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Cazzie Lee Russell (born June 7, 1944) is an American former professional basketball player and coach. An NBA All-Star, he was selected by the New York Knicks with the first overall pick of the 1966 NBA draft.[1] He won an NBA championship with the Knicks in 1970.

Cazzie Russell
Cazzie Russell MVP.png
Russell accepts the 1966 Big Ten MVP trophy
Personal information
Born (1944-06-07) June 7, 1944 (age 75)
Chicago, Illinois
NationalityAmerican
Listed height6 ft 5 in (1.96 m)
Listed weight218 lb (99 kg)
Career information
High schoolCarver (Chicago, Illinois)
CollegeMichigan (1963–1966)
NBA draft1966 / Round: 1 / Pick: 1st overall
Selected by the New York Knicks
Playing career1966–1981
PositionSmall forward / Guard
Number14, 33, 32
Career history
19661971New York Knicks
19711974Golden State Warriors
19741978Los Angeles Lakers
1978Chicago Bulls
1978–1979Great Falls Sky
1980–1981Philadelphia Kings
Career highlights and awards
Career NBA statistics
Points12,377 (15.1 ppg)
Rebounds3,068 (3.8 rpg)
Assists1,838 (2.2 apg)
Stats at Basketball-Reference.com
College Basketball Hall of Fame
Inducted in 2011

College careerEdit

In 1962, while playing at Chicago's Carver High School, Russell was named the Chicago Sun-Times Boy's Player of the Year. Russell played college basketball at the University of Michigan.

Along with Bill Buntin, Russell led the Wolverines to three consecutive Big Ten Conference titles (1964–66) and to Final Four appearances in 1964 and 1965, losing in the final game 91-80 to defending national champion UCLA and John Wooden in 1965.

In 1966, Russell averaged 30.8 points per game and was named the College Basketball Player of the Year. Crisler Arena, which opened in 1967, has been dubbed The House that Cazzie Built. Russell was also initiated into Kappa Alpha Psi fraternity - Sigma Chapter in 1964.

Professional careerEdit

Russell was drafted by the New York Knicks with the first overall pick of the 1966 NBA draft, playing for them for five seasons (1966–1971). While playing for the Knicks he was named to the 1967 All-Rookie Team and won the NBA Finals in 1970.

In 1971, he was traded to the Golden State Warriors in exchange for Jerry Lucas and appeared in the 1972 NBA All-Star Game. In 1974, Russell signed with the Los Angeles Lakers when the Warriors did not offer him a no-cut contract.[citation needed] While with the Lakers he became the last player to wear the number 32 and 33 jerseys before Magic Johnson and Kareem Abdul-Jabbar. In 1978, he signed with the Chicago Bulls, which would conclude his NBA career.

In total, Russell spent 12 seasons in the NBA (1966–1978).

During the 1978–79 season, Russell played for the Great Falls Sky of the Western Basketball Association (WBA). He ended his career after the 1980–81 season when he played for the Philadelphia Kings of the Continental Basketball Association.

Coaching careerEdit

In 1981, he became the head coach for the Lancaster Lightning of the CBA. He guided the team to the 1981–82 league championship. During the playoffs, with his team depleted by injuries, Russell came out of retirement and played for the Lightning in the final game of the league championship series, played in Lancaster, Pennsylvania. Russell later coached the Wyoming Wildcatters, Grand Rapids Hoops and Columbus Horizon of the CBA and the Mid-Michigan Great Lakers in the Global Basketball Association.[2] He also served as assistant coach of the Atlanta Hawks for two seasons (1988–1990).[3][4]

Russell was the head coach of the men's basketball team at the Savannah College of Art and Design for 13 seasons, until the college eliminated the sport in 2009. He still remains at the college in an administrative capacity.

He served as an assistant coach at Armstrong State University until 2017 when it was discontinued.[5]

He spent several years as head coach at Centennial High School in Columbus, Ohio, during the mid-1990s before taking the job in Georgia.

HonorsEdit

During the 1960s, while with the Knicks, Russell was part of the New York Army National Guard's Fighting 69th Regiment.

In 2006, Russell was voted as one of the 100 Legends of the IHSA Boys Basketball Tournament, a group of former players and coaches in honor of the 100 anniversary of the IHSA boys basketball tournament.

Russell received the Bobby Jones Award in 2015 at the Athletes in Action All Star Breakfast, which is held each year at the NBA All Star Weekend.

In 2016 Russell was the recipient of the Coach Wooden "Keys to Life" Award at the Athletes in Action Legends of the Hardwood Breakfast, which is held each year at the Final Four.

NBA career statisticsEdit

Legend
  GP Games played   GS  Games started  MPG  Minutes per game
 FG%  Field goal percentage  3P%  3-point field goal percentage  FT%  Free throw percentage
 RPG  Rebounds per game  APG  Assists per game  SPG  Steals per game
 BPG  Blocks per game  PPG  Points per game  Bold  Career high
Denotes season in which Russell won an NBA championship

Regular seasonEdit

Year Team GP GS MPG FG% 3P% FT% RPG APG SPG BPG PPG
1966–67 New York 77 22.0 .436 .785 3.3 2.4 11.3
1967–68 New York 82 28.0 .462 .808 4.6 2.4 16.9
1968–69 New York 50 32.9 .450 .796 4.2 2.3 18.3
1969–70 New York 78 20.0 .498 .775 3.0 1.7 11.5
1970–71 New York 57 18.5 .429 .773 3.4 1.4 9.2
1971–72 Golden State 79 36.7 .455 .833 5.4 3.1 21.4
1972–73 Golden State 80 30.4 .458 .864 4.4 2.3 15.7
1973–74 Golden State 82 31.4 .482 .835 4.3 2.3 .7 .2 20.5
1974–75 L.A. Lakers 40 26.4 .455 .894 2.9 2.7 .7 .1 15.7
1975–76 L.A. Lakers 74 22.0 .463 .892 2.5 1.6 .7 .0 11.8
1976–77 L.A. Lakers 82 31.5 .490 .858 3.6 2.6 1.0 .1 16.4
1977–78 Chicago 36 21.9 .438 .860 2.3 1.7 .5 .1 8.8
Career 817 27.2 .464 .827 3.8 2.4 .8 .1 15.1
All-Star 1 0 20.0 .308 1.000 1.0 .0 10.0

PlayoffsEdit

Year Team GP GS MPG FG% 3P% FT% RPG APG SPG BPG PPG
1967 New York 4 22.3 .394 .769 4.8 2.8 15.5
1968 New York 6 34.8 .561 .833 3.8 1.7 21.7
1969 New York 5 7.2 .238 1.000 1.0 .2 2.4
1970 New York 19 16.1 .485 .947 2.5 .8 9.4
1971 New York 11 10.9 .391 1.000 2.0 .7 5.6
1972 Golden State 5 32.2 .492 .750 4.4 1.8 14.2
1973 Golden State 11 23.9 .490 .864 3.3 1.5 14.8
1977 L.A. Lakers 11 34.7 .414 .880 4.4 2.3 1.5 .1 15.8
Career 72 21.8 .460 .870 3.1 1.3 1.5 .1 11.8

See alsoEdit

ReferencesEdit

  1. ^ Benson, Michael (September 27, 2007). Everything You Wanted to Know About the New York Knicks: A Who's Who of Everyone Who Ever Played On or Coached the NBA's Most Celebrated Team. Taylor Trade Publishing. ISBN 9781461734789.
  2. ^ "Having a ball in the Tri Cities". Detroit Free Press. December 8, 1991. p. 27.
  3. ^ Curtis, Jake (December 23, 2001). "WHERE ARE THEY NOW? / Joe Ellis and Cazzie Russell / A classic meeting / Ellis, Russell recall last time USF played Michigan". SFGate. Retrieved February 14, 2019.
  4. ^ "Cazzie Russell - Coaching Stats". Basketball-Reference.com. Retrieved February 14, 2019.
  5. ^ Quinn, Brendan F. (June 12, 2017). "Cazzie Russell's long trip home". MLive.com. Retrieved February 14, 2019.