Walt Hazzard (Walter Raphael Hazzard)

Walt Hazzard

Walt Hazzard attended Overbrook High School in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, where his teams went 89-3 and he was named the city’s player of the year when he was a senior. Hazzard then went on to UCLA, where he became an important player on the varsity basketball team. In Hazzard’s first season on the varsity squad, the UCLA Bruins made their first Final Four appearance in the 1962 NCAA Men’s Division I Basketball Tournament. They lost to the eventual champion, the Cincinnati Bearcats in the semi-finals. UCLA’s undefeated season, 1963–64, was in no small part due to Hazzard, his backcourt partner Gail Goodrich, and the team’s coach John Wooden. The team won the NCAA Championship, and Hazzard was selected by the Associated Press as the tournament’s Most Valuable Player. Following UCLA’s victory in the 1964 tournament, Sports Illustrated featured a cover photograph of Walt Hazzard dribbling the basketball up court and the headline, “UCLA Is The Champ. Walt Hazzard Drives Through Duke.” Hazzard was chosen as an All-American and also selected as College Player of the Year by the United States Basketball Writers Association (USBWA). His number 42 jersey was retired by UCLA in 1996 in Pauley Pavilion, but Hazzard gave his permission for stand-out recruit Kevin Love to wear the number. Walt Hazzard earned a spot on the 1964 Olympic basketball team for the U.S., which won the gold medal. He was the number 1 draft pick in the NBA draft of 1964 by the Los Angeles Lakers.

Walt Hazzard later played in the NBA, first with the Los Angeles Lakers from 1964–1967, then the Seattle SuperSonics, the Atlanta Hawks, the Buffalo Braves, and briefly for the Golden State Warriors. He returned to the SuperSonics for the 1973-74 season, after which he retired from professional basketball. While playing for the SuperSonics in their inaugural 1967-68 season, Hazzard scored a career high 24.0 points per game, averaged 6.2 assists per game, and was selected to play in the 1968 NBA All-Star Game. Seattle traded him to the Hawks during the off-season for Lenny Wilkens. Hazzard’s career high average in assists came during the 1969-70 season, when he averaged 6.8 assist per game while playing for the Hawks.

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Born

  • April, 15, 1942
  • USA
  • Wilmington, Delaware

Died

  • November, 18, 2011
  • USA
  • Los Angeles, California

Cemetery

  • Rose Hills Memorial Park
  • Whittier, California
  • USA

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