William Wesley Willoughby (born May 20, 1957) is a retired American professional basketball player born in Englewood, New Jersey. After graduating from Dwight Morrow High School in Englewood, he was selected by the Atlanta Hawks in the 1975 NBA draft as the first pick in the second round (19th overall), bypassing college for a chance to play professionally. In the 1975–76 NBA season, he became the sixth youngest player ever to play an NBA game.
|Born||May 20, 1957|
Englewood, New Jersey
|Listed height||6 ft 8 in (2.03 m)|
|Listed weight||205 lb (93 kg)|
|High school||Dwight Morrow|
(Englewood, New Jersey)
|NBA draft||1975 / Round: 2 / Pick: 19th overall|
|Selected by the Atlanta Hawks|
|Position||Center / Power forward|
|Number||32, 33, 34|
|1982–1983||San Antonio Spurs|
|1983–1984||New Jersey Nets|
|Points||2,930 (6.0 ppg)|
|Rebounds||1,891 (3.9 rpg)|
|Assists||413 (0.8 apg)|
|Stats at Basketball-Reference.com|
While Moses Malone (drafted into the American Basketball Association out of high school in 1974, prior to the 1976 ABA–NBA merger) and Darryl Dawkins enjoyed more successful professional careers, Willoughby had a career that was undistinguished. Nicknamed "Poodle", he was a journeyman who played for six different NBA teams in eight years, before his career ended with the New Jersey Nets in 1984, at the age of 26. Willoughby was tremendously athletic, having a 47-inch vertical leap. He had played center throughout his high school career, and was forced to play forward in the pros. Willoughby gained some brief fame in the 1981 NBA postseason while with the Houston Rockets by becoming one of the few players ever to block Kareem Abdul-Jabbar's "skyhook" at its apex.
Post playing careerEdit
Though he later regretted skipping college, Willoughby eventually received his degree in communications from Fairleigh Dickinson University in 2001, at the age of 44. The NBA fully paid all of his college expenses, and, in return, Willoughby is a special advisor to the NBA who counsels high school players considering forsaking college basketball for the NBA.
- "Bill Willoughby NBA & ABA Stats | Basketball-Reference.com". Archived from the original on 2014-04-09.
- "Bill Willoughby Past Stats, Playoff Stats, Statistics, History, and Awards". Archived from the original on 2013-05-25.