Men's Basketball

Ohio State Mourns the Passing of John Havlicek

From an Ohio State release.

COLUMBUS, Ohio – John Havlicek, who was instrumental in Ohio State’s historical run from 1960-62, including its run to the 1960 National Championship, died Thursday at the age of 79.

A captain in 1962, Havlicek earned consensus Second Team All-America honors as a senior after he averaged 16.9 points and 9.6 rebounds a game. His No. 5 jersey was retired at Ohio State Feb. 27, 2005. He was selected as a member of the Ohio State Athletics Hall of Fame in 1977.

“All of us associated with the men’s basketball program are saddened to learn of the passing of Ohio State legend John Havlicek,” Chris Holtmann, Ohio State head coach, said. “Anyone who grew up around the game of basketball like I did marvels at what John accomplished throughout his career. He led an Ohio State team recognized as one of the most accomplished in the history of the collegiate game before beginning his legendary career with the Boston Celtics. Our thoughts and prayers are with his family, friends and teammates.”

Although he probably was better known for his exploits as a member of the NBA’s Boston Celtics, Havlicek was an undeniably great college player. He was a three-year starter for the Buckeyes between 1960 and ’62 and he helped the team to a 78-6 record, three-consecutive Final Fours and the 1960 National Championship.

He was a two-time All-Big Ten pick and a second-team All-American as a senior. Havlicek also was a two-time pick on the all-tournament team at the Final Four. He scored 1,223 points during his career, a total that is 26th on the all-time OSU scoring list. The 6-foot-5-inch forward also averaged 8.6 rebounds and still ranks 11th in that department.

Havlicek, who attended Bridgeport (Ohio) High School, holds several OSU records, including one of the best shooting performances in a game, a perfect nine-of-nine against Michigan in 1961.

After playing at Ohio State, Havlicek was drafted by the Cleveland Browns in the NFL and the Celtics. The last player cut by the Browns (all-pro flanker Gary Collins was the player they kept), Havlicek went on to a distinguished career with the Boston Celtics, first as a sixth man and later as a starter.

Few players played the game with more intensity and few were better at accepting the challenge at the defensive end of the floor. He is a member of the Basketball Hall of Fame. Havlicek’s No. 5 jersey was retired during the 2004-05 season (vs. Wisconsin, Feb. 27). He is one of five Ohio State men’s basketball players to have his number officially retired.

Havlicek in the Ohio State Record Books
No. 1 (tie)            Best Shooting Percentage in a game (9-9) vs. Michigan (2/4/61)
No. 12 (tie)          Career Double-Doubles (27 from 1960-62)
No. 24 (tie)          Single Season Double Doubles (13 in 1961-62)
No. 32                  Career scoring (1,223 from 1960-62)

[John Havlicek photo courtesy]