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Daniel Paul Issel (born October 25, 1948) is an American retired Hall of Fame professional basketball player and coach. An outstanding collegian at the University of Kentucky, he was twice named an All American en route to a still school record 25.7 points per game. The ABA Rookie of the Year in 1971, he was a six-time ABA All-Star and one-time NBA All-Star.

Contents

1 Collegiate playing career 2 Professional playing career 3 ABA/NBA career statistics

3.1 Regular season 3.2 Playoffs

4 Coaching career 5 Head coaching record

5.1 NBA

6 Retirement 7 See also 8 References 9 External links

Collegiate playing career[edit]

A jersey honoring Issel hangs in Rupp Arena

Issel played college basketball at the University of Kentucky under legendary coach Adolph Rupp. Issel was at UK 1966–1970 and scored 2,138 points (an average of 25.7 per game) while being named an All American for two of the three seasons he was eligible for the award. His career points total remains the highest among UK men's players. On February 7, 1970, Issel scored 53 points in a 120–85 victory over Mississippi, breaking Cliff Hagan's single-game Wildcat record of 51. Issel's mark held for almost four decades, finally falling to Jodie Meeks' 54 in a win against University of Tennessee on January 13, 2009.[1] A three-year starter for the Wildcats, Issel led his team to three Southeastern Conference titles and set 23 school records in the process. Professional playing career[edit]

In his rookie season, Dan Issel led the ABA in scoring with 29.9 points per game, and also averaged 13.2 rebounds per game.

Upon Issel's graduation in 1970 he was drafted by the Detroit Pistons of the NBA and the Kentucky Colonels of the ABA. Issel signed to play basketball for the Colonels and the ABA. In his first season, Issel led the ABA in scoring with an average of 29.9 points per game, and pulled down 13.2 rebounds per game. He played in the 1971 ABA All-Star Game and was selected to the All-ABA Second Team. Issel shared ABA Rookie of the Year honors with Charlie Scott of the Virginia Squires. The following season, Issel played in 83 of 84 games and raised his scoring average to 30.6 points per game. He was named the MVP of his second All-Star Game for scoring 21 points and collaring nine rebounds. Issel made the All-ABA First Team of that season. Led by dominating 7'2" center Artis Gilmore, the 1974–75 Kentucky Colonels won the 1975 ABA championship, with key support from Issel and sharp-shooting guard (and fellow ex-Kentucky Wildcat) Louie Dampier. In six seasons, Issel led the league in total points three times (including a record 2,538 in 1971–72) and was an All-Star each year. Prior to the 1975–76 season, the Colonels traded Issel to the Baltimore Claws (formerly the Memphis Hustlers) for Tom Owens and cash. With Claws folding before the season's start, Issel was subsequently traded to the Denver Nuggets for Dave Robisch and cash. Issel remained with the Nuggets following the ABA–NBA merger in June 1976, and represented Denver in the 1977 NBA All-Star Game. He remained productive, topping 20 points per game five of his remaining eight years. Retiring following the 1984–1985 season, he received the NBA's J. Walter Kennedy Citizenship Award in 1985 for his outstanding service to the community. Wearing number 44, Issel is the Nuggets' second all-time leading scorer. He accumulated over 27,000 points in his combined ABA and NBA career, trailing only Kareem Abdul-Jabbar, Wilt Chamberlain and Julius Erving upon his retirement. Issel currently ranks #11 on the all time combined ABA/NBA scoring list. He missed only 24 games in 15 seasons, earning him the moniker, "the Horse". He was part of the Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame Class of 1993. ABA/NBA career statistics[edit]

Legend

  GP Games played   GS  Games started  MPG  Minutes per game

 FG%  Field goal percentage  3P%  3-point field goal percentage  FT%  Free throw percentage

 RPG  Rebounds per game  APG  Assists per game  SPG  Steals per game

 BPG  Blocks per game  PPG  Points per game  Bold  Career high

† Denotes seasons in which Issel won an ABA championship

* Led the league

Regular season[edit]

Year Team GP GS MPG FG% 3P% FT% RPG APG SPG BPG PPG

1970–71 Kentucky(ABA) 83 – 39.4 .485 .000 .807 13.2 2.0 – – 29.9*

1971–72 Kentucky(ABA) 83 – 43.0 .486 .273 .785 11.2 2.3 – – 30.6

1972–73 Kentucky(ABA) 84* – 42.0 .513 .200 .764 11.0 2.6 – – 27.3

1973–74 Kentucky(ABA) 83 – 40.3 .480 .176 .787 10.2 1.7 0.8 0.4 25.5

1974–75† Kentucky(ABA) 83 – 34.5 .471 .000 .738 8.6 2.3 0.9 0.6 17.7

1975–76 Denver(ABA) 84 – 34.0 .511 .250 .816 11.0 2.4 1.2 0.7 23.0

1976–77 Denver 79 – 31.7 .515 – .797 8.8 2.2 1.2 0.4 22.3

1977–78 Denver 82 – 34.8 .512 – .782 10.1 3.7 1.2 0.5 21.3

1978–79 Denver 81 – 33.9 .517 – .754 9.1 3.1 0.8 0.6 17.0

1979–80 Denver 82 – 35.8 .505 .333 .775 8.8 2.4 1.1 0.7 23.8

1980–81 Denver 80 – 33.0 .503 .167 .759 8.5 2.0 1.0 0.7 21.9

1981–82 Denver 81 81 30.5 .527 .667 .834 7.5 2.2 0.8 0.7 22.9

1982–83 Denver 80 80 30.4 .510 .211 .835 7.5 2.8 1.0 0.5 21.6

1983–84 Denver 76 66 27.3 .493 .211 .850 6.8 2.3 0.8 0.6 19.8

1984–85 Denver 77 9 21.9 .459 .143 .806 4.3 1.8 0.8 0.4 12.8

Career 1,218 236 34.3 .499 .204 .793 9.1 2.4 1.0 0.5 22.6

All-Star 7 1 24.7 .512 – .731 6.9 2.3 0.1 0.1 14.7

Playoffs[edit]

Year Team GP GS MPG FG% 3P% FT% RPG APG SPG BPG PPG

1971 Kentucky(ABA) 19 – 35.3 .505 – .878 11.6 1.5 – – 28.1

1972 Kentucky(ABA) 6 – 44.8 .412 .000 .760 9.0 0.8 – – 22.0

1973 Kentucky(ABA) 19 – 43.4 .497 .167 .795 11.8 1.5 – – 27.4

1974 Kentucky(ABA) 8 – 38.9 .444 – .848 10.9 1.8 0.5 0.8 18.5

1975† Kentucky(ABA) 15 – 38.5 .467 – .811 7.9 1.9 1.1 0.8 20.3

1976 Denver(ABA) 13 – 36.2 .489 .000 .786 12.0 2.5 1.0 0.6 20.5

1977 Denver 6 – 37.0 .510 – .756 9.7 2.8 0.8 0.7 22.0

1978 Denver 13 – 35.4 .486 – .862 10.3 4.1 0.5 0.2 20.2

1979 Denver 3 – 36.3 .533 – .806 9.3 3.3 0.0 0.0 24.3

1982 Denver 3 – 34.3 .533 – 1.000* 7.0 1.7 1.0 0.3 25.3

1983 Denver 8 – 28.4 .507 .000 .862 7.3 3.1 1.1 0.6 20.4

1984 Denver 5 – 30.6 .510 .500 .821 8.0 1.6 1.2 1.2 27.4

1985 Denver 15 4 21.7 .459 1.000 .813 3.6 1.8 0.8 0.3 12.4

Career 133 4 35.5 .487 .250 .822 9.4 2.1 0.8 0.6 22.1

Coaching career[edit] After his playing career Issel retired to his Courtland horse farm in Woodford County, Kentucky. He spent a year doing color commentary for Kentucky basketball games then became a Nuggets broadcaster from 1988 to 1992. Even with no coaching experience, Bernie Bickerstaff recruited him as Nuggets head coach in 1992. In 1994, Issel led his team to the playoffs with their first winning record in four years, after only winning 44 games in the previous two years. That year, the Nuggets pulled off the biggest upset to that date in National Basketball Association (NBA) playoff history, knocking off the Seattle SuperSonics in five games (the first ever 8th seed to beat a 1st seed in the first round). He resigned 34 games into the 1994–95 season after facing criticism for his coaching style, saying he didn't like the person he'd become. He returned in 1998 as president and general manager, naming himself head coach again in December 1999, yielding his general manager's title to Kiki Vandeweghe. His second tenure was far less successful; the Nuggets did not post a winning season during this time. He was hampered in part by a drawn-out effort to find a new owner; two deals to sell the team collapsed at the last minute. Just before the start of the 1999–2000 season, he told reporters that there were several decisions he simply couldn't make due to the unstable ownership situation.[2] In 2000, Issel faced a team mutiny after angering his team for criticizing them after a winless four-game Eastern road trip. The Nuggets' team captains called a boycott of their next practice, prompting interest from CNN and other news outlets. The team saw some improvement later in the season, but missed the playoffs with a 40–42 record.[3] His tenure ended on a rather sour note in December 2001. On December 11, after a close loss to the Charlotte Hornets, Issel heard a fan taunting him as he walked off the court at the Pepsi Center. Issel taunted back, "Go drink another beer, you Mexican piece of shit."[4] The incident was captured on Denver's NBC affiliate, KUSA-TV. Issel was suspended four games by the team. Issel publicly apologized the next day, and on Friday met with Hispanic chamber representatives, who accepted his apology.[5] However, several members of Denver's Hispanic community thought the suspension was insufficient punishment, and called for him to be fired. Hours before he was due to return, Issel took a leave of absence to decide whether he wanted to return. Issel decided to resign on December 26. Head coaching record[edit] NBA[edit]

Legend

Regular season G Games coached W Games won L Games lost W–L % Win–loss %

Post season PG Playoff games PW Playoff wins PL Playoff losses PW–L % Playoff win–loss %

Team Year G W L W–L% Finish PG PW PL PW–L% Result

Denver 1992–93 82 36 46 .439 4th in Midwest — — — — Missed Playoffs

Denver 1993–94 82 42 40 .512 4th in Midwest 12 6 6 .500 Lost in Conf. Semi-finals

Denver 1994–95 34 18 16 .529 (Resigned) — — — — —

Denver 1999–2000 82 35 47 .427 5th in Midwest — — — — Missed Playoffs

Denver 2000–01 82 40 42 .488 6th in Midwest — — — — Missed Playoffs

Denver 2001–02 26 9 17 .346 (fired) — — — — —

Career 388 180 208 .464

12 6 6 .500

Retirement[edit] Issel filed for bankruptcy in 2009, claiming a $4.5 million debt to at least 34 creditors. To defray his debts, he sold off his 1969 Look All America Kentucky All Star Ring, 1970 Kentucky class ring, a 1975 25th anniversary ABA All-Star ring, and a 1989 NBA All-Star ring.[citation needed] In 2011, Issel lived in Los Angeles where he was executive director at the Bel Air Presbyterian Church.[6] As of 2014, he lives in Windsor, Colorado, employed in the oil and gas business.[7] See also[edit]

List of NCAA Division I men's basketball players with 2,000 points and 1,000 rebounds

References[edit]

^ Kentucky downs Tennessee behind Meeks' 54 points ESPN. Retrieved on January 13, 2009. ^ Nuggets roster moves put on hold. ESPN, November 11, 1999. ^ https://sports.yahoo.com/nba/news?slug=mc-afterthebuzzer030411 ^ http://www.westword.com/2001-12-20/news/he-got-blame/1 ^ http://sportsillustrated.cnn.com/basketball/news/2001/12/19/issel_apology_ap/ ^ Spears, Mark (March 4, 2011). "Issel finds peace after turmoil of NBA". Archived from the original on November 19, 2014. Retrieved September 18, 2016.  ^ Moss, Irv (February 3, 2014). "Colorado Classics: Dan Issel, former Denver Nuggets player, coach". Denver Post. Archived from the original on November 19, 2014. Retrieved September 18, 2016. 

External links[edit]

Dan Issel stats at Basketball-Reference Legends profile: Dan Issel

Dan Issel—coaching tenures, championships, awards, and honors

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Denver Nuggets head coaches

Bob Bass (1967–1969) John McLendon (1969) Joe Belmont (1969–1970) Stan Albeck (1970–1971) Alex Hannum (1971–1974) Larry Brown (1974–1979) Donnie Walsh (1979–1980) Doug Moe (1980–1990) Paul Westhead (1990–1992) Dan Issel (1992–1995) Gene Littles # (1995) Bernie Bickerstaff (1995–1996) Dick Motta (1996–1997) Bill Hanzlik (1997–1998) Mike D'Antoni (1998–1999) Dan Issel (1999–2001) Mike Evans # (2001–2002) Jeff Bzdelik (2002–2004) Michael Cooper # (2004–2005) George Karl (2004–2013) Brian Shaw (2013–2015) Melvin Hunt # (2015) Michael Malone (2015– )

(#) denotes interim head coach.

v t e

Kentucky Colonels 1974–75 ABA champions

10 Dampier 14 Averitt 22 Jones 23 Littles 24 McClain 25 Bradley 31 Roberts 42 Thomas 44 Issel 53 Gilmore (Playoffs MVP)

Head coach Brown

Assistant coach Albeck

Regular season Playoffs

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1969 NCAA Men's Basketball Consensus All-Americans

First Team

Lew Alcindor Spencer Haywood Pete Maravich Rick Mount Calvin Murphy

Second Team

Dan Issel Mike Maloy Bud Ogden Charlie Scott Jo Jo White

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1970 NCAA Men's Basketball Consensus All-Americans

First Team

Dan Issel Bob Lanier Pete Maravich Rick Mount Calvin Murphy

Second Team

Austin Carr Jim Collins John Roche Charlie Scott Sidney Wicks

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ABA Rookie of the Year Award

1968: Daniels 1969: Jabali 1970: Haywood 1971: Issel & Scott 1972: Gilmore 1973: Taylor 1974: Nater 1975: Barnes 1976: Thompson

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ABA All-Star Game Most Valuable Player Award

1968: Brown 1969: Beasley 1970: Haywood 1971: Daniels 1972: Issel 1973: Jabali 1974: Gilmore 1975: Lewis 1976: Thompson

v t e

ABA season scoring leaders

1968: Hawkins 1969: Barry 1970: Haywood 1971: Issel 1972: Scott 1973: Erving 1974: Erving 1975: McGinnis 1976: Erving

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J. Walter Kennedy Citizenship Award

1975: Unseld 1976: Watts 1977: Bing 1978: Lanier 1979: Murphy 1980: Carr 1981: Glenn 1982: Benson 1983: Erving 1984: Layden 1985: Issel 1986: Cooper & Sparrow 1987: Thomas 1988: English 1989: Bailey 1990: Rivers 1991: K. Johnson 1992: M. Johnson 1993: Porter 1994: Dumars 1995: O'Toole 1996: Dudley 1997: Brown 1998: Smith 1999: Grant 2000: Divac 2001: Mutombo 2002: Mourning 2003: Robinson 2004: Miller 2005: Snow 2006: Garnett 2007: Nash 2008: Billups 2009: Mutombo 2010: Dalembert 2011: Artest 2012: Gasol 2013: Faried 2014: Deng 2015: Noah 2016: Ellington 2017: James

v t e

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v t e

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Players

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v t e

ABA All-Time Team

Marvin Barnes Rick Barry Zelmo Beaty Ron Boone Roger Brown Mack Calvin Darel Carrier Billy Cunningham Louie Dampier Mel Daniels Julius Erving Donnie Freeman George Gervin Artis Gilmore Connie Hawkins Spencer Haywood Dan Issel Warren Jabali Jimmy Jones Freddie Lewis Maurice Lucas Moses Malone George McGinnis Doug Moe Bob Netolicky Billy Paultz Charlie Scott James Silas David Thompson Willie Wise

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