If your Alabama basketball background is primarily limited to the last 20 years, Mike Nordholz may be the best Crimson Tide player you know the least about.
The guard holds the Alabama school record for scoring 50 points in a game, against Southern Miss during his junior season in 1967, and he did so roughly 20 years before the three-point line was part of the game.
Under the direction on Hayden Riley, the 1967 team went 13-12 overall, 6-12 in the Southeastern Conference, primarily due to a midseason five-game losing streak that would now be called a scheduling oddity. It included back-to-back losses, home and away, to Georgia, sandwiched around defeats to Florida.
The fifth loss was one of two to Auburn in Montgomery that season.
However, Alabama did beat Kentucky at Foster Auditorium, 81-71. It may not have been the best Adolph Rupp-coached team, but the Wildcats still had All-American guard Louie Dampier and future Hall of Fame coach Pat Riley.
(Riley was not only an All-SEC forward, but also played football. He was selected by the San Diego Rockets in the 1st round of the 1967 NBA Draft, and was also drafted as a wide receiver by the Dallas Cowboys in the 11th round of the 1967 NFL Draft. He joined the Rockets, was chosen by the Portland Trail Blazers in the 1970 NBA expansion draft and then immediately traded to the Los Angeles Lakers.)
A week later, Alabama also beat SEC champion Tennessee 53-52, also at Foster Auditorium, for its final win of the season. The Crimson Tide subsequently lost for a second time to Auburn, and then the rematch at Kentucky.
The 50 scored by Nordholz came early in the season, Dec. 7, during a 77-65 loss. He went on to average 21 points and 5.8 rebounds while being named first-team All-SEC for the first of two consecutive seasons.
Forward Guy Lee Turner (who was only 6 foot 3), averaged 16.6 points and 5.8 rebounds, and sophomore guard Gary Elliott was right behind him at 13.2 points and 4.0 rebounds.
Junior forward Tom Jones led in rebounds at 7.8 to go with 9.2 points, while sophomore center Rich Deppe had 7.9 points and 8.2 rebounds. Former Alabama All-American Bob Andrews was a student assistant coach while working on his masters.
In three seasons, Nordholz scored 1,394 career points, which ranks him 17th in school history, but his 19.9 career scoring average is second. He shot better than 50 percent from the field during the 1967-68 seasons.