Greg Lee (basketball)

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Greg Lee
Greg Lee shooting.png
Lee shooting with UCLA in 1972–73
Personal information
Born (1951-12-12)December 12, 1951
Reseda, California
Nationality American
Listed height 6 ft 3 in (1.91 m)
Listed weight 190 lb (86 kg)
Career information
High school Raseda (Reseda, California)
College UCLA (1971–1974)
NBA draft 1974 / Round: 7 / Pick: 115th overall
Selected by the Atlanta Hawks
Position Point guard
Number 2, 42
Career history
1974–1975 San Diego Conquistadors
1975–1976 Portland Trail Blazers
1977–1980 TuS 04 Leverkusen
Career highlights and awards
Stats at Basketball-Reference.com

Gregory Scott Lee (born December 12, 1951) is a retired American basketball player. He was the starting point guard on back to back NCAA championship teams at UCLA in 1972 and 1973. He then played two seasons of professional basketball: one in the original American Basketball Association (ABA) and one in the National Basketball Association (NBA).

Basketball career[edit]

Lee, a 6'3" guard, was an All American while playing at Reseda High School in Reseda, California.[1] He played for UCLA from 1971 to 1974. When he arrived freshman were not allowed to compete on the Varsity team. Lee and his fellow first year classmates went undefeated, with a 20–0 record.[2] Lee averaged 17.9 points per game, while classmates Keith Wilkes averaged 20.0 points and Bill Walton averaged 18.1 points, while shooting 68.6 per cent from the floor.

At the outset of his sophomore year Lee became a starter on the Varsity. He and his classmates went on the 1971–72 UCLA basketball team had a record of 30–0, in the process winning its games by an average margin of more than 30 points. They went on to win the national title in 1972 over Florida State 81-76.

The following year the Bruins agan went 30-0, and again won the 1973 NCAA Men's Division I Basketball Tournament with an 87–66 win over Memphis State.[3] Lee's Bruins are the holders of the NCAA men's basketball record of winning 88 games in a row.

In Lee's senior year during the 1973–74 season, the school's 88-game winning streak ended with a 71–70 loss to Notre Dame. Later that same year UCLA's stretch of consecutive national titles was stopped at seven when North Carolina State defeated the Bruins 80–77 in double overtime in the semi-finals of the NCAA tournament.

After his collegiate career ended, Lee was drafted by both the NBA and ABA. The Atlanta Hawks drafted him in the seventh round (115th pick overall) of the 1974 NBA Draft and the San Diego Conquistadors drafted him in the fifth round of the ABA Draft the same year. He chose the Conquistadors, averaging 3.6 points and 2.6 assists in five games. The next season, he moved to the NBA, appearing in five games for the Portland Trail Blazers and averaging 1.2 points and 2.2 assists.[4]

Beach volleyball career[edit]

Lee played basketball but never volleyball while attending UCLA. However Lee's older brother, Jon Lee, was an accomplished beach volleyball player with a "AAA" rating. Jon introduced him to the game. Lee began playing in the sand courts at Sorrento Beach in 1970.[5] Within a year he and his friends were being asked by players such as Ron Lang and Ron von Hagen to move off the "outside courts" and compete with them on the "first court".

In 1972, Greg Lee played in his first "Open" at the Laguna Beach Open, finishing second with Ron Von Hagen. His first "Open" victory came with Tom Chamales at the 1972 Santa Barbara Open. Lee advanced to the finals four times in 1972, winning twice. It was at Santa Monica in 1972 that Lee met what came to be his longtime beach partner Jim Menges. The pair of Lee and Menges won their first Open tournament together at the 1973 Marine Street Open, defeating Ron Lang and Ron Von Hagen in the finals.[6] The two were partners on and off over the summers of the next two seasons while Menges completed his volleyball career at UCLA and Lee played professional basketball for a couple of years. Lee's best finish on the beach in 1974 was a second at the Manhattan Beach Open.[5]

In 1975 Lee and Menges began playing together full-time, and the two went on a tear.[1] They reached the finals of 10 events, winning all but one. In the mid-1970s, the beach volleyball tour consisted of 12 tournaments, all played at beaches along the southern California coast, from Santa Cruz in the north to San Diego in the south.[1] Lee and Menges dominated the events, winning the final seven matches of the 1975 season and the first six in 1976 to string together 13 tournament wins in a row.[1] The record stood for 16 years until tied by the pairing of Karch Kiraly and Kent Steffes.[7] Lee and Menges had become the most dominant pairing in beach volleyball.[8][9]

On the 1977 tour, Lee advanced to the finals three times, winning all of them. In 1978, he reached five finals, winning four times. Lee also won the 1981 Laguna Beach Open with Jay Hanseth. In 1981, Lee and Menges won their last "Open" title, at the Mission Beach Open in San Diego.[5] In total Lee won 25 tournaments with his partner Jim Menges, which places the pair at #6 on the all-time list of wins for a team.

Greg Lee’s greatest success on the beach came when teaming with Jim Menges. Lee and Menges were considered the kings of the beach in the mid to late 1970s.[10][11] From 1973-1982, Lee and Menges played in 30 tournaments together, winning 25, finishing second three times and third twice. They were never out of the top three. The pair also won pro beach volleyball's first World Championship in 1976.[12] Following a loss that stopped Kiraly and Steffes from breaking the tour record of 13 tournament championships in a row set in 1975-76 by Lee and Menges, Kiraly said: "I guess it's appropriate that Menges and Lee stay in the record book. They laid the foundation for the sport."[13]

Lee scored additional victories with Ron Von Hagen and Jay Hanseth. In 1977 Greg Lee left the sand to play professional Basketball in Europe, returning to southern California two years later.[5]

Lee entered a total of 62 "Open" tournaments, reaching the finals 39 times while collecting 29 tournament titles.[5] He was inducted into the CBVA Beach Volleyball Hall of Fame in 1997.[5]

Following his athletic career Lee went on to become a teacher, working at Clairemont High School in San Diego teaching mathematics. He also coached varsity basketball and tennis.[1]

References[edit]

  1. ^ a b c d e Reilley, Mike (14 August 1992). "Menges, Lee Recall a Different Era". Los Angeles Times. Retrieved 16 April 2017. 
  2. ^ 1972 Official Collegiate Basketball Guide, College Athletics Publishing Service, 1971
  3. ^ 2010-11 UCLA men's basketball media guide Archived 2011-03-10 at WebCite, accessed August 4, 2011
  4. ^ "Basketball: Greg Lee". Sports Reference. Retrieved 4 August 2011. 
  5. ^ a b c d e f "Greg Lee: Career". Beach Volleyball Database. Retrieved 2 May 2017. 
  6. ^ "Santa Monica Pier". Retrieved 17 April 2017. 
  7. ^ Reilley, Mike (16 August 1992). "Luck Elusive for Kiraly and Steffes". Retrieved 16 April 2017. 
  8. ^ Hall, Dave (11 August 1989). "Beach Tourney Will Salute the Legendary Stars of Volleyball". Los Angeles Times. Retrieved 16 April 2017. 
  9. ^ Angel, Randy (15 November 2012). "Hermosa Beach hosts annual CBVA Hall of Fame event". Retrieved 1 May 2017. 
  10. ^ Howard-Cooper, Scott (26 April 1988). "Stevenson Has Quietly Piled Up Big Numbers". Los Angeles Times. Retrieved 1 May 2017. 
  11. ^ "History of Beach Volleyball". Retrieved 1 May 2017. 
  12. ^ "History of Beach Volleyball". Volleyball World Wide. Retrieved 3 May 2017. 
  13. ^ Reilley, Mike (22 August 1992). "Smith, Stoklos Fighting the Fine". Los Angeles Times. Retrieved 2 May 2017. 

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