clock menu more-arrow no yes mobile

Filed under:

YouTube Gold: Jeff Mullins

Duke’s first great NBA player

Golden State Warriors v Milwaukee Bucks
MILWAUKEE, WI - DECEMBER 8: Jeff Mullins #23 of the Golden State Warriors handles the ball against the Milwaukee Bucks on December 8, 1972 at the Milwaukee Arena in Milwaukee, Wisconsin. 
Photo by Vernon Biever/NBAE via Getty Images

Jeff Mullins was the first major talent to go from Duke to the NBA He would be shortly followed by Jack Marin, and then there would be a long gap before Mike Gminski arrived in the 1980s.

As a Blue Devil, he teamed up with Art Heyman to make up some of the iconic Duke teams of the early 1960s.

He was drafted by the Hawks, then in St. Louis, in 1964, and traded to San Francisco in 1966, where he spent the rest of his career (San Francisco changed its name to Golden State in 1971).

He got to play with Nate Thurmond, Rick Barry and Clifford Ray and helped the Warriors win a championship in 1975.

At Duke, Vic Bubas came within an eyelash of adding Bill Bradley to Mullins and Heyman in what would have given Duke an historically great team. Bradley of course ended up at Princeton although he and Mullins both made the 1964 Olympic team, and played in Tokyo.

In those days, the team was drawn partially from NCAA players and partly from AAU teams. One of the guys who may have been a surprise was Jim Barnes, who was at Texas Western, which would win the NCAA title in 1966 and change the sport forever. In 1964, Don Haskins had only been coaching what would later become UTEP for three years.

Mullins was a very strong, sturdy player who had boundless energy. After his playing career, he went on to a great run as UNC-Charlotte’s basketball coach, putting together a 182-142 record over an 11-year span.

Aside from all his accomplishments, he’s a really good man.