Juan "Pachín" Vicéns
Bust of Vicéns at the entrance of the auditorium that bears his name
September 7, 1934|
Ciales, Puerto Rico
|Died||February 18, 2007
Ponce, Puerto Rico
|Listed height||5 ft 9 in (1.75 m)|
|Listed weight||170 lb (77 kg)|
|College||Kansas State (1954–1956)|
|1950–1966||Leones de Ponce|
|Career highlights and awards|
Juan "Pachín" Vicéns Sastre[note 1] (September 7, 1934 – February 18, 2007) was a Puerto Rican basketball player. Vicéns was famous for his performance with the Leones de Ponce and with the Puerto Rican national basketball team. During the 1959 FIBA World Championship in Chile, Vicéns was declared to be the Best Player in the World.
Juan Vicéns Sastre was born in Ciales, Puerto Rico. He was the sixth child of José 'Pepito' Vicéns Batalla and Antonia 'doña Lila' Sastre. In 1949, he moved to Ponce to study in the Colegio Ponceño encouraged by his brother Enrique "Coco" Vicéns, who was already playing with the Lions.
After moving, he started visiting the practices and filling in for the team when a player was needed. In 1950, he finally debuted in the National Superior Basketball (BSN) league with the Ponce Lions. In 1952, he led the Lions to their first championship, and was declared the Most Valuable Player of the series. In 1954, he repeated the feat with another championship and his second MVP award.
Also, from 1954 to 1956, Vicéns played point guard at Kansas State University, under the tutelage of Tex Winter (Winter was a mentor of future Chicago Bulls/L.A. Lakers coach, Phil Jackson). In 1956, he led Kansas State to the NCAA Sweet Sixteen.
During his sixteen years with the Ponce Lions, he led them to ten finals, and seven championship titles. In 1958, he was the scoring leader of the league, and was selected the league's Most Valuable Player two more times (1958 and 1960). He was also the first player to score 5,000 points in the league, retiring with a total of 5,102. At the end of the 1950s, he received an invitation to play for the New York Knicks, but he declined, so he could continue playing with Ponce and with the Puerto Rican team.
Vicéns was a member of the Puerto Rican National Basketball Team and represented the island in four Central American and Caribbean Games, two World Championships and two Olympic Games. It was at the 1959 FIBA World Championship, held in Antofagasta, Chile that Vicéns was elected as the World's Best Basketball Player, while also being named among the five best players of the tournament.
After retiring as an active basketball player in 1966, he kept involved in sports as a radio commentator.
He was the final torchbearer and lighted the cauldron at the 1993 Central American and Caribbean Games held in Ponce.
During the second half of 2006, Vicéns' health started to deteriorate to the point that he had to have his legs amputated. Due to his illness he had to be hospitalized several times, and finally died on February 18, 2007, at his home in Ponce at the age of 72.
- Gems, Gerald R. (2006). The Athletic Crusade: Sport And American Cultural Imperialism. University of Nebraska Press. ISBN 0-8032-2216-5.
- Ponceños conmemoran natalicio de Juan “Pachín” Vicéns. 29 August 2011. El Sur a la Vista. Ponce, Puerto Rico. Retrieved 30 August 2011.
- ABC News (49): Former K-State basketball star dies at 72; February 22, 2007.
- FIBA Hall of Fame - Powered by www.fiba.com
- Canada Basketball | Official Website
- Sports. TravelPonce.com Retrieved 18 April 2013.