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Jerry Lucas

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Jerry Ray Lucas was born March 30, 1940 in Middletown, Ohio. He remains today one of the real legends in the game of basketball. Lucas was born into the basketball community of Middletown, Ohio, which is still today Ohio's best ever winning school. Gifted with great hands and eyes, Lucas pushed himself to develop a remarkably advanced game by age 15. By then he had also reached 6'7 and 200 pounds. It was on the well-known local courts at Sunset Park that Lucas became a playground star before high school. Oscar Robertson and Wayne Embry were among the visitors who noted the rising young star. At Middletown, Lucas became arguably the most famous high school player in the game's history, rewriting Ohio record books and leading the Middies to a 76-1 record and two state championships. Crowds of 10,000 or more were common for Lucas, who became so noted that he appeared on The Steve Allen Show, the forerunner to Jay Leno. He was scouted coast-to-coast and received more scholarship offers than any player to that date, except Wilt Chamberlain. Lucas was 17 when he was drafted by the Cincinnati Royals, whose best 1957-58 crowd he had topped with a Middletown-Hamilton game at Cincinnati Gardens. After a Fort Wayne, Indiana all-star game his senior year, one of a slew he played in, Lucas convinced John Havlicek and Bobby Knight to follow him to Ohio State. Mel Nowell had already been sold on Lucas. The four became the basis of perhaps the best recruiting class in college basketball history. When Lucas agreed on Ohio State, freshman coach Fred Taylor, who had recruited him, was promoted to varsity. Remarkably intelligent, Lucas demanded an academic scholarship. He completed his Bachelors Degree in business in three years. Even then, he was known for his remarkable self-trained memory. At Ohio State, Lucas again drew large crowds as a freshman, dominating the varsity. In 1959-60, sophomores Lucas, Nowell and Havlicek joined junior Larry Siegfried and senior Joe Roberts, and the Buckeyes won the NCAA national championship. While the team was deep, Lucas had dominated with 27 points and 17 rebounds per game. He also shot 62% from the floor. The Buckeyes had just one defeat the following year, losing to the U. Of Cincinnati despite a great game from Lucas. That year, he was also named Sports Illustrated Sportsman Of The Year. As a Ohio State senior, Lucas, who had started his business doctorate, suffered a knee injury in the Final Four and was ineffective in the Final. Still, he had led OSU to three straight NCAA Finals overall, and even posted the only NCAA tournament 30-30 ( 30 points, 30 rebounds ) in history. Lucas had also starred in the 1960 Rome Olympics for the USA. He tied Oscar Robertson in scoring despite earning just six free throws in the eight games played. The USA won the basketball gold with what is widfely considered the best amateur team ever. Lucas, at center, was the star. Still very famous, Lucas was lured by George Steinbrenner of the ABL Cleveland Pipers away from the NBA in 1962. His signing started a conflict between the two leagues, and the financially strapped ABL folded. Lucas was forced to sit out the 1962-63 season. Signing with the NBA Cincinnati Royals, Lucas joined Oscar Robertson to lead a sudden championship contender. Lucas was the 1963-64 NBA Rookie Of The Year, the 1965 All-Star Game MVP, and was named First Team All-NBA three times for the Royals by 1968. Only the loaded Boston Celtics and Philadelphia 76ers prevented the Royals from winning a NBA title. Lucas was dealt by new-GM Joe Axelson and new coach Bob Cousy for two one-year Royals reserves to San Francisco, where he again was an All-Star. By then Lucas had built up a remarkable pro career of statistics, playing a huge number of minutes, shooting with impressive accuracy from as far as 25 feet and passing deftly from two positions for the Royals. Luke has also proven to be one of the greatest five or six rebounders in history. He rebounded intelligently and scientifically, as he did nearly everything. Traded to New York in 1971, Lucas agreed to be the backup for Willis Reed and Dave DeBusschere, two stars he had often outplayed in Cincinnati. When Reed was injured, Lucas, just 6'8 and 235 pounds, stepped in at center and joined Walt Frazier to lead the team to the NBA Finals. With Lucas at center, the Knicks had the third-best rated defense in the NBA. The followng year, Reed returned. The Knicks used both interchangeably at center to baffle opponents, and New York won the 1972-73 NBA title, the city's last to date. Lucas retired after 1974, and became a best-selling author. He is famous still today for his seminars on memory edcuation and has appeared on television numerous times. Lucas was inducted in the Hall Of Fame in 1980 and named one of the NBA's 50 Greatest Players in 1996.



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Jerry Lucas

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NBA Debut: 10/16/1963 vs. St. Louis Hawks ( 23 points, 17 rebounds )

Final Game: 4/24/1974 vs. Boston Celtics ( NBA Eastern Finals )

Years in League: 11 NBA seasons

Teams: Cincinnati Royals ( Sacramento Kings ), San Francisco Warriors, New York Knickerbockers

Career Statistics

  • Points Per Game: 16.9
  • Rebounds Per Game: 15.6
  • Assists Per Game: 3.4

Career Highlights

  • All-Star Games: 7 Total: 1964-1969, 1971
  • NBA Championships: key reserve on 1973 New York Knickerbockers

College: Ohio State

Date of Birth: March 30, 1940

Place of Birth: Middletown, Ohio

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