UD Hall of Famer Jim Paxson Sr. dies at 81

University of Dayton basketball legend Jim Paxson Sr. has died at 81, UD confirmed.

The Springfield native played high school basketball at Catholic Central and starred for the Flyers in the 1950s before playing in the NBA with the Minneapolis Lakers and Cincinnati Royals. He was inducted into the UD Hall of Fame in 1976.

“He was a heck of a teammate, the leader of a great basketball team and a lot of people will miss him,” his former teammate Bucky Bockhorn said.

Paxson’s sons, Jim and John, both Alter High School graduates, also played in the NBA and are members of the Ohio Basketball Hall of Fame.

Jim also played at Dayton and went on to have a long career in the NBA with the Portland Trail Blazers and Boston Celtics. He’s now the director of basketball operations with the Bulls.

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John played at Notre Dame and in the NBA with the Spurs and Bulls. John is now the vice president of basketball operations for the Bulls.

According to the Dayton men’s basketball media guide in 1955-56, when Paxson Sr. was a senior, Paxson was nicknamed the “Power Tower.” He was a 6-foot-6, 198-pound forward described as a tremendous rebounder, good ball handler and an outside shooter and good driver who could do it all on the floor.

Paxson played his first two seasons with the Flyers in 1951-52 and 1952-53, averaging 6.2 points as a freshman and 11.6 as a sophomore. He then spent two years in the Army before returning for his final season. He averaged 15.5 points per game as a senior as the Flyers went 25-4 and lost to Louisville in the NIT championship game.

Paxson finished his career with 956 points, ranking 47th in school history. He averaged 10.9 points per game. His son Jim ranks fifth in school history with 1,945 points.

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