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Alfred Lee
Point guard
Born December 5, 1956 (1956-12-05) (age 53)
Santurce, Puerto Rico
Nationality Puerto Rican
Listed height 6 ft 1 in (1.85 m)
Listed weight 185 lb (84 kg; 13.2 st)
College Marquette
Draft 10th overall, 1978
Atlanta Hawks
Pro career 1978–1981
Awards 1978 Naismith College Player of the Year (NCAA Player of the Year)
1977 NCAA Basketball Tournament Most Outstanding Player

Alfred "Butch" Lee (born December 5, 1956) is a retired Puerto Rican-born American professional basketball player. He is the first Puerto Rican national to play in the National Basketball Association (NBA). Lee played in the NCAA, NBA, and National Superior Basketball League of Puerto Rico (BSN). He played for the Atlanta Hawks, Cleveland Cavaliers, and the Los Angeles Lakers while in the NBA. Lee was a member of the Puerto Rican national basketball team, including the 1976 Puerto Rican squad that came close to defeating the United States. Most notably, Lee was selected as the Most Outstanding Player at the 1977 Final Four where he led the Marquette Warriors to the school's first national championship. Lee earned All-American honors as both a junior and senior while at Marquette University. The university later retired Lee's jersey.

Contents

Biography

Lee was born in Santurce, San Juan, Puerto Rico to an American couple. Lee's family moved to Harlem, New York, U.S., when he was a young child. There he went on to become a 1st Team, PSAL All City basketball player and honor student at the De Witt Clinton High School in the Bronx.

Lee showed talent for basketball since an early age, and he impressed many college scouts with his game style. He accepted an offer to play for Marquette, starring there from 1974 to 1978. In 1974 Lee asked his coach Al McGuire to allow him to play for the United States Olympic basketball team. However, his coach had sent someone else and Lee went to Puerto Rico where he qualified for the Puerto Rican national basketball team. When Puerto Rico played against the U.S. in the 1976 Summer Olympics, Lee made 15 out of 18 field goals and scored 35 points. The U.S. avoided an upset, defeating Puerto Rico by one point, 95-94.

In 1977, Lee led Marquette to the Final Four in what McGuire had announced would be his final season. The Warriors defeated UNC-Charlotte 51-49 in the semifinal round when Lee found Jerome Whitehead with a length of the court pass for a score just before the buzzer. In the final against North Carolina, Lee scored 19 points and led the Warriors to a come-from-behind 67-59 victory to secure the national championship. Lee was named the tournament's most outstanding player.

Lee then went on to become the first Puerto Rican-born player to play in the National Basketball Association, when he was chosen in the first round of the 1978 NBA Draft by the Atlanta Hawks.

During Lee's first season in the NBA (1978-79), he started with the Hawks averaging 7.7 points per game during 49 games. He was traded to the Cleveland Cavaliers, where he enjoyed what were perhaps his best games in the league, scoring 11.5 points per game in the remaining 33 games of the season. He ended up scoring an average of 9.6 points per game in his first season in the NBA. Lee led the league in games played with 82.

After three games with the Cavs in the 1979-1980 season, Lee suffered an injury that would prove to be too big of an obstacle for him to overcome as far as his basketball career was concerned. He only scored 1.3 points per game on those three games. Before the season was over, he would be traded once again, to the Los Angeles Lakers, where, he played alongside Magic Johnson and Kareem Abdul-Jabbar, among others, for eleven games, before his injury recurred, forcing him to retire. He did, however, win an NBA championship ring, as the Lakers went on to beat the Philadelphia 76ers in that season's NBA Finals.

Lee, who is fluent in Spanish, returned to Puerto Rico after his experience as an NBA basketball player was over. There, he became a well known and respected head coach with multiple BSN teams.

As of 2004, he was still coaching in Puerto Rico's professional basketball league.

Career stats

Lee's NBA stats in 96 games are 779 points with an 8.1 PPG, 307 assists with a 3.2 APG, 137 rebounds with a 1.4 RPG, 87 steals with a 0.9 SPG, .450 field goal percentage, .761 free-throw percentage.

See also

External links

Preceded by
Kent Benson
NCAA Basketball Tournament
Most Outstanding Player
(men's)

1977
Succeeded by
Jack Givens
Preceded by
Marques Johnson
Naismith College Player of the Year (men)
1978
Succeeded by
Larry Bird
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