Duke basketball great Art Heyman, a three-time All-American in the early-’60s and captain of the Blue Devils’ first Final Four club, died Monday in Florida at the age of 71, according to the team’s official Twitter account.
The cause of death has not yet been released.
Heyman, a 6-5 forward from Long Island, New York, is best remembered for putting Duke University on the basketball map during the early 60s.
During his three seasons (1960-1963) on the Blue Devils’ varsity squad – NCAA rules didn’t allow Heyman to play varsity basketball as a freshman – Art led Duke to 69-14 record while averaging 25.1 points and nearly 11 rebounds per game.
In 1962-63, his senior year, Heyman averaged 24.9 points and 10.8 rebounds per game, leading Duke to a 14-0 ACC record, 27-3 overall. The Blue Devils reached their first Final Four, losing to Loyola (Ill.) 94-75 in the national semifinals before beating Oregon State 85-63 for third place.
In the same season, Heyman became the first Atlantic Coast Conference player to earn consensus national player of the year honors.
“As much as any other human being, Art was responsible for Duke University becoming a national power in college basketball,” Vic Bubas, the coach who brought Heyman to Duke from Oceanside High School in Oceanside, New York, said in the statement. “I always told him that he was a true pioneer in modern Duke basketball. His records and stats speak for themselves, but I don’t know that any words can do justice to the role that he played in the history of our teams in that era.”
After his career at Duke, Heyman was the top pick of his hometown New York Knicks in the 1963 NBA Draft. He played eight seasons in the NBA and ABA and retired in 1970 with career totals of 4,030 points, 1,461 rebounds and 859 assists.
Heyman was inducted into the Duke Sports Hall of Fame and the Jewish Sports Hall of Fame, and his Duke jersey number #25 was retired in 1990.
A statement from Duke contained no mention of survivors or services