After two years of college basketball, Georgetown guard Barry Sullivan received an invitation to try out for the NBA's New York Knicks. He had more important responsibilities awaiting him.
One of seven members of the 16-1 freshman team of 1950, Sullivan roared out of the gate in the 1950-51 season, debuting with 22 against Geneva College and scoring in double figures in 16 of his next 18 games. Hew scored 25 in the Hoyas' against LIU, matching it five days later against American.
Despite Suullivan's efforts, the Hoya squad began to suffer through a losing streak owing to its youth and inexperience. Sullivan's season ended four games early due to illness, but he still led the team with a 16.1 scoring average.
Sullivan and fellow junior Bill Bolger dominated the Georgetown scoring starts in 1951-52, combining to average 32 points a game. For Sullivan, he led the team in scoring in ten games, including 26 versus Princeton, 25 versus Pittsburgh, and 25 versus George Washington, Some late season injuries likely cost Sullivan the scoring title to Bill Bolger, but Sullivan nonetheless finished strong, averaging 21 points in his final two games and scoring the game winning basket in a 72-70 win over George Washington.
The aforementioned invite to the NBA was declined by Sullivan, who enrolled in the armed forces after his junior year and served two years in Korea. Upon returning home, Sullivan completed his undergraduate work at Columbia, followed by an MBA from the University of Chicago. In 1996, Sullivan was honored by Columbia with its prestigious John Jay Award, which provides a broad summary of his life beyond the hardwood:
"He joined Chase Manhattan Bank in 1957 and during a two-decade career rose to chief of operations and
member of the management committee. In 1980 he left to become chairman and chief executive officer of First Chicago Corporation, owner of First National Bank of Chicago. He built up the once debt-ridden institution to become the city's largest bank and the country's second-largest credit card lender. He instituted a community lending program to restore nearly 3,000 housing units and more than 100 commercial properties...
The award notes his "uncommon acuity,
steely determination and conviction that one must give back to society by planting the seeds of self-reliance."
"He returned to New York in 1992 as deputy mayor for finance and economic development to Mayor David Dinkins. In 1994 schools chancellor Ramon Cortines appointed him chief operating officer for the New York public schools. Beginning a new phase of his career, he recently became vice chairman of Sithe Energies, owner and operator of major electric generating facilities in New York State...as well as selected markets internationally."
Though he played only forty games over two years, Barry Sullivan was a prolific scorer, and his 16.1 average remains among the top ten players by scoring average.