In Play with Craig Mattick: Kent Hyde
Kent Hyde had arguably the best statistical season in South Dakota high school basketball history. The 6-5 stand out from Onida scored 1,411 points in his senior season alone, averaging 50.4 points per game.
One publication said "Every defense is rigged to stop him. They 'sag' on him. They put two and three men on him. They try and keep the ball from getting in to him. But he still goes off the court with as many points as most teams get."
Craig Mattick: Welcome to another edition of In Play, I'm Craig Mattick.
Today's guest has the distinction of doing something that had never been done in South Dakota high school basketball. Hasn't been done since either, and the feat was recognized nationally. He had a great career playing college basketball as the school's all-time leading scorer and rebounder. If it wasn't for one injury, could have possibly played in the NBA! He became a successful businessman and he also performed a might feat after a bad accident. He's Onida's Kent Hyde. Kent, welcome to In Play.
Kent Hyde: Well, thank you.
Craig Mattick: Onida, South Dakota course right smack in the middle of the state there in Sully county. Right along highway 83, you are about 25 miles from the Missouri River. Onida, the county seat of Sully county. What was it like growing up in Onida back in the 50s?
Kent Hyde: Well, in our house we didn't have an indoor toilet until I was a junior in high school.
Craig Mattick: Oh my.
Kent Hyde: So, it was cold. My mother had to move all of her canned goods out of our bedroom because they were freezing up.
Craig Mattick: Onida was a population of about, what 650 at about that time? Big agriculture community.
Kent Hyde: That's about right, yes.
Craig Mattick: So was your family a big sports family?
Kent Hyde: Yes, my dad listened to baseball games. He had an old search round thing that he could turn the radio around and he could point it to Minneapolis. Then he could point it down towards Atlanta.
Craig Mattick: Uh-huh.
Kent Hyde: Or at St. Louis.
Craig Mattick: St. Louis.
Kent Hyde: And, he listened to baseball.
Craig Mattick: Yup, how about you? Did you play baseball?
Kent Hyde: Not really, they wanted me to because my long legs and big strike zone but I didn't do very well.
Craig Mattick: Basketball was your sport right? Was that the only sport that you played in Onida?
Kent Hyde: No I played football and I did some track.
Craig Mattick: Well it's 1952, about 1952 you're a sophomore for Onida. What was the basketball team like that year when you were a sophomore at Onida?
Kent Hyde: We had a good "B" team basketball. I think the coach wanted me to play on the "A" team but they were mostly older guys and had more in tune with each other rather than wanting me on the team.
Craig Mattick: Who was the coach?
Kent Hyde: Bob Koenig.
Craig Mattick: What kind of a coach was he?
Kent Hyde: Oh he was an excellent coach. He was a player, I think he played down in Yankton, South Dakota.
Craig Mattick: Sure, so what was the Onida gym like? We know the gyms back in the 50s all across the country, they weren't very big.
Kent Hyde: No, this was the old gym that we used to play in was so small that you couldn't shoot real high shots because the ceiling was so low. There were very few seats. There was a little balcony up above but it was tiny. We would go in and we would get all the kids to get together and go in the gym, might be 10:00 or 11:00 at night, turn the lights on and turn the heat up and play basketball. The sheriff would come by and he'd watch us just for a while and when he'd get ready to leave he'd say, "Now don't forget to turn the heat down and turn the lights off before you leave." Which was a good thing.
Craig Mattick: So before you're a sophomore in high school, how much time were you spending practicing basketball, and where are you practicing?
Kent Hyde: Well, of course in this old small gym, but not really a whole lot. I didn't anyway.
Craig Mattick: Well things started changing, you're a junior for the Onida Warriors. What was your expectations for the team as a junior?
Kent Hyde: Well as a junior, we had Jim Sutton and Ronnald Lawrence. Well Ronnald was in with me with the "B" team.
Craig Mattick: OK.
Kent Hyde: But Quentin Youngberg and Jim Sutton were seniors the year that I was a junior. Now as a sophomore we just played on the "B" team.
Craig Mattick: Got it. Well you averaged 16 points a game as a junior and Onida not only made the state tournament for the first time, you win it! The first title for Onida. What was the season like? I think you played about 28 games at that time. What was the season like that championship year?
Kent Hyde: Oh it was, we had a wonderful team because Ron Lawrence, Jim Sutton, and Quentin Youngberg could handle the ball better than anyone we played against. Sutton was an excellent shooter outside, and Quentin Youngberg was a decent shooter. Ronnald Lawrence played decent but if we got the lead in the last quarter we could hold the ball out front. There was no time clock. We could hold the ball until we got absolutely got a layup or the other fella and myself would go stand in the corner and they would run back and forth dribbling the ball and throwing it. Nobody could take the ball away from them.
Craig Mattick: You defeated Ravinia in the championship, 51 to 45. What was that game like?
Kent Hyde: Really our toughest game was against Franklin because what they did was double-teamed and triple-teamed Sutton and the others out front. We had a difficult time beating them. Ravinia wasn't that difficult. We pretty much had the lead most of the game as I imagined. I can remember anyway.
Craig Mattick: Ravinia by the way, in Charles Mix County, about 70 people, locatedd south of Armour and east of Lake Andes, now part of Andes Central here in South Dakota. But Ravinia, there were a lot of small town schools back in the 50s.
Kent Hyde: Yeah we had I think 47 kids in four grades of high school in Onida.
Craig Mattick: By the way, the next year Hayti beat Provo. I don't think anybody knows where Provo is in South Dakota. That is out by Edgemont, right in the south-west corner of South Dakota. Lot of those schools, they kind of got eaten up by some of the bigger schools in the area or had to consolidate.
Kent Hyde: Oh yeah. Again there was not a lot of people up there in South Dakota at that time.
Craig Mattick: Well, you win the championship in 1953. Onida's first trip to the state boys basketball tournament. Where was that tournament played?
Kent Hyde: In Huron South Dakota.
Craig Mattick: In the Huron Arena?
Kent Hyde: Yup.
Craig Mattick: And the whole town of Onida had to be there.
Kent Hyde: Oh yeah. I'll bet ya there were most of us were there.
Craig Mattick: So you win the championship in 1953 and then now the next year you're a senior. It's 1954 you're just over 6'5". You accomplished something that hasn't ever been done. In 28 games you averaged 50 points per game. 50!
Kent Hyde: Yeah.
Craig Mattick: You also shot about 70% from the floor. What was going on with you in 1954 scoring 50 points a game?
Kent Hyde: Well of course again that was because of the coach. He knew that we had very little outside help and he just made it a point that when they brought the ball down to get it into the center. Get it in to me. Even though they tried to double-team and triple-team, by the time I got the ball and jumped or made a hook shot it was over with. Again, I had good touch on the ball and I could shoot free throws decently. Not as good as Jim Sutton.
Craig Mattick: In one game you scored 66 points your senior year. Who was that against?
Kent Hyde: It's a little town just north of Gettysburg. I can't even think of it now.
Craig Mattick: Was the game that easy for you that year? Defenses couldn't stop you.
Kent Hyde: No, it wasn't that easy because it was kind of. I enjoyed playing with the team that won the state championship because we were more of a team. We didn't have the personnel when I was scoring all those points. To really shoot outside, to really do a lot of stalling with the ball. So what they had to do was get it into where they could so I could score. Again, I was a good enough shooter that once they got the ball in I could handle it pretty well.
Craig Mattick: One of your shots was the hook shot which I think is kind of a lost art today. Not too many kids are doing the hook shot. How big of your repertoire was the hook shot? Probably in the paint to score?
Kent Hyde: Yes. I didn't shoot from outside because that was, in the year before, that was the other three guys deal as to shoot outside. I stayed under the basket.
Craig Mattick: The 50 points-per-game for that season and you scored 1,411 points that year. Those were national records. National records! How much did that mean to you back then?
Kent Hyde: Well, again I didn't think of it much other than we were trying to win a ball game. We used to fulfill it with the people that we had in the position that they were useful. I guess I was more useful scoring underneath the basket.
Craig Mattick: Well you didn't make the state tournament or you didn't win the title that year when you're scoring 50 points a game. What was going on with Onida?
Kent Hyde: Well because again, we couldn't keep the other teams from scoring. I don't know what our record win-loss record was, but it wasn't that good. Even though I scored a lot of points, we still lost some games.
Craig Mattick: You know, nobody has done what you did since. No one has scored 50 points a game in a whole season.
Kent Hyde: Well, mainly because they didn't have to.
Craig Mattick: Well.
Kent Hyde: They had other teammates that could score.
Craig Mattick: You had more than 40 schools courting you to play basketball and you chose South Dakota State. Why?
Kent Hyde: Probably because I had a job all summer long after we got through the season. We had guys come by and here I'm supposed to be out working in the fields running the tractor and they were trying to run me down to get me to commit to their school. I did go to the University of Minnesota and made one trip and that was it. Again, I had a lot of offers. I didn't pay enough attention. That was probably my fault because I should have looked maybe at some other schools.
Craig Mattick: Well you didn't do too bad. You didn't do too bad while you were a Jackrabbit.
Kent Hyde: Nope.
Craig Mattick: But as a freshman, remember freshmen weren't eligible to play in college. What was it like that freshman year you were at SDSU but couldn't play in any games?
Kent Hyde: Well, of course we played on the freshman team. Played a number of teams.
Craig Mattick: Mm-hmm.
Kent Hyde: Under today's, the old way. Again, we couldn't dunk the ball and there was no three-point shooters shooting.
Craig Mattick: That's right.
Kent Hyde: Which makes a big difference in the pace of the ball games now.
Craig Mattick: Well, you get to be a sophomore at SDSU and now you've grown a couple more inches. You're what now, just over 6'7" and you help the Jacks win the North Central conference for the first time in some 20 years. What was that year like? Who else was on that team where the Jack's saw winning the conference?
Kent Hyde: Well, once again it was my old teammate Jim Sutton and he was an excellent outside shooter. I think he won the national percentage for free-throw shooting that year, and we had, there's a good couple other guys that were good players.
Craig Mattick: What was it like playing in The Barn at SDSU?
Kent Hyde: There was no difference than anywhere else because of the, it was again, it was a team sport. You played together and that's why you win.
Craig Mattick: Well the Jacks win the conference again in 1957, your junior year. You're averaging a double double every game and you also set the SDSU's single game scoring mark of 40 against Augustana. What was that day like?
Kent Hyde: Well, I tell people that the coach of Augustine was interviewing before the ball game, probably a day or so before the ball game, and the reporter asked him, "How are you going to handle Hyde?" He said, "We don't have any problem with Hyde. We'll take care of him." I heard that and it kind of upset me so I went after the ball and did a little bit more on my own than I should have probably.
Craig Mattick: Did you win the game?
Kent Hyde: Yes, we did. Won it pretty handily I think.
Craig Mattick: Well 1958, it's your senior year. You are a dominant player in the North-Central Conference but you couldn't finish the season due to an injury. It was a ruptured disk in your back. When did that happen and when did it start affecting you?
Kent Hyde: I think I was only three or four games into the conference that I knew it wasn't any good. We played North Dakota State, I think it was, and I was so painful that I just walked off the court and walked over to the coach and told him I couldn't play any more.
Craig Mattick: Mm.
Kent Hyde: Then I tried to sit down and it hurt so bad I couldn't even sit down. I had to stand up and then finally go to the locker room and then it was over. I ruptured the disk.
Craig Mattick: Was it due to playing basketball or was it due to something else where the injury occurred?
Kent Hyde: Possibly could have been when I was out hunting pheasants with my father-in-law and I stepped in a hole and twisted my back.
Craig Mattick: Mm.
Kent Hyde: And that was, you know in the Fall before season started. I kind of always attributed that to the ruptured disk.
Craig Mattick: You finish at SDSU with a 63 game career as the all-time leading scorer for the Jackrabbits with just about 1,100 points and also the leading rebounder with over 700 rebounds. By the way, that all-time scoring mark only stood for a couple of years until Don Jacobsen showed up and scored 1,500 points. Now was he a sophomore when you were a senior at that time for South Dakota State? Because I think his.
Kent Hyde: No I don't think so. I think he was a freshman.
Craig Mattick: The year after, yeah.
Kent Hyde: Now, there was a kind of interesting, of course I've said it to his brother who was a, we played together on the freshman team there at South Dakota State. I told, we went to a couple of his high school ball games and I told him, "Look you need to get him down here to State." And he said, "Well I don't know him." I talked to the coach, Iverson, I talked to him and I said, "You need to get that kid down here because he's going to be a heck of a ball player." Iverson didn't go after him. But he came down there and turned out that he wound up being the leading scorer.
Craig Mattick: Just a couple of years after you had left. Your junior year at South Dakota State you got drafted in the NBA right?
Kent Hyde: Got a letter from the old St. Louis Hawks and it was kind of, we've chosen you as one of our draftees and would be a bonus of like $4,000 and a salary of $4,300 or $4,200.
Craig Mattick: That was 1958 right? Right around there?
Kent Hyde: Yes.
Craig Mattick: Do you still have the letter that they sent you?
Kent Hyde: You know, I don't know. I've looked, and my wife made a copy of most of the stuff and it's in a big box and I've kind of drifted through it the other day after you called and I didn't see it.
Craig Mattick: Well I hope you can find it one of these days. Your basketball career was over. OK. No more basketball after you graduated, its 1959 and unfortunately due to the ruptured disk you can't play in the NBA. What were you thinking of doing after basketball?
Kent Hyde: Well I was in the insurance business and you know I had been since then. I'm not selling anything anymore.
Craig Mattick: Why the insurance business? What interested you in that?
Kent Hyde: Well because a guy that was at State, I don't know, I can't even remember his name, he used to come out and play golf out at the old nine-hole golf course that I ran there in Brooking. He talked me into going in the insurance business after I got out of college.
Craig Mattick: And you moved to Huron first?
Kent Hyde: Yeah for not too long, and then moved on down to Storm Lake Iowa.
Craig Mattick: And then Little Rock Arkansas?
Kent Hyde: Then to Little Rock Arkansas.
Craig Mattick: Is that where the family grew up?
Kent Hyde: Yes, that's where I played basketball one year for the South Dakota's team and they played in the Senior Olympics.
Craig Mattick: That was 2004! 2004 you played the South Dakota Senior Olympics for basketball.
Kent Hyde: Yeah.
Craig Mattick: How did that go?
Kent Hyde: Again, oh it went all right. We came in second of the 70 year-olds.
Craig Mattick: Did they have a three-point shot, I mean you didn't have the three-point shot when you played at Onida.
Kent Hyde: No, and one of the games we were far ahead and I went outside, I don't know why I was out on the outside past the three-point line. They passed me the ball and I scored a three-pointer.
Craig Mattick: One-for-one for your career.
Kent Hyde: Yes one-for-one.
Craig Mattick: One-for-one in your career as a three-point shooter.
Kent Hyde: I dropped a shotgun and blew my left arm off and they hung it back on again but it was crippled. They ask me to play in the senior deal and I said, "Who ever heard of a one-armed basketball player?"
Craig Mattick: I mean that was in 1972, the shotgun accident. What happened?
Kent Hyde: We were out, my son and I were out, shooting skeet and some crows starting coming over. He started shooting at a crow or two and I picked up the gun to shoot a crow. Set it down, I thought it was on the fender of the car and it dropped down between my legs and went off. Hitting my arm.
Craig Mattick: How much of the arm was injured?
Kent Hyde: Oh, I think they moved the arm up four inches and hung it back on again. And that hooked the nerves up and at that time the doctor came in the next morning and I said, "Well I see you saved the arm." He said, "Yeah but we are probably going to take it off. We hooked those nerves up and we didn't know how they were going to work." But we finally got them to work over a lot of rehabilitation.
Craig Mattick: Here it is 10 years after that horrible accident. You take up the hobby of bike-riding.
Kent Hyde: Yes.
Craig Mattick: And for some reason you decide that you are going to ride your bike from Little Rock Arkansas all the way to little old Onida South Dakota. 1,300 miles. Why did you do that?
Kent Hyde: Well, I guess I don't know. My son and daughter got involved in riding a bike with a friend of ours and they invited me to go along. And so I got an old Schwinn bicycle and I started riding with them and this guy wanted to make trips. We'd go over to eastern Arkansas and ride along the bridges over there. Went up into Missouri and rode across Missouri and came back down and rode down in Arkansas so we went a lot of places. I got used to it and the kids went on to college and I thought, "Well, maybe I just aught to go visit my parents."
Craig Mattick: And you took a bike for 1,300 miles. How long did it take you to get from Little Rock to Onida?
Kent Hyde: It was 15 days. I got rained on one day I think, one and a half, but I wandered all around. I'd ride into a little town and there would be an old gas-station that I'd stop to get something to drink or eat. There would be some guys sitting around playing cards and I'd ask them, "Rather than getting on this main road, where there's a lot of traffic, is there an old county road I can get onto and get further north?" They would give me different directions, then I rode all over. I rode up into north Arkansas, and over into Oklahoma, and back over into Missouri. It wasn't a straight line.
Craig Mattick: Was it a lot of gravel roads too?
Kent Hyde: No, I tried to stay on paved roads.
Craig Mattick: I can't imagine being on a bike for 15 days, I don't think my butt would last.
Kent Hyde: It was tough but that old bike was worn out when I got there.
Craig Mattick: Well I still can't believe you averaged 50 points a game your senior year at Onida. Of course now Onida is a part of Sully Buttes. 1971 is when Sully Buttes added Agar, and Onida, and Blunt to that school. Onida though did win one more state boys basketball championship as Onida. That was back in 1969.
Kent Hyde: Yeah.
Craig Mattick: You're in the South Dakota Sports Hall of Fame and you're in the South Dakota high school basketball Hall of Fame. What does that mean to you Kent?
Kent Hyde: Well it is an honor to be chosen because I can remember when I went to the coach asked me to scrimmage and play a little ball with him. I was clumsy and he gave me a jump rope and he said, "Learn how to jump this rope." Then he said, "Listen to music and listen to the rhythm of music." And I took this old jump rope and I was down on the floor jumping and I had it around my ankle and around my neck and falling down and the rest of the kids were laughing and making fun at me. He put me up on the stage at the end of the basketball court and closed the curtain and that's where I was to practice. By the end of the, or during the end of the season, when we won the championship there were more than just me up there jumping rope.
Craig Mattick: Well you've had a very successful career not only as a life insurance businessman but still unbelievable what you were able to do as a senior scoring 50 points a game with no three-point line!
Kent Hyde: Right. But Sutton and those guys out there, they didn't want me shooting anyway. That's what I told when I gave a little speech at the Hall of Fame.
Craig Mattick: Uh-huh.
Kent Hyde: Sutton was there and I said, "One thing I've got to be grateful for is Sutton taught me how to rebound, or taught me to rebound." The crowd just went quiet and they said, "He taught you how to rebound?" I said, "Yeah I couldn't shoot from outside and I couldn't dribble the ball up and handle it." So I said, "This is how I was going to score, I better learn how to rebound." So that's why I learned how to rebound. He taught me.
Into/Closing St...: If you like what you're hearing please give us a five-star review wherever you get your podcasts. Programs such as this are only possible through the continued support of our listeners like you. For South Dakota Public Broadcasting, I'm Craig Mattick. Join us again on the next episode of In Play.