John Barnhill (basketball)

John Anthony "Rabbit" Barnhill (March 20, 1938 – November 11, 2013) was an American former professional basketball player.[1]

John Barnhill
John Barnhill.jpg
Personal information
Born(1938-03-20)March 20, 1938
Sturgis, Kentucky
DiedNovember 11, 2013(2013-11-11) (aged 75)
Listed height6 ft 1 in (1.85 m)
Listed weight180 lb (82 kg)
Career information
High schoolLincoln (Evansville, Indiana)
CollegeTennessee State (1955–1959)
NBA draft1959 / Round: 11 / Pick: 77th overall
Selected by the St. Louis Hawks
Playing career1960–1972
Number20, 21, 35, 30, 11, 12, 23, 15
Career history
1960–1962Cleveland Pipers
19621965St. Louis Hawks
1965–1966Detroit Pistons
1966–1967Baltimore Bullets
1967–1968San Diego Rockets
1968–1969Baltimore Bullets
1968–1969Scranton Miners
19691971Indiana Pacers
1971Denver Rockets
1971–1972Indiana Pacers
Career highlights and awards
Career NBA and ABA statistics
Points5,085 (8.6 ppg)
Rebounds1,501 (2.5 rpg)
Assists1,693 (2.9 apg)
Stats at

Barnhill, along with Porter Meriwether, led the Evansville Lincoln High School Lions to an undefeated regular season and the city co-championship in 1954–55.

Born in Sturgis, Kentucky, the 6'1" guard was raised in Evansville, Indiana; he attended Tennessee State University, where he won an NAIA championships in 1957, 1958 and 1959. Barnhill's 1957 TSU Tigers were notable as the first all-black team to win a major American basketball tournament.[2] Meriwether joined him in time for the 1959 title.

He finished his career as the #2 scorer (1,253 points) behind Dick Barnett on the all-time TSU scoring list; today, he ranks #18. He was a 3 time NAIA All-American (1957, 1958 and 1959) and helped the Tigers to a 3-year record of 94-8 (.922).[3]

After his 1st season with the Pipers, he was selected for an American All-Star that toured the Soviet Union; other members of the U.S. State Department-sponsored team included Jerry Lucas, Les Lane, Dan Swartz, Ben Warley, Roger Taylor, Jack Adams, Mike Moran, Jerry Shipp, Gary Thompson, Jim Frances and Tom Meschery.[4]

From 1962 to 1969, Barnhill played in the National Basketball Association as a member of the St. Louis Hawks, Detroit Pistons, Baltimore Bullets, and San Diego Rockets. He averaged 8.6 points per game in his NBA career. Barnhill later spent time in the rival American Basketball Association, mainly as a member of the Indiana Pacers.[5] Additionally, Barnhill was selected in three separate NBA expansion drafts in three consecutive years, 1966 (Chicago Bulls), 1967 (San Diego Rockets), and 1968 (Phoenix Suns).

Following his playing career, Barnhill was an NBA assistant coach for the Los Angeles Lakers, assisting Bill Sharman; he acted as the Lakers' interim coach during the 1974–75 season, while Sharman's wife was ill with cancer.[6]


  1. ^ "Barnhill passes away | Pacers Blogs". Retrieved 2013-11-15.
  2. ^ Another all-black team was the first on Glory Road.
  3. ^ "Archived copy". Archived from the original on 2014-04-24. Retrieved 2014-04-24.CS1 maint: archived copy as title (link)
  4. ^
  5. ^ Career statistics.
  6. ^ "View Image". Retrieved 2013-11-15.