Last surviving member of Wonders dead at 89

Published 12:00 am Friday, July 14, 2006

The last link to history is gone.

Lee Drummond, the last surviving member of the famous Waterloo Wonders high school basketball team, died Tuesday at the age of 89.

Drummond was the sixth man on the Wonders’ Class B state championship teams of 1934 and 1935. He also played in 1936.

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In an interview several years ago, Drummond talked about the Wonders famous starting five of point guard Beryl Drummond, Curt McMahon, Stewart Wiseman, Orlyn Roberts and Wyman Roberts as well as his role and others on the team.

Lee Drummond, a third cousin of Beryl Drummond, said his play was limited to the final three or five minutes of a game when McMahon would foul out. He and the other players only other action came in lopsided affairs.

“We practiced against them the last two periods every day. The second team didn’t know their plays. Mr. Hairston would coach them and he wanted us to play like someone they would play in a game,” said Drummond. “But we played them every day for so long that we finally caught on. Of course, some of the other teams did, too, but they still couldn’t beat them.”

The only other player who saw much playing time in a tight game was Edgar Griffith, the seventh man.

“Edgar was several inches taller than me. If they needed a taller man to get the jump ball they would put him in. I was usually put in to handle the ball. I didn’t shoot much, but I could handle the ball and I just got the ball up the floor and got it in their hands,” said Drummond.

“They threw the ball so hard it would get by you if you didn’t get your hands up. I was fairly good at catching the ball.”

Playing in the background didn’t bother Drummond. He understood the Wonders were the focus of attention, the marquee attraction.

Regardless, he was more than happy to have been part of the team and relished the experience of playing alongside the high school legends.

“It meant a lot to the community. To think just a bunch of boys out of a high school with just 26 boys to have a team like that was a once in a lifetime thing. We were part of them. I never saw five players only practice among themselves every day. But the first five got all the attention, and they deserved it. They were awful good,” said Drummond.