William Theodore Walton III (born November 5, 1952) is an American retired basketball player and television sportscaster. Walton played for John Wooden and the UCLA Bruins in the early 1970s, winning three successive College Player of the Year Awards. He led the UCLA Bruins to two NCAA Championships in 1972 and 1973. He had a prominent career in the National Basketball Association (NBA), winning an NBA Most Valuable Player (MVP) and two NBA championships. His professional career was significantly hampered by multiple foot injuries, requiring countless surgeries. Walton was inducted into the Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame in 1993
Walton in 2008
|Born||November 5, 1952|
La Mesa, California
|Listed height||6 ft 11 in (2.11 m)|
|Listed weight||210 lb (95 kg)|
|High school||Helix (La Mesa, California)|
|NBA draft||1974 / Round: 1 / Pick: 1st overall|
|Selected by the Portland Trail Blazers|
|1974–1978||Portland Trail Blazers|
|1979–1985||San Diego / Los Angeles Clippers|
|Career highlights and awards|
|Career NBA statistics|
|Points||6,215 (13.3 ppg)|
|Rebounds||4,923 (10.5 rpg)|
|Blocks||1,034 (2.2 bpg)|
|Stats at Basketball-Reference.com|
|Basketball Hall of Fame as player|
|College Basketball Hall of Fame|
Inducted in 2006
Walton was born and raised in La Mesa, California, the son of Gloria Anne (née Hickey) and William Theodore "Ted" Walton. He was raised with siblings Bruce, Cathy and Andy. The Walton's La Mesa home was a hillside home on Colorado Avenue, just below Lake Murray. His listed adult playing height was 6 feet 11 inches; it has been reported that Walton is actually taller (7 feet 2 inches, or more) but does not like being categorized as a seven-footer.
Walton's father Ted was a music teacher and social worker and his mother Gloria, a librarian. His parents had interests in art, literature, politics and music. Walton took music lessons, and although his parents weren't sports oriented, Walton followed in the footsteps of his older brother Bruce, who had gravitated toward sports. When the Walton children were in junior high and high school, Mr. Walton formed an informal family band: Bruce and Bill played trombone or baritone, Andy played the saxophone and Cathy played the flute. "Bill and I couldn't quit fast enough," Bruce said.
Walton first played organized basketball under Frank "Rocky" Graciano, who coached at Walton's Catholic elementary school. Coach Graciano "made it [basketball] fun and really emphasized the joy of playing the team game," said Walton. "I was a skinny, scrawny guy. I stuttered horrendously, couldn't speak at all. I was a very shy, reserved player and a very shy, reserved person. I found a safe place in life in basketball."
Walton played high school basketball at Helix High School in La Mesa, California. He played, along with his brother Bruce, who was one year older and 6'6" and 250 pounds. Bruce was a star football player as well. If Bill Walton was getting physical treatment in a basketball game, Bruce returned the treatment.
“When those opposing teams would try to get physical with me, Bruce would do whatever it took to protect me,” Walton recalled. “He went on to play for the Dallas Cowboys. Bruce and I are the only brother combination in history to ever play in the Super Bowl and to win the NBA championship.”
"When they would begin to rough up Bill, I would look at coach and he would give me a nod," recalled Bruce. "Yes," said Gloria Walton, "then when the referee wasn't looking, Bruce would give the player an elbow and let him know that the skinny guy was his kid brother."
Walton's struggle with injury and pain began while at Helix High School, where he broke an ankle, a leg, several bones in his feet and underwent knee surgery.
Before his sophomore season, Walton underwent surgery to repair torn cartilage on his left knee. Because of his recovery from the knee surgery, Walton played most of his sophomore year on the junior varsity team. Coach Gordon Nash promoted him to the varsity team the end of the season. But, he played in only six games and did not start any of them.
After his sophomore year Walton had grown from 6'1" to 6'7". Coach Nash played Bill and Bruce Walton together in the paint. Bill was taller, but frail as he had not filled out his growing frame. Bill was unable to play a complete game without resting. "He would simply get too tired," recalled Nash. "When that happened, he'd tell me and I'd take him out."
Walton overcame all obstacles and led Helix to 49 consecutive victories in his two varsity seasons. Helix won the California Interscholastic Federation (CIF) Championship in both 1969 and 1970, finishing 29-2 in 1968-1969 and 33-0 in 1969-1970. Walton had entered high school at a height of about 6 feet tall and graduated at about 7 feet tall. Walton averaged 29 points and 25 rebounds, as Helix finished 33-0 in his senior season.
As a senior in 1969-1970, Walton made 384 of 490 shot attempts, 78.3 percent, still the all-time national record. In addition, Walton’s 825 rebounds that season ranks No 3 all-time. And, his 25.0 rebounds per game in a season ranks No. 7 all time.
“It was a dream come true to be a part of a special team,” Walton said. “Helix is where it all began. It was a humbling honor and privilege to be on the same squad as true legends Monroe Nash, Wilbur Strong, Phil Edwards, and Bruce Menser. I’m the luckiest guy on earth.”
Hall of Fame Coach Denny Crum was then an assistant coach at University of California, Los Angeles (UCLA) under coach John Wooden, sent to watch Walton play. Crum first saw Walton in 1968 as a high school junior and was at first dubious when hearing of Walton, but went to scout him anyway. "I came back and told Coach Wooden that this Walton kid was the best high school player I'd ever seen," Crum recalled.
While Walton was in high school, the NBA Expansion team of 1967, the San Diego Rockets were in town. The Rockets had no set practice facility and would often play pick-up games at Helix High School. Rocket players learned that to get into the Helix gym they could call the teenager Walton, who somehow had his own gym key. Walton recalled Elvin Hayes calling and telling his mother, "Tell Billy, Big E is calling and we need him to open the gym tonight. I said, 'Mom, that's Big E! Give me the phone!' I was never so embarrassed in my life. Elvin and I are still close friends. All of those guys all still my friends to this very day."
"We had the best gym in San Diego and all the Rockets players wanted to go there," Walton reflected. "They had some great teams with Elvin Hayes and Calvin Murphy and future head coaches and broadcasters such as Pat Riley, Rick Adelman, Rudy Tomjanovich, Jim Barnett and Stu Lantz. All these guys treated me -- little Billy -- like I was part of the team. They couldn't have been nicer, and I became their friend."
At age 17, just out of high school, in the summer of 1970, Walton was selected to represent USA Basketball on the United States men's national basketball team at the 1970 FIBA World Championship. By far the youngest player on the roster, Walton played minimally in five games under USA Coach Hal Fisher, averaging 2.6 points.
Beginning in elementary and high school, Walton had loyally followed UCLA's basketball team on the radio. He was recruited by many colleges, but Walton quickly accepted UCLA's scholarship offer to enroll there and play basketball for the Bruins and Coach Wooden. Wooden would become a lifetime mentor to Walton.
Said Walton of Coach Wooden: "I was John Wooden’s easiest recruit. I became his worst nightmare. I drove the poor guy to an early grave when he was 99. I had three different periods of my life in my relationship with him: (1) when I was a high school student and he was recruiting me; (2) when I played for him when I was 17 to 21; (3) and then 36 years of being his friend. I had no idea what we had at UCLA. I thought everybody had the same thing: great parents, great schools, great neighborhoods, great colleges, great coaches. Then I joined the NBA. And I realized immediately that I had just absolutely blown this whole deal with John Wooden. And so I spent the rest of my life, first of all, trying to make it up to him; and second of all, no longer [bringing] consternation into his life."
Walton played for UCLA under Coach Wooden from 1971 to 1974. His older brother Bruce played football at UCLA, enrolling a year ahead of Bill. Bill Walton led the Bruins to two consecutive 30–0 seasons and the NCAA men's basketball record 88-game winning streak. The UCLA streak contributed to a personal winning streak that lasted almost five years, in which Walton's high school, UCLA freshman (freshmen were ineligible for the varsity at that time) and UCLA varsity teams did not lose a game from the middle of his junior year of high school to the middle of his senior year in college.
Prior to joining the varsity team, Walton (18.1 ppg, 68.6% field goal accuracy), along with Greg Lee (17.9 ppg) and Keith Wilkes (20.0 ppg), was a member of the 20–0 1970-1971 UCLA freshman team. Freshman were prohibited by the NCAA from playing varsity at the time.
After Walton initially refused to cut his hair as an incoming freshman, Coach Wooden told Walton "we'll miss you." Walton then rode his bike to a nearby barber.
The 1971–72 UCLA basketball team had a record of 30–0, winning its games by an average margin of more than 30 points, averaging 94.6 points to opponents' 64.3. With Walton playing alongside Henry Bibby, Larry Farmer, Wilkes, Lee and Swen Nater, UCLA finished 14-0 in the Pac 8 Conference.
In the 25-team 1972 NCAA Tournament, UCLA defeated Weber State 90-58. They defeated Long Beach State and Coach Jerry Tarkanian in the Western Regional Final 73-57 to reach the Final Four. Playing 20 minutes due to foul trouble, Walton had 4 points and 12 rebounds in the victory over Weber State, taking only one shot. He had 19 points and 11 rebounds against Long Beach State.
In the 1972 Final Four, Walton had 33 points and 21 rebounds, on 11 of 13 shooting and 11 of 12 free-throws, against Louisville in the NCAA Semi-Final, as UCLA won 96-77. In the NCAA Championship game, he had 24 points and 20 rebounds in the Bruins' 81-76 victory over Florida State. Walton was named the 1972 NCAA Basketball Tournament Most Outstanding Player.
Overall, in 30 games in 1971-1972, Walton averaged 21.1 points and 15.5 rebounds, shooting 64.0% from the field. He was named 1st Team All-American with Jim Chones Marquette, Bo Lamar Louisiana-Lafayette, Ed Ratleff Long Beach State and Tom Riker South Carolina.
UCLA again finished 30-0 overall and 14-0 in the Pac 8 conference in 1972-1973. The Bruins averaged winning by over 20 points, averaging 81.3 points to their opponents' 60.1.
In the 25-team 1973 NCAA Tournament, UCLA defeated Arizona State 98-81 and then San Francisco in the West Regional Final 54-39 to reach the Final Four. Walton had 28 points and 14 rebounds against Arizona State, on 13 of 18 shooting, and 9 points and 14 rebounds against San Francisco, taking only 7 shots.
In the 1973 NCAA Title game against Memphis State, Walton had arguably the best NCAA championship game ever played. On March 26, 1973, at the St. Louis Arena, Walton scored 44 points on near perfect 21 of 22 shooting. He added 13 rebounds, 2 assists and one block, in leading the UCLA Bruins to the championship, their seventh straight. UCLA defeated Coach Gene Bartow and Memphis State with Larry Kenon and Larry Finch 87-66. Walton set the record for most points in an NCAA Championship game that still stands. Walton was named the 1973 NCAA Basketball Tournament Most Outstanding Player.
Walton was hurt and left the game for the final time, with UCLA leading, 75-62 and 2 minutes 51 seconds remaining. Playing with four personal fouls, Walton fell hard to the floor on a play and injured his left knee and ankle. He then limped off the floor, receiving to an ovation from the 19,301 fans.
"I don't think anything ever meant as much to me as playing UCLA and one of John Wooden's best teams for the national championship." said Coach Gene Bartow in 1993. "We were able to go right through the press." At halftime, the game was tied 39-39. Bartow added, "I felt very good at halftime, very good. But to win, we also felt we had to control Walton. We couldn't let him dominate the game. Obviously, we didn't do a good job of that. Bill Walton probably had one of the best games anybody ever had in the history of college basketball."
“Coach Wooden looked at me and said, ‘Walton, I used to think you were a good player … until you missed that one shot,’ ” Walton said.
Overall, in 1972-1973, Walton averaged 20.4 points and 16.9 rebounds in 30 games on 65.0% shooting, as UCLA again finished 30-0 and 14-0 in the Pac 8 conference. Walton was named 1st Team All-American Alongside Ernie DiGregorio Providence, Ed Ratleff, Long Beach State, David Thompson North Carolina State and Kermit Washington American.
Walton's political personality was alive in his collegiate years on the UCLA campus, "One of the saddest days for Coach Wooden was the day he came down and had to bail me out of jail after I got arrested in the anti-Vietnam protest. He said, 'Bill, I know you feel very strongly about this, but I just don't think that you getting arrested and taking part in this demonstration is what it's all about," recalled Walton.
"I had no problem with him during the season," Wooden said of Walton's college days. "Off the floor I worried. I worried when he was thrown in jail with the group that took over the administration building, I worried when he stopped traffic on Wilshire Boulevard, and when he interrupted classes giving his views on the Vietnam War."
In Walton's senior year, UCLA's 88-game winning streak ended with a 71–70 loss at Notre Dame on January 19, 1974. Walton played wearing a back brace, as he had suffered a major back an injury in a fall against Washington State the week before. He was undercut by a Washington State player and broke two bones in his spine, which remained as damage until surgery in 2009. He missed three games. But, he made 12 of his first 13 shots and the Bruins lead Notre Dame by 17 points at halftime. UCLA was leading 70-59 with 3½ minutes remaining. However, they were outscored 12-0, missing six consecutive shots with four turnovers. As was his belief, Wooden didn't call time-outs late in games and stuck with the strategy. The Irish made six shots in a row, winning on Dwight Clay's shot with 29 seconds left, as Notre Dame prevailed 71-70.
Walton, who missed a 12-foot shot off an in-bounds pass to win the game as time expired, finished with 24 points and nine rebounds. He said of his efforts that day, "A complete failure on all levels, particularly as a human being. A disgrace to the game of basketball, a disgrace to sport."
Soon after, UCLA dropped consecutive games in consecutive days at Oregon and Oregon State, nicknamed "the lose weekend." "There were so many problems," Walton said of the losses. "Injuries [he missed games with a bad back.] Team chemistry. It was just a nightmare." A week later, the Bruins beat the Fighting Irish 94-75 at home.
In the 25 team 1974 NCAA Tournament, UCLA defeated Dayton 111-100. UCLA next defeated San Francisco 83-60 in the Western Regional Final to reach the Final Four. Walton had 27 points and 19 rebounds against Dayton and 17 points,9 rebounds and 4 assists against San Francisco.
In the 1974 Final Four, UCLA's record seven consecutive national titles was broken. North Carolina State defeated the Bruins 80–77 in double overtime in the NCAA semi-finals. Walton played 50 minutes and scored 29 points, with 18 rebounds and 4 assists in the loss. The UCLA – North Carolina State game was #13 USA Today's list of the greatest NCAA tournament games of all time. Walton called the game the most disappointing outcome of his entire basketball career, as UCLA had a 5-point lead late in regulation and a 7-point lead in the 2nd overtime, before NC State with David Thompson rallied to win, 80-77.
"David Thompson's a great champion. He is a wonderful person and a very special human being," Walton said. "He was really fun to play against. He was a dynamic big moment guy, and I just wish I could have risen to the occasion."
"That failure has plagued me, and will, it is a stigma on my soul, and there's no way I can get rid of it." Walton said of the loss, "We could have, we should have won them all, and we didn't get it done. And when you're in that position, it's the worst feeling in the world. That's the timelessness of pain and suffering; the agonizing, the reflection and the endless questioning of yourself. When you're right there and it's there for you and the whole world is watching, and it's recorded as history that can never be changed, that is a terribly heavy burden."
UCLA had to come back and play in the NCAA 3rd place game, in which they eventually defeated Kansas. "I didn't want to play and I told Coach Wooden that. We had a bitter argument over that, and I lost that argument, too," said Walton, who took only three shots as UCLA had a 78-61 win. He played 20 minutes in his last game for UCLA and Coach Wooden. "Twenty minutes too much," he said.
Overall, as a senior, Walton averaged 19.3 points, 14.7 rebounds and 5.5 assists. He was named 1st Team All-American alongside Marvin Barnes Providence, John Shumate Notre Dame, David Thompson, North Carolina State and Jamaal Wilkes UCLA.
In his 87 career games at UCLA, Walton shot 65.1% from the field, averaging 20.3 points, 15.7 rebounds and 5.5 assists. UCLA was 86-4 in Walton's three seasons.
Walton was the 1973 recipient of the James E. Sullivan Award as the top amateur athlete in the United States. Walton also received the USBWA College Player of the Year and Naismith College Player of the Year as the top college basketball player in 1972, 1973 and 1974. He earned Academic All-American honors in 1972, 1973 and 1974. Some college basketball historians rate Walton as the greatest who ever played at the college level.
Walton left UCLA and began a new life in professional basketball and began a lifetime friendship with Coach Wooden. "Coach Wooden never talked about winning and losing, but rather about the effort to win. He rarely talked about basketball, but generally about life. He never talked about strategy, statistics or plays, but rather about people and character. Coach Wooden never tired of telling us that once you become a good person, then you have a chance of becoming a good basketball player."
Walton was drafted by the American Basketball Association's Dallas Chaparrals in the 1973 ABA draft as an underclassman in an attempt to lure him from UCLA. In the locker room after the 1973 Championship game, Coach Wooden introduced Walton to representatives of the ABA, who hoped to convince him to turn pro. “Of which I had no interest in doing,” Walton said.
In 1974, the ABA's San Diego Conquistadors tried to pursuade Walton to sign with them, after drafting him in the 1974 ABA draft. San Diego had also signed Wilt Chamberlain as a player-coach as further incentive. Walton wasn't swayed.
Walton's first two seasons in Portland were marred by chronic foot injuries. In addition, during his first two years, Walton badly sprained an ankle, broke his left wrist twice, dislocated two toes, dislocated two fingers, broke a toe and injured his leg in a jeep accident.
As a rookie in 1974-1975, Walton averaged a double-double 12.8 points, 12.6 rebounds, 4.8 assists and 2.7 blocks in 35 games. The Trail Blazers with Geoff Petrie, Sidney Wicks and LaRue Martin finished 38-44 under Player/Coach Lenny Wilkins.
In 1976–77 season Walton played in 65 games and, spurred by new head coach Jack Ramsay, Walton and a newly acquired ABA draftee in Maurice Lucas, the Trail Blazers became the Cinderella team of the NBA. In a pre-season meeting with his new coach, Walton had advised Ramsay, "Coach, don't assume we know anything."
Walton led the NBA in both rebounds per game (14.4) and blocked shots per game (3.2) as he was selected to the NBA All-Star Game, but did not participate due to an injury. Walton was named to the NBA's First All-Defensive Team and the All-NBA Second Team for his regular season accomplishments. He averaged 18.6 points, 14.4 rebounds, 3.8 assists and 3.2 blocks and Portland finished 49-33.
In the 1977 postseason, Walton led #3 seed Portland to series victories over the Chicago Bulls with Artis Gilmore (2-1) and the Denver Nuggets with Dan Issel (4-2). He averaged 17.3 points, 12.3 rebounds, 4.3 assists and 4.3 blocks in the first round series against the Bulls. In the Nuggets series Walton averaged 17.5 points, 13.0 rebounds, 6.2 assists and 3.0 blocks.
In a 4-0 series sweep of the Los Angeles Lakers in the 1977 Western Conference finals, Walton averaged 19.3 points, 14.8 rebounds, 5.8 assists and 2.3 blocks playing against fellow UCLA alum Kareem Abdul-Jabbar.
The Trail Blazers with Walton, Lucas, Hollins, Gross, Johnny Davis, Lloyd Neal and others matched up in the 1977 NBA Finals against the favored Philadelphia 76ers with Julius Erving, Henry Bibby, George McGinnis, Doug Collins, Steve Mix, World B. Free, Caldwell Jones, Joe Bryant and Darryl Dawkins. After losing the first two games of the series, Portland was inspired by a skirmish late in Game 2 between Lucas and Dawkins in which both were ejected. Portland then swept the next four games to win the NBA Championship. Walton had 20 points and 23 rebounds in the clinching Game 6 victory.
“We had Maurice Lucas and nobody else did. We had Jack Ramsey and nobody else did,” Walton said of the Blazers' championship. “We had the Blazer maniacs (fans) and nobody else did.”
The following season, the 1977-1978 Trail Blazers won 50 of their first 60 games, as Walton averaged 18.9 points, 13.2 rebounds 5.0 assists and 2.5 blocks in 58 games. Walton then suffered a broken foot, ending his regular season. He nonetheless won the 1978 NBA Most Valuable Player award and the Sporting News NBA MVP, as well. Walton played in his only NBA All-Star Game in 1978 and was named to both the NBA's First All-Defensive Team and the All-NBA First Team.
Portland finished the regular season 58-24 and Walton returned for the 1978 NBA Playoffs. He was injured and lost for the remainder of the playoffs in the second game of the first round series against the Seattle SuperSonics. After having received a painkilling injection to play, X-rays taken after Game 2 revealed the navicular bone below Walton's left ankle was broken. Portland lost the series to Seattle in six games. Walton would never play for the Trail Blazers again.
During the off-season, Walton demanded to be traded, citing unethical and incompetent treatment of his and other players' injuries by the Blazers' front office. He did not get his wish and sat out the entire 1978–79 NBA season in protest. Walton eventually signed with the San Diego Clippers when he became a free agent in 1979.
Coach Jack Ramsay, in 2010, called Walton the best Portland Trail Blazer, "hands down no question," Ramsay said. "Walton could do everything, he had great timing, complete vision of the floor, had excellent fundamentals and was a great passer, both in outlet passes and in the half court. He loved playing basketball, just loved it, practices, games ... especially away games. He loved to win on the opponent's court. And he had a great head, a very dedicated team player." Of Walton's injuries, Ramsay added, "And that was very frustrating to both of us. To not be able to play was a crushing blow to him. And to me it was frustrating because I finally had a great team and a great player and it was all coming apart."
"I'm here to try and make amends for the mistakes and errors of the past," Walton, said to press in returning to Portland in 2009. "I regret that I wasn't a better person. A better player. I regret that I got hurt. I regret the circumstances in which I left the Portland Trail Blazers family. I just wish I could do a lot of things over, but I can't. So I'm here to apologize, to try and make amends, and to try and start over and make it better."
On May 13, 1979, Walton signed as a veteran free agent with the San Diego Clippers; the Portland Trail Blazers received Kevin Kunnert, Kermit Washington and a 1980 1st round draft pick (Mike Gminski was later selected) as compensation ordered by the NBA. Walton reportedly agreed to a seven year $7-million dollar contract.
In his first season with San Diego, Walton played 14 games for the Clippers in the 1979–80 season. Walton re-fractured the navicular bone in the fourth 1979 exhibition game and subsequently missed all of the 1980-1981 and 1981-1982 seasons, undergoing several surgeries on his injured foot. Walton ignored doctors who said he would never play again and underwent surgery to restructure his left foot in 1981. His high arch, which made the foot bones susceptible to breaking, was lowered to relieve the stress on the bones.
Following extensive rehabilitation, which included biking and sand volleyball, Walton's foot began to improve; after playing only 14 games from 1979 to 1982, he played 33 games in 1982–83 under doctor's orders to play about one game per week. He played in 55 games in 1983–84, and a then-career-high 67 in 1984–85, by which time the Clippers had relocated to Los Angeles.
"When you fail in your hometown, that's as bad as it gets, and I love my hometown," said Walton of his tenure in San Diego."I wish we had NBA basketball here, and we don't because of me. It's my greatest failure as a professional in my entire life, I could not get the job done in my hometown. It is a stain and stigma on my soul that is indelible. I'll never be able to wash that off, and I carry it with me forever."
On Clippers owner Donald Sterling, Walton commented, "The checks bounced higher than the basketballs when Donald Sterling took over. The basketball was awful, and the business side was immoral, dishonest, corrupt and illegal. Other than that, it was all fine."
In 169 games with the Clippers, Walton averaged 11.9 points, 9.0 rebounds, 2.9 assists and 2.3 blocks, shooting 53.2%. The Clippers never finished near .500 or made the playoffs in his tenure with the franchise. While his feet became more durable, the Clippers had won 30 and 31 games in his final two seasons. At age 32, Walton wished to move to a winning franchise and reached out to teams after the season ended in 1985.
After the 1984–85 campaign, Walton called on two of the league's premier teams, the Boston Celtics and the Los Angeles Lakers. After several players on the Celtics said they liked the idea of having Walton as a teammate backing up Robert Parish and Kevin McHale, Red Auerbach made the deal happen. One anecdote that particularly illustrates Walton's decision to choose the Celtics over the Lakers involves Larry Bird, who happened to be in Auerbach's office when Walton called. Bird said that if Walton felt healthy enough to play that it was good enough for him, as opposed to Lakers GM Jerry West, who was hedging his interest in Walton pending a doctor's report.
Walton described doctors looking at his x-rays at the hospital after he arrived in Boston: “And then Red, he bursts in through the double doors...and he’s smoking his cigar in the hospital, and he walks in and says, ‘Who are you guys and what are you doing with my player?’ And they’re saying, ‘Red, come here. Look at this. Look at his feet. Look at his face. We can’t pass this guy.’ And Red says, ‘Shut up. I’m in charge here.’ And Red pushes his way through all the doctors, comes over. I’m lying on the table there in the doctors examining room. Red looks down at me. He says, ‘Walton, can you play?’ I looked up at him with the sad, soft eyes of a young man who just wanted one more chance. One more chance to be part of something special, to be part of the team, to be with the guys one more time. And I looked up at him, and I said, ‘Red, I think I can. I think I can, Red.’ And Red, through the smoke, with a big, cherubic grin on his face, looked at the doctors, looked at me, and he said, ‘He’s fine. He passes. Let’s go. We’ve got a game.’ And we were able to go out and win a championship. I’m the luckiest guy in the world. Thank you Red Auerbach. Thank you Larry Bird. Thank you Boston Celtics. Thank you people of New England. Thank you Celtic nation. Wow. What a dream come true.”
Walton played a career high 80 games for Coach KC Jones and the Celtics during the 1985-86 season. Walton averaged and 7.6 points, 6.8 rebounds 2.3 assists and 1.2 blocks in 19 minutes, and finished with a career-high 56.2 field goal percentage. Providing a reliable backup to Kevin McHale and Robert Parish, and playing alongside Larry Bird, Danny Ainge and Dennis Johnson, Walton received the 1986 NBA Sixth Man of the Year Award en route to the NBA championship. He became the only player to have won an NBA Finals MVP, Sixth Man Award, and regular season MVP.
The 1986 NBA Playoffs were Walton's first taste of the post season in nearly a decade, at age 33. Backing up McHale and Parish, he averaged 6.7 points, 9.3 rebounds, 1.7 assists and 2.0 blocks in 19 minutes as the Celtics' had a 3-0 sweep in the Eastern conference first round over the Chicago Bulls with Michael Jordan (43.7 point average in the series).
In the Celtics's 4-1 series win over the Atlanta Hawks with Dominique Wilkins in the Eastern Conference semi-finals, Walton averaged 8.0 points, 3.3 rebounds and 1.3 assists in 13 minutes. In the Eastern Conference Finals 4-0 sweep against the Milwaukee Bucks, Walton averaged 8.8 points, 5.8 rebounds and 2.0 assists in 18 minutes.
In the 1986 NBA Finals, the Celtics defeated the Houston Rockets with "Twin Towers" Hakeem Olajuwon and Ralph Sampson 4-2 to win the NBA Championship. Walton averaged 8.0 points, 6.7 rebounds and 1.0 assists and 2.2 blocks in 19 minutes, in helping the Celtics win the championship.
“I knew we had something going when we got Walton,” Larry Bird said on Walton and the 1985-1986 Celtics. “It was all a matter of if he could stay healthy. We already had a pretty good team, and I think adding him and (Jerry) Sichting really helped us. Robert Parish accepting Bill Walton for who he is and what kind of player he was, I thought that was major. That’s the best team I’ve ever been on, no question about that. I mean, we were good from top to bottom."
“It wasn’t important to me because I had no say in the personnel decisions, but what I was impressed with was Bill Walton’s character,” Parish said of Walton joining the Celtics. “He thought enough of me to make sure I was comfortable with him being on the team. That’s why I have the utmost respect for Bill Walton and that’s the main reason why he was my inductee into the Hall of Fame. Bill Walton is my main man, for that reason.”
Walton was injured again in the 1986-1987 regular season, but returned in time for the 1987 playoffs. He then spent the 1987–88 season on the injured list. He attempted a comeback in February 1990, but injuries intervened and he retired as a player.
Overall, Walton played 90 total games for the Celtics, shooting 55.1% and averaging 7.0 points, 6.4 rebounds, 1.9 assists and 1.3 blocks in 18 minutes.
Said Walton reflecting on his career: "I loved basketball. And I was going to go until I couldn’t go anymore. I had no desire to ever stop playing. I’ve never met anybody who stopped playing voluntarily. I ground my body up. I’ve had 37 (38 now) orthopedic operations. I ground my feet up into dust. I’ve got a new knee. I‘ve got a new spine. I’m the lucky one, in that I never thought going through all of it that I would be healthy at the end. And I almost wasn’t. But I’m all better now."
"I would love to play one more game," Walton said he wished. "But then I would want to play another one. And another one. But I will take one."
Overall, Walton played 468 games in his NBA career. He averaged a career double-double of 13.3 points, 10.5 rebounds, with 3.4 assists and 2.2 blocked shots, averaging 28 minutes. He shot 52.1 % from the floor for his career. Walton's injuries and surgeries limited his career, and counting his 1978–1979 year-long holdout, Walton played in 44% of the regular season games in his 13 year career.
Said Walton about his speech issues and subsequent career, "I'm a stutterer. I never spoke to anybody. I lived most of my life by myself. But as soon as I got on the court I was fine. But in life, being so self conscious, red hair, big nose, freckles and goofy, nerdy looking face and can't talk at all. I was incredibly shy and never said a word. Then, when I was 28 I learned how to speak. It's become my greatest accomplishment of my life and everybody else's biggest nightmare."
After his retirement as a player, Walton has become a successful and controversial basketball color commentator.
Walton worked for CBS (1990), NBC (1990–2002), the Los Angeles Clippers (1990–2002) and ABC/ESPN (2002–2009). After nineteen years working in broadcasting, he left ESPN in November 2009, as the result of back problems, which dated back to an injury he suffered in college at UCLA. Following surgery on his back, Walton returned to broadcasting as a part-time commentator for the Sacramento Kings for 2010–11 and 2011–12.
Walton frequently works alongside Dave Pasch while calling Pac-12 games. His commentary has been noted for his frequent use of catchphrases and hyperbole. Walton typically was paired with Steve "Snapper" Jones for national NBA games because he and Jones had a point-counterpoint banter during games.
Walton's 2003 TV series Bill Walton's Long Strange Trip aired on ESPN with Walton as subject and star.
While broadcasting a Washington–Oregon January 2019 game with Dave Pasch, Walton mentioned he had appeared in the motion picture Ghostbusters. Ghostbusters was filmed in 1984 and Pasch questioned Walton about his claim throughout the game as to the specifics of his appearance and character, but Walton refused to provide more details. Research validated Walton's claim.
Luke Walton played at Arizona for Coach Lute Olson. In the NBA, he played for the Los Angeles Lakers (2003–2012), winning both the 2009 and 2010 NBA Finals. Luke's titles make Bill and Luke the first NBA father-son pair to have both won multiple NBA championships. Luke was head coach of the Lakers (2016-2019), after two years as an assistant for the Golden State Warriors. In April 2019, Luke Walton was named head coach of the Sacramento Kings.
Luke Walton is named after Bill Walton's teammate and friend the late Maurice Lucas. “Maurice was so important in my life and in little Luke’s life,” Walton said. “Whenever there was a big moment for little Luke, big Luke would show up unannounced to make sure it all turned out right.”
Nate Walton played basketball at Princeton. He entered the corporate world and earned his MBA from Stanford University's Graduate School of Business. (Bill Walton had attended Stanford Law School for two years while with the Clippers, but never graduated.) Nate was on the ballot for the 2003 California Recall election, receiving 1,697 votes. He has been highly successful in the oil business.
Bill Walton's other brother, Bruce Walton, played in the National Football League with the Dallas Cowboys from 1973 to 1975. They were basketball teammates in high school. Bill followed Bruce in attending UCLA. Bruce played in Super Bowl X, making Bill and Bruce the only brothers to play in the Superbowl and NBA Finals.
Walton's ankle problems became so severe that he had both his ankles surgically fused. His saga of injury and failed rehabs was connected to the use of painkillers by the doctor who was assigned to his case. Walton has said repeatedly in his broadcasts that he is just as much to blame for taking the medication as the doctor was for giving it to him. In a June 8, 2010, interview on The Dan Patrick Show, Walton admitted to contemplating suicide for a time due to the constant pain resulting from injuries sustained during his NBA career.
Walton is known as a vegetarian and a meditation practitioner.
Walton maintained a close lifetime friendship with Coach John Wooden, visiting him often. "Coach Wooden is the most influential person in my life outside of my mom and dad, but when we played for him, he was older than our parents, and we thought our parents were the oldest people on earth," Walton said. "So the things he taught us made no sense to us. We thought he was nuts, but when you're hot and when you're on top and it's all happening, you never think. We were so young and we had always won. So we had no real idea how fragile everything was. Everything that Coach Wooden told us eventually came true."
On Walton's desk sits a message to him from Coach Wooden: "To Bill Walton, it's the things you learn after you know it all that count. John Wooden."
In 2009, Walton underwent an eight-hour spinal-fusion surgery. Two titanium rods and four four-inch bolts were inserted in his back. He couldn't walk to the hospital. After the successful surgery he was hospitalized for a week, and couldn't move freely for a year.
Walton is a fan of the Grateful Dead, Allman Brothers Band, Neil Young, Phish, and Bob Dylan. Walton is particularly attached to the Grateful Dead, whose concerts he started attending in 1967, while he was still in high school. He attended more than 850 Grateful Dead concerts, including traveling with the band to Egypt for its famous 1978 performance before the Pyramids (joining the band on drums), and quotes Grateful Dead lyrics in TV and radio interviews. To fellow Deadheads, Walton is fondly known as "Grateful Red" and the "Big Red Deadhead" and "World's Tallest Deadhead". In the video for "Touch of Grey", Grateful Dead drummer Mickey Hart is wearing a Celtics jacket given to him by Walton. In 2001, Walton was inducted into The Grateful Dead Hall of Honor.
His memoir, Back from the Dead: Searching for the Sound, Shining the Light and Throwing It Down, was released by Simon and Schuster in March 2016. It remained on The New York Times bestseller list for two weeks in April 2016.
Walton, who has a service dog, wrote the foreword to the 2015 book Unconditional Honor: Wounded Warriors and their Dogs by author Cathy Scott.
Walton has cameo appearances in the films 88 and 1, Celtic Pride, Little Nicky and Semi-Pro, and appeared as Sven the Wise in the 2011 Capital One Visigoth SportsNet commercials. He is also mentioned by Kareem Abdul-Jabbar in the 1980 comedy Airplane! ("Tell your old man to drag Walton and Lanier up and down the court for 48 minutes!")
Bill Walton is a playable character in the video games NBA Street Vol. 2 (2003), NBA Street V3 (2005), NBA 2K12 (2011), NBA 2K13 (2012), NBA 2K14 (2013), NBA 2K15 (2014), NBA 2K16 (2015) and NBA Jam: On Fire Edition (2011), and lent his voice to NBA 2K5 and NBA Shootout 2004.
Walton appeared in the premiere of the third season in the reality TV show Shark Tank on January 20, 2012, where he helped to sell the "Clean Bottle", a water bottle that unscrews at both ends for easier cleaning.
|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 Walton won an NBA championship|
|*||Led the league|
|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|
|1970–71||UCLA Bruins Freshman||20||...||...||.583||...||.634||16.1||...||...||...||18.1|
The 1971–72 UCLA Bruins men's basketball team won the National Collegiate Championship on March 25, 1972, in the Los Angeles Sports Arena with an 81–76 victory over Florida State. It became the eighth championship in nine years under head coach John Wooden, who was coaching his 25th year at UCLA. The 1971–72 UCLA basketball team had a record of 30–0, in the process winning its games by an average margin of more than 30 points. The season was also part of UCLA's NCAA record 88-game winning streak. The UCLA streak contributed to a personal winning streak that lasted almost five years. It began "The Walton Years" for Coach Wooden.1972 NCAA Men's Basketball All-Americans
The consensus 1972 College Basketball All-American team, as determined by aggregating the results of four major All-American teams. To earn "consensus" status, a player must win honors from a majority of the following teams: the Associated Press, the USBWA, The United Press International and the National Association of Basketball Coaches.1972 NCAA University Division Basketball Tournament
The 1972 NCAA University Division Basketball Tournament involved 25 schools playing in single-elimination play to determine the national champion of NCAA University Division (now Division I) college basketball. It began on Saturday, March 11, and ended with the championship game in Los Angeles on Saturday, March 25. A total of 29 games were played, including a third place game in each region and a national third place game.
Led by longtime head coach John Wooden, the undefeated UCLA Bruins won the national title with an 81–76 victory in the final game over Florida State, coached by Hugh Durham. Sophomore center Bill Walton of UCLA was named the tournament's Most Outstanding Player; the first of two consecutive.
In a historically significant note, the Southwestern Louisiana Ragin' Cajuns made the tournament in their first season of eligibility for postseason play; the next to achieve this feat was North Dakota State in 2009. SW Louisiana also made the tournament in 1973, but due to major infractions that resulted in the basketball program receiving the NCAA death penalty (and very nearly expelled from the NCAA altogether), both appearances have since been vacated and the records expunged.
This was the last year in which the championship game was played on Saturday; it moved to Monday night in 1973.1972–73 UCLA Bruins men's basketball team
The 1972–73 UCLA Bruins men's basketball team went undefeated again at 30–0 and claimed a seventh consecutive national championship.In the title game of the NCAA Tournament at St. Louis, junior center Bill Walton scored 44 points (21 of 22 field goal attempts) with thirteen rebounds as the top-ranked Bruins defeated #12 Memphis State, 87–66. Some regard this as the greatest ever offensive performance in American college basketball. Tied at 39 at halftime, the Bruins dominated the second half and outscored the Tigers, 48–27.
UCLA set a new NCAA record of 75 consecutive wins and a three-season composite record of 89–1 (.989).1973 NCAA Men's Basketball All-Americans
The consensus 1973 College Basketball All-American team, as determined by aggregating the results of four major All-American teams. To earn "consensus" status, a player must win honors from a majority of the following teams: the Associated Press, the USBWA, The United Press International and the National Association of Basketball Coaches.1973 NCAA University Division Basketball Tournament
The 1973 NCAA University Division Basketball Tournament involved 25 schools playing in single-elimination play to determine the national champion of men's NCAA University Division (now Division I, created later in 1973) college basketball. It began on Saturday, March 10, and ended with the championship game on Monday, March 26, in St. Louis, Missouri. A total of 29 games were played, including a third place game in each region and a national third place game.
Led by longtime head coach John Wooden, the UCLA Bruins won their seventh consecutive national title with an 87–66 victory in the final game over Memphis State, coached by Gene Bartow, a future head coach at UCLA. Junior center Bill Walton of UCLA was named the tournament's Most Outstanding Player.
This was the first year that the championship game was held on a Monday night, with Saturday semifinals. Previously, the championship game was on Saturday, with the semifinals on either Thursday or Friday. Also, this was the first year matchups in the semifinals rotated; previously, it was East vs. Mideast and West vs. Midwest every year.1974 NCAA Men's Basketball All-Americans
The consensus 1974 College Basketball All-American team, as determined by aggregating the results of four major All-American teams. To earn "consensus" status, a player must win honors from a majority of the following teams: the Associated Press, the USBWA, The United Press International and the National Association of Basketball Coaches.1976–77 NBA season
The 1976–77 NBA season was the 31st season of the National Basketball Association. The season ended with the Portland Trail Blazers winning their first NBA Championship in franchise history, beating the Philadelphia 76ers in six games in the NBA Finals.
Prior to the season, the NBA merged with its primary rival league, the American Basketball Association (ABA). Four ABA teams joined the NBA, all four of which are still in the league today: the San Antonio Spurs, Indiana Pacers, Denver Nuggets, and New York Nets. The Nets became the New Jersey Nets the following season, and now play as the Brooklyn Nets. With these additions, the NBA expanded from eighteen teams to twenty-two.1977 NBA Finals
The 1977 NBA World Championship Series was the championship round of the National Basketball Association (NBA)'s 1976–77 season, and the culmination of the season's playoffs. The Western Conference champion Portland Trail Blazers played against the Eastern Conference champion Philadelphia 76ers, with the 76ers holding home-court advantage. Their four regular season meetings had been split evenly, 2–2, with neither side winning away from home. The series was played under a best-of-seven format, so the first team to win four games would win the series and become the league champions.
The 1976–77 NBA season started with the ABA–NBA merger. Portland had benefited from the resulting ABA dispersal draft as they acquired Spirits of St. Louis power forward Maurice Lucas to partner with Bill Walton, and Philadelphia had signed ABA All-Star and 3-time ABA MVP Julius "Dr. J" Erving, who had taken the New York Nets to the ABA title the previous year. In the 1977 NBA Finals, five of the ten starting players were former ABA players (Julius Erving, Caldwell Jones, George McGinnis, Dave Twardzik, and Maurice Lucas.).While it was no surprise that Philadelphia had made it to the championship series, having posted the best record in the east (50-32, #1), Portland's appearance in the finals was a mild surprise. Portland, a team that was founded only seven years earlier, was not only making its playoff debut with its first winning season (49-33, #3), but it was also making its finals debut as well after sweeping the Los Angeles Lakers in four close games in the Western Conference Finals.
The series quickly went 2-0 in favor of Philadelphia, but over the next four games, Portland mounted a comeback that has rarely been seen in professional sports.Bill Sharman
William Walton Sharman (May 25, 1926 – October 25, 2013) was an American professional basketball player and coach. He is mostly known for his time with the Boston Celtics in the 1950s, partnering with Bob Cousy in what some consider the greatest backcourt duo of all time. As a coach, Sharman won titles in the ABL, ABA, and NBA, and is credited with introducing the now ubiquitous morning shootaround.
He was the first North American sports figure to win a championship as a player, coach, and executive. He was a 10-time NBA champion (having won four titles as a player with the Celtics, one as head coach of the Los Angeles Lakers, and five as a Lakers executive), and a 12-time World Champion in basketball overall counting his ABL and ABA titles. Sharman is also a two-time Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame inductee, having been being inducted in 1976 as a player, and in 2004 as a coach. Only John Wooden, Lenny Wilkens and Tommy Heinsohn share this double honor.Bill Walton (footballer)
William Walton (3 September 1894 – 24 July 1953) was an Australian rules footballer who played with Collingwood in the Victorian Football League (VFL).
Walton started his career at Victorian Football Association (VFA) club Port Melbourne and was their leading goal-kicker in 1914. Enticed to join Collingwood in 1918, Walton appeared in Grand Finals in both his seasons with Collingwood. He played centre half forward in the 1918 VFL Grand Final loss to South Melbourne and centre half back in the 1919 premiership team.
Walton returned to Port Melbourne in 1920 and was appointed captain-coach of Hawthorn (then playing in the VFA) in 1922. He was however refused a clearance by Port Melbourne and as a result spent the season playing for them, while coaching Hawthorn during the week. Twice that season, he had the unusual situation of playing a VFA game against the club that he coached. In one of those matches a Port Melbourne teammate had to be restrained from striking Walton over Walton's vocal support for the player's opponent. In 1923 he was granted his clearance and steered Hawthorn into the finals.
In 1925 he accepted a position to captain-coach Stawell in the Wimmera District Football League. He led the team to a premiership but left town the following year. Walton became the captain-coach of the Castlemaine Football Club for 3 years before moving to Albury and coaching East Albury in the Ovens and Murray Football League.
In 1930 he retired as a player and took up being the licensee for the Rising Sun Hotel in South Melbourne. Later on he was the licensee of the Sir Henry Loch Hotel in Collingwood.
He died after a short illness leaving a wife and a daughter and a son.List of U.S. men's college basketball national player of the year awards
This article lists U.S. men's college basketball national player of the year awards. Several different organizations sponsor an award for the nation's top player.Luke Walton
Luke Theodore Walton (born March 28, 1980) is an American professional basketball coach and former player who is the head coach of the Sacramento Kings of the National Basketball Association (NBA). He played 10 seasons in the NBA as a forward, winning two NBA championships with the Los Angeles Lakers. He also won a title as an assistant coach with the Golden State Warriors, and was the head coach for the Lakers from 2016 through 2019.
Walton played college basketball with the Arizona Wildcats. He was a second-team All-American and a two-time first-team all-conference selection in the Pac-10. He was selected in the second round of the 2003 NBA draft by the Lakers. After the 2010 NBA Finals, Walton and his father, Hall of Famer Bill Walton, became the first father and son to have both won multiple NBA championships: Bill won in 1977 and 1986, and Luke in 2009 and 2010. His best season statistically was 2006–07 with over 11 points, 5 rebounds, and over 4 assists per game.
As the Warriors' interim head coach in 2015–16, he guided the team to the longest winning streak to open a season in league history at 16 games.NBA on ESPN
The NBA on ESPN refers to the presentation of National Basketball Association (NBA) games on the ESPN family of networks. The ESPN cable network first televised NBA games from 1983 to 1984, and has been airing games currently since the 2002–03 NBA season. ESPN2 began airing a limited schedule of NBA games in 2002. ESPN on ABC began televising NBA games in 2006 (ABC Sports aired NBA games under the title of the NBA on ABC from 2002 to 2006). On October 6, 2014, ESPN and the NBA renewed their agreement through 2025.Portland Trail Blazers
The Portland Trail Blazers, commonly known as the Blazers, are an American professional basketball team based in Portland, Oregon. The Trail Blazers compete in the National Basketball Association (NBA) as a member of the league's Western Conference Northwest Division. The team played its home games in the Memorial Coliseum before moving to Moda Center in 1995 (called the Rose Garden until 2013). The franchise entered the league as an expansion team in 1970, and has enjoyed a strong following: from 1977 through 1995, the team sold out 814 consecutive home games, the longest such streak in American major professional sports at the time, and only since surpassed by the Boston Red Sox. The Trail Blazers are the only NBA team based in the bi-national Pacific Northwest, after the Vancouver Grizzlies relocated to Memphis and became the Memphis Grizzlies in 2001 and the Seattle SuperSonics relocated to Oklahoma City and became the Oklahoma City Thunder in 2008.
The team has advanced to the NBA Finals three times, winning the NBA championship once in 1977. Their other NBA Finals appearances were in 1990 and 1992. The team has qualified for the playoffs in 34 seasons of their 48-season existence, including a streak of 21 straight appearances from 1983 through 2003, tied for the second longest streak in NBA history. The Trail Blazers' 34 playoff appearances rank third in the NBA only behind the Los Angeles Lakers and San Antonio Spurs since the team's inception in 1970. Six Hall of Fame players have played for the Trail Blazers (Lenny Wilkens, Bill Walton, Clyde Drexler, Dražen Petrović, Arvydas Sabonis, and Scottie Pippen). Bill Walton is the franchise's most decorated player; he was the NBA Finals Most Valuable Player in 1977, and the regular season MVP the following year. Four Blazer rookies (Geoff Petrie, Sidney Wicks, Brandon Roy and Damian Lillard) have won the NBA Rookie of the Year award. Three players have earned the Most Improved Player award: Kevin Duckworth (1988), Zach Randolph (2004), and CJ McCollum (2016). Two Hall of Fame coaches, Lenny Wilkens and Jack Ramsay, have patrolled the sidelines for the Blazers, and two others, Mike Schuler and Mike Dunleavy, have won the NBA Coach of the Year Award with the team.Sporting News Men's College Basketball Player of the Year
The Sporting News Men's College Basketball Player of the Year is an annual basketball award given to the best men's basketball player in NCAA Division I competition. The award was first given following the 1942–43 season and is presented by Sporting News (formerly The Sporting News), an American–based sports magazine that was established in 1886.
No award winners were selected from 1947–49 and from 1952–57. Repeat winners of the Sporting News Player of the Year award are rare; as of 2016, it has occurred only six times in the award's 63 presentations. Of those six repeat winners, only Oscar Robertson of Cincinnati and Bill Walton of UCLA have been named the player of the year three times.
UCLA and Duke have the most all-time with seven. North Carolina has the second most with five winners.UPI College Basketball Player of the Year
The UPI College Basketball Player of the Year was an annual basketball award given to the best men's basketball player in NCAA Division I competition. The award was first given following the 1954–55 season and was discontinued following the 1995–96 season. It was given by United Press International (UPI), a news agency in the United States that rivaled the Associated Press but began to decline with the advent of television news.
Five players—Oscar Robertson, Jerry Lucas, Lew Alcindor, Bill Walton and Ralph Sampson—won the award multiple times. Of these five, only Robertson, Walton and Sampson were three-time UPI Players of the Year.
UCLA had the most all-time winners with six. Ohio State was second with four winners, while Cincinnati and Virginia were tied for third with three winners apiece. Five other schools had two winners and sixteen schools had only one UPI Player of the Year.
Eight of the winners were sophomores, seven were juniors, and the remaining 27 were seniors. No freshman was ever presented the award.