Summer, Ivy : Jews In Sports @ Virtual Museum

Summer, Ivy

Ivor Summer

Summer was an All-Metropolitan performer while at St. John's University in the 1940s. He helped the Redmen win the NIT (National Invitational Tournament) in 1944 when it was considered the superior postseason tournament.

Birth and Death Dates:

Career Highlights:
A forward and center at James Madison High School in Brooklyn, Summer was a member of the 1943 PSAL championship squad (with future Long Island University star Lou Lipman). Ivy scored two points in the PSAL final. After graduating, he attended St. John's University and suited up on the varsity basketball team as a freshman in 1944 (during World War II, freshmen could play varsity sports).

The 1943-44 St. John's team was led by dimunitive guard Hy Gotkin. St. John's, the defending NIT champions, started the 1944 season by winning eight of their first nine games. In the season finale, Summer scored a team-high 14 points in a 55-42 win over Brooklyn College. Earlier in the year, Ivy scored a career-high 22 points in a 58-48 win over Rhode Island; it was the single-game high for any St. John's player during the season. Summer finished the regular season as the team's third leading scorer with 8.1 points per game (146 points in 18 games).

St. John's finished the regular season with a record of 15-4 and were invited back to the NIT. In what was considered by many experts to be one of the strongest fields in the tournament's brief history (it began in 1938), Summer had the daunting task of covering the opponents' centers. In the first-round game against Bowling Green, Summer held 6'11" Don Otten to only four points and "played the best game of his career," culminating St. John's surprising 44-40 victory. In the semifinal, the Redmen upset mighty Kentucky by a score of 48-45 after finding themselves down, 37-29, in the second half.

In the tournament final, St. John's found themselves opposed by DePaul and its great center, George Mikan. Summer, who had previously bottled up Otten, did another outstanding job. Mikan scored 13 points, but fouled out. Summer meanwhile scored nine points and St. John's captured the NIT title with a 47-39 victory, becoming the first repeat winner in tournament history. Following the NIT championship, the Redmen played NCAA tournament champions Utah in a charity exhibition game for the Red Cross. Summer scored seven points, but St. John's lost the match, 43-36.

In 1944-45, Summer and his St. John's team looked to defend their NIT title by going 19-2 during the regular season. Ivy was named All-Metropolitan honorable mention after he averaged 8.5 points (178 points in 21 games) during the regular season. In the first round of the NIT, Summer scored four points and St. John's defeated Muhlenberg, 34-33. In the semifinals, they faced Bowling Green, a team they had defeated in the NIT the previous year. This time, Don Otten proved to be too much for Summer and the Redmen and they lost the game, 57-44. Then, in the consolation match, Summer scored 18 points, helping St. John's defeat Rhode Island, 64-57, to finish third place in the tournament.

Summer was not a member of the St. John's basketball team in 1945-46 or in 1946-47. He returned to the school in 1947-48, and was the team's third leading scorer with 7.4 points per game (163 points in 22 games), but St. John's had an off year and finished with a record of 12-11.

In 1948-49, Summer's final (and senior) season, he helped St. John's return to post-season play. The team finished with a regular season record of 15-8 and received a bid to the NIT. Summer, who was the team's fifth-leading scorer during the season with 6.8 points per game (150 points in 22 games), scored a season-high 22 points in the season finale against St. Francis (a 57-43 St. John's victory). In the NIT, Summer scored five points against Bowling Green, but the Redmen lost the first round game, 77-64.

New York

Career Dates:
Summer played center at St. John's from 1943-1945 and from 1947-1949.

Use links below to navigate through the basketball section of Jews In Sports.

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encyclopedia of JEWS in sports, by Bernard Postal, Jesse Silver, and Roy Silver (New York: Bloch Publishing Co., 1965)
The Modern Encyclopedia of Basketball, edited by Zander Hollander (New York: Doubleday, 1979)
Ronald Encyclopedia of Basketball, edited by William G. Mokray (Ronald Press: 1962)
New York Times, March 11, 1945