Despite playing just two years for then-Southwest State University, Sam Leggett left his mark on the Mustang basketball program.
Leggett holds six individual Mustang records, including points in a season with 700 during the 1975-1976 season. That same year, Leggett was named the Northern Intercollegiate Conference Player of the Year.
Tonight, the two-time NIC scoring leader will be honored by the conference, now the Northern Sun Intercollegiate Conference, when he is inducted into the NSIC Hall of Fame.
Leggett will become the 21st Mustang inducted into the NSIC Hall of Fame during the induction ceremony, which is part of the conference's 13th annual Summer Kickoff event. The ceremony takes place at 7 p.m. tonight at the Best Western Kelly Inn in St. Cloud.
A 6-foot-4 forward from Washington, N.C., Leggett made his way to SSU by way of the College of Albemarle (N.C,), where he played for two years before enrolling at SSU in 1974.
"I am really, really glad that that's where I went for my last couple of years in college," Leggett said. "There are some people that are still there that I met that will always be friends of mine because they are good people.
"I got to meet and get to know a lot of good people. And the things that were different, I adjusted to."
Leggett followed his junior college coach, Dale Honeck, from North Carolina to SSU and led the NIC in scoring both years he played for the Mustangs. He also led the conference in rebounding during the 1975-76 season, pulling down 11.1 rebounds per game.
Honeck will be attending the induction ceremony with his former player, in place of Leggett's wife, Elizabeth, and two children, daughter Athledia and son Sam, Jr., who have elected to remain in North Carolina.
Leggett's six individual records include points in a season, career and single season scoring average (25.9 points per game both years), career rebounding average (10.4 rebounds per game), field goals made in a season (290) and rebounds in a game (21).
Along with his six records, Leggett is in the top 10 in four other categories. He ranks second in career double-doubles (23), third in career free throw percentage (.841), and fifth in career field goals made (516). Leggett's 1,244 career points rank seventh all time for the Mustangs, and was the record until 1986 when Leggett was surpassed by 2006 NSIC Hall of Fame inductee Mike Tobin.
After graduating, Leggett returned to his home town of Washington, N.C., where he worked for Washington High School coaching basketball and golf and working with students. He retired in 2008 after 32 years.
In his retirement, Leggett stays active by volunteering at his community church, but also through playing golf, some basketball and music.
"I'm learning the guitar, I'm actually teaching myself how to play," Leggett said. "I'm doing the drums, too. And I've got a keyboard. All that good stuff."
Leggett is certainly proud of the impact basketball has had on his life, and the sport's potential to positively impact the lives of future men and women.
"It affords you an opportunity to get a free education, that's first and foremost," Leggett said. "Everything else is like gravy. If you have a talent and you can use it to get a free education, it will open up a lot of other avenues. You can go to school and pursue your dreams.
"I used to coach kids and I asked them, 'What are your ambitions after high school?' Do they want to attend a university? And I often listened to them and said, 'You don't go to college to play basketball. You go to college for the studies. There is no such curriculum as basketball."