#19 Wilmeth Sidat-Singh
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6'0" 190 lbs Guard
HS: DeWitt Clinton Bronx, NY
Born: 2/13/1918 Washington, D.C.
Season Stats
Season Cl Pos G GS FG FGA % FT FTA % Fls DQ Pts PPG
1936-37 So G
13
3
4
 
 
4
 
 
 
 
12
0.9
1937-38 Jr G/F
 11
0
6
 
 
8
 
 
 
 
20
1.8
1938-39 Sr G
17
16
62
 
 
22
 
 
 
 
146
8.6
Career    
41
19
72
0
0.0
34
0
0.0
0
0
178
4.3

Wilmeth Sidat-Singh was the first star African-American athlete at Syracuse University. He was a dominating player in both basketball and football, playing guard for basketball and quarterback in football. The basketball team went 40-13 during his career. He was lightning quick on both offense and defense. During his senior season, he led the team in scoring.

Wilmeth Sidat-SinghSidat-Singh was born as William Webb, but his father died when he was a child. His mother, Pauline Webb, then married Dr. Samuel Sidat-Singh, who adopted Wilmeth and moved the family to Harlem . Sidat-Singh was an All-New York City basketball player at DeWitt Clinton High School in the Bronx. He helped the Governors to the Public School Athletic League (PSAL championship in 1933-34. He came to the University on a basketball scholarship and excelled in the sport. After a football assistant coach spotted him in an intramural game, he was encouraged to join the Orange grid squad.

Sidat-Singh started his football career as a sophomore and played singlewing halfback, a position similar to today’s quarterback. He was the victim of segregation on a number of occasions. When SU played at Maryland and at the U.S. Naval Academy, the host schools refused to play Syracuse unless Sidat-Singh sat out. A season after he missed the game at Maryland , Sidat-Singh led SU to a 55-0 victory over the Terrapins at Archbold Stadium.

Sidat-Singh was considered an excellent ball handler with very quick moves and great court vision, and was the master of the no look pass. [1]

After graduation, Sidat-Singh played professional basketball with two African American barnstorming teams, the Syracuse Reds and the Harlem Renaissance. In 1943, Sidat-Singh passed the entrance exam for the U.S. Army Air Corps and was assigned to the segregated armed forces’ only pilot training program for African-Americans – the Tuskegee Airmen. After earning his pilot’s wings, he was on a training mission when the engine of his P-40 failed over Lake Huron and he died.

Sidat-Singh is buried at Arlington National Cemetery .

Syracuse University retired Sidat-Singh's jersey at halftime of the Syracuse-Providence game on February 26, 2005. He was the fifth player so honored, joining Dave Bing, Sherman Douglas, Vic Hanson and Pearl Washington.

© RLYoung 2005, 2014, 2016

[1] Syracuse.com: Groundbreaker, in Syracuse the Legend of Wilmeth Sidat-Singh

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