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Wes Unseld

Wes Unseld American basketball player and coach

American basketball player and coach
Wes Unseld
The basics

Quick Facts

Intro American basketball player and coach
A.K.A. Westley Sissel Unseld, Westly Sissel Unseld
Is Athlete Basketball player Sports coach Basketball coach Sports official Sports administrator
From United States of America
Type Sports
Gender male
Birth 14 March 1946, Louisville, USA
Age: 74 years
Star sign PiscesPisces
Residence Louisville, USA
Family
Children: Wes Unseld Jr.
Stats
Height: 201 cm
Weight: 111 kg
Education
Seneca High School MCA
University of Louisville
Awards
NBA All-Rookie Team 1969
NBA Most Valuable Player Award 1969
NBA Rookie of the Year Award 1969
All-NBA Team 1969
J. Walter Kennedy Citizenship Award 1975
Bill Russell NBA Finals Most Valuable Player Award 1978
Sports Teams
Louisville Cardinals men's basketball
Washington Wizards
The details

Biography

Westley Sissel Unseld (March 14, 1946 – June 2, 2020) was an American professional basketball player, coach and executive. He spent his entire National Basketball Association (NBA) career with the Baltimore/Capital/Washington Bullets. Unseld played collegiately for the Louisville Cardinals and was drafted second overall by the Bullets in the 1968 NBA draft. He was named the NBA Most Valuable Player during his rookie season and joined Wilt Chamberlain as the only two players in NBA history to accomplish the feat. Unseld won a championship with the Bullets in 1978. After his retirement from playing in 1981, he worked with the Bullets as a vice president, head coach and general manager.

Unseld was inducted into the Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame in 1988 and the National Collegiate Basketball Hall of Fame in 2006.

Early life and college career

Unseld as a member of the Louisville Cardinals men's basketball team.

Unseld starred for the Seneca High School team that won Kentucky state championships in 1963 and 1964. He was recruited by over 100 colleges, including the University of Kentucky. Unseld became the first African-American athlete to be offered an athletic scholarship to the school when Kentucky Wildcats men's basketball coach Adolph Rupp attempted to recruit him to the team. Integration leaders in Louisville tried to persuade Unseld to attend the University of Kentucky and stated that "it would be good for Kentucky and the Southeastern Conference." However, he chose to enroll at the University of Louisville in 1965 where he played center for the school's freshman team and averaged 35.8 points and 23.6 rebounds over 14 games. Unseld lettered for Louisville as a sophomore (1965–66), junior (1966–67), and senior (1967–68), scored 1,686 points (20.6 average) and grabbed 1,551 rebounds (18.9 average) over 82 games. He led the Missouri Valley Conference in rebounding all three years.

Unseld earned NCAA All-American honors in 1967 and 1968 and led Louisville to a 60–22 record during his collegiate career, making trips to the NIT tournament in 1966 and NCAA tournament in 1967 and 1968. He is a member of Alpha Phi Alpha fraternity.

Professional career

Unseld was selected as the second overall pick by the Baltimore Bullets in the 1968 NBA draft. He was also selected by his hometown Kentucky Colonels of the American Basketball Association (ABA) in the 1968 ABA draft. Unseld was offered contracts by both teams but opted to sign with the Bullets of the more successful NBA despite them allegedly offering less money. After signing Unseld, Bullets owner Earl Foreman proclaimed that "this contract represents the most attractive and rewarding contract that has or will be signed by any player in the NBA this year."

In his first career game, Unseld recorded 8 points and 22 rebounds in a 124–116 Baltimore win over the Detroit Pistons. On October 19, Unseld recorded his first double-double of his career after recording 13 points and 20 rebounds in a 124–121 loss to the Philadelphia 76ers. On November 22, Unseld recorded 20 points and a career-high 29 rebounds in a 110-121 loss to the Sixers.

As a rookie, Unseld helped lead the Bullets (which had finished in last place in the Eastern division the previous year) to a 57–25 record and a division title. Unseld averaged 18.2 rebounds per game that year, and joined fellow future Hall of Famer Wilt Chamberlain to become the second player ever to win the Rookie of the Year Award and the Most Valuable Player Award in the same year. Unseld was also named to the NBA All-Rookie First Team, and also claimed the Sporting News MVP that year.

Unseld was one of the best defensive players of his era, and in 1975, he led the NBA in rebounding. The following season, he led the NBA in field goal percentage with a .561 percentage.

Unseld took the Bullets franchise to four NBA Finals, and won the championship in 1978 over the Seattle SuperSonics, in which he was named the Finals MVP. He ended his playing career following the 1980–81 season, and his No. 41 jersey was retired by the Bullets shortly thereafter.

Player profile

Famed for his rebounding, bone-jarring picks and ability to ignite a fast break with his crisp, accurate outlet passes, Unseld made up for his lack of size with brute strength and sheer determination. In 984 NBA games – all with the Bullets – Unseld averaged a double-double in points and rebounds, with averages of 10.8 points and 14.0 rebounds per game. He also averaged 3.9 assists, excellent for a center, in the 36 minutes he played per game. Unseld was inducted into the Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame in 1988, and in 1996, he was named as one of the NBA's 50 Greatest Players of all time.

Executive and coaching career

After Unseld’s retirement in 1981, he moved into a front office position with the Bullets, where he served as vice president for six years before being named head coach in 1988. He resigned following the 1994 season with a 202–345 record (.369). Unseld became the Bullets' general manager in 1996 and served in that role for seven years. He guided the team to the playoffs once during his tenure as general manager.

Personal life

Unseld's wife, Connie, opened Unselds School in 1979. A coed private school located in southwest Baltimore, it has a daycare program, nursery school and a kindergarten-to-eighth grade curriculum. Connie and daughter Kimberley serve as teachers at the school. Unseld worked as an office manager and head basketball coach. He was the godfather of Cleveland Cavaliers all-star forward, Kevin Love, as Kevin's father Stan Love was a teammate of Unseld's on the Baltimore Bullets. His son, Wes Jr., became a basketball coach with the Denver Nuggets.

On June 2, 2020, Unseld's family announced that he had died after suffering lengthy health battles, including most recently with pneumonia.

NBA career statistics

  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
 †  Won an NBA championship  *  Led the league

Regular season

Year Team GP GS MPG FG% 3P% FT% RPG APG SPG BPG PPG
1968–69 Baltimore 82 36.2 .476 .605 18.2 2.6 13.8
1969–70 Baltimore 82 39.4 .518 .638 16.7 3.5 16.2
1970–71 Baltimore 74 39.2 .501 .657 16.9 4.0 14.1
1971–72 Baltimore 76 41.7 .498 .629 17.6 3.7 13.0
1972–73 Baltimore 79 39.1 .493 .703 15.9 4.4 12.5
1973–74 Capital 56 30.8 .438 .655 9.2 2.8 1.0 .3 5.9
1974–75 Washington 73 39.8 .502 .685 14.8* 4.1 1.6 .9 9.2
1975–76 Washington 78 37.5 .561* .585 13.3 5.2 1.1 .8 9.6
1976–77 Washington 82 34.9 .490 .602 10.7 4.4 1.1 .5 7.8
1977–78† Washington 80 33.1 .523 .538 11.9 4.1 1.2 .6 7.6
1978–79 Washington 77 31.2 .577 .643 10.8 4.1 .9 .5 10.9
1979–80 Washington 82 36.3 .513 .500 .665 13.3 4.5 .8 .7 9.7
1980–81 Washington 63 32.3 .524 .500 .640 10.7 2.7 .8 .6 8.0
Career 984 36.4 .509 .500 .633 14.0 3.9 1.1 .6 10.8
All-Star 5 0 15.4 .500 .600 7.2 1.2 .4 .0 6.2

Playoffs

Year Team GP GS MPG FG% 3P% FT% RPG APG SPG BPG PPG
1969 Baltimore 4 41.3 .526 .789 18.5 1.3 18.8
1970 Baltimore 7 41.3 .414 .789 23.6 3.4 10.4
1971 Baltimore 18 42.2 .462 .568 18.8 3.8 13.2
1972 Baltimore 6 44.3 .492 .526 12.5 4.2 12.3
1973 Baltimore 5 40.2 .417 .474 15.2 3.4 9.8
1974 Capital 7 42.4 .492 .600 12.1 3.9 .6 .1 10.1
1975 Washington 17 43.2 .546 .656 16.2 3.8 .9 1.2 10.7
1976 Washington 7 44.3 .462 .542 12.1 4.0 .9 .6 7.0
1977 Washington 9 40.9 .556 .583 11.7 4.9 .9 .7 7.4
1978† Washington 18 37.6 .530 .587 12.0 4.4 .9 .4 9.4
1979 Washington 19 38.7 .494 .609 13.3 3.4 .9 .7 10.3
1980 Washington 2 43.5 .500 .000 .667 14.0 3.5 .0 1.5 9.0
Career 119 41.1 .493 .000 .608 14.9 3.8 .8 .7 10.6

Coaching record

NBA

Regular season G Games coached W Games won L Games lost W–L % Win–loss %
Playoffs PG Playoff games PW Playoff wins PL Playoff losses PW–L % Playoff win–loss %
Team Year G W L W–L% Finish PG PW PL PW–L% Result
Washington 1987–88 55 30 25 .545 2nd in Atlantic 5 2 3 .400 Lost in First Round
Washington 1988–89 82 40 42 .488 4th in Atlantic Missed playoffs
Washington 1989–90 82 31 51 .378 4th in Atlantic Missed playoffs
Washington 1990–91 82 30 52 .366 4th in Atlantic Missed playoffs
Washington 1991–92 82 25 57 .305 6th in Atlantic Missed playoffs
Washington 1992–93 82 22 60 .268 7th in Atlantic Missed playoffs
Washington 1993–94 82 24 58 .293 7th in Atlantic Missed playoffs
Career 547 202 345 .369   5 2 3 .400  
The contents of this page are sourced from Wikipedia article on 02 Jun 2020. The contents are available under the CC BY-SA 4.0 license.
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Reference sources
References
http://www.bigbluehistory.net/bb/rupp.html
https://www.basketball-reference.com/players/u/unselwe01.html
https://www.basketball-reference.com/boxscores/196810160BAL.html
https://www.basketball-reference.com/boxscores/196810190BAL.html
https://www.basketball-reference.com/boxscores/196811220PHI.html
http://www.nba.com/history/players/unseld_summary.html
https://www.nytimes.com/1988/01/04/sports/nba-unseld-is-named-bullets-new-coach.html
https://www.nytimes.com/1994/04/25/sports/bullets-unseld-quits-as-coach.html
https://www.washingtonpost.com/archive/sports/1994/04/25/unseld-resigns-after-7-seasons-as-bullets-coach/ae597047-289c-4866-b403-0598fe2175b6/
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