Colorado has been home of some outstanding prep cagers…but none better than Ron Shavlik, who tops an illustrious list of state basketball luminaries such as NBA lottery pick Chauncey Billups (George Washington/Colorado); All-Americans Art Bunte (Denver South/Utah) and Tom Chambers (Fairview/Utah); Olympian Chuck Darling of Phillips 66 fame (Denver South/Iowa), and Joe Barry Carroll (Denver East/Purdue), the #1 pick overall in the NBA draft.
Shavlik began his career at Denver East High School in 1951. He was a 6-foot-8 postman with a smooth hook shot reminiscent of Denver basketball legend Ace Gruenig, an early inductee into the Colorado Sports Hall of Fame. It didn’t take the soaring Angel long, therefore, to dominate the Colorado prep scene. He won the Denver City scoring title in 1952 with 215 points in eight league games. East beat Manual 48-35 for the State title the same year and a week later, the 17 year old Shavlik, playing for Jessel Electric, was named the most promising young player in the AAU tournament. In his three prep years, he scored 746 points!
At the end of his East playing days, the highly recruited Shavlik chose North Carolina State in the tough Atlantic Coast Conference, much to the disappointment of Colorado’s state universities. He obviously was up to the challenge of playing in what is considered the college basketball capital of the nation. He was named to the All-American team twice, and in 1955, he set a single-season scoring record with 707 points and a season record in rebounding with 581. Shavlik’s single-season scoring record remained until 1970.
Later, David Thompson also set the North Carolina State scoring records before joining the Denver Nuggets and becoming a Colorado Sports Hall of Famer.
Rebounding was Shavlik’s game. In addition to his 1955 season record, he set a N. C. State record for career rebounds at 1,598 in the 1954-56 seasons. His teams compiled a 78-15 ledger while winning three consecutive Atlantic Coast conference titles. He was the conference’s Player of the Year in 1956.
When his college eligibility expired, Shavlik was picked in the first round of the NBA draft by the New York Knicks and general manager Vince Boryla. (Boryla, who played at the University of Denver and later was president of the Nuggets, is a 1973 CSHoF inductee.) After playing the pivot in college with his back to the basket, Shavlik was converted by the Knicks to a forward. It wasn’t a good career move. His NBA tenure only lasted two years, at $14,000 net per season.
Leaving basketball behind, Shavlik returned to Raleigh, N.C., and focused on the office cleaning business he and his wife, Bev, started in college. The business did well and Shavlik was revered as a generous community leader.
Sports, however, remained a big part of his family. Son Dean was a starting center in football for North Carolina State. Daughter Kim’s son, Ronald Shavlik Randolph, is a 6’10” freshman forward at Duke, averaging 10 points a game as a part-time starter. A granddaughter, Senna Randolph, is the three-year captain of her Broughton H.S. basketball team.
Ron Shavlik died in 1983 at the age of 49, losing a battle with cancer. He was known for doing everything with class. His credo was “Don’t blow your own horn. If it needs blowing, somebody will do it for you.”
Don’t blow your own horn. If it needs blowing, somebody will do it for you.