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Cazzie Russell – 1972-’73 Topps #41

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ImageCazzie Lee Russell (born June 7, 1944 in Chicago, Illinois) is a former pro basketball player and coach. In 1962, Russell was named the Chicago Sun Times Boy’s Player of the Year. Russell played college basketball at the University of Michigan, where he led the Wolverines  to three consecutive Big Ten Conference titles (1964–66) and to Final Four appearances in 1964 and 1965, losing in the final game 91-80 to defending national champion UCLA and John Wooden. In 1966, Russell averaged 30.8 points per game and was named the College Basketball Player of the Year. Crisler Arena, which opened in 1967, has been dubbed The House that Cazzie Built.
Russell spent twelve seasons in the NBA (1966-1978), and his best remembered for his five seasons with the New York Knicks Image(1966-71). Russell was the NBA’s first draft pick in 1966, and was named to the 1967 All-Rookie Team. He was later part of the famous 1970 Knicks team that won the NBA championship over the Los Angeles Lakers. Russell played in the 1972 NBA All-Star Game while with the Golden State Warriors. When he played for the Lakers, he was the last player to wear #32 prior to Magic Johnson.
Russell was the head coach of the men’s basketball team at the Savannah College of Art and Design for 13 seasons, until the college eliminated the sport in 2009. He still remains at the college in an administrative capacity.

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