Monk Meineke, NBA’s first Rookie of the Year, passes away

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Coming off an All-American season at the University of Dayton, Monk Meineke (his first name was actually Don) averaged 10.7 points a game for the Fort Worth Pistons in the 1952-53 season, and he also led the league in fouls.

All of that was enough to get him the league’s first Rookie of the Year award.

Meineke passed away at the age of 83 Tuesday after a lengthy illness, reports the Dayton Daily News.

Meineke played five NBA seasons, but he remained a legend at Dayton (which had a pretty good program back in the 1950s).

That first season he fouled out of 26 games, which remains an NBA record.

He was also the teammate and roommate of Jack Molinas, who was banned from the league for fixing games (a scandal that almost destroyed the young NBA). While he was questioned by the FBI, Meineke was never charged with any crime, and said he never took money, bet on NBA games, or fixed games. He played several more seasons after that without incident.

Our thoughts go out to his family and friends.