Alex Groza
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Alex Groza

Alex Groza
Personal information
Born(1926-10-07)October 7, 1926
Martins Ferry, Ohio
DiedJanuary 21, 1995(1995-01-21) (aged 68)
San Diego, California
Listed height6 ft 7 in (2.01 m)
Listed weight218 lb (99 kg)
Career information
High schoolMartins Ferry
(Martins Ferry, Ohio)
CollegeKentucky (1945-1949)
BAA draft1949 / Round: 1 / Pick: 2nd overall
Selected by the Indianapolis Olympians
Playing career1949-1951
Career history
As player:
1949-1951Indianapolis Olympians
As coach:
1970Kentucky Colonels
1974-1975San Diego Conquistadors
Career highlights and awards
Career NBA statistics
Points2,925 (22.5 ppg)
Rebounds709 (10.7 rpg)
Assists318 (2.4 apg)
Stats Edit this at Wikidata at
Stats at

Alex John Groza[1] (October 7, 1926 - January 21, 1995) was an American professional basketball player from Martins Ferry, Ohio. Resulting from the CCNY point shaving scandal, Groza was banned from the National Basketball Association (NBA) for life in 1951. In college, he won two NCAA championships as captain of the University of Kentucky Wildcats, and was a two-time All-NBA player for the Indianapolis Olympians before his career abruptly ended.

Early life

Groza grew up in Martins Ferry, Ohio and attended Martins Ferry High School. He was the brother of future Pro Football Hall-of-Famer Lou Groza.

Alex Groza led the Purple Riders to two undefeated regular seasons and to the Ohio state tournament both years, as Martins Ferry finished 24-1 in 1943 and 26-1 in 1944. In 1944, he scored 628 points, including 41 in one game, and was named first-team All-Ohio.[2]

College career

A jersey honoring Groza hangs in Rupp Arena.

Groza was the captain and center of the "Fabulous Five" that won the 1948 and 1949 NCAA Men's Basketball Championships, as well as the leading scorer on the gold medal-winning 1948 US Olympic basketball team.[3][4] Groza was three-time All-American and All-SEC, and two-time NCAA Final Four Most Outstanding Player.

Professional career

Groza was drafted in the 1st round of the 1949 NBA Draft by the Indianapolis Olympians. Groza averaged 23.4 points per game in his rookie season and was named NBA Rookie of the Year. Because the award was selected by newspaper writers at the time, the NBA currently does not recognize Groza having won the award. He averaged 22.5 points per game over two seasons before being implicated along with college teammates Ralph Beard and Dale Barnstable in a point shaving scandal during the 1948-49 season at Kentucky. NBA president Maurice Podoloff banned all of the implicated players from the league for life.

As a result of this ban, Groza became the first player in NBA history to end his career with a season in which he averaged at least 20 points per game (Groza averaged 21.7 PPG during the 1950-51). In NBA history, only three players have had higher scoring averages in their final NBA seasons: Bob Pettit (22.5 PPG in '64-65), Paul Arizin (21.9 PPG in '61-62), and Dra?en Petrovi? (22.3 PPG in '92-93).

NBA career statistics

* Led the league

Regular season

1949-50 Indianapolis 64 - .478* .729 - 2.5 23.4
1950-51 Indianapolis 66 - .470* .786 10.7 2.4 21.7
Career 130 - .474 .765 10.7 2.4 22.5
All-Star 1 - .500 1.000 13.0 1.0 17.0


1950 Indianapolis 6 - .595 .831 - 2.0 22.8
1951 Indianapolis 3 - .493 .758 14.0 0.7 32.3
Career 9 - .544 .804 14.0 1.6 26.0

Coaching career

After his playing career ended, Groza became the coach of Bellarmine College (now University) in Louisville, Kentucky. In 1963, Groza led the Knights to a Kentucky Intercolliegiate Athletic Conference title and was named KIAC coach of the year. Groza left Bellarmine in 1966 for a brief coaching and managerial career in the American Basketball Association. Between 1971 and 1975, Groza coached 40 games with the Kentucky Colonels and San Diego Conquistadors and held a number of front office positions, including becoming the Kentucky Colonels' business manager in 1969 and general manager of the San Diego Conquistadors in 1972 (and, later, San Diego's head coach). Groza was 2-0 as coach of the Colonels but 15-23 as coach of the Conquistadors after replacing Wilt Chamberlain in 1974, putting his career coaching record at 17-23.[5] He was named general manager of the expansion Conquistadors on August 8, 1972.[6] In 1975 Groza became director of player development for the San Diego Sails of the ABA.[7]

Personal life

After the team moved to Houston, Groza remained in San Diego, working as a sales manager for Reynolds International until his death.[8]

Alex Groza died of cancer in 1995 at age 68. He was survived by his wife of 42 years, Jean (Watson) Groza,[2] two sons, two daughters, and two grandchildren.[8]


  • Groza led the league in field goal percentage in 1950.
  • Alex Groza was the brother of football Hall of Famer Lou Groza.
  • Groza's nickname was "The Beak".[9]


  1. ^ Alex Groza Player Statistics
  2. ^ a b Alex Groza Ohio Valley Athletic Conference
  3. ^ "All-Time Kentucky Team (Starting PG): #12 Ralph Beard". Archived from the original on October 5, 2013. Retrieved 2013.
  4. ^ Evans, Hilary; Gjerde, Arild; Heijmans, Jeroen; Mallon, Bill; et al. "Alex Groza Olympic Results". Olympics at Sports Reference LLC. Archived from the original on April 18, 2020. Retrieved 2018.
  5. ^ Alex Groza Coach Statistics
  6. ^ White Jr., Gordon S. "Personalities: K.C. Jones Hired," The New York Times, Wednesday, August 9, 1972. Retrieved November 30, 2020
  7. ^ Remember the ABA: San Diego Conquistadors/San Diego Sails Year-by-Year Notes Archived December 25, 2008, at the Wayback Machine
  8. ^ a b Alex Groza, Basketball Star For Kentucky, Is Dead at 68 New York Times. January 23, 1995.
  9. ^ Gould, Todd (1998). Pioneers of the hardwood: Indiana and the birth of professional basketball. Indiana University Press. p. 167. ISBN 978-0-253-21199-6.

External links

  This article uses material from the Wikipedia page available here. It is released under the Creative Commons Attribution-Share-Alike License 3.0.



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