In Georgia the peach is the thing but in Kentucky what counts most is the basket the peach is packed in. The reason is that from Paintsville in the east to Paducah in the west there are probably more sawed-off peach baskets nailed to boards in backyards than you could blow a basketball referee's whistle at. And that has a lot to do with the accepted fact that Kentucky somehow seems to come up with more fine young basketball players than most other places.
One of the real golden boys from this Ail-American hoop area in recent years was a dribble-jump-throw master named Frank Selvy who showed up at Furman University in Greenville, S.C. in 1950, out of a little town in southeastern Kentucky—Corbin. As practically everybody in the world now knows, Frank led the nation's college basketball scorers last year with 1,209 points, a 41.7 average per game. If you count Rio Grande's Bevo Francis, he was second to a 1,255, 46.5 average. But the difference in competition faced was considerable. Anyway, out of Corbin this year comes a second Selvy, Frank's kid brother Edd, who is a story in his own right. In fact, Edd has a high school record that tops famous Frank's in quite a few ways.
FACETS OF PROMISE
February 28, 1955
Edd (who decided to spell it with two d's for no good reason that he can remember) is a 17-year-old Corbin High senior, who at present leans toward a scholarship at the University of Kentucky—the U. of K. usually being to intercollegiate basketball what the N. Y. Yanks are to the American League.
According to Harry Taylor, the Corbin High coach who raised both Selvys from a peach basket, Edd is not only the chief reason why Corbin (student body 350) sported an 8-0 record halfway through the schedule, he's also got certain facets of promise that Frank didn't have in high school.
Edd made the varsity his freshman year; Frank finally made it his junior year. Edd, senior year, is 6 feet tall, weighs 174 pounds; Frank, upon graduation, was also around 6 feet but weighed only 151 pounds. (When he finished four years at Furman, Frank had shot up to 6 feet 3 inches and 190 pounds.)
Coach Taylor is pretty fond of both boys, but he says that Edd is a more aggressive player. To back this up, he points out that Edd frequently fouls out of a game while the more conservative Frank did that just once in high school. This indicates a drive on the slightly burning side. However, the coach of the Selvy brothers says Frank could jump rings around Edd.
As kids, Frank and Edd had baskets hanging all over the backyard. They used spare moments to skim basketballs through them the way some people use such moments to skim through the pages of the Reader's Digest. By the time Big Frank was playing with Corbin High, Edd was busy with a team of rinkey-dinks down at the Y.M.C.A. Sometimes Frank went down there and gave Edd tips on how to make that left-handed dropshot.
SHARPENED BY A FAMOUS BROTHER
By his sophomore year at Corbin High, Edd realized he had a famous brother on his hands. It didn't bother him any because he knew he had the old Kentucky eye in measuring a hoop for size. And every Christmas, when Frank came home for the holidays, he worked out with the kid brother, sharpening him up every way he could.
Frank kept getting more famous and Edd kept getting better local notices. He made All-Conference guard in the '53-'54 season and this year he made 32 points in one game, his all-time top, against Lily (Ky.) High. His coach says Edd has really come a long way in his basketball development since last year.
His passing is much more sure and accurate. His defensive work is now very consistent—he's learned to watch his man and follow him like a hawk after a hen, where he used to get entranced watching the ball, letting the man roam wild.
Frank's college, Furman, came after Edd two years ago. That was unusual because normally a college lets a player alone until he's finished his senior season. Maybe the name Selvy, which has a special ring to it at Furman, had something to do with it. But Edd said he'd see. He likes it nearer home (U. of K. is only 85 miles from Corbin) and also, Kentucky is where basketball is played just about the best.
Edd isn't likely to be the last of the Selvys to be heard from in the basketball world. There are four more behind him—aged 6 to 12. They're busy now, taking dead aim at the peach baskets. How far the name of Selvy will travel nobody knows, not even in Corbin. Like Old Man River, it just seems to keep rolling along.