They say necessity is the mother of invention. For Glenn Roberts—an Emory & Henry College graduate in the Class of 1935—that proved true and led to the invention of the jump shot, forever changing the game of basketball.
Like every E&H graduate, Glenn had a knack for true problem solving, and applied it in a way that forever changed the game of basketball.
Growing up in the Appalachian Mountains of rural Southwest Virginia, Glenn spent a lot of time in his youth playing basketball with his brothers on a dirt court. At times, the court was muddy, and they were forced to improvise and switch to barnyard basketball in order to still play and practice. It was during this time that Glenn developed the jump shot, which was unheard of at that time.
After leading Christopher Gist High School to two state championships and one undefeated season going 35-0 in 1931, Glenn was off to Emory & Henry College. On E&H’s indoor basketball court, Glenn perfected his jump shot and rewrote the record books. From 1931 – 1935, Glenn dominated the pivot position, putting up 2,013 points in 104 games over his college career, a feat few college players have matched even today. In one game, Glenn scored 50 points against a 7-foot tall opposing center, and this was the 1930s when there was a jump ball after every made basket resulting in game scores that were rarely more than 30 points per game per team. Robert’s prolific scoring was the catalyst for the 3-second rule that is still in use in today’s modern basketball game!
Glenn graduated from Emory & Henry College in 1935 as a well-rounded student-athlete—earning his varsity letters in basketball and making the Honor Roll four years in a row. The College has always put a heavy emphasis on the student-athlete, dating all the way back to 1836. As an E&H student-athlete, Glenn served as the Vice-President of the Student Body, was a member of the Beta Lambda Zeta fraternity. The basketball scoring records he set while a student in college at Emory & Henry made headlines all over the country, and the College is honored to be able to call Glenn Roberts an alum.