Bill Willoughby

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Bill Willoughby
Personal information
Born (1957-05-20) May 20, 1957 (age 59)
Englewood, New Jersey
Nationality American
Listed height 6 ft 8 in (2.03 m)
Listed weight 205 lb (93 kg)
Career information
High school Dwight Morrow
(Englewood, New Jersey)
NBA draft 1975 / Round: 2 / Pick: 19th overall
Selected by the Atlanta Hawks
Playing career 1975–1984
Position Center / Power forward
Number 32, 33, 34
Career history
19751977 Atlanta Hawks
1977–1978 Buffalo Braves
1979–1980 Cleveland Cavaliers
19801982 Houston Rockets
1982–1983 San Antonio Spurs
19831984 New Jersey Nets
Career statistics
Points 2,930 (6.0 ppg)
Rebounds 1,891 (3.9 rpg)
Assists 413 (0.8 apg)
Stats at

William Wesley Willoughby (born May 20, 1957) is a retired American professional basketball player born in Englewood, New Jersey. After graduating from Dwight Morrow High School in Englewood, he was selected by the Atlanta Hawks in the 1975 NBA draft as the first pick in the second round (19th overall), bypassing college for a chance to play professionally.[1] In the 1975–76 NBA season, he became the second youngest player ever to play an NBA game.

Playing career[edit]

While Moses Malone (drafted into the American Basketball Association out of high school in 1974, prior to the 1976 ABA–NBA merger) and Darryl Dawkins enjoyed more successful professional careers, Willoughby had a career that was undistinguished. Nicknamed "Poodle", he was a journeyman who played for six different NBA teams in eight years, before his career ended with the New Jersey Nets in 1984, at the age of 26. Willoughby was tremendously athletic, having a 47 inch vertical leap. He had played center throughout his high school career, and was forced to play forward in the pros. Willoughby gained some brief fame in the 1981 NBA postseason while with the Houston Rockets by becoming one of the few players ever to block Kareem Abdul-Jabbar's "skyhook" at its apex.[2]

Post playing career[edit]

Though he later regretted skipping college, Willoughby eventually received his degree in communications from Fairleigh Dickinson University in 2001, at the age of 44. The NBA fully paid all of his college expenses, and, in return, Willoughby is a special advisor to the NBA who counsels high school players considering forsaking college basketball for the NBA.[2]

Willoughby currently resides in Hackensack, New Jersey.[1]


  1. ^ a b Broussard, Chris (November 16, 2003). "Why Pros Spent 20 Years Shunning High Schoolers". The New York Times. Archived from the original on 2014-01-16. Retrieved November 19, 2007. 
  2. ^ a b "Outside the Lines: Making The Leap". May 27, 2001. Archived from the original on 2012-10-25. Retrieved 2009-09-21. 

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