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Lou Veltri

Basketball ∙ Beaver Falls

 

 

 

 

There was a television commercial for razors in which a medium sized basketball player asks, “How can a guy 5'-9" have an advantage over these guys?,” as he stands among his towering teammates. Well, Lou Veltri was a slender 5'-9" when he beat out Red Auerbach for a starting position on the 1940 George Washington University basketball team as a junior. (Auerbach was demoted to sixth man, but later became the famous general manager and coach of the Boston Celtics.) Following graduation in 1941, Lou went into the Army and later transferred to the Air Force. After his discharge in 1945, Lou returned to Beaver County and played for the Monaca American Legion basketball team that went to the Western Finals of the state playoffs before losing to Conemaugh. When the Beaver Falls Legion Post formed its famous basketball team in 1946, Lou switched to his home town club and played for coaches Dom Casey and Peewee Perkovich. The Tommies won five state Legion titles and a national championship in 1948 and national runners-up honors in 1950. Lou was a ball control expert and floor leader in the era of low scoring basketball. He was named MVP of the Pennsylvania Legion basketball program in 1948 and also played for Joe Zerilla’s “Sonny Boys” and other local teams. Lou played his high school basketball at Beaver Falls, where he starred as a junior on the 1935 Tiger team that was first from the school to reach the WPIAL finals.