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Sunday, October 19, 2008

RIP Nick Weatherspoon

Nick Weatherspoon, the 10th-leading scorer in University of Illinois basketball history, was found dead Friday at his home near his hometown of Canton, Ohio, authorities said. He was 58.

Weatherspoon had been in declining health in recent years. He suffered from a degenerative disc disease of the lumbar and cervical spine. His right side was paralyzed for a time.

Death was believed to be of natural causes, authorities said.

When his career ended, Weatherspoon fought for insurance benefits and eventually lost an Ohio insurance business he started.

"It was mentally devastating," he said in a Tribune interview last year. "My mind still deals with that. I guess I'm still livin'. I can talk, but I can't get around too much. I'm in a bad situation."

Weatherspoon, a 6-foot-7-inch, 195-pound forward, was one of the first 30 former Illini to have their jerseys hung from the rafters of Assembly Hall in a ceremony in September.

Freshmen were not eligible in Weatherspoon's era, but in three seasons he scored 1,481 points and left Illinois as the school's all-time leading scorer. His career average of 20.9 points per game remains an Illinois record, and he contributed 11.4 rebounds per game.

In 1973, his senior year, he averaged 25.0 points per game, third highest in Illinois history.

Weatherspoon was a first-round pick of the Capital Bullets (now Washington Wizards) in 1973. In seven NBA seasons, he averaged 9.0 points and 4.9 rebounds. He also played for the SuperSonics, Clippers and Bulls (41 games in 1977-78).


Anonymous said...

RIP Nick. Always enjoyed watching him in black and white on WCIA fight on for the Illini.


Anonymous said...

A very bright spot on some dismal Illini teams.

Hey HG, you watched him in color. Mike Price was b/w.


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