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Sherman, Eli

Basketball - 1990

Eli Sherman was one of the premier basketball players in Southern California during the 1950's.

The one-time Roosevelt High School star received All-Metropolitan League, All-Southern California Junior College recognition while playing at East Los Angeles College. In addition, he was the third leading scorer in Southern California, and holds the career scoring record at East L.A. Junior College. Eli was later elected to the East Los Angeles Jr. College All-Time Great Team.

During his playing days at Los Angeles State College, Sherman was twice All-Conference, selected to the CCAA All-Tournament Team, and selected “Player of the Week” (February 12, 1955) by the Southern California College Basketball Coaches and Sports Writers Association. He was also named to the So. California College All Star Team.
Nicknamed “Greased Lightning”, Sherman scored 1,700 points during his collegiate career, was a superb playmaker-passer, great defensive player, and finished sixth in the NCAA with an 83.4% free-throw (made) average. In 1955, he was selected “Outstanding Athlete of the Year” at CSLA, and received All-America recognition.

In 1956, Sherman was chosen the “outstanding player” in the Southern California Six-foot and Under Championships. A year later, he was the first West Coast athlete ever selected to play on a U.S. Maccabiah Basketball team, co-captaining the American hoopsters to a gold medal at the World Games in Israel. Eli established a World Maccabiah Games record by connecting on 14 consecutive free throws.

The Los Angeles City Recreation and Parks Department and Jr. Chamber of Commerce retired the City Basketball Championship Perpetual Trophy in the name of Eli Sherman, citing him as: “the greatest youth basketball coach in Los Angeles history”. Eli’s teams won four City Championships during the five years he coached, finishing second in the “odd” year.

In 1976, the L.A. Academy of TV Arts and Sciences recognized Eli for his performance and significant contribution to the Emmy Award winning NBC documentary: “Is Winning The Name of the Game?”

For dedicated work on behalf of youth, Sherman has received numerous awards and commendations, including several from the Los Angeles and San Francisco Mayor’s offices, and the L.A. City Council and San Francisco Board of Supervisors. Eli is the Founder and Director of the Southern California Jewish Sports Hall of Fame, and the Founder-Director of the Golden State Boys Basketball Organization, which was the pioneer and role model for youth basketball since the 1960s.

Eli, a published poet and performing amateur magician, has been with the Jewish Community Centers of Greater Los Angeles since 1955, serving as Health & P.E. Director since 1962. In 1996, he was honored by the Westside JCC and many of his former students and players, who formally dedicated the basketball gym at the Westside JCC the “Eli Sherman Gymnasium”.

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