In 1982, Clark Kellogg Set the High-Water Mark for Pacers Rookies
Although his career was cut short by injury, Kellogg's rookie year still stands tall in Pacers history
In NBA history, only 20 players have ever had a rookie season in which they averaged 20 or more points and 10 or more rebounds per game. Of those 20, 14 are in the Hall of Fame. One of them, Blake Griffin, is still active. Another, Tim Duncan, won't have to wait long until he's inducted.
That leaves just four players with that caliber of a rookie season who haven't yet been enshrined in Springfield, Mass.: Terry Cummings, Elton Brand, Sidney Wicks, and a man who did it with the Pacers, Clark Kellogg.
Because chronic knee issues robbed Kellogg of his career's longevity — he played just five NBA seasons (260 games) — Kellogg never got a chance to build a serious case for the Hall of Fame.
But it doesn't take away an accolade that Kellogg might never relinquish: his 1982-83 season was the best any Pacers rookie has ever had.
1980s Central: Pacers.com/1980s
In 1982, Kellogg fell to a Pacers team in the midst of a transitional period with the eighth pick in the draft. The accolades of the early 1970s ABA teams were fading into history, and the team was looking to establish itself as a power in the NBA.
Seeking to find a winning formula, Kellogg was paired with his front court mate from Ohio State, Herb Williams.
Although Kellogg's stats were eye-popping, the team struggled mightily under head coach Jack McKinney, finishing with a record of 20-62.
But during the often dreary season, Kellogg lit up the lights of possibility, posting obscene box scores. In game 76 against the 76ers, Kellogg finished with 36 points and 19 rebounds. In a December game, he racked up 33 points and 13 rebounds versus the Bulls.
He finished the season with averages of 20.1 points, 10.6 rebounds, and 2.6 assists per game. Coincidently, he lost Rookie of the Year honors to one of the other four 20pt-10reb rookies who didn't make the Hall of Fame, Terry Cummings of the San Diego Clippers.
Although Kellogg wasn't able to sustain his lofty rookie statistics for his career, his legacy as the high-water mark for Pacers rookies is still going strong.
After basketball, Kellogg has worked as a sports broadcaster for CBS and was the Pacers' vice president of player relations from 2010-2014.
In September, Kellogg — along with Tamika Catchings — was awarded the Indiana Sports Corp 2016 Pathfinder Award, which honors individuals who have demonstrated a commitment to improving the lives of America's youth.