Local basketball legend, former Ole Miss star Johnny Neumann dies at 68

Johnny Neumann died Tuesday night in Oxford, Mississippi, at the age of 68, according to local sports historian John Guinozzo.

Neumann, who played at Overton High School, Ole Miss and for the Memphis Tams, is regarded as one of area’s all-time great basketball products.

He coached in Japan, China, Lebanon and Cyprus and did a stint as coach of the Romanian national team. His death followed a battle with brain cancer, according to the Oxford Eagle.

Though immensely talented, Neumann spoke recently of how he failed to realize his full potential as a player.

Ole Miss Rebels basketball coach Cob Jarvis, left, poses with his star player Johnny Neumann during a practice session at the University of Mississippi campus in Oxford, March 12, 1971. (AP Photo)

Ole Miss Rebels basketball coach Cob Jarvis, left, poses with his star player Johnny Neumann during a practice session at the University of Mississippi campus in Oxford, March 12, 1971. (AP Photo) (Photo: AP)

“I played with some of the greatest players in the world, and I never thought it would come to an end,” Neumann said in the 2017 SEC Storied documentary by ESPN Films titled “The Rebel.”

“But then I was arrogant, I was flashy,” Neumann said. “I drove Ferraris, had mink coats. I was out of control.”

Neumann led the state in scoring on a team of white players at Overton High School in the 1968-69 season. Late in the season, Overton matched up with an all-black Melrose High School team led by Larry Finch and Ronnie Robinson, who later led Memphis State to a national title game appearance.

The game was played in front of 10,000 fans at Mid-South Coliseum, according to the Commercial Appeal. Melrose won 76-65, but Neumann finished with 34 points, even while suffering a broken bone in his left hand.

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