Here is the story of how the Celtics got Bill Russell and the role that Cliff Hagan played in it. The phone call that turned the Celtics from pretenders to contenders care shortly after New Year's in 1956. Red's old college coach Bill Reinhart had just taken his team to the West Coast to play in a tournament. One of the teams in the event had been the University of San Francisco, the defending national champion. The Dons, who were in the midst of a fifty five game winning streak, were led by a six foot nine center named Bill Russell and a superb point guard named KC Jones. In those days no one had scouts. Red was the coach, general manager, chief scout, and marketing guru. He attended as many college games as he could and watched what little there was on TV. there was no such thing as getting film of a player either. So for the most part he relied on friends to tell him about players he might not have a chance to see. He was also one of the first pro coaches to call college coaches and ask them for their assessment of players - those they had coached and those they had coached against. As soon as he returned from California, Reinhart called Red. "I've seen the guy," he said. "I've seen the guy who can make you into a championship team. You have to get this guy." Red trusted Reinhart implicitly. Reinhart described his defensive dominance, his ability to get rebounds and trigger the fast break. "How is he on offense?" Red asked. "Not much," Reinhart said. "He's not a very good shooter at all. But it doesn't matter. One way or the other, you have to get this guy." Red kept tabs on Russell for the rest of that season. He was certainly impressed with the fact that his team never lost; San Francisco went on to a second straight NCAA title. Reinhart was right: he didn't score much. Winning in college was different from winning in the pros. Still, he needed a center, and he needed a rebounder. He decided to trust his old coach's instincts and go after him. Of course that was easier said than done. The Celtics were scheduled to draft seventh that season. There was no way Russell would still be around at that point. At the end of the season, Ed Macauley had approached Red and asked him if it might be possible to makes some kind of trade that would allow him to return to St. Louis, which was his hometown. He had a child who had been ill, and being away for taht much time in the winter was just too tough. Red could certainly relate to a dad dealing with a sick child and the notion of missing them during the season. He had promised Macauley he would make some kind of deal to get him back to St. Louis. So he called his old boss Ben Kerner, who by then owned the team in St. Louis. He offered Macauley and a swap of first round draft picks - Kerner's number two slot for Red's number seven slot. According to Red, Kerner said, "Deal." There was still, however, the issue of Rochester, which had the first pick. That was when Red came up with the idea of having Walter Brown call Rochester owner Les Harrison and offer up the Ice Capades as compensation for not taking Russell with the first pick. Harrison accepted and everything seemed set. Then came another phone call from Kerner. "I need more to make this deal," he said. "More than Macauley, who is an all star and my number one? "Yes." "But, Ben, we had a deal." "Deal's off unless you add another player." "Who do you want?" "Cliff Hagan." Red almost gagged. He had been waiting three years for Hagan and had figured he would slide into Macauley's spot on the front line after the trade. Now Kerner wanted both of them. "I had to decide if I was going to put all my eggs into one basket, because that is what I was doing." he said. "I already had people telling me I was crazy to take Russell, that he couldn't shoot or score. But I believed two things. One, I believed Reinhart knew what he was talking about. Two, I believed we needed to change. We were a good team, but we weren't a championship team. I had to let Macauley go to St Louis regardless because I'd made him a promise that I'd do it. Hagan was talented, but with him we were going to be the same kind of team. With Russell, we were going to be different. I decided to take the chance and make us a different team - for better or worse." He called Kerner back and told him he would give up Hagan too. Then came the sweating out the days until the draft, hoping Harrison wouldn't change his mind and decide that Russell was a better first pick than the Ice Capades. On draft day, the Royals selected Sihugo Green, a talented shooting guard from Duquesne, with the first pick. Auerbach immediately grabbed Russell. The deed was done.