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SEATTLE — Former University of Washington basketball star and Hall of Fame inductee Bob Houbregs has died at age 82.
Houbregs died on Wednesday morning, the school confirmed. Details of his death were not immediately available.
“Bob was an icon in our community,” University of Washington Athletic Director Scott Woodward said. “His efforts on the court helped put Washington basketball on the map, but what made him remarkable was his character beyond the game of basketball. He had a way of connecting with people in a very genuine manner, and his presence will be truly missed here.”
Houbregs was a native of Vancouver, British Columbia, and attended Seattle’s Queen Anne High School before heading to the UW. The 6-foot-7 Husky forward, nicknamed “Hooks,” was a star in college thanks to his hook shot. He led Washington (28-3) to its only Final Four appearance in 1953, capping his stellar career at Washington.
The NCAA named Houbregs Player of the Year in 1953 and he also was a consensus All-American that year, the only player in UW history to claim either of those honors. He also was an all-Pacific Coast Conference selection from 1951-53.
Houbregs was Washington’s all-time leading scorer from the end of his career until the 1980s and his 1,774 career points still ranks fifth on the Huskies’ all-time list. He still holds school records for points in a game (49 against Idaho in 1953) and points in a season (846 total in 1953) and points per game (25.6, also in 1953). He finished his three-year UW career averaging 19.5 points (second all-time) and 10.7 rebounds (third all-time).
He was the first player in UW basketball program history to have his jersey retired. His No. 25 and Brandon Roy’s No. 3 are the only men’s basketball jerseys hanging in the rafters at Hec Edmundson Pavilion.
The Milwaukee Hawks selected Houbregs with the No. 2 overall pick in the 1953 NBA draft. He also played for the Baltimore Bullets, Boston Celtics and Fort Wayne Pistons during his five-year NBA career. After his playing days, he served as the general manager of the Seattle SuperSonics from 1970-73.
Houbregs was inducted into the Naismith Hall of Fame in 1987. He also is a member of the Canadian Basketball Hall of Fame and the Husky Hall of Fame.