From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Melvin Harrison "Mel" Turpin (born December 28,
1960, in Lexington, Kentucky) is a retired
professional basketball player.
A 6'11" center, Turpin attended the University of Kentucky for four
seasons before being drafted as the sixth overall pick in the first
round by the Washington Bullets in the 1984 NBA Draft,
and immediately traded to the Cleveland Cavaliers.
He was a dominant center in college, scoring 42 points against
Tennessee as a junior by making 18 of 22 shots from the field. He
similarly dominated LSU as a senior, shooting 15 of 17 from the
floor and five of six from the foul line. As a
professional, however, Turpin struggled with his weight, and after
five seasons with the Cavaliers, Utah Jazz and the Bullets, he retired.
Earning the derisive nicknames "Dinner Bell Mel" and "The Mealman",
Turpin would be considered one of the biggest busts in a draft
class that included future greats such as Hakeem
Olajuwon, Michael Jordan, Charles
Barkley, and John Stockton.
As evidenced in post-retirement interviews, however, Turpin
maintained a healthy sense of humor in regards to his disappointing
career, telling Sports Illustrated: "In my day,
they thought the big man was supposed to be thin. They didn't know
too much. It was medieval".