TUESDAY, DECEMBER 11, 2012
Gilmore named one of the top 75 players in NCAA Tournament history
JU athletics and NBA Hall of Famer Artis Gilmore was named as one of 75 greatest players ever in the NCAA Tournament to celebrate the 75th anniversary of the tournament this season.
Gilmore, who led JU to the 1970 NCAA Championship game, joins the list with basketball legends such as Kareem Abdul-Jabbar (UCLA), Bill Russell (San Francisco), Bill Walton (UCLA) and Michael Jordan (UNC).
The NCAA put together the list along with the greatest moments and teams to help celebrate the diamond jubilee of the tournament in March.
“I am truly honored,” Gilmore said. “When l look back, the combination of people we had was amazing. It was an extraordinary effort by our group. Even though I am the only one on the list, I am honored to accept it on their behalf.”
Gilmore, the most accomplished athlete in JU history, was a two-time All-America honoree in 1969-70 and 1970-71 after leading the nation in rebounding each year.
In the 1970 NCAA Tournament, Gilmore had an unthinkable 26.5 scoring average and 22.2 rebounding clip to lead JU past Iowa, Kentucky and St. Bonaventure for a spot in the championship game. The amazing run would end with an 80-69 loss to UCLA, who claimed its fifth national title. Gilmore had 19 points and 16 rebounds in the loss.
In the 1971 NCAA Tournament, the Dolphins got upset in the first round by Western Kentucky, 74-72. Gilmore posted 12 points and 22 rebounds in his final game for JU. He was also the named 1971 Consensus National Player of the Year during that season.
Gilmore finished his career with 1,312 points (24.3 average) and 1,224 rebounds (22.7). He is also the NCAA career record holder with 22.7 rebounds per game. He still holds eight JU single-season or career records. Additionally, Gilmore was listed 38th on the Street & Smith's 100 Greatest College Basketball Players.
After his time at JU, Gilmore enjoyed an 18-year career with the American Basketball Association (ABA) and National Basketball Association (NBA). He was finally inducted into the Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame in the summer of 2011. He is also a member of the Florida, Kentucky and Alabama Sports Hall of Fame. Gilmore’s No. 53 jersey is retired at JU and Gardner Webb.