On January 24, 1970, the fledgling American Basketball Association (ABA) held its third All-Star Game, at Indiana State Fair Coliseum in Indianapolis, Ind., before an audience of 11,932. Bob Verga, possibly the greatest basketball player to ever come out of Monmouth County, was a reserve on an Eastern Conference team that included Roger Brown, a future Hall of Famer, as well as ABA legends such as Mel Daniels, Doug Moe, and Louie Dampier. Verga played 16 minutes and scored 14 points with five rebounds and two assists. Alas, the Western Conference squad, led by all-time greats like Rick Barry and Spencer Haywood, would prevail in this exhibition game.
Robert Bruce Verga was born September 7, 1945, in Neptune; he attended St. Rose High School in Belmar, and Duke University, where he was twice named consensus All-America and three times All-Atlantic Coast Conference. He was the sixth pick in the third round of the 1967 National Basketball Association (NBA) draft, 25th overall, by the St. Louis Hawks, but chose instead to play in the new ABA. Over a career that would span 12 seasons, Verga would play 321 games in the ABA, for 8 different teams, and 21 games in the NBA, for the Portland Trail Blazers; he averaged 20.2 points, 3.9 rebounds and 2.9 assists per game overall for his career.
On March 27, 1971, Verga had what may have been his best game as a pro, leading all players with 49 points in a win by the Carolina Cougars against the Virginia Squires of the ABA. He was among the top 20 in ABA scoring and assists in three seasons.