|Paul Arizin was a pioneer of the jump shot and led the Philadelphia Warriors to an NBA title in 1956. (ap file/1960)|
Pitchin' Paul Arizin, 78, hoop hall of famer
PHILADELPHIA -- Paul Arizin, an early pioneer of the jump shot who led the Philadelphia Warriors to the 1956 NBA championship and was chosen one of the 50 greatest NBA players, died Tuesday at his home in suburban Philadelphia. He was 78.
A Hall of Famer who was cut from his high school team, Mr. Arizin died in his sleep, according to a statement from Villanova University, where he had an outstanding college career.
Despite losing two years in his prime to the Korean War, Pitchin' Paul forged a sensational pro career on the strength of his jump shot, a recent evolution of the game. Mr. Arizin perfected the style and averaged 22.8 points in his 10-year career. He was inducted into the basketball Hall of Fame in 1978.
Drafted out of Villanova by the Philadelphia Warriors in 1950, he led the league in scoring in his second season and then served two years in Korea with the Marines. He returned to lead the Warriors to the NBA championship in 1956, scoring almost 29 points per game in the playoffs.
Born in South Philadelphia, Mr. Arizin was cut from his high school team but played in church and independent leagues. He entered Villanova to study chemistry and played in informal leagues before Coach Al Severance offered him a scholarship.
Mr. Arizin made an impact with the Wildcats, leading the team in scoring as a sophomore and into the NCAA tournament the next year. As a senior, he averaged 25.3 points and was selected the college player of the year by The Sporting News.
By his second season in the NBA, Mr. Arizin captured the scoring title by averaging 25.4 points. He also averaged 11.3 reboundswhile leading the Warriors to the playoffs.
At 34, he retired in 1962 when the Warriors moved to San Francisco. He played three seasons with the Camden Bullets of the Eastern Basketball League.
Mr. Arizin leaves his wife, Maureen, four sons, a daughter, and 14 grandchildren.