There was a time when the National Invitation Tournament was the best college basketball event in the country and its champion was considered the best scholastic team in the land.
Green's practice partner that year?: Baldwin Borough's Ralph Leng, who died on Sunday after a yearlong battle with leukemia, the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette reports.
Leng, who was 77, graduated from the now-defunct St. Wendelin High School in Pittsburgh before earning his piece of the national title by sharpening the play of Green and the rest of Duquesne's starting lineup.
"The coaches looked at my dad and figured he was the same size as Sihugo Green (about 6 feet 2) and played the same position," Ralph's son Mark told the Post-Gazette, "so it would be a good matchup at practice.
"Of course, he may have been about the same size as Sihugo, but he wasn't nearly the same talent level. But hey, one of those two went on to be the first pick in the NBA draft."
Though his family moved to Baldwin at a young age, Leng was a Whitehall Borough resident at the time of his death, according to an obituary on the John F. Slater Funeral Home website.
A Mass of Christian Burial will be held for Leng at Saint Elizabeth of Hungary Roman Catholic Church in Baldwin at 10 a.m. on Thursday, following a 9:15 funeral prayer at Slater Funeral Home in Brentwood Borough.
Leng was an Air Force veteran, was a member of Lions Club International for over 40 years and owned Leng Insurance Agency in Whitehall's Caste Village.
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