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Athlete Rodney Clark ‘‘Hot Rod’’ Hundley (October 26, 1934-March 27, 2015) was born in Charleston. Many who watched him play for West Virginia University in the 1950s considered him the greatest natural basketball talent the state ever produced. Hundley was a flashy standout at Charleston High School before enrolling at WVU. The six foot-four guard-forward averaged 34.1 points per game for WVU’s freshman team in 1954 and, under coach Fred Schaus, led the varsity squad to a 72-16 record and three straight Southern Conference titles. Hundley earned first team All-American recognition his senior year and averaged 24.5 points per game and scored 2,180 points over his college career, ranking second in WVU history. In recognition of his outstanding collegiate performance, WVU retired his number 33 jersey in a ceremony in January 2010.

Despite Hundley’s dazzling talent, he is best remembered as the ‘‘clown prince of college basketball.’’ He was a master of trick shots and the behind-the-back dribble. Other antics included spinning the ball on his finger during games and humorously mocking opponents on the court. Hundley played six years in the NBA for the Minneapolis-Los Angeles Lakers and was named an all-star twice. Hundley was a radio announcer for the NBA’s Utah Jazz from 1974 until his retirement in 2009. In December 2014 he was present at the Charleston YMCA when they renamed its basketball facility the “Hot Rod Hundley Gymnasium.” Having dealt with the effects of Alzheimer’s disease for several years, Hundley died at his home near Phoenix, Arizona, at the age of 80.

This Article was written by Stan Bumgardner

Last Revised on March 27, 2015

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Sources

Julian, Norman. Hundley Credits his Success to Start at West Virginia University. Morgantown Dominion Post, 1/28/1996.

Cite This Article

Bumgardner, Stan "Hot Rod Hundley." e-WV: The West Virginia Encyclopedia. 27 March 2015. Web. 22 January 2018.

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