Billy was born and raised in Carlisle Pennsylvania where he was a little more than a hometown athlete, he made himself a national name. His high school career was filled with medals, and accolades while playing for Carlisle High School. His passion for basketball helped his school see 4 PIAA Class 4A boys championships. An accomplishment that has yet to be seen in many areas of the sport period. He stood 6’9 and went from a lanky freshman, to a force to be reckoned with each passing year.
Billy is 20-0 in PIAA playoffs, and is one of a few players to score over 3,000 points in his high school career. Though he would score 53 points in his last game and win another championship, he was highly regarded as an unselfish player. He was wildly popular and sold out the Hershey Arena in his final game. The crowd of 9,000 watched this high school fenom, who was considered the 2nd best player in the nation behind Alonzo Mourning, destroy the competition almost outscoring the opponents team by himself. Although the game was played away, most of the Carlisle fans made it back home in time to welcome their young hometown hero.
Mr. Owens owns too many records and accolades to go into but here are a few to note. He has a 118-11 record over four years, a 20-0 record in PIAA postseason play, a total of 3,299 career points, and a 53-point explosion against Pittsburgh Central Catholic in his final high school game. For all this it was said that he was a very good quarterback as well, but we all think he chose the right sport in the end.
Billy and Carlisle even took their show on the road to New York where they played well known Christ The King from Queens and pulled off a second half 32 point swing to beat the perennial powerhouse. He would go on to be the McDonald’s All-American MVP, an award he would share with the great Alonzo Mourning.
With all the love Owens received, it was Syracuse head coach Jim Boeheim who recognized Owens potential at a summer league game in Mechanicsburg leading into his senior year. In a game where Billy would score 63 points, coach Boeheim would later state, “It was just a pleasure to watch. I don’t want to sound corny, but to watch him play was like seeing a work of art. I walked away from there shaking my head. I kept saying to myself, I’ve got to get this kid.” And he did, Billy would sign his letter of intent to play at Syracuse University.
His reign would be one to remember, Mr. Owens would go on to capture more hardware as he was named Consensus All- American First Team, NABC All- AMerican First Team, NABC All- American Third Team, AP All- American First Team, USBWA All- American, UPI All- American First Team and Third Team, AAC Player Of The Year, All- AAC First Team, and Maui Invitational MVP. To say the least, Billy “Big Numbers” Owens didn’t disappoint in college either.
His game would eventually take him to the NBA where he was selected 3rd overall to the Sacramento Kings. He would be traded to the Warriors and average 15 points, and 7 rebounds a game making the NBA All Rookie First Team. Billy played 10 seasons in the NBA and his legacy is still intact, and he still remains the blueprint of how to conduct yourself, and play to win.