Before Ryan Fazekas and Colin Kenney, there was Jim Retseck. His domination on the court occurred in the 1960s prior to class basketball, and, more importantly, the advent of the three-point line. Nevertheless, his legacy transcended generations.
Retseck, the Blazer legend who accumulated 1,474 career points – all inside the arc – passed away on Thursday, July 9th.
Jim was genuinely likable and friendly. He had a great laugh and a fun-loving personality. He treated everyone as a friend despite being the figurative – and literal – “big man on campus.”
At 6’2″, Jim spent his freshman year playing on the junior varsity squad in addition to scoring four points as a varsity reserve. As a 6’3’’ sophomore, he registered 205 points for the varsity squad. Sprouting three inches before his junior season, he went on to score 560 points. Growing two more inches before his senior campaign, Jim scored 705 points leading first-year coach John Tracy’s squad to a 21-3 record. He ended his high school career with 1,474 points, a school record that stood for 46 years.
Jim also participated on the cross country and track teams, as well as playing a solid third base on the baseball team.
Jim attended Auburn University where he, as a freshman, was not eligible to compete in varsity sports due to underclassmen status. In his sophomore year, the 6’9″ forward played in every game, scoring 387 points, second on the team only behind future NBA journeyman John Mengelt.
In his junior season, Jim again played every game, posting 430 points to lead the Tigers in scoring. In anticipation of the upcoming 1973 NBA Draft, Jim opted to play professionally in Europe, forgoing his senior year. Jim’s instincts proved fruitful yet again as the Golden State Warriors thereby selected Jim 46th overall.
(Doug Bobillo contributed to this memorial.)