Darrall Imhoff was a big deal during his college years.
He hit the game-winning shot with 17 seconds left in the 1959 NCAA championship game to give California a 71-70 victory over a West Virginia team that featured Jerry West. He led the Golden Bears back to the finals the following season, leading the team in points and setting a then-school record of 371 rebounds in a single season.
The Alhambra High graduate also won a gold medal with the U.S. Olympic team that year.
But Imhoff never really became a star in the NBA. After being drafted third overall by New York in 1960, perhaps his biggest claim to fame with the Knicks was being the opposing center on the night Wilt Chamberlain scored 100 points (Imhoff says he was in foul trouble the whole game and only played 20 minutes).
During his stint with the Lakers from 1964-68, the 6-foot-11 center was unable to emerge from the shadows of teammates Jerry West and Elgin Baylor.
"My whole career was setting picks for guys," Imhoff told The Times’ Chris Dufresne in 2005.
Still, Imhoff was an All-Star in 1966-67, when he led the Lakers in rebounds (1,080) and rebounds per game (13.3) and ranked among the league's 10 best in both categories as well. He also averaged 12.1 points and 3.3 assists that season.
Overall with the Lakers, Imhoff averaged 7.6 points, 9.4 rebounds and 2.0 assists a game. He was traded to the Philadelphia 76ers in the deal that brought Chamberlain to L.A. in July 1968. He spent a total of 12 years in the NBA and went on to become an executive with the United States Basketball Academy.
Feb. 12, 2011