Greg Lee dies; UCLA basketball participant below John Wooden who turned a seaside volleyball star

Greg Lee as soon as described the dominance of his UCLA basketball groups by saying if he had an ideal sport, they might win by 50 factors as an alternative of 40.

It was no exaggeration. These Bruins gained nationwide championships in 1972 and ’73 below coach John Wooden whereas amassing the majority of a document 88-game profitable streak that might finish the next season.

A cerebral 6-foot-5 guard recognized for throwing lobs to large man Invoice Walton, Lee was largely a complementary piece whereas surrounded by seven future NBA gamers. He began his first two seasons on the varsity workforce earlier than coming off the bench as a senior.

However his biggest skilled success got here on the sand, not the hardwood, whereas splitting his time between basketball and volleyball careers. Lee gained a document 13 consecutive professional seaside volleyball event titles from 1975-76 alongside accomplice Jim Menges, one other former Bruin. Lee mentioned one of many issues that drew him to volleyball was having a much bigger influence on his workforce’s efficiency.

“If I played poorly in volleyball, I was out of there,” Lee as soon as instructed The Occasions. “If you made errors, you were history.”

After years of declining well being, Lee died Wednesday at a hospital in San Diego from an an infection associated to an immune dysfunction, his older brother Jon mentioned. He was 70.

Greg Lee had battled many well being points in his later years, together with neuropathy and a coronary heart valve that required alternative.

“He had a very glorious front nine,” Jon Lee mentioned of his brother’s life, “but the back nine was fraught with problems.”

UCLA basketball coach John Wooden listens to Greg Lee, left, throughout a day out in opposition to Iowa on Jan. 17, 1974, in Chicago.

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Greg Lee grew up within the San Fernando Valley and performed at Reseda Excessive for his father, Marvin, a former UCLA middle below coach Wilbur Johns. Greg Lee was valedictorian of his highschool’s senior class and a two-time Los Angeles Metropolis Part participant of the yr, making him a pure recruit for the Bruins. Final month, he was chosen for induction into the Metropolis Part Corridor of Fame.

In contrast to Menges, his eventual professional volleyball accomplice who gained two nationwide championships at UCLA, Lee didn’t play the game whereas in faculty. The duo met whereas taking part in seaside volleyball with associates in 1972 they usually partnered often earlier than taking part in collectively full-time when their respective faculty careers ended.

Their 13-tournament profitable streak was later matched by two different former Bruins: Karch Kiraly and Kent Steffes.

Lee’s skilled basketball profession included transient stops with the San Diego Conquistadors of the ABA and Portland Path Blazers of the NBA, the place he was reunited with Walton. Lee additionally performed 4 seasons in West Germany.

Later, he taught accelerated math and coached basketball for a few years at San Diego’s Clairemont Excessive, the varsity that impressed the Cameron Crowe film “Fast Times at Ridgemont High.”

Lee is survived by his spouse, Lisa, son Ethan and daughter Jessamyn Feves along with his brother. They have been all by his hospital bedside this week, Lisa holding his hand whereas Ethan performed the Neil Younger tune “Thrasher” on his guitar, Greg singing alongside in a haze of medicines till he misplaced consciousness for the final time.