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Donald Neil Johnston (February 4, 1929 – September 28, 1978) was an American basketball player at the center position who played eight years in the National Basketball Association (NBA), from 1951 to 1959.[1] He was inducted into the Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame as a player in 1990.

Neil Johnston
Personal information
Born(1929-02-04)February 4, 1929
Chillicothe, Ohio
DiedSeptember 28, 1978(1978-09-28) (aged 49)
Irving, Texas
NationalityAmerican
Listed height6 ft 8 in (2.03 m)
Listed weight210 lb (95 kg)
Career information
High schoolChillicothe (Chillicothe, Ohio)
CollegeOhio State (1946–1948)
Playing career1951–1959
PositionCenter
Number6
Career history
As player:
19511959Philadelphia Warriors
1961–1962Pittsburgh Rens
As coach:
19591961Philadelphia Warriors
Career highlights and awards
Career statistics
Points10,023 (19.4 ppg)
Rebounds5,856 (11.3 rpg)
Assists1,269 (2.5 apg)
Stats at Basketball-Reference.com
Basketball Hall of Fame as player
College Basketball Hall of Fame
Inducted in 2006

Contents

Early lifeEdit

Johnston was a 1946 graduate of Chillicothe High School in Chillicothe, Ohio, where he was an all-state selection in basketball.[2]

Johnston attended Ohio State University, where he starred in baseball and basketball.

Johnston signed a professional baseball contract with the Philadelphia Phillies out of college and pitched two-and-a-half years for the Terre Haute Phillies of the Three-I League. With a 3–9 record halfway through his third losing season in 1951, Johnston decided to give pro basketball a try. With the assistance of his manager, Jim Ward, he tried out for the Philadelphia Warriors at the team camp in Hershey, Pennsylvania.

Professional careerEdit

Johnston led the NBA in scoring for three consecutive seasons: 1952–53, 1953–54, and 1954–55. During the 1954–55 season, he also won the league's rebounding title. He led the league in minutes played in the 1952–53 season, 1953–54 season and in field goal percentage in the 1952–53 and 1955–56 season and 1956–57 season. He led the NBA in Win Shares for five consecutive seasons.[3]

Johnston played his entire career with the Philadelphia Warriors, playing on their championship team in 1956. He played in six NBA All-Star Games, was an All-NBA First Team selection four times, and was an All-NBA Second Team selection once.

During his career, the 6-foot, 8-inch Johnston was well known for his sweeping right-handed hook shot.[4]

Johnston was forced to retire after a serious knee injury in the 1958–59 season. During his eight-year career, he averaged 19.4 points per game, 11.5 rebounds and 2.5 assists, with a field goal percentage of .444 and a free throw percentage of .768.[5]

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 seasons in which Johnston won an NBA championship
* Led the league

Regular seasonEdit

Year Team GP MPG FG% FT% RPG APG PPG
1951–52 Philadelphia 64 15.5 472 .662 5.3 0.6 6.0
1952–53 Philadelphia 70 45.2* .452* .700 13.9 2.8 22.3*
1953–54 Philadelphia 72 45.8* .449 .747 11.1 2.8 24.4*
1954–55 Philadelphia 72 40.5 .440 .766 15.1 3.0 22.7*
1955–56 Philadelphia 70 37.1 .457* .801 12.5 3.2 22.1
1956–57 Philadelphia 69 36.7 .447* .826 12.4 2.9 22.8
1957–58 Philadelphia 71 33.9 .429 .819 11.1 2.3 19.5
1958–59 Philadelphia 28 14.0 .329 .784 5.0 0.8 6.3
Career 516 35.5 .444 .768 11.3 2.5 19.4
All-Star 6 22.0 .429 .696 8.6 1.0 11.7

PlayoffsEdit

Year Team GP MPG FG% FT% RPG APG PPG
1952 Philadelphia 3 10.7 .500 .750 3.3 0.3 5.3
1956 Philadelphia 10 39.7 .408 .707 14.3* 5.1 20.3
1957 Philadelphia 2 42.0 .321 .667 17.5 4.5 19.0
1958 Philadelphia 8 23.96 .385 .818 8.6 1.8 10.9
Career 23 30.5 .390 .734 11.2 3.3 15.0

After basketballEdit

After his playing career, Johnston coached the Warriors to a 95–59 record for the first two seasons of Wilt Chamberlain's NBA career. He also worked as an assistant coach at Wake Forest University under Jack McCloskey.[6]

In addition, Johnston coached the Pittsburgh Rens and Connie Hawkins of the American Basketball League.[7] He also coached the Wilmington Blue Bombers of the Eastern Basketball League.[8] In 1972, he was an assistant coach with the Portland Trail Blazers. His last job was as athletic director at North Lake College in Irving, Texas.[9]

On September 28, 1978, Johnston died of a heart attack at age 49 while playing basketball in Bedford, Texas.[10][11]

In 1980, Johnston was inducted posthumously into the Pennsylvania Sports Hall of Fame.[12]

In 1990, he was enshrined posthumously into the Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame[13] and the Ohio Basketball Hall of Fame.[14]

In 2005, he was inducted into the Philadelphia Sports Hall of Fame.[15]

In 2016, a Chillicothe resident, Bruce Caplinger, began raising money to erect a statue of Johnston outside of Chillicothe High School.[16]

See alsoEdit

ReferencesEdit

  1. ^ https://www.basketball-reference.com/players/j/johnsne01.html
  2. ^ http://ohiobasketballhalloffame.com/?p=373
  3. ^ https://www.basketball-reference.com/players/j/johnsne01.html
  4. ^ http://ohiobasketballhalloffame.com/?p=373
  5. ^ https://www.basketball-reference.com/players/j/johnsne01.html
  6. ^ "Neil Johnston Joins Wake Coaching Staff"
  7. ^ Association for Professional Basketball Research American Basketball League page
  8. ^ "Archived copy". Archived from the original on 2009-08-31. Retrieved 2009-04-10.
  9. ^ https://books.google.com/books?id=nZUarsZyzokC&pg=PA180&lpg=PA180&dq=neil+johnston+chillicothe#v=onepage&q=neil%20johnston%20chillicothe
  10. ^ Pro Hoops History
  11. ^ Chillicothe Gazette
  12. ^ http://articles.philly.com/1990-02-09/sports/25880572_1_neil-johnston-minor-league-baseball-career-nba-stars
  13. ^ "Archived copy". Archived from the original on 2009-08-31. Retrieved 2009-04-10.
  14. ^ http://ohiobasketballhalloffame.com/?p=373
  15. ^ http://articles.philly.com/2012-07-09/sports/32589515_1_philadelphia-sports-hall-neil-johnston-pete-pihos
  16. ^ http://www.chillicothegazette.com/story/news/local/2016/08/29/work-advances-nba-stars-statue-chs/89534528/

Further readingEdit

External linksEdit