ORU to retire Mark Acres' No. 42 jersey
BY JIMMIE TRAMEL World Sports Writer
Thursday, January 24, 2013
1/24/13 at 8:17 AM
Anthony Roberts and Richard Fuqua are the only players in Oral Roberts University's basketball history to have their jerseys retired by the school.
Now someone else is joining the club.
The No. 42 jersey of Mark Acres will be raised to the rafters at halftime of a 7:30 p.m. Thursday home game against Lamar. He said he is humbled by an honor that is making him "reflective" of days gone by.
Acres, who played from 1981-85, was a four-time AP honorable mention All-American. He's the only player ever to lead ORU in scoring and rebounding four consecutive seasons.
But Acres wasn't the only star attraction at the Mabee Center during that era.
During a telephone interview this week, Acres was asked the requisite question about what he considered to be the highlight of his years at ORU.
He gave to-be-expected answers about basketball ("we played great preseason schedules and we had great local teams in the area") and friendships forged while in Tulsa.
And then, while remembering the Titans, he out-of-the-blue broached the Mabee Center's star power.
"The Mabee Center had all the action," Acres said. "They had all the concerts coming in there."
Acres said he watched Kenny Rogers, Kenny Loggins, Olivia Newton-John and Neil Diamond perform at the Mabee Center.
Whoever sat behind the 6-foot-11 basketball player probably had obstructed views of the concerts, but, said Acres, "I really enjoyed Kenny Rogers. I thought he was fabulous."
So was Acres, who ranks among ORU's top 10 players in almost every major statistical category. Someone ask Rogers if that qualifies as decorating a life.
Acres played high school ball in Palos Verdes, Calif., and was a second-team Parade All-American, which means he would have been a five-star prospect in the Internet age. He was considered to be among the top three players ever signed by ORU, according to former Tulsa World sports editor Bill Connors.
Acres could have gone anywhere. He visited Oregon, Maryland and Iowa and chose 81st and Lewis. He said it was a pretty easy decision because his brother, Jeff, was at ORU.
"Ken Hayes, he was the reason they got the ball rolling," Acres said of the former ORU coach. "They got Jeff over there and convinced my mom that was the place to be, and we had some other cousins that were going there."
Eight games into Acres' sophomore season, Hayes was forced out and Acres' father, Dick, inherited Hayes' job. Players who supported Hayes threatened a boycott in an attempt to get Hayes reinstated.
"We were all sad to see Ken go, and a few players didn't come back and we had to endure that," Acres said.
Post-turbulence, Acres got a dose of good times. He shared courts with his brother and they helped ORU reach the 1984 NCAA Tournament, where they were bounced by - how's this for a draw? - a loaded Memphis team in Memphis. Five players on that Memphis squad were taken in the first three rounds of NBA drafts.
Acres was invited to try out for the U.S. Olympic team in 1984 (small world: the Olympic coach was Bob Knight, whose son, Pat, is Lamar's coach) and Acres was a second-round draft pick of the Dallas Mavericks in 1985.
Acres spent two years in Europe, then began a six-year NBA career that was launched with a two-season stint at the twilight of the Bird-era Celtics. Acres was a reserve on a squad that reached the 1988 Eastern Conference finals.
"Basketball at its finest," Acres said, who cherished playing for a franchise that he referred to as an "institution."
Acres was selected in an expansion draft and became a charter member of the Orlando Magic. He seemed happy to point out that he became the first Magic player to become a dad while with the franchise.
Baby Pauline is 22 now, and her dad - who also played for the Rockets and Bullets - is doing something he loves.
Acres said he has been teaching for more than a decade. He said he is a physical education instructor at a middle school in Torrance, Calif.
"I always enjoyed playing sports and now I get to teach it," he said.
Acres played well enough that his jersey number will be displayed in a venue where he and Kenny Rogers both produced memorable performances.
Lamar at ORU
Lamar (2-16, 0-6 Southland)
|Ht. ||Pt.|| Reb.|
|F|| Mitchell ||6-5 ||10.1|| 4.5|
|F ||Wilson ||6-5|| 7.7 ||4.5|
|F ||Brown ||6-8 ||9.8 ||6.6|
|G ||Minton ||6-0|| 4.8 ||2.4|
|G ||Minor ||6-1 ||8.9|| 3.0*|
Oral Roberts (10-8, 5-1)
|Ht. ||Pt.|| Reb.|
|F ||Glover ||6-6 ||12.2 ||5.0|
|F|| Conley ||6-5 ||2.7 ||2.4|
|C|| Bell-Holter|| 6-9 ||14.8 ||9.8|
|G ||Jackson ||5-11|| 4.3 ||2.7*|
|G ||Niles ||6-5|| 19.0|| 4.2|
*assists per game
7:30 p.m. Thursday
Radio: KYAL fm97.1
Original Print Headline: ORU set to retire Acres' No. 42 jersey
Jimmie Tramel 918-581-8389
On Thursday, Mark Acres will become the third ORU player to have his jersey retired at the Mabee Center. Courtesy / ORU