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Posted on Fri, Nov 18, 2011 : 1:06 p.m.

Michigan basketball great Cazzie Russell enters Hall of Fame on Sunday

By Staff

Cazzie Russell was a star from his first game in a Michigan basketball uniform, scoring 30 points and grabbing 14 rebounds in a 1963 game against Ball State.

After 80 games, 2,164 points and 669 rebounds, three Big Ten Conference titles and two Final Four appearances, Russell left Michigan as a three-time All-American and arguably its greatest player. On Sunday, he’ll be inducted into the College Basketball Hall of Fame.


Cazzie Russell playing against Minnesota in 1966.

File photo

Russell, 67, lives in Savannah, Ga., and is an associate pastor at Live Oak Community Church. He spoke to the Savannah Morning News in a question-and-answer format about what he’s doing now and what the induction to the hall of fame means to him.

“I had a few fraternity brothers call from my fraternity at Michigan,” Russell told the Savannah Morning News. “They want to make sure they can make the trip. ... They’re calling and they all feel a part of it because we grew up together. The magnitude of it is now starting to sink in. What a blessing it is to be recognized for a gift that God has given me to play. I enjoyed playing. I never thought about all these things — All-American — I’m just playing.”

The induction ceremony will be televised on ESPNU. Russell told that Ken Maxey, a friend from his days growing up in Chicago, will introduce him at the ceremony.

Also scheduled to be inducted are James Worthy (North Carolina)); Chris Mullen (St. John's); Ralph Sampson (Virginia); coaches Bob Knight and Eddie Sutton and contributors Eddie Einhorn and Joe Vancisin.

A sampling of Russell's highlights while at Michigan


Nov. 30, 1963: In his first game for Michigan, Russell scored 30 points and had 14 rebounds as Michigan beat Ball State, 90-76.
March 7, 1964: Russell had 17 rebounds and 27 points in a 69-61 victory against Iowa.
March 20, 1964: Russell finished with 31 points and eight rebounds in a 91-80 loss to Duke in the NCAA Final Four.


Jan. 26, 1965: Russell scored 40 points on 12-of-16 shooting as Michigan beat Michigan State 103-98.
March 19, 1965: Russell scored 28 points and had 10 rebounds as Michigan beat Princeton, 93-76, to reach the NCAA title game.
March 30, 1965: Russell led Michigan to the NCAA title game, where the Wolverines lost, 91-80, to coach John Wooden and UCLA. Russell led Michigan with 28 points on 8-of-9 shooting and had five rebounds.


Dec. 11, 1965: Russell scored 45 points and had 10 rebounds in a 96-78 victory in a game played in his hometown of Chicago.
March 5, 1966: Russell had a career-high 48 points in a 105-92 victory against Northwestern in his final game at Yost Field House.
March 11, 1966: Russell had 24 points and six rebounds in an 80-79 victory against Western Kentucky in the NCAA tournament, his last victory in a Michigan uniform.


Billy Bob Schwartz

Sun, Nov 20, 2011 : 6:33 p.m.

It's about time. Congrats, Cassie!


Sat, Nov 19, 2011 : 1 p.m.

I was very young when Cazzie played for Michigan, but I still can remember him. If memory serves me correct, the Pistons were thinking about drafting him. I'm not really sure, but I think we got Dave Bing instead. I'll never forget that NCAA final game against a powerhouse UCLA team. The game we pulled out in the last 60 seconds against Purdue will always be a part of my fond memories (It was an absolute miracle). I'm glad Cazzie is finally getting the recognition he deserves.


Sat, Nov 19, 2011 : 12:17 p.m.

A great player and *always* a class act. A side story - while in school here both Cazzie and Oliver Darden were student PE teachers at Tappan.


Fri, Nov 18, 2011 : 7:27 p.m.

Cazzie had so many last second game winning baskets it was unreal. What a clutch group that was, winning 3 straight Big 10 titles because that was the only way to get to the NCAA tourney. Cazzie, Oliver Darden, Larry Tregoning, Bill Buntin for 2 of those years, George Pomey, those guys won so many clutch games on the road at Indiana and the Van Arsdale twins, Minnesota and Lou Hudson. I can remember Tom Hemingway broadcasting those games on WUOM FM. Epic. Congrats, Cazzie, well deserved.