for a total of 35 points. The hero of many contests against ranked opposition, the team captain began to gain recognition as one of the nation's finest playmakers. Opposing coaches hailed him as one of the best players in the sport and he was listed on almost every one of the All-Opponent teams high on their list. Capable of going the forty-minute route at top speed, he was one of the leading scorers in New York. After serving several years of army life, in January of 1946, Niland was appointed to the post of assistant coach. Basketball fans remember him for his sparkling style of play and his tireless hustling spirit.


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