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Around the Valley with Keith Groller: Larry Miller to hold first book signing in the Lehigh Valley on Aug. 20

Allentown Morning Call logo Allentown Morning Call 8/11/2021 Keith Groller, The Morning Call
a man standing in a garden: A book called "Larry Miller Time: The story of the lost legend who sparked the Tar Heel Dynasty" can be ordered online and will available for purchase in bookstores in September. © Keith Groller/The Morning Call A book called "Larry Miller Time: The story of the lost legend who sparked the Tar Heel Dynasty" can be ordered online and will available for purchase in bookstores in September.

The book about Catasauqua High School and University of North Carolina basketball legend Larry Miller has sold well since being released last year.

The book, called “Larry Miller Time” and authored by Stephen Demorest, spent six weeks at No. 1 on Amazon’s list of new releases in basketball and was recommended by ESPN analyst Jay Bilas.

Miller did a signing on North Carolina’s Chapel Hill campus during last football season but because there were no fans allowed due to the pandemic, the signing wasn’t as well attended as it would have been during normal conditions.

He hasn’t done a signing yet in the Lehigh Valley where he remains one of the most popular athletes in the region’s history.

But that will change on Aug. 20 when he will do a book signing with Demorest at Metro and John’s Cafe at 1616 Main Street in North Catasauqua. The signing will go from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. and lunch will be available for purchase starting at 11 a.m.

“I am excited,” Miller said. “I have no idea what to expect. It’s going to be pretty casual. The book is doing well. I am selling copies all the time, but it hasn’t done as well as it could have because we couldn’t promote it. Hopefully, now we can do these signings and promote it a little more.”

The book goes behind the scenes of Miller’s life growing up in the Lehigh Valley and his experiences as one of the most coveted players in America. It follows him through his playing his career at UNC and in the ABA and then talks about his life after basketball and his return to his hometown of Catasauqua.

There are countless interviews with people who knew him in high school and around Catty and also of well-known people from collegiate and professional basketball.

While the Lehigh Valley has been blessed with dozens of great basketball players, many of whom made their mark in college and a few in the pros, Miller, a 1964 Catty graduate, is widely considered the best in area history.

Lee Rizzotto headed to MU Hall of Fame

In April, former Dieruff football standout Dion Reed was inducted into the Millersville University Athletics Hall of Fame in recognition of a stellar collegiate career.

In October, another Husky who made his mark as a Marauder will be inducted into Millersville HOF.

Lee Rizzotto, a 1995 Dieruff graduate and a hard-nosed linebacker, will be honored the weekend of Oct. 15-16.

Playing for legendary coach Gene Carpenter, Rizzotto was selected all-PSAC East, all-ECAC first team, and Daktronics all-Northeast Region first team as a junior and senior. He led the team in tackles three seasons in a row and in his senior season in 1999, he made 122 tackles, including 13½ sacks. He ended his Millersville career ranked fourth in total tackles, third in sacks with 28½, and second in fumble recoveries (7).

He had at least 12 tackles for loss in three consecutive seasons from 1997-99.

As a senior captain in 1999 he helped lead Millersville to the NCAA Division II playoffs where the Marauders defeated Shepherd 21-14 in a game in which Rizzotto made seven tackles, including three for loss. In the regional final against IUP, he had seven more stops.

He also played on offense as a senior, making three catches as a tight end.

“Two of my coaches at Dieruff were Mike Marcks and Jeff Hannis and they were All-Americans at Millersville,” Rizzotto said. “I went to Millersville because of Mike Marcks, who was like a second father to me. I wasn’t really high on Millersville but I went for a visit because of Coach Marcks and once I got out there and met Coach Carpenter I knew I didn’t want to be any other place.”

At Dieruff, Rizzotto was a part of a team that won the Eastern Pennsylvania Conference championship when he was a sophomore in 1992.

“I experienced a championship season, a losing season, and a subpar season,” Rizzotto said. “I wanted to go somewhere I could get a good education and compete for a championship every year playing for a guy like Carpenter. Every year we put ourselves in a position to play for a championship a high-level Division II league. Playing out there was the best years of my life before I got into adulthood.”

Rizzotto said he took pride in his tackling ability and his nonstop motor.

“I started playing football at age 5 and I was always known as a hard hitter,” he said. “I think hitting is an art form just like anything else. I wasn’t always the biggest linebacker at any level but I’d like to think that when I hit you, you knew it. That was definitely something I hung my hat on.”

Rizzotto’s teammate at Dieruff and Millersville was John Flamish, a hard-nosed running back.

“I grew up with Flamish and I will tell you that I hit a thousand people in my career and no one was tougher to tackle than him,” Rizzotto said. “He was the hardest guy and having to tackle him every day in practice got me ready. After going against him, I felt like there was no one I couldn’t tackle.”

Rizzotto said he tore his ACL and had to redshirt as a freshman. He worked his way back to health and when he returned he started every game over the remainder of his career.

“I don’t take this honor lightly,” he said. “I was extremely honored when I got the phone call and I was just excited for my family and my teammates and all of my coaches because this honor represents all of them.”

Battle of the boroughs

The first Battle of the Boroughs men’s adult basketball tournament has turned into a one-borough show as the Nites, the Catty adult men’s league playoff champion, and Ohlson Landscaping, the Catty regular season champ, both beat North Catty League teams on Thursday night to advance to the championship series.

The Nites and Ohlson Landscaping will begin a best-of-three series at 6:45 p.m. Monday at the Catasauqua Playground. Game 2 is Tuesday night and Game 3 will follow, if needed, Wednesday night. In case of inclement weather, games will be moved inside to the Catasauqua Middle School.

The Nites beat Pammer Chiropractic 80-74 as Ray Riddick and Jihad Thorne had 19 points apiece. Former Allen star and current Executive Education coach Ray Barbosa led Pammer with 24 points.

In the other game, Ohlson beat Curmaci Dental 65-62 in overtime as Kevin Misevicius had 18 points and George Williams chipped in 17 for Ohlson. James Snyder led Curmaci with 17.

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