PHOENIX -- Steve Patterson, a center on three UCLA national championship teams before he played five seasons in the NBA, died of lung cancer Wednesday at his Phoenix home. He was 56.
The 6-foot-9 center played at UCLA from 1969-71, after Lew Alcindor and before Bill Walton. Mr. Patterson averaged 10.2 points and 7.8 rebounds there and scored a career-high 29 points in his final game, leading the Bruins to 68-62 win over Villanova and an NCAA title in 1971. It was UCLA's fifth title in a row.
Mr. Patterson was a second-round pick of Cleveland in the 1971 NBA draft and played four seasons with the Cavaliers before ending his pro career with the Chicago Bulls in 1975-76.
He coached Arizona State from 1985-89 and had a 48-56 record. He served as chairman for the Phoenix area's Super Bowl committee in 1996 and was hired as commissioner of the Continental Basketball Association in 1997.
In recent years, Mr. Patterson had focused on youth and community sports programs in Arizona.