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Art Heyman, Ex-Knick Who Led Duke’s Emergence, Dies at Age 71

Art Heyman, Ex-Knick Who Led Duke’s Emergence, Dies at Age 71
Art Heyman of the New York Knicks poses for a 1970 photo. Heyman has died at age 71. Mandatory Credit: Copyright 1970 NBAE. Source: NBA Photo Library/NBAE via Getty Images

Aug. 28 (Bloomberg) -- Art Heyman, whose recruitment by Duke University from a Long Island, New York, high school helped spark one of college basketball’s fiercest rivalries, has died. He was 71.

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 Championships

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.

To contact the reporter on this story: Eben Novy-Williams in New York at enovywilliam@bloomberg.net

To contact the editor responsible for this story: Michael Sillup at msillup@bloomberg.net

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