Heyman’s death was confirmed by the athletic department of the Durham, North Carolina-based university in a statement. It said he died yesterday in Florida and gave no details.
Heyman was a three-time All-America selection at Duke and the national college basketball Player of the Year in 1963. The school’s career scoring average leader, he helped the Blue Devils to the Final Four of the National Collegiate Athletic Association tournament for the first time in his senior season, and was the No. 1 pick in the National Basketball Association draft by the New York Knicks.
“As much as any other human being, Art was responsible for Duke University becoming a national power in college basketball,” Vic Bubas, the coach who brought Heyman to Duke from Oceanside High School in Oceanside, New York, said in the statement. “I always told him that he was a true pioneer in modern Duke basketball. His records and stats speak for themselves, but I don’t know that any words can do justice to the role that he played in the history of our teams in that era.”
University of North Carolina coach Frank McGuire had created a flow of talent from New York to the school in Chapel Hill, and Heyman’s recruitment by Bubas was the first leak in that pipeline.
It helped develop a bitter basketball rivalry between the schools, located in neighboring cities just west of Raleigh, with a fight on court between Heyman and Tar Heels guard Larry Brown sparking a melee that included players and fans.
Duke never earned an NCAA title with Bubas and Heyman, but has won four under current coach Mike Krzyzewski, who this month led the U.S. Olympic team to its second consecutive gold medal.
Heyman averaged 25.1 points a game, a Blue Devils record, and 10.9 rebounds, fourth in school history. He was a member of the NBA’s All-Rookie team in 1964 and won an American Basketball Association championship with the Pittsburgh Pipers in 1968. He retired in 1970 after an eight-year pro career.
The statement from Duke contained no mention of survivors or services.
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