Luckett from the 1974 Athena
|Listed height||6 ft 4 in (1.93 m)|
|Listed weight||190 lb (86 kg)|
|High school||Kolbe (Bridgeport, Connecticut)|
|NBA draft||1975 / Round: 2 / Pick: 27th overall|
|Selected by the Detroit Pistons|
|Career highlights and awards|
Walter Luckett, Jr. is an American former basketball player who is best known for his career at the high school and college levels. Luckett starred at the prep level for Kolbe High School in his hometown of Bridgeport, Connecticut before playing at Ohio University for the Bobcats between 1972–73 and 1974–75. Following his junior season at Ohio he declared for the NBA Draft, where he was selected in the second round (27th overall) by the Detroit Pistons. Due to a knee injury, however, Luckett never played a single game in the National Basketball Association (NBA).
Growing up, Luckett honed his talents at Nanny Goat Park in Bridgeport. As an eighth-grade student he once scored 59 points against another high school's junior varsity team. This scoring outburst previewed what Luckett would do at Kolbe Boys High School—establish a record-setting career that saw him score more points than any other high school player in New England history, win a state championship, and get named the national high school player of the year as a senior in 1971–72.
Throughout his four-year varsity career, Luckett scored 2,691 points, which as of 2012 is still the highest total in the New England region history. In one game during his sophomore season, he scored 53 points against an opponent, and for his career he averaged 31.1 points per game. As a junior, Luckett led Kolbe to a state championship victory. Then, as a senior, he averaged a triple-double of 39.5 points, 16 rebounds and 13 assists per game en route to being named the national high school player of the year. His great success early on has been attributed to his hard work ethic and the fact that he grew up with, and played every day against, Frank Oleynick and Barry McLeod, both of whom were later drafted to the NBA (although only Oleynick played in any games).
Toward the end of high school, Luckett suffered a freak knee injury. It was not serious enough to sideline him from playing his freshman year at Ohio University, but it would later prove to be the undoing of any professional career. In 1972–73, his first year at college, Luckett was featured on the cover of the November 27 issue of Sports Illustrated during the first week of his Bobcat career. He was a confident freshman, proclaiming that he would "drive those rascals wild" when referring to the Missouri Tigers, his first college opponent. After a 3-for-12 shooting performance against them and a rough introduction to National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA) Division I basketball, Luckett found his groove and ended up averaging 13.5 points per game for his freshman season.
The following season, Luckett averaged 22.8 points per game and led the Mid-American Conference (MAC) in scoring. The Bobcats earned a berth in the 1974 NCAA Tournament after winning the conference championship. For his efforts he was named the MAC Men's Basketball Player of the Year.
In 1974–75, Luckett's junior season, he increased his scoring average to 25.2 points per game, bringing his career average to 20.5. He earned numerous All-America honors, becoming just the second player from Ohio University to do so. For the second consecutive year he led the league in scoring and repeated as a First Team All-MAC performer. Luckett decided to turn professional after the season, forgoing his NCAA eligibility and hoping to become the next NBA star. He scored 1,625 points in just three seasons, which was the most in school history at the time.
Luckett was selected in the 1975 NBA Draft by the Detroit Pistons. Following the draft, Luckett gained even further notoriety for scoring 28 points in a game against a team that had players like Julius Erving and Earl Monroe on its squad. This game ultimately became the highlight of his post-collegiate basketball career, however, because he re-injured his knee while walking up an escalator. He could not run or even lift his leg, and thus was cut by Detroit prior to ever playing a game in the league.
He went back home to Bridgeport, now with his high school sweetheart-turned-wife, and within a year enrolled at the University of Bridgeport. He finished his undergraduate degree at the school, and for the first several years after graduation he played semi-professional basketball on top of working full-time in business. His company, Unilever Home and Personal Care, paid for his Master of Business Administration (MBA) that he earned at the University of New Haven. Luckett eventually became the company's manager of community relations, then after 25 years he retired. Today he resides in Hamden, Connecticut with his wife Valita.
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- "Luckett the pride of Shehan Center, where it all began for basketball star". Connecticut Post. October 22, 2006. Retrieved May 9, 2012.
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- Steele, Ben (January 5, 2011). "Race Matters". Order of the Court. blogspot. Retrieved May 9, 2012.
- "Ohio to Honor Basketball Legends Wednesday". OhioBobcats.com. Ohio University. January 22, 2007. Retrieved May 9, 2012.
- "Walter Luckett". The Draft Review. 2010. Retrieved May 9, 2012.