Greg Lee dies; UCLA basketball participant below John Wooden who grew to become a seashore volleyball star

Greg Lee as soon as described the dominance of his UCLA basketball groups by saying if he had an ideal sport, they might win by 50 factors as an alternative of 40.

It was no exaggeration. These Bruins received nationwide championships in 1972 and ’73 below coach John Wooden whereas amassing the majority of a report 88-game profitable streak that might finish the next season.

A cerebral 6-foot-5 guard identified for throwing lobs to huge man Invoice Walton, Lee was principally a complementary piece whereas surrounded by seven future NBA gamers. He began his first two seasons on the varsity group earlier than coming off the bench as a senior.

However his biggest skilled success got here on the sand, not the hardwood, whereas splitting his time between basketball and volleyball careers. Lee received a report 13 consecutive professional seashore volleyball event titles from 1975-76 alongside accomplice Jim Menges, one other former Bruin. Lee mentioned one of many issues that drew him to volleyball was having an even bigger affect on his group’s efficiency.

“If I played poorly in volleyball, I was out of there,” Lee as soon as informed The Occasions. “If you made errors, you were history.”

After years of declining well being, Lee died Wednesday at a hospital in San Diego from an an infection associated to an immune dysfunction, his older brother Jon mentioned. He was 70.

Greg Lee had battled many well being points in his later years, together with neuropathy and a coronary heart valve that required substitute.

“He had a very glorious front nine,” Jon Lee mentioned of his brother’s life, “but the back nine was fraught with problems.”

UCLA basketball coach John Wooden listens to Greg Lee, left, throughout a day out in opposition to Iowa on Jan. 17, 1974, in Chicago.

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Greg Lee grew up within the San Fernando Valley and performed at Reseda Excessive for his father, Marvin, a former UCLA heart below coach Wilbur Johns. Greg Lee was valedictorian of his highschool’s senior class and a two-time Los Angeles Metropolis Part participant of the yr, making him a pure recruit for the Bruins. Final month, he was chosen for induction into the Metropolis Part Corridor of Fame.

Not like Menges, his eventual professional volleyball accomplice who received two nationwide championships at UCLA, Lee didn’t play the game whereas in school. The duo met whereas enjoying seashore volleyball with pals in 1972 and so they partnered often earlier than enjoying collectively full-time when their respective school careers ended.

Their 13-tournament profitable streak was later matched by two different former Bruins: Karch Kiraly and Kent Steffes.

Lee’s skilled basketball profession included temporary stops with the San Diego Conquistadors of the ABA and Portland Path Blazers of the NBA, the place he was reunited with Walton. Lee additionally performed 4 seasons in West Germany.

Later, he taught accelerated math and coached basketball for a few years at San Diego’s Clairemont Excessive, the college that impressed the Cameron Crowe film “Fast Times at Ridgemont High.”

Lee is survived by his spouse, Lisa, son Ethan and daughter Jessamyn Feves along with his brother. They have been all by his hospital bedside this week, Lisa holding his hand whereas Ethan performed the Neil Younger tune “Thrasher” on his guitar, Greg singing alongside in a haze of medicines till he misplaced consciousness for the final time.