Truman's Twelve: Bucks Fan Favorites, Part I
These players made indelible impressions in Milwaukee
During the Milwaukee Bucks’ 45 years as a franchise, they have retired the jersey numbers of seven of their players.
They have had 38 National Basketball Association All-Star Game selections, 20 all-NBA Team honorees, 18 All-Defensive Team picks and 11 All-Rookie Team choices.
Eight former Bucks are in the Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame.
Many of the players upon whom these honors were bestowed rank among the team’s all-time statistical leaders, and a number of them were voted to the Bucks’ 20-man 40th Anniversary Team.
Since the Bucks’ arrival in Milwaukee, though, their fans have also developed a great appreciation for members of their star players’ supporting casts – some of whom have beaten the odds just to reach the NBA, embodied Milwaukee’s blue-collar work ethic, been willing to do the “dirty work,” achieved the utmost out of their God-given abilities with relentless hustle and/or connected with the community.
This edition of “Truman’s Twelve” salutes “Bucks Fan Faves” -- players who became favorite sons of Bucks fans despite never averaging as many as 10 points per game in a season during their years in a Milwaukee uniform:
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Catchings attended Weatherford (Texas) Junior College from 1969-70 and Hardin-Simmons University of Abilene, Texas, from 1971-74, before being selected in the third round with the 42nd overall selection of the 1974 NBA Draft by the Philadelphia 76ers. The 6-foot-9-inch, 218-pound center played for the 76ers from 1974-79 and for the New Jersey Nets in 1979 before coming to the Bucks later that year. He played 372 games for Milwaukee spanning 1979-84, making just 72 starts and averaging only 3.2 points, but contributed 5.2 rebounds per contest and blocked a total of 710 shots, a total that ranks second in franchise history to Alton Lister’s 804. He helped Milwaukee win one Midwest Division title and four Central Division championships and made 33 playoff appearances while with the Bucks. He spent the final season of his NBA career with the Los Angeles Clippers in 1984-85 and played professionally in Italy in 1985-86. Harvey is the father of Tamika Catchings, who became an All-American at the University of Tennessee and is now a Women’s National Basketball Association All-Star with the Indiana Fever.
Conlon, a native of The Bronx, New York, had his first brush with basketball fame as a freshman at Providence College, when he was a member of the team that Rick Pitino coached to the Final Four. Conlon, a 6-foot-10-inch, 224-pound forward/center, played for the Friars from 1996-90. He was not drafted by an NBA team, but signed on as a free agent with the SeattleSupersonics and made his NBA debut on Nov. 5, 1991. Conlon also played for the Sacramento Kings, Charlotte Hornets and Washington Bullets before spending the 1994-95 and 1995-96 seasons with Milwaukee. In his first Bucks season, he played in a career-high 82 games, averaged 9.9 points and 5.2 rebounds per game and shot .532 from the field. He was an active participant in the Big Brothers/Big Sisters program and gave Bucks fans a glimpse of his wry sense of humor during his appearances in several television commercials for Liberty Bank. Conlon averaged 5.3 points and 2.4 rebounds in 74 games with Milwaukee in 1995-96 before going on to play for the Boston Celtics, Miami Heat and Los Angeles Clippers over the next four seasons. He continued his pro playing career with stints in Italy, Spain, Greece and Ireland, and captained the Irish National Team.
Cummings, a native of Johnstown, Pa., was a two-time most valuable player at the University of Cincinnati, where he still holds the Bearcats' single-season field-goal percentage record (.642 in 1977-78), and his career mark of .581 ranks second to Kenyon Martin. He is second all-time in field goals made (756) behind Oscar Robertson. In 1978-79, he averaged 24.6 points per game, fifth-highest in Bearcats' history, while also averaging a team-leading 11.3 rebounds and .823 free throw percentage. His career point total of 1,762 was second all-time to Robertson, and that total currently ranks fifth in UC history. The 6-foot-9-inch, 235-pound forward was chosen by the Bucks in the third round of the 1978 NBA Draft with the 59th overall pick. He played in 223 games – starting 15 -- for Milwaukee from 1979 through 1982, averaging 7 points and 3.5 rebounds a game and shooting .519 from the field. Cummings later played for Dallas, New York, Miami and Utah in the NBA, for Rapid City, Fort Wayne and Wichita Falls of the Continental Basketball Association and for pro teams in Spain and Italy. He died on June 26, 2012.
Cunningham, born and raised in Canton, Ohio, starred at Murray State University, where he led the NCAA Division I ranks in rebounding as a junior in 1966-67 with a school-record 21.8 boards per game. He was an all-Ohio Valley Conference selection in 1967 and 1968, and in three seasons, he totaled 981 points and grabbed 1,292 rebounds in 71 games. His 479 rebounds in 1966-67 and his career average of 18.2 rebounds per game are Murray State records, and he was inducted into the Murray State Athletics Hall of Fame in 1986. The affable 6-foot-10-inch, 255-pound center was chosen in the second round of the 1968 NBA Draft with the 21st overall selection by Phoenix, then traded by the Suns to Milwaukee and became a member of the Buck’ 1968-69 expansion team. Nicknamed “The Cement Mixer” by Bucks announcer Eddie Doucette, Cunningham played for the Bucks from 1968-71, with Houston in 1971-72 and for the Bucks again from 1972-75, providing Kareem Abdul-Jabbar with a sparring partner in practice and giving Milwaukee valuable minutes as his backup at center. He averaged 2.8 points and 3.7 rebounds per game for his career and was a member of the Bucks’ NBA championship team in 1971.
Davis, a native of Rochester, Pa., set a season scoring record at Monaca High School, earning all-state honorable mention. He attended Duquesne University, where he led the Dukes in scoring in both his sophomore and junior seasons, averaging 19.2 points, 10 rebounds and 6 assists as a junior. He opted to forego his senior season and signed with the Pittsburgh Condors of the American Basketball Association. The brother of former University of Maryland and Dallas Mavericks guard Brad Davis, Mickey saw action in just 23 games with the Condors in 1971-72 before being chosen by Milwaukee in the seventh round of the 1972 NBA Draft with the 113th overall selection. The 6-foot-7-inch, 195-pound forward/guard won over Milwaukee fans with his scrappy play, adept ballhandling and knack for making clutch shots. He played 286 games – starting only 18 – for the Bucks spanning 1972-77, averaging 5.2 points per outing. When starting guard Lucius Allen was sidelined by injury for the 1974 NBA Finals, Davis stepped in at guard alongside Oscar Robertson, helped the Bucks’ handle the Boston Celtics’ defensive pressure and helped Milwaukee take the series to seven games.
English, born and raised in Columbia, S.C., starred at Dreher High School before attending the University of South Carolina, where he played under Hall-of-Fame coach Frank McGuire. English was named an All-American in 1975-76 and became the only player in school history to start every game, score 1,000 points, and grab 1,000 rebounds. The Bucks selected English in the second round of the 1976 NBA Draft with the 23rd overall choice. The 6-foot-7-inch forward averaged 5.2 points and 2.8 rebounds as a rookie and 9.6 points and 4.8 boards the following year, developing a strong fan following as a valuable reserve with a velvet shooting touch. English signed as a free agent with the Indiana Pacers in 1978 and began to emerge as one of the NBA’s premier scorers. He played for the Pacers from 1978-80, then was traded to Denver during the 1979-80 season and developed into an eight-time NBA All-Star and a Hall-of-Famer. He completed his NBA career with the Dallas Mavericks and finished with 25,613 points before playing one more season in Italy. He has been an NBA assistant coach with Toronto, Philadelphia, Atlanta and currently with Sacramento.