Harlem Globetrotter “Marques Haynes” and the Flying Queens

Marques Haynes Taught Globetrotter Routines to the Flying Queens

by DANNY ANDREWS

“The recent passing of former Harlem Globetrotter star Marques Haynes in Plano at age 89 brought back fond memories for former Wayland Flying Queens coach Harley Redin and several of his former players.

The Queens and Globetrotters were staying at the Noel hotel in downtown Nashville in 1956 when a snowstorm delayed their travels. The queens were in town to play archrival Nashville Business College and the Globetrotters for one of their famed exhibition matches. 

The Globetrotters were practicing in the hotel’s ballroom when Redin, the team’s first-year coach, happened by and visited with Haynes,  whom he had seen play previously.  

Haynes was dubbed the world’s greatest dribbler by press agents – as well as professional basketball players who were astonished and often embarrassed by his remarkable talent. He was one of the top players of the Globetrotters in the 1940s and early 1950s, when the barnstorming team was the most popular basketball attraction in the world. 

He later formed a traveling team of his own,  the Harlem Magicians, and continued to appear on basketball courts around the world until 1998, when he was inducted into the Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame. He was the first member of the Globetrotters to receive the honor.

“Watching them do their tricks at the hotel made me think that was something the Queens could do and they kind of jumped at the chance to help us. Several of the Globetrotters and our traveling Squad practiced for a couple of days,”  Redin recalled.

Redin, who coached the Queens from 1955-73, said he thought his players practiced their various routines – dribbling, passing behind the back, twirling the ball on the end of their fingers –  for a while before introducing them as a part of their pre-game warm-up.
 
 
Joyce Kite, who later would teach physical education for many years at the Plainview High School and direct the Royal Scarlets drill team, was the “Marques Haynes of the Queens,” balancing on one hand as if doing a push-up while dribbling.
The team later added a field goal routine with one player kicking the ball to the backboard, followed by team members bouncing the ball off the board in succession before leaving the floor.
 
Alice “Cookie” Barron, who played from 1954 – 57, recalled that ” we were real excited about doing the routines but Harley said we couldn’t practice them during practice, so we’d take a ball to the dorm and practice. We got in trouble for doing that,” she said with a laugh.
 
“I put the ball through my legs and then kicked it backwards or let the ball roll down my leg and then passed it to someone behind me. Also, Kaye Garms (who played from 1954-58) would spin the ball on her fingers really well. I take the ball off her fingers and then shoot a layup. Years later, Linda Tucker would dribble while balancing on one hand. That was unbelievable. I don’t think the Globetrotters ever did that.”
 
Dean Weese, Cathy Wilson, and Sheryl Estes, who followed Redin, continued the pre-game routines to various degrees but they eventually were discontinued.
 
“Marques and I became good friends. I’d usually see him once a year and when I remind him we were still doing the tricks, he’d say, ‘I guess it didn’t hurt them any,'” Redin related.
 
“Almost single-handedly, he has revolutionized ball handling and dribbling,” author Ben Green wrote in “Spinning the Globe,” his 2005 book about the Globetrotters. “Blindingly quick, with an unstoppable one-handed running push shot, Haynes can immobilize an entire team, making star athletes look like saps and fools.”
 
Mr. Haynes, a lean 6-footer, helped pioneer what is now called the “no-look pass,” but few players have been able to emulate his remarkable ballhandling. He would drop to one knee or lie on his back or stomach, never losing control of the ball. He could dribble the ball three times in one second, bounce it above his head or an inch from the floor.
 
A standout at Langston University in Oklahoma (a foe of Wayland in the Central States Football League), Haynes led his teams to record of 112 – 3. He first drew the attention of the Globetrotters in 1946, when Langston beat the Trotters in an exhibition game and he scored 26 points.
 
A legendary story says Haynes dribbled for more than 2 minutes at the end of a conference Championship game against Southern University in Baton Rouge, LA., including keeping the ball away from his own coach who thought he was showboating. “He made one more quick sweep of the half court, drove the basket, put the ball up for 2 and kept running, right for the locker room,” Ben Green wrote.
 
Haynes maintained that he had no regrets about not playing in the NBA. ” as far as ability was concerned, I never doubted my ability against any of them,” he said. “I never had any reason to.”

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