Full Name: Darrall Tucker Imhoff
Nickname: Big D
Born: October 11, 1938 in San Gabriel, California
High School: Alhambra in Alhambra, California
College: University of California, Berkeley
Drafted: 1st Round, 3rd Pick - New York Knicks, 1960
Played for the Lakers from 1965 to 1968
Imhoff spent twelve seasons in the NBA (1960-72), playing for half-a-dozen teams. Imhoff was the starting center on the New York Knicks, when Wilt Chamberlain scored 100 points on them.
At the University of California, Berkeley, Imhoff was a two-time All-American and was the top rebounder on the 1959 NCAA championship team and hit the winning basket with just seventeen seconds to go. He was the leading scorer and rebounder on the 1960 NCAA runner-up Berkeley team and was a part of the gold-medal 1960 Olympic basketball team.
As a collegian, Imhoff was feared as a shot blocker, and was a respected rebounder who was the hub around which coach Pete Newell built his NCAA champion University of California team. The Golden Bears edged Jerry West's West Virginia team in 1959, with Imhoff rated by some the best college player in the country. In 1960, leading the nation's top-rated defense from his center spot, the 6'10 235-pounder led UCal back to the NCAA Finals before losing to Jerry Lucas and Ohio State. He was a two-time First Team All-American. Imhoff was a senior awaiting entry into the National Basketball Association in 1960 when coach Pete Newell, now the U.S. Olympic coach, added his prize player to the Olympic roster. Playing behind Lucas, and Indiana's Walt Bellamy, Imhoff still saw action during the Rome Games as the Americans usually jetted out to a big lead early and then rested their starters. That Olympic team is still rated by many the finest amateur basketball team ever assembled to this day. Imhoff was the most highly publicized draft pick of the NBA that same year. The New York Knickerbockers, picking second overall, made him their first pick, a move which generated much excitement for the team. The Knicks had two all-stars already, Rich Guerin and Willie Naulls, and looked for Imhoff to complete a potential contender in the league's largest city. Imhoff unfortunately, was not up to the pressure and had a season which fell well below hopes. Depressed and disappointed, he was the second backup center by season's end. Improving enough to be main backup center his second year did not help his team in the tough NBA East, so he signed with Detroit in 1962. Imhoff's lack of quickness and shooting skills at the NBA level had been exposed, but he never quit working to improve. He began to see more minutes with the Pistons until he was dealt to the Los Angeles Lakers in 1964. On a star-studded team that included Jerry West, Elgin Baylor and others, Imhoff was now a respected reserve. He contributed solidly to a team that won the NBA West and made it to the NBA Finals in 1965. The Lakers were encouraged enough to start Imhoff the next season, again winning their division, but were Finals runner-up again. Imhoff again proved not ready. Finally, in the 1966-67 season, Imhoff hit some of his potential, averaging 12 points, 13 rebounds, 3 assists and 2 blocks per game as a Laker starter. He made the NBA All-Star team as a reserve. Imhoff was among the 1967's top rebounders and shot blockers in the league. But he was still being badly outplayed by Boston's Bill Russell in the NBA Finals, a fact which repeated itself in 1968. This fact spurred the Lakers to sign Wilt Chamberlain that year, and Imhoff was traded to Philadelphia where he was again a solid backup center. The 76ers were second in the East, but were knocked out by Boston and Russell again. Imhoff was a starter again for the 1969-70 campaign and Philadelphia made it to the playoffs before losing to Milwaukee and Lew Alcindor. He had one more decent season as the backup center for Cincinnati before finishing his career at the end of Portland's bench in 1972. Imhoff will always be remembered as one of pro basketball's biggest flops or the guy who was guarding Jerry Lucas, Bill Russell, or Wilt Chamberlain as those players achieved success. But Imhoff was an outstanding college All-American who led an NCAA champion, an Olympian, and a player who overcame remarkable hype and limitations to still have a decent 12-year NBA career.
Regular Season Stats