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West Virginia basketball great Hundley dies at 80

| Friday, March 27, 2015, 10:27 p.m.
Former West Virginia player Hot Rod Hundley acknowledges the crowd during a ceremony to retire his number during halftime Saturday, Jan. 23, 2015, in Morgantown, W.Va.
Former West Virginia player Hot Rod Hundley acknowledges the crowd during a ceremony to retire his number during halftime Saturday, Jan. 23, 2015, in Morgantown, W.Va.

Former West Virginia basketball great Hot Rod Hundley died Friday at his home in the Phoenix area, according to the Utah Jazz. He was 80.

Hundley also was a former NBA player who broadcast Jazz games for 35 years.

“West Virginia lost a dear friend today as Hot Rod Hundley has passed away. He will be dearly missed,” West Virginia coach Bob Huggins tweeted Friday. “Rod was not only a friend of WVU but a dear friend to our basketball program. I will miss him very much. RIP Hot Rod.”

Hundley is one of two basketball players in Mountaineers history to have his jersey (No. 33) retired.

Jerry West, the other WVU player to have his jersey retired, said in a statement: “I am saddened by the news of the passing of my longtime friend, Rod Hundley. I first met Rod when I was 18, and he encouraged me to attend West Virginia University. We were Laker teammates and never lost contact.

“Rod was not only a great basketball player but one of the best play-by-play announcers in the game. He will be missed by all those he touched through his legendary career.”

Hundley played at WVU from 1954-57, averaging 24.5 points over three seasons and scoring 2,180 career points, just the fourth player in college basketball at the time to surpass 2,000 points.

He set the varsity program's single-game scoring mark with 54 points. He still holds seven other school records.

In 1957, he was drafted first overall by the Cincinnati Royals and was immediately traded to the Minneapolis Lakers. He averaged 8.4 points in six seasons with the Lakers in Minneapolis and Los Angeles.

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