Ricky Grace

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Ricky Grace
Point guard
Personal information
Born (1966-08-20) August 20, 1966 (age 47)
Dallas, Texas
Nationality American / Australian
Listed height 6 ft 1 in (1.85 m)
Listed weight 174 lb (79 kg)
Career information
High school Wilmer-Hutchins (Dallas, Texas)
College Midland College (1984–1986)
Oklahoma (1986–1988)
NBA draft 1988 / Round: 3 / Pick: 67th overall
Selected by the Utah Jazz
Pro playing career 1988–2005
Career history
1988–1989 Topeka Sizzlers
1990–1993 Perth Wildcats
1993 Atlanta Hawks
1994–2005 Perth Wildcats
Career highlights and awards
Stats at Basketball-Reference.com

Ricky Ray Grace (born August 20, 1966) is an American-Australian former professional basketball player who played in the Australian National Basketball League for the Perth Wildcats.

Playing career[edit]

Ricky "Amazing" Grace played American college basketball firstly at Midland College, transferring after two years to the University of Oklahoma alongside future NBA player Mookie Blaylock.[1] In 1988, his last year at Oklahoma, Grace helped the Oklahoma Sooners reach the championship game of the NCAA Men's Basketball Tournament, where they were defeated by the Kansas Jayhawks.[2]

Selected in the 1988 NBA Draft by the Utah Jazz in the third round (67th overall), he failed to make the active roster of an NBA team. Soon after, Grace was invited by then Perth Wildcats general manager Cal Bruton to play for the Australian club, where he played his entire professional career, and captained the club from 2002/03 until his retirement. During his time with the club Grace played an integral part in six grand finals appearances and four championships, twice being award Grand Final MVP; first in 1990 when the Wildcats defeated the Brisbane Bullets to claim their first championship, and again in 1993 when the Wildcats were defeated by the Melbourne Tigers.

1991 was filled with more success for Grace, as the Wildcats won back-to-back championships, defeating the Eastside Spectres, and Grace was selected to the All-NBL First Team.

In 1993, Grace had a three-game stint with the Atlanta Hawks, where he was reunited with college teammate Mookie Blaylock.

In 1995, the Wildcats were again champions, defeating the North Melbourne Giants. As Champions, the Wildcats were invited to participate in the 1995 McDonald's Championship in London. The Wildcats lost to NBA champions the Houston Rockets before defeating Real Madrid in their second match.

In 1996, Grace signed a 6-year contract with the Wildcats, and soon after became naturalised as an Australian citizen. As an Australian citizen he became eligible to represent Australia, and was a member of the Boomers at the Sydney Olympic Games in 2000. This capped off another successful year for Grace, who won his fourth championship when the Wildcats defeated the Victoria Titans.

In the second half of his career, Grace adjusted his game to become more of an offensive threat, and he was rewarded with another All-NBL First Team selection in 2001, 10 years after the first, and again in 2002 and 2003. Despite playing arguably the best basketball of his career, the Wildcats would only make one more grand final series, in 2002/2003, when they were defeated by the Sydney Kings, meaning Grace would fail to equal the then record of Larry Sengstock who won five NBL championships.

In 2003 Grace was selected to the NBL's 25th Anniversary Team. He would play for two more seasons, with his last game a loss in an elimination final against the Melbourne Tigers on the 24th of February 2005.

On August 4, 2010, it was announced that Grace is to be inducted into the Australian Basketball Hall of Fame (ABHF) at a ceremony on the 18th of August, 2010.[3]

Post playing career[edit]

Currently Grace is the director for the Role Models WA organisation. Role Models WA offers sport and development programs for indigenous communities in Western Australia.[4] Other role models that work alongside Grace include numerous football players from the Fremantle Dockers and West Coast Eagles including Chris Lewis, David Wirrpanda, Des Headland and Daniel Kerr.[5][6]

On February 4, 2013, Grace was named to the Perth Wildcats 30th Anniversary All-Star team.[7][8]

Oklahoma Sooners Team records[edit]

  • First in three-point field goal percentage in a season - 1986/87 (.441)
  • First in assists in a season - 1987/88 (280)
  • Equal First in steals in a NCAA Tournament game - vs Iowa, March 20, 1987 (7) [9]

Perth Wildcats Team records[edit]

  • First in games played (482)
  • First in points (8802)
  • First in assists (3470)
  • First in steals (734)

NBL records[edit]

  • First in assists per game in 2003 (8.0/27 games)
  • First in assists per game in 2004 (7.3/23 games)

References[edit]

  1. ^ Goodwin, Michael; Curry, Jack (1988-01-04). "SPORTS WORLD SPECIALS; Running It Up". New York Times. Retrieved 2009-03-01. 
  2. ^ "Oklahoma's 1988 NCAA runner-up team gathers for reunion". ESPN. 2008. Retrieved 2009-03-01. 
  3. ^ "Ricky Grace into basketball Hall of Fame". The Sydney Morning Herald. 2010-08-04. 
  4. ^ "Role Models WA - About Us". Role Models WA, Inc. 2007. Archived from the original on 2007-10-08. Retrieved 2007-07-15. 
  5. ^ "Role Models WA - Role Models". Role Models WA, Inc. 2007. Archived from the original on 2007-10-08. Retrieved 2007-07-15. 
  6. ^ Briggs, Sian (2007-07-14). "Amazing Grace". The Sunday Times. Retrieved 2009-03-03. 
  7. ^ 30th Anniversary All-Star Team
  8. ^ Americans dominate Wildcats All-Star team
  9. ^ "2008-09 Men's Basketball Media Guide". Soonersports. 2008. Retrieved 2009-03-01. 
Awards
Preceded by
Scott Fisher
Bruce Bolden
NBL Grand Final MVP
1990
1993
Succeeded by
Pete Hansen
Paul Rees
Preceded by
Andrew Vlahov
Captain of the Perth Wildcats
2002-2005
Succeeded by
Tony Ronaldson