Originally Published: Feb 13, 2010 7:48 PM CDT
Oklahoma Sports Reporter
TULSA, Oklahoma – At halftime of Tulsa’s conference showdown with Memphis, the team honored former Golden Hurricane greats, including All-American and Memphis native Willie Biles. Part of the Legends Weekend celebration, the team retired Biles’ No. 12 jersey in front of a packed house.
“It’s overwhelming,” Biles said. “It’s awesome. It's special. I’m just overwhelmed right now.”
The university recognized over three dozen former Hurricane players, including Paul Pressey, Shea Seals and Brian Rahilly, but the night’s headliner was the man who watched his number unveiled at the Reynolds Center Saturday evening.
Biles’ jersey will hang from the rafters, but the number will still remain in circulation. Biles wore No. 12 for the Hurricane from 1970 to 1974. Having his jersey retired on the day that his former school hosted a team from his hometown, was especially sweet for Biles.
“That made it extra special,” said Biles. “I thank coach (Doug) Wojcik. I thank the athletic director. With all the fans here from Tulsa and some from Memphis, that’s special.”
The sharp-shooter from Memphis, Tennessee, is the last player to play for the Golden Hurricane from the city of Memphis. Biles scored more than 40 points eight times, and scored over 30 points 15 times in his 65-game varsity career beginning in the 1971-72 season.
Biles burst onto the national scene in 1972 as one of the most prolific scorers in Tulsa history. He averaged 30.3 points and 7.5 rebounds as a junior in 1972-73 becoming the first player since Oscar Robertson to average 30 points a game for a single season. He scored 788 points as a junior, and set a school record by scoring 48 points twice in his career.
Biles was named to the all-Missouri Valley Conference team twice, and also earned All-American honors twice. He led the Golden Hurricane to two consecutive 18-8 seasons, and was drafted by the Golden State Warriors in 1974.
Tulsa honored Biles by inducting him into the TU Athletic Hall of Fame in 1994.
He now lives in Memphis and works as a recreational director.
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