John Rudometkin

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John Rudometkin
Personal information
Born (1940-06-06) June 6, 1940 (age 74)
Santa Maria, California
Nationality American
Listed height 6 ft 6 in (1.98 m)
Listed weight 205 lb (93 kg)
Career information
High school Santa Maria
(Santa Maria, California)
College Allan Hancock (1958–1959)
USC (1959–1962)
NBA draft 1962 / Round: 2 / Pick: 9th overall
Selected by the New York Knicks
Pro career 1962–1965
Position Small forward
Number 18, 34
Career history
19621964 New York Knicks
1965 San Francisco Warriors
Career highlights and awards
Career NBA statistics
Points 822 (6.3 ppg)
Rebounds 412 (3.1 rpg)
Assists 72 (0.5 apg)
Stats at

John Rudometkin (born June 6, 1940) is a retired American professional basketball player, formerly of the New York Knicks and San Francisco Warriors in the National Basketball Association (NBA).[1] He was selected in the second round as the 11th pick in the 1962 NBA Draft by the Knicks and spent three seasons playing in the league.[1] Rudometkin was nicknamed "the Reckless Russian" by Chick Hearn, the legendary Los Angeles Lakers broadcaster who used to broadcast USC men's basketball games before transitioning to the NBA.[2]


Before attending the University of Southern California, Rudometkin spent one year playing basketball at Allan Hancock College, a junior college located in his hometown of Santa Maria, California.[3] He averaged 18.2 points per game (ppg) in 30 games during the 1958–59 season.[3]

Rudometkin then enrolled at USC in the fall of 1959 to play for the Trojans. As a 6 ft 6 in (1.98 m) center, he went on to have a highly successful career in college. In his three varsity seasons at the NCAA Division I institution, Rudometkin held career averages of 18.8 points and 10.5 rebounds in 79 games played.[3] He scored 1,434 points, which stood as the school record for 23 years, and his 18.8 average is still the best career average at USC.[4] In 1961, he led the Trojans to an outright conference title, which through 2009–10 remains their most recent outright conference championship.[4] In all three seasons Rudometkin led the team in scoring and was named the team MVP,[4] and as a senior in 1961–62 he was named a consensus second-team All-American.


After his college career ended, Rudometkin was selected in the second round as the 11th overall pick by the New York Knicks in the 1962 NBA Draft.[1] He spent the 1962–63, 1963–64, and part of the 1964–65 seasons playing for the Knicks until he was signed as a free agent on February 2, 1965, by the San Francisco Warriors, with whom he subsequently finished the season (and his career).[1] Although Rudometkin played the center position in college, he was moved to play forward in the NBA.[1] In three professional seasons, Rudometkin averaged 6.3 points, 3.1 rebounds and 0.5 assists per game.[1]


After only three seasons, Rudometkin was forced to prematurely retire from basketball. His stamina weakened noticeably and doctors could not initially determine the cause.[2] He was diagnosed with non-Hodgkin's lymphoma, a diverse group of blood cancers that include any kind of lymphoma except Hodgkin's lymphoma.[5] He spent years in treatment, which caused total hair loss, temporary paralysis and the need to learn to walk all over again.[2] Rudometkin eventually went into remission and cites both medicine and his faith as reasons why he was able to survive the tumor which had encircled his lungs and heart.[2]

After his ordeal, Rudometkin married, had three sons, wrote a book about his experiences and traveled the country as a motivational speaker.[2] He also spent time as a real estate investor and minister.[4] Today he resides in Newcastle, California with his wife of roughly 50 years, but needs an oxygen tank to help him breathe.[2]


  1. ^ a b c d e f "John Rudometkin". Sports Reference LLC. 2010. Retrieved September 11, 2010. 
  2. ^ a b c d e f Crowe, Jerry (May 9, 2010). "Former USC basketball star John Rudometkin continues to fight on – for his life". The Los Angeles Times. Retrieved September 11, 2010. 
  3. ^ a b c "John Rudometkin". TheDraftReview. 2010. Retrieved September 11, 2010. 
  4. ^ a b c d "2001 Inductees For USC Athletic Hall of Fame Announced" (PRESS RELEASE). CBS Interactive. October 28, 2000. Retrieved September 11, 2010. 
  5. ^ "non-Hodgkin lymphomas" at Dorland's Medical Dictionary