Legendary Utah Jazz and Portland State University basketball player Freeman Williams died Tuesday at age 65 from unknown causes, according to the website for Portland State sports.
Williams was a star athlete for PSU and is still the second-highest all-time scorer in Division 1 men’s basketball to this day. He had 3,249 total points for PSU and averaged 30.7 points per game there–all before 3-point shots were instituted.
He was a first-round draft pick after graduation and played six seasons in the NBA, most notably with the Utah Jazz and San Diego Clippers, where he was top-10 in three-point shooting.
The Jazz tweeted about Williams’ passing on Wednesday and sent “love to Freeman’s family” and fans.
We are saddened by the news that Freeman Williams, former Utah Jazzman, has passed away at the age of 65.
The Utah Jazz family sends its love to Freeman’s family, loved ones and fans as they grieve his loss ❤️ pic.twitter.com/vUrqvmZwwO
— Utah Jazz (@utahjazz) April 20, 2022
Williams played in the 1977 World Games and was selected as an All-American alongside players like Larry Bird and Magic Johnson in 1978.
Oregon named him their Amateur Athlete of the Year (Hayward Award) in 1978 as well. His PSU jersey, number 20, is retired at the school.
Another player passes
He and John Drew, who died on April 10 from bone cancer at age 67, were traded to the Utah Jazz together in 1982 from the Atlanta Hawks.
Drew was the youngest NBA All-Star at the time at 21, but he was caught using drugs in the mid-80s and was benched.
He was banned from the NBA in 1986 after a stint in rehab that the league called his “third strike.”
Drew was indignant about his banning at the time, and said that he should have gotten credit for being honest about his addiction and need for help. The league was encouraging players to hide their drug problems by their actions against him, Drew said at the time.