John Edward Drew (September 30, 1954 – April 10, 2022) was an American professional basketball player. A small forward from Gardner–Webb University, he played eleven seasons in the National Basketball Association (NBA). Drew was a two-time NBA All-Star, and was the first player banned under the substance abuse policy instituted by league commissioner David Stern.
|Born||September 30, 1954|
Vredenburgh, Alabama, U.S.
|Died||April 10, 2022 (aged 67)|
Houston, Texas, U.S.
|Listed height||6 ft 6 in (1.98 m)|
|Listed weight||205 lb (93 kg)|
|High school||J. F. Shields (Beatrice, Alabama)|
|NBA draft||1974 / Round: 2 / Pick: 25th overall|
|Selected by the Atlanta Hawks|
|Career highlights and awards|
|Career NBA statistics|
|Points||15,291 (20.7 ppg)|
|Rebounds||5,088 (6.9 rpg)|
|Assists||1,224 (1.7 apg)|
|Stats at NBA.com|
|Stats at Basketball-Reference.com|
Drew was born in Vredenburgh, Alabama, on September 30, 1954. He attended J.F. Shields High School in Beatrice, Alabama. He led the school to a state championship in 1972. He set the Alabama High School Athletic Association career scoring average record with 41.0 points per game.
After graduating from high school, Drew played basketball at Gardner–Webb University. He averaged 24.4 points during his freshman year, before improving to 25.9 points and 13 rebounds as a sophomore. He was selected in the second round of the 1974 NBA draft by the Atlanta Hawks. He would later be joined by Artis Gilmore and Eddie Lee Wilkins as the only alumni of Gardner–Webb University to play in the NBA.
Atlanta Hawks (1974–1982)Edit
Drew made his NBA debut on October 18, 1974, scoring 32 points to go along with 12 rebounds and three assists against the Chicago Bulls. He quickly made an impact with the Hawks, averaging 18.5 points per game, 10.7 rebounds per game, and leading the NBA in offensive rebounding (357) during his rookie season. He was named to the NBA All-Rookie Team. From 1974 to 1982, Drew starred for the Hawks, with whom he was a two-time All-Star (1976 and 1980), averaging more than 20 points per game on five occasions (1976–79 and 1981). He averaged 21.6 points in his second season, when he was named an all-star for the first time. The next season in 1976–77, he averaged almost 25 point per game. In 1976 and 1977, he ranked in the top 10 in points and points per game in the NBA.
With Jason Kidd, Drew holds the NBA record for most turnovers in a regular season game (14). Drew set that mark with the Hawks in a March 1, 1978 game against New Jersey. However, he recorded 12.4 turnover percentage in the league that season, finishing eighteenth in the NBA. He then bettered that mark to 11.2 the following year, the twelfth-lowest in the league.
Utah Jazz (1982–1984)Edit
Drew was traded along with Freeman Williams and cash to the Utah Jazz on September 2, 1982, in exchange for Dominique Wilkins. Drew went on to play three seasons (1982–1985) with the franchise. He won the Player of the Week award on March 6, 1983. He was waived in the middle of the 1984–85 season after relapsing. He finished with NBA career with 15,291 points and averages of 20.7 points, 6.9 rebounds, and 1.7 assists per game.
Wyoming Wildcatters (1984–1986)Edit
Drew battled cocaine addiction during his professional basketball career. He missed 38 games during the 1982–83 season as he spent eight weeks in drug rehab. He was the runner-up that season in voting for the NBA Comeback Player of the Year Award behind Paul Westphal of the New York Knicks. He relapsed during the 1984–85 season and was waived by the Jazz, then was arrested in May 1985 for passing bad checks. The third-degree felony charge was reduced in a plea bargain to a suspended jail sentence, and Drew was ordered to enter a drug rehabilitation program. The Washington Bullets expressed interest in signing him in December, but were prohibited from doing so by the league due to his past infractions.
In January 1986, Drew became the first player to be banned by NBA commissioner David Stern for multiple violations of the league's substance abuse policy. He was not on an NBA roster at the time, but the league considered his most recent rehab stint to be his third violation under the league's drug policy. He could not seek reinstatement until the 1987–88 season. Drew opined that the policy "will keep guys from coming forward and admitting they still have a problem."
In late 1986, he was arrested in Atlanta twice in less than three months, first on October 2 for selling cocaine to an undercover agent and then on December 17 for cocaine possession and purchasing the drug from an undercover agent.
After several years out of the public eye, Drew resurfaced in 2002, when he told the Atlanta Journal-Constitution that he had a grip on his addiction, without going into further details. He worked as a taxi driver in Houston during his later years.
NBA career statisticsEdit
|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|
- Johnson, Roy S. (April 10, 2022). "John Drew, one of Alabama's greatest high school basketball stars, dies". The Birmingham News. Archived from the original on April 10, 2022. Retrieved April 11, 2022.
- "John Drew Stats". Basketball-Reference.com. Sports Reference LLC. Retrieved April 11, 2022.
- Bean, Josh (July 5, 2010). "Forgotten star John Drew ranks among best basketball players from Alabama". The Birmingham News. Archived from the original on December 3, 2021. Retrieved April 11, 2022.
- "Players Who Played For Gardner-Webb University". Basketball-Reference.com. Sports Reference LLC. Retrieved April 11, 2022.
- "October 18, 1974 Atlanta Hawks at Chicago Bulls Box Score". Basketball-Reference.com. Sports Reference LLC. October 18, 1974. Retrieved April 13, 2022.
- Vivlamore, Chris (April 12, 2022). "John Drew's No. 22 should be retired by Hawks, according to former teammate". The Atlanta Journal-Constitution. Retrieved April 14, 2022.
- Johnson, Roy S. (February 27, 1983). "An Athlete, A Cocaine Addict: John Drew Fights For His Life". New York Times. Retrieved April 21, 2018.
- "Regular Season Records: Turnovers". NBA.com. Archived from the original on October 5, 2018. Retrieved October 15, 2009.
- Ireland, Kyle (April 10, 2022). "Former Utah Jazz Forward John Drew Passes Away". KSL Sports. Retrieved April 13, 2022.
- Hemphill, Lex (January 22, 1986). "'Strike Three, You're Out,' Determines NBA in John Drew Case". The Salt Lake Tribune. p. B7. Retrieved April 14, 2022 – via Newspapers.com.
- McManis, Sam (February 4, 1986). "Drew, a Three-Time Offender, Hopes to Return". Los Angeles Times. Retrieved April 11, 2022.
- "Nelson is coach of year". Leader-Telegram. AP. June 16, 1983. p. 1B. Retrieved April 11, 2022 – via Newspapers.com.
- "Drew Ordered Into Rehab Again". The Daily Herald. Provo, Utah. AP. June 7, 1985. p. 7. Retrieved April 14, 2022 – via Newspapers.com.
- "Drew Opposes Ban". New York Times. January 31, 1986. Retrieved April 21, 2018.
- "Former Atlanta Hawks star John Drew Monday was sentenced". UPI. January 13, 1987. Retrieved April 21, 2018.
- "John Drew, Ex-NBA Star, Free on Bond After Another Drug-Related Arrest". Los Angeles Times. Associated Press. December 17, 1986. Retrieved April 21, 2018.
- Bisher, Furman (October 25, 2002). "Drew found, finding his way". Atlanta Journal-Constitution. p. D2. Retrieved April 14, 2022 – via Newspapers.com.
- "Former Hawks forward John Drew dies at age 67". The Atlanta Journal-Constitution. April 11, 2022. Archived from the original on April 11, 2022. Retrieved April 11, 2022.