Dave DeBusschere

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Dave DeBusschere
Dave DeBusschere.jpeg
DeBusschere circa 1974
Personal information
Born (1940-10-16)October 16, 1940
Detroit, Michigan
Died May 14, 2003(2003-05-14) (aged 62)
New York City, New York
Nationality American
Listed height 6 ft 6 in (1.98 m)
Listed weight 220 lb (100 kg)
Career information
High school Austin Catholic Preparatory School
(Detroit, Michigan)
College Detroit (1959–1962)
NBA draft 1962 / Pick: Territorial
Selected by the Detroit Pistons
Playing career 1962–1974
Position Power forward / Small forward
Number 22
Career history
As player:
19621968 Detroit Pistons
19681974 New York Knicks
As coach:
19641967 Detroit Pistons
Career highlights and awards
Career NBA statistics
Points 14,053 (16.1 ppg)
Rebounds 9,618 (11.0 rpg)
Assists 2,497 (2.9 apg)
Stats at Basketball-Reference.com
Basketball Hall of Fame as player
College Basketball Hall of Fame
Inducted in 2006

David Albert DeBusschere (October 16, 1940 – May 14, 2003) was an American professional National Basketball Association player and coach and Major League baseball player. In 1996, DeBusschere was named as one of the 50 greatest players in NBA history.

Early life[edit]

DeBusschere was born in Detroit to parents Peter Marcell and Dorothy Debusschere.[1] He attended Austin Catholic Preparatory School and inspired the "White Shirted Legion" (the tradition of wearing white shirts to the school's games to make fans more visible). As a junior, he was named all-state, and in his senior year of 1957–58, in just the school's third year of organized basketball, he led his team to the Michigan Class A high school basketball championship, scoring 32 points despite fouling out midway through the fourth quarter as the Friars defeated Benton Harbor High School and Debusschere's future NBA rival forward Chet Walker.[2]

College career[edit]

DeBusschere starred in both basketball and baseball at the University of Detroit. He averaged 24 points a game in basketball, helping Detroit reach the National Invitation Tournament twice and the NCAA basketball tournament once. He also pitched the Titans to three NCAA baseball tournament berths.[3]

Baseball career[edit]

Dave DeBusschere
Pitcher
Born: (1940-10-16)October 16, 1940
Died: May 14, 2003(2003-05-14) (aged 62)
Batted: Right Threw: Right
MLB debut
April 22, 1962, for the Chicago White Sox
Last MLB appearance
September 2, 1963, for the Chicago White Sox
MLB statistics
Win–loss record 3–4
Earned run average 2.90
Complete games 1
Teams

In 1962, DeBusschere was signed by the Chicago White Sox as an amateur free agent. He was a pitcher for the White Sox from 1962–63. He pitched a shutout on August 13, 1963, against the Cleveland Indians, giving up six hits, one walk and striking out three. In 22 career at bats, he had only one hit, a single off Bennie Daniels on July 17, 1963. He pitched in the White Sox minor league system for two more seasons before giving up pitching to focus on both playing and coaching basketball.[4]

He is one of only 12 athletes to have played in both Major League Baseball and the National Basketball Association, or its predecessor the Basketball Association of America. The others are Mark Hendrickson, Danny Ainge, Gene Conley, Ron Reed, Dick Groat, Steve Hamilton, Cotton Nash, Frank Baumholtz, Dick Ricketts, Howie Schultz, and Chuck Connors.[5][6][7]

Basketball career[edit]

Detroit Pistons[edit]

DeBusschere was selected by the Detroit Pistons in 1962 NBA draft as a territorial draft selection. During his rookie season, he averaged 12.7 points and 8.7 rebounds per game, and was later named to the NBA All-Rookie Team. However, DeBusschere was injured during his second season and only played in 15 games, resulting in the Pistons finishing with a disappointing record of 23-59.

In the 1964–1965 season, at the age of 24, he was given the position of player-coach for the Pistons, and thus became the youngest-ever coach in league history. However, this stint as coach was not successful and he became a full-time player. During the 1968–1969 season, DeBusschere was traded to the New York Knicks for Walt Bellamy and Howard Komives.

New York Knicks[edit]

DeBusschere was named to the First Team All-Defensive Team every season of his career after the inception of the designation.

DeBusschere, along with future Hall of Famers Willis Reed, Bill Bradley and Walt Frazier, became an NBA champion when the Knicks defeated the Los Angeles Lakers in the 1970 NBA Finals. With Earl Monroe in the backcourt, they became champions again in 1973, beating the Lakers 4-1 in the finals.

DeBusschere was elected to the Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame in 1983 after a 12-year career (1962–1974) in which he averaged 16.1 points and 11 rebounds while being named to eight NBA All-Star teams. He became a member of the NBA 50th Anniversary All-Time Team in 1996. He was renowned for his physical style of play and tenacious defense, and he was named to the NBA All-Defensive first team six times.[8]

Life after basketball[edit]

DeBusschere retired as a player in 1974, and his #22 jersey was retired by the Knicks, though not until many years later; it is thought the delay was due to his taking a front-office job with the rival New York Nets of the American Basketball Association (now Brooklyn Nets) upon his retirement. The next year DeBusschere became the ABA's commissioner for the 1975–76 season, its last. DeBusschere helped bring about the merger between the NBA and the ABA that year.[9] He was later the assistant coach and director of basketball operation of the Knicks during the 1980s, when he drafted fellow Knicks legend Patrick Ewing, the first overall selection in 1985.

DeBusschere and some partners purchased Ring magazine in 1979.[10]

DeBusschere authored a book entitled The Open Man, a chronicle of the New York Knicks' 1969–1970 championship season.

Death[edit]

In May 2003, Dave DeBusschere collapsed on a Manhattan street from a heart attack and was pronounced dead at New York University Hospital. He was 62 years of age. DeBusschere was interred at Saint Joseph's Church Cemetery in Garden City, Nassau County, New York. DeBusschere, who lived in Garden City, was survived by his wife, Gerri (who died of cancer in 2009),[11] sons Peter and Dennis, and daughter Michelle.[12]

In his honor, the University of Detroit Mercy inaugurated the Dave DeBusschere Scholarship in 2003. It provides support to two student-athletes that must have a minimum grade point average of 3.0 and have demonstrated exceptional leadership skills.[13]

NBA career statistics[edit]

Legend
  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
Denotes seasons in which DeBusschere won an NBA championship

Regular season[edit]

Year Team GP GS MPG FG% 3P% FT% RPG APG SPG BPG PPG
1962–63 Detroit 80 29.4 .430 .718 8.7 2.6 12.7
1963–64 Detroit 15 20.3 .391 .581 7.0 1.5 8.6
1964–65 Detroit 79 35.1 .425 .700 11.1 3.2 16.7
1965–66 Detroit 79 34.1 .408 .659 11.6 2.6 16.4
1966–67 Detroit 78 37.1 .415 .705 11.8 2.8 18.2
1967–68 Detroit 80 39.1 .442 .664 13.5 2.3 17.9
1968–69 Detroit 29 37.7 .447 .723 12.2 2.2 16.3
1968–69 New York 47 39.4 .442 .682 11.4 2.7 16.4
1969–70 New York 79 33.3 .451 .688 10.0 2.5 14.6
1970–71 New York 81 35.7 .421 .696 11.1 2.7 15.6
1971–72 New York 80 38.4 .427 .728 11.3 3.6 15.4
1972–73 New York 77 36.7 .435 .746 10.2 3.4 16.3
1973–74 New York 71 38.0 .461 .756 10.7 3.6 0.9 0.5 18.1
Career 875 35.7 .432 .699 11.0 2.9 0.9 0.5 16.1
All-Star 8 1 20.9 .457 .750 6.4 1.4 0.1 0.0 9.6

Playoffs[edit]

Year Team GP GS MPG FG% 3P% FT% RPG APG SPG BPG PPG
1963 Detroit 4 39.8 .424 .682 15.8 1.5 20.0
1968 Detroit 6 43.8 .425 .578 16.2 2.2 19.3
1969 New York 10 41.9 .351 .820 14.8 3.3 16.3
1970 New York 19 36.9 .421 .662 11.6 2.4 16.1
1971 New York 12 40.7 .416 .659 13.0 1.8 16.4
1972 New York 16 38.5 .450 .750 12.1 2.3 16.6
1973 New York 17 37.1 .442 .775 10.5 3.4 15.6
1974 New York 12 33.7 .380 .621 8.3 3.2 0.6 0.3 12.0
Career 96 38.4 .416 .698 12.0 2.6 0.6 0.3 16.0

See also[edit]

References[edit]

External links[edit]