The Illio, 1947
|Born||March 7, 1922|
Granite City, Illinois
|Died||April 29, 2001 (aged 79)|
Rancho Mirage, California
|Listed height||6 ft 2 in (1.88 m)|
|Listed weight||195 lb (88 kg)|
|High school||Granite City (Granite City, Illinois)|
|College||Illinois (1941-1943, 1946-1947)|
|NBA draft||1947 / Round: 1 / Pick: 31st overall|
|Selected by the Chicago Stags|
|Position||Point guard / Shooting guard|
|Number||19, 7, 4, 14, 17|
|1952-1956||Fort Wayne Pistons|
|1958||St. Louis Hawks|
|Career highlights and awards|
|Points||6,384 (9.1 ppg)|
|Rebound||2,395 (4.4 rpg)|
|Assists||3,759 (5.4 apg)|
|Stats at NBA.com|
|Stats at Basketball-Reference.com|
|Basketball Hall of Fame as player|
|College Basketball Hall of Fame|
Inducted in 2006
Andrew Michael "Handy Andy" Phillip (March 7, 1922 - April 29, 2001) was an American professional basketball player. Born in Granite City, Illinois, Phillip had an 11-year career and played for the Chicago Stags of the Basketball Association of America and the Philadelphia Warriors, Fort Wayne Pistons and Boston Celtics, of the National Basketball Association (NBA).
Phillip led his high school in Granite City, Illinois, to the IHSA state championship in 1940 by defeating Herrin High School with a final score of 24-22 at Huff Gym on the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign campus. Ironically it would be that same gymnasium where he earned renown for his talents and for the Fighting Illini's success during war-interrupted, non-consecutive seasons in 1941-1943 and 1946-1947. Phillip was the untitled leader of "The Whiz Kids", a team that included Ken Menke, Gene Vance, Jack Smiley and team captain Art Mathisen. Arguably the most talented basketball team in the nation, Phillip and his teammates would elect not to participate in either the NCAA or NIT tournament based on the army's draft of Mathisen, Menke and Smiley. The team was retroactively named the national champion by the Premo-Porretta Power Poll. Four of the five, minus Mathisen, returned to Illinois and tried to recapture the glory for one more season in 1946-47 after the war ended, but the chemistry had changed as well as their talent. Illinois went 14-6.
Phillip played in the first five NBA All-Star Games, and was twice named to the All-NBA Second Team. He was the first player to record 500 assists in a season, and led the NBA in assists during the 1950-51 and 1951-52 seasons. Phillip reached the postseason every year he was in the league, and his teams made it to the NBA Finals during his final four seasons — twice with Fort Wayne and twice with Boston. The 1957 Boston team won the NBA Championship.
Phillip was alleged by one of his Fort Wayne Pistons teammates, George Yardley, to have conspired with gamblers to throw the 1955 NBA Finals to the Syracuse Nationals. In the decisive seventh game, Phillip turned the ball over with three seconds remaining in the game, enabling Syracuse to win by one point, 92-91.
After retiring from playing basketball, he coached the St. Louis Hawks for 10 games in 1958, posting a 6-4 record before he was fired. Phillip later coached the Chicago Majors of the American Basketball League.
Phillip was elected to the Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame in 1961. He was elected to the Illini Men's Basketball All-Century Team in 2004. In 2007, Phillip was voted one of the "100 Legends of the IHSA Boys Basketball Tournament", recognizing his superior performance in his appearance in the tournament.
Sports writer Dan Manoyan wrote a book about Phillip and his Granite City High School basketball teammates, titled Men of Granite, in 2007. A film based on the book, directed by Dwayne Johnson-Cochran, began production in 2015.