Westley Sissel Unseld (born March 14, 1946) is an American former basketball player. He spent his entire NBA career with the Baltimore/Capital/Washington Bullets, and was inducted into the Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame in 1988.
Unseld in 1975
|Born||March 14, 1946|
|Listed height||6 ft 7 in (2.01 m)|
|Listed weight||245 lb (111 kg)|
|High school||Seneca (Louisville, Kentucky)|
|NBA draft||1968 / Round: 1 / Pick: 2nd overall|
|Selected by the Baltimore Bullets|
|1968–1981||Baltimore / Capital / Washington Bullets|
|Career highlights and awards|
|Career NBA statistics|
|Points||10,624 (10.8 ppg)|
|Rebounds||13,769 (14.0 rpg)|
|Assists||3,822 (3.9 apg)|
|Stats at Basketball-Reference.com|
|Basketball Hall of Fame as player|
|College Basketball Hall of Fame|
Inducted in 2006
Early life and college careerEdit
Unseld starred for the Seneca High School team that won Kentucky state championships in 1963 and 1964. He was recruited by over 100 colleges. Adolph Rupp, the University of Kentucky coach, offered Unseld a basketball scholarship, making Unseld the first African American athlete offered an athletic scholarship to the school. Integration leaders in Louisville attempted to persuade Unseld to attend U.K., saying that "we think it would be good for Kentucky and the Southeastern conference." He chose to enroll at the University of Louisville in 1965 where he played center for the school's freshman team, averaging 35.8 points and 23.6 rebounds over 14 games. Unseld lettered for Louisville as a sophomore (1965–66), junior (1966–67), and senior (1967–68), scored 1,686 points (20.6 average) and grabbed 1,551 rebounds (18.9 average) over 82 games. He led the Missouri Valley Conference in rebounding all three years.
Unseld earned NCAA All-American honors in 1967 and 1968 and led Louisville to a 60–22 record during his collegiate career, making trips to the NIT tournament in 1966 and NCAA tournament in 1967 and 1968. He is a member of Alpha Phi Alpha fraternity.
In his first career game, Unseld recorded 8 points and 22 rebounds in a 124–116 win over the Detroit Pistons. On October 19, Unseld recorded his first double-double of his career after recording 13 points and 20 rebounds in a 124–121 loss to the Philadelphia 76ers. On November 22, Unseld recorded 20 points and a career-high 29 rebounds in a 110-121 loss to the Sixers.
As a rookie, Unseld helped lead the Bullets (which had finished in last place in the Eastern division the previous year) to a 57–25 record and a division title. Unseld averaged 18.2 rebounds per game that year, and joined fellow future Hall of Famer Wilt Chamberlain to become the second player ever to win the Rookie of the Year Award and the Most Valuable Player Award in the same year. Unseld was also named to the NBA All-Rookie First Team, and also claimed the Sporting News MVP that year.
Unseld was one of the best defensive players of his era, and in 1975, he led the NBA in rebounding. The following season, he led the NBA in field goal percentage with a .561 percentage.
Unseld took the Bullets franchise to four NBA Finals, and won the championship in 1978 over the Seattle SuperSonics, in which he was named the Finals MVP. He ended his playing career following the 1980–81 season, and his No. 41 jersey was retired by the Bullets shortly thereafter.
Famed for his rebounding, bone-jarring picks and ability to ignite a fast break with his crisp, accurate outlet passes, Unseld made up for his lack of size with brute strength and sheer determination. In 984 NBA games – all with the Bullets – Unseld averaged a double-double in points and rebounds, with averages of 10.8 points and 14.0 rebounds per game. He also averaged 3.9 assists, excellent for a center, in the 36 minutes He played per game. Unseld was inducted into the Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame in 1988, and in 1996, he was named as one of the NBA's 50 Greatest Players of all time.
Executive and coaching careerEdit
After Unseld’s retirement in 1981, he moved into a front office position with the Bullets, where he served as vice president for six years before being named head coach in 1988. He resigned following the 1994 season with a 202–345 record (.369). Unseld became the team's general manager in 1996 and guided the team to the playoffs once during his tenure.
Unseld's wife, Connie, opened Unselds School in 1979. A coed private school located in southwest Baltimore, it has a daycare program, nursery school and a kindergarten-to-eighth grade curriculum. Connie and daughter Kimberley serve as teachers at the school. Unseld works as an office manager and head basketball coach. He is the godfather of Cleveland Cavaliers all-star forward, Kevin Love, as Kevin's father Stan Love was a teammate of Unseld's on the Baltimore Bullets. His son, Wes Unseld Jr., is currently the assistant coach of the Denver Nuggets.
NBA career statisticsEdit
|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|
|†||Won an NBA championship||*||Led the league|
|Regular season||G||Games coached||W||Games won||L||Games lost||W–L %||Win–loss %|
|Playoffs||PG||Playoff games||PW||Playoff wins||PL||Playoff losses||PW–L %||Playoff win–loss %|
|Washington||1987–88||55||30||25||.545||2nd in Atlantic||5||2||3||.400||Lost in First Round|
|Washington||1988–89||82||40||42||.488||4st in Atlantic||—||—||—||—||Missed playoffs|
|Washington||1989–90||82||31||51||.378||4st in Atlantic||—||—||—||—||Missed playoffs|
|Washington||1990–91||82||30||52||.366||4st in Atlantic||—||—||—||—||Missed playoffs|
|Washington||1991–92||82||25||57||.305||6th in Atlantic||—||—||—||—||Missed playoffs|
|Washington||1992–93||82||22||60||.268||7th in Atlantic||—||—||—||—||Missed playoffs|
|Washington||1993–94||82||24||58||.293||7th in Atlantic||—||—||—||—||Missed playoffs|
- List of National Basketball Association career rebounding leaders
- List of National Basketball Association career playoff rebounding leaders
- List of National Basketball Association annual rebounding leaders
- List of National Basketball Association players with most rebounds in a game
- List of NCAA Division I men's basketball career rebounding leaders
- List of University of Louisville people
- List of people from the Louisville metropolitan area
- "Adolph Rupp: Fact and Fiction". www.bigbluehistory.net. Retrieved March 22, 2020.
- "Wes Unseld". Basketball-Reference.com. Retrieved May 24, 2012.
- "Detroit Pistons at Baltimore Bullets Box Score, October 16, 1968". Basketball-Reference. Retrieved October 17, 2019.
- "Philadelphia 76ers at Baltimore Bullets Box Score, October 19, 1968". Basketball-Reference. Retrieved October 17, 2019.
- "Baltimore Bullets at Philadelphia 76ers Box Score, November 22, 1968". Basketball-Reference. Retrieved October 17, 2019.
- "Wes Unseld". NBA Encyclopedia Playoff Edition. NBA Media Ventures, LLC. Retrieved May 24, 2012.
- "N.b.a.; Unseld Is Named Bullets' New Coach". The New York Times. January 4, 1988. Retrieved February 14, 2018.
- "Bullets' Unseld Quits as Coach". The New York Times. April 25, 1994. Retrieved February 14, 2018.
- Terry, Mike (April 25, 1994). "Unseld resigns after 7 seasons as Bullets coach". Washington Post. Retrieved February 14, 2018.
- "Eye on the Entrepreneur – Silver anniversary for Unseld's School". The Daily Record. Baltimore. February 27, 2004. Archived from the original on May 16, 2008. Retrieved December 19, 2010.
- Neale, Barrett (December 2010). "Unselds Are Still Heroes, But In Scholastic Arena" (156 ed.). Press Box (Baltimore, Maryland).
- "Meet the 2016-17 Nuggets Coaches". Denver Nuggets. September 14, 2016. Retrieved November 22, 2017.
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