Honors went hand-in-large-hand with the consistently solid basketball play of one Michael “Campy” Russell during a spectacular college and professional career. The Pontiac (MI) Central High product played just two varsity seasons with the University of Michigan, averaging 18.4 points as a sophomore, then 23.7 points and 11.1 rebounds as a junior in 1973-74. His second-year totals were enough to enable him to lead the Big Ten in scoring, finish second in rebounding, earn unanimous acclaim as the Big Ten Player of the Year and All-American status, and sufficiently impress the Cleveland Cavaliers to take him with the 8th overall pick in the 1974 NBA draft. He more than lived up to his college reputation during a nine-year pro career which ended in 1984. Seven of those seasons were with the Cavs, reaching a zenith in 1978-79 with a career high scoring average of 21.9 ppg, a single game career high of 41 against Phoenix and a place on the NBA All-Star team. He averaged 15.0 ppg for the Cavs’ revered “Miracle of Richfield” team of 1975-76, which made the playoffs for the first time and advanced to the second round. He finished his playing days, which included two seasons (1980-82) with the New York Knicks, with a cumulative NBA scoring average of 15.8 ppg and a playoff scoring average of 16.6 ppg. From 1975-76 through the 1981-82 season, he averaged double figures in scoring every year. In 1999 he was voted to the Cavs’ all-time team and into the University of Michigan Hall of Honor in 2002. He lived in Michigan from shortly after retirement as an active player until 2002 when he accepted an offer to return to the Cavs as an Outer Market Event Specialist. A proud father of five, Campy currently makes his home in Shaker Heights.
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