Athlete, Pre 1960
At 6’7” Ralph Polson was probably the first “big man” to play basketball at Riverside Poly High School and Riverside Community College during the late 1940s. Until Coach Orin Rife urged him to play basketball, Ralph had never participated in team sports. He made up for lost time, however, and played both junior and senior years in CBL Championships and was named All Citrus Belt League and All CIF player. At RCC, Ralph started both years and was named All Eastern Conference Center and All Southern California Junior College player in 1950. After RCC, Ralph attended Whitworth College in Spokane and was selected to play on the New York Knicks in 1952, the first player ever from Riverside to be drafted by the NBA. His career with the NBA included stints with the Knicks and the Philadephia Warrors.
After his professional basketball career, Ralph returned to Spokane where he taught for 30 years. At the present time, he resides in Spokane but spends winters in the desert in Riverside County. Ralph’s wife is deceased, and he has two sons and a daughter.