March Madness is upon us. Every March the best teams in college basketball are seeded in a tournament with the goal to crown the national champion. While we know that the players may go on to successful professional basketball careers, quite a few college basketball stars head off to law school. Jay Bilas (former Duke Basketball player and Duke Law alum) may be familiar to folks as an ESPN analyst and Bill Walton spent two years at Stanford Law during a break in his NBA career. It was UVa’s own Richard Warren “Buzzy” Wilkinson who made headlines in the 1950s.
“Buzzy” Wilkinson turned down Kentucky to play at Virginia and his jersey became the first number retired in the University of Virginia basketball history. Sports Illustrated called Buzzy the “best but certainly the least-known star in the country.” Mr. Wilkinson was recruited by the Celtics (and their famous coach Red Auerbach) in 1955, but turned it down to attend law school at UVa. Mr. Wilkinson graduated law school in 1962 and began a career in banking in his home state of West Virginia. He still holds the season scoring record for UVA basketball with 898 points, and he made “Honorable Mention” on a list of Top Five Lawyers Who Were Great College Hoopsters.
– Leslie Ashbrook