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Mike Woodson comments on the passing of George McGinnis: ‘He meant so much not only to IU and the state of Indiana, but to the entire basketball world’.



Indiana Basketball
Mike Woodson shares his thoughts on the passing of Indiana great George McGinnis (Mandatory Credit: Trevor Ruszkowski-USA TODAY Sports)

The Indiana basketball program, Indiana Pacers, and the entire state of Indiana are mourning the loss of George McGinnis, a true icon in the sport of basketball.

In his one year of varsity basketball at Indiana, McGinnis led the Big Ten in both scoring (29.9 points per game) and rebounds (14.7) to become the first sophomore in league history to lead the Big Ten in both categories. He was named to the Associated Press All-America Third Team and added to the All-Big Ten First Team before bypassing his final two seasons of eligibility as a hardship case. He was inducted to the IU Athletics Hall of Fame on Sept. 22, 2023.

“I loved George McGinnis,” Indiana men’s basketball head coach Mike Woodson said in a press release. “He meant so much not only to IU and the state of Indiana, but to the entire basketball world.

“I looked up to George growing up in Indianapolis. He meant so much to me as a player and more importantly as a man. George was a Hall of Famer on and off the court, and I am going to miss him so much. Our thoughts and prayers go out to the McGinnis family, his friends, and his teammates. Rest easy Big Mac.”

He joined the American Basketball Association (ABA) and played for his hometown Indiana Pacers for the first four seasons of his professional career. McGinnis led the ABA in scoring in the 1974-75 season averaging a career-best 29.8 points per game to go along with 14.3 rebounds, 6.3 assists, and 2.6 steals. He and Julius Erving were named ABA co-MVPs that season. During his four-year ABA stint, he earned two titles with the Pacers, was named the 1973 ABA Playoffs MVP, collected three All-Star selections, garnered three All-ABA selections, and was selected to the ABA All-Rookie First Team. In 1997, McGinnis was selected to the ABA All-Time Team.

“Big Mac” spent the next seven years of his professional career in the NBA with the Philadelphia 76ers, Denver Nuggets, and Indiana Pacers. He earned three All-Star nods, was named to the All-NBA First Team in 1976, and was voted to the All-NBA Second Team in 1977. He compiled 17,009 points (20.2 per game) and 9,233 rebounds (11.0 per game) in 11 years of pro basketball. McGinnis was inducted into the Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame in 2017, becoming the seventh person with IU Basketball ties to be inducted (Bobby Leonard, Isiah Thomas, Everett Dean, Bob Knight, Branch McCracken, Walt Bellamy).

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Kyler Staley is a Basketball Recruiting Analyst for Hoosier Illustrated, a comprehensive site covering news, updates and recruiting for Indiana University athletics. Kyler has been in the basketball recruiting industry since 2019 and is a credentialed media member. He has covered Indiana since 2021 while continuing to also work for Prep Hoops Indiana. He has previously worked for Rivals.