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“Woo Woo” Wong Inducted into Hall of Fame

Willie WongHe was one of the biggest little men in basketball. Recruited to the Dons by legendary coach Pete Newell, the 5-foot, 5-inch Willie “Woo Woo” Wong is considered one of the best Chinese American basketball players of all time. He was also the first Chinese American to play in the National Invitation Tournament and to play at Madison Square Garden.

One of seven children raised by poor Chinese immigrants in San Francisco’s Chinatown, Wong practiced with tennis balls until an uncle one day gave him a basketball as a gift. The practice paid off. Newell would call him “one of the finest passers and floor men ever to step up to college competition.”

His full name was William Woo Wong, but he became known as “Woo Woo” because that’s what the crowd chanted every time he scored.

After he died last year at age 79, the city’s Chinese Playground—located across the street from the flat he grew up in—was renamed in his honor, making it the first park in the country named after a Chinese American athlete. Wong was inducted posthumously into the USF Athletic Hall of Fame in February.

HiltonOther inductees were:

In addition, the 1956–1957 NCAA championship men’s basketball team received special recognition at the induction ceremony.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

5-foot, 5-inch Willie “Woo Woo” Wong is considered one of the best Chinese American basketball players of all time. Also inducted into the USF Athletic Hall of Fame in February were (below, top to bottom) Juli Christopher Hilton (golf), John Drocco (special category), and Marlene Henderson (basketball).

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