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  1. #1
    Join Date
    Feb 2007
    Location
    Steamboat Springs, CO

    R.I.P. Wes Unseld

    Wes Unseld, the long-time Bullet player and GM, was 74 and died from pneumonia and other health issues. He played center at 6-7 -- really 6-6 -- and started for all of his 13 seasons. The Bullets made the playoffs in the first 12 of his years in the league and won the NBA championship in 1978. He averaged double-digit rebounds in all but one season (14.0 for his career).

    I didn't know him, but many, many others held him in high regard as a human being.

    So long, guy. Too soon.
    Sage Grouse

    ---------------------------------------
    'When I got on the bus for my first road game at Duke, I saw that every player was carrying textbooks or laptops. I coached in the SEC for 25 years, and I had never seen that before, not even once.' - David Cutcliffe to Duke alumni in Washington, DC, June 2013

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Aug 2012
    Location
    Raleigh, NC

    Wes Unseld Has Passed

    The man behind the textbook outlet pass. RIP.

    https://www.espn.com/nba/story/_/id/...ld-dies-age-74

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Sep 2007
    Location
    Bethesda, MD
    Sad - he was a good guy.
    I taught his son in one of my classes and he was a good guy, too - never would have known he had a famous dad...except for him being Wes Unseld, Jr.

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Dec 2009
    Location
    North of Durham
    Quote Originally Posted by TKG View Post
    The man behind the textbook outlet pass. RIP.

    https://www.espn.com/nba/story/_/id/...ld-dies-age-74
    RIP - sad to hear - too young. Your subheading ("Wes Unseld has Passed") is fitting in life and in death.

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Feb 2007
    Location
    Raleigh, NC
    GRRRRRRR !!!!!!!

    Couldn't shoot a lick. But like Jerry Sloan, whom we mourned last month, he could defend, rebound and pass at the highest level and was absolutely committed to doing whatever his team needed. Arguably the best player in Louisville history and they've had a bunch of great ones.

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Feb 2008
    Location
    Lewisville, NC
    Quote Originally Posted by jimsumner View Post
    GRRRRRRR !!!!!!!

    Couldn't shoot a lick. But like Jerry Sloan, whom we mourned last month, he could defend, rebound and pass at the highest level and was absolutely committed to doing whatever his team needed. Arguably the best player in Louisville history and they've had a bunch of great ones.
    High praise, and he seemed like a good guy. A Zion Williamson type build, without the levitation.

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Jun 2008
    Location
    Winston Salem, NC

    RIP!

    Prayers for the family. Wes played back in the day where I actually liked the NBA. A team first player.

  8. #8
    Join Date
    Feb 2007
    Location
    San Francisco
    One of the greatest rebounders and outlet passers. He had a really “wide body.” I loved watching him use the “butt bump” to clear out the lane and grab rebounds.

  9. #9
    Join Date
    Apr 2011
    Location
    Winston’Salem
    My earliest discernible basketball memory dates to the 1978 NBA Finals, which finished up just before my ninth birthday. Unseld’s Washington Bullets--also featuring Elvin Hayes, Bobby Dandridge, Kevin Greavey, and others--defeated the Seattle Supersonics in seven games. I distinctly remember the sounds of Queen's "We Are The Champions" playing as the television broadcast signed off to images of Dick Motta's squad drenched in champagne. Motta sported a t-shirt bearing the phrase "The Opera Isn't Over 'Til The Fat Lady Sings," which he had popularized earlier in the Finals. As an aside, until 1968, Motta had been the head basketball coach at Weber State College in Ogden, Utah (some of you may remember that institution, with some degree of joy), where a young undergrad (my father) was a student in the Phys. Ed. department and learned under the tutelage of Motta and assistant Phil Johnson (later Jerry Sloan's long-time assistant with the Utah Jazz). After the end of Motta's first season coaching the Chicago Bulls, yours truly arrived on the planet and, for a kid growing up in rural Utah, the notion of the NBA champs being coached by my dad's coach was more than I could process, but I knew it was really cool.

    So, I owe a bit of a debt to Wes Unseld. Sad to hear of his passing.
    "Amazing what a minute can do."

  10. #10
    Join Date
    Feb 2008
    Location
    Lewisville, NC
    Quote Originally Posted by Bay Area Duke Fan View Post
    One of the greatest rebounders and outlet passers. He had a really “wide body.” I loved watching him use the “butt bump” to clear out the lane and grab rebounds.
    Yeah, Kareem Abdul-Jabbar, who was on with Dan Patrick today, said Unseld was just so hard to get around when he got position for a rebound. To the point where Unseld ultimately captured rebounds that hit the floor because the opposition just couldn't get there.

  11. #11
    Join Date
    Nov 2007
    Location
    Vermont
    Today's paper tells me that Wes and Wilt were the only two guys to be NBA MVP and Rookie of the Year in the same year...that's pretty impressive.

  12. #12
    Join Date
    Feb 2008
    Location
    Oregon
    Quote Originally Posted by Tripping William View Post
    My earliest discernible basketball memory dates to the 1978 NBA Finals, which finished up just before my ninth birthday. Unseld’s Washington Bullets--also featuring Elvin Hayes, Bobby Dandridge, Kevin Greavey, and others--defeated the Seattle Supersonics in seven games. I distinctly remember the sounds of Queen's "We Are The Champions" playing as the television broadcast signed off to images of Dick Motta's squad drenched in champagne. Motta sported a t-shirt bearing the phrase "The Opera Isn't Over 'Til The Fat Lady Sings," which he had popularized earlier in the Finals. As an aside, until 1968, Motta had been the head basketball coach at Weber State College in Ogden, Utah (some of you may remember that institution, with some degree of joy), where a young undergrad (my father) was a student in the Phys. Ed. department and learned under the tutelage of Motta and assistant Phil Johnson (later Jerry Sloan's long-time assistant with the Utah Jazz). After the end of Motta's first season coaching the Chicago Bulls, yours truly arrived on the planet and, for a kid growing up in rural Utah, the notion of the NBA champs being coached by my dad's coach was more than I could process, but I knew it was really cool.

    So, I owe a bit of a debt to Wes Unseld. Sad to hear of his passing.
    Great story, thanks for sharing.

    We are the champions, my friends
    And we'll keep on fighting 'til the end
    We are the champions

  13. #13
    Join Date
    Feb 2010
    Location
    Colorado
    One of my lawyer friends in Denver played high school basketball against Wes Unseld.

    My friend played for St. Xavier which won the Kentucky state championship one year. St. X's best player was a guy named Mike Silliman who later played at West Point and on the 1968 Olympic team.

    Unseld apparently scored 38 points and had 20+ rebounds. Silliman was exhausted at the end of the game and apparently a guy who never swore. Somebody asked him what he thought of Unseld, Silliman said "He's one rebounding, son of a wanker".

  14. #14
    Join Date
    Feb 2007
    Location
    Raleigh, NC
    Quote Originally Posted by MartyClark View Post
    One of my lawyer friends in Denver played high school basketball against Wes Unseld.

    My friend played for St. Xavier which won the Kentucky state championship one year. St. X's best player was a guy named Mike Silliman who later played at West Point and on the 1968 Olympic team.

    Unseld apparently scored 38 points and had 20+ rebounds. Silliman was exhausted at the end of the game and apparently a guy who never swore. Somebody asked him what he thought of Unseld, Silliman said "He's one rebounding, son of a wanker".
    To his dying day Adolph Rupp couldn't believe Mike Silliman turned him down for the United States Military Academy.

  15. #15
    At Boston Garden in 1976, Wes Unseld got a defensive rebound right under the basket and before hitting the floor he turned around and threw a 2 handed chest pass, I mean a definite rope, to the Bullets foul line for an easy fast break layup. I was stunned as I was sitting around the Bullets foul line. Can still remember it. Haven't seen such a rope pass since. He was arguably the greatest outlet passer of all time.

  16. #16
    Join Date
    Apr 2011
    Location
    Sarasota, Florida

    I

    I didn't see it but apparently the WaPo had an item in Unseld's obit that said in practice he would sometimes get a rebound and fire a two handed outlet pass hitting the opposite backboard without his feet having touched the floor.
    Was discussing his death on line with some fraternity brothers yesterday and mentioned that i had never read or heard anything negative about him. Jack Marin, whose NBA career overlapped with Unseld's at the Baltimore Bullets was extremely complimentary.

    Some of the younger guys may not know that Unseld is at least tangentially associated with South Carolina's withdrawal from the ACC. Frank McGuire, who left uncch after getting them on probation lost a recruiting battle for Art Heyman to Duke and Vic Bubas. Suffice it to say that McGuire was not a Bubas friend after that. McGuire went to USC and recruited a player named Mike Grosso from New Jersey. In those days (late 70's) the ACC required an SAT score of minimum 800 (1600 was max). It was somewhat unclear, I guess, whether the SAT minimum was applied for an athletic scholarship or for intercollegiate competition. Grosso failed multiple attempts to make 800, after which McGuire claimed that a relative was going to pay his tuition etc. in college. Duke and UNC took the position that the 800 minimum was a requirement for athletic participation, and the ACC ultimately decided in their favor. Things were really bitter. A Duke-USC basketball game was cancelled out of concern about behavior. I think that a friend of mine was refused service at a gas station in SC because of the Duke decal on his car. Ultimately Mike Grosso accepted a scholarship at Louisville, and he had a couple of nice years. He never became a superstar though. Louisville had this guy named Wesley Unseld.

    Always felt sorry for Grosso who did nothing more than being a poor student and/or test taker. He had his multiple attempts and failures become big news in the Carolinas. Not too long after, USC pulled out of the ACC. If memory serves, they were an independent for a bit - not financially advantageous - before hooking up with the SEC*

    *Which the late Clemson football coach Frank Howard, referred to as "the knucklehead league", referring to its lack of an 800 (or any) SAT requirement.

  17. #17
    Join Date
    Feb 2007
    Location
    Raleigh, NC
    Quote Originally Posted by Jedweb View Post
    I didn't see it but apparently the WaPo had an item in Unseld's obit that said in practice he would sometimes get a rebound and fire a two handed outlet pass hitting the opposite backboard without his feet having touched the floor.
    Was discussing his death on line with some fraternity brothers yesterday and mentioned that i had never read or heard anything negative about him. Jack Marin, whose NBA career overlapped with Unseld's at the Baltimore Bullets was extremely complimentary.

    Some of the younger guys may not know that Unseld is at least tangentially associated with South Carolina's withdrawal from the ACC. Frank McGuire, who left uncch after getting them on probation lost a recruiting battle for Art Heyman to Duke and Vic Bubas. Suffice it to say that McGuire was not a Bubas friend after that. McGuire went to USC and recruited a player named Mike Grosso from New Jersey. In those days (late 70's) the ACC required an SAT score of minimum 800 (1600 was max). It was somewhat unclear, I guess, whether the SAT minimum was applied for an athletic scholarship or for intercollegiate competition. Grosso failed multiple attempts to make 800, after which McGuire claimed that a relative was going to pay his tuition etc. in college. Duke and UNC took the position that the 800 minimum was a requirement for athletic participation, and the ACC ultimately decided in their favor. Things were really bitter. A Duke-USC basketball game was cancelled out of concern about behavior. I think that a friend of mine was refused service at a gas station in SC because of the Duke decal on his car. Ultimately Mike Grosso accepted a scholarship at Louisville, and he had a couple of nice years. He never became a superstar though. Louisville had this guy named Wesley Unseld.

    Always felt sorry for Grosso who did nothing more than being a poor student and/or test taker. He had his multiple attempts and failures become big news in the Carolinas. Not too long after, USC pulled out of the ACC. If memory serves, they were an independent for a bit - not financially advantageous - before hooking up with the SEC*

    *Which the late Clemson football coach Frank Howard, referred to as "the knucklehead league", referring to its lack of an 800 (or any) SAT requirement.
    Mike Grosso averaged 16 points and 14 rebounds per game at Louisville. Unseld graduated in 1968. Grosso replaced him in 1969 and 1970. They were on the same roster for five games in 1968 but otherwise did not overlap.

    It's really tough to find a connection between Unseld and Duke, except for Marin in the NBA. But Grosso? No.

  18. #18
    Join Date
    Feb 2007
    Location
    Derm
    I grew up a Knicks fan in Princeton NJ. Despite Dollar Bill being a Knick, Clyde was my guy, and I have sweet behind-the-back dribble to this day -- ask anyone. I also eventually saved enough to buy the shoes. Anyway, it seems like more than Boston or Philly, for many years Baltimore was the regular season enemy. Wes was always a beast and drove me crazy. Never could understand how he did it. Hated him then but as time passed came to respect him, big time. RIP. (It was still weird when Earl the Pearl showed up. Players don't change teams like that anymore)

  19. #19
    Join Date
    Aug 2012
    Location
    Raleigh, NC
    A nice piece on Unseld by Tom Boswell from The Washington Post.

    An interesting stat: over the final eight years of his career, Unseld had more offensive rebounds that he had missed shots!


    https://www.washingtonpost.com/sport...y-any-measure/

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