NBA great Maurice Cheeks to be honored at WTAMU


For more than 40 years, Maurice Cheeks has brought great distinction to West Texas A&M University (WT) with his outstanding career as a player and coach in the National Basketball Association and his recent induction into the prestigious Naismith Basketball Hall of Fame.   WT, along with the help of teammates, peers, friends and fans, will honor Cheeks with a bronze statue on campus and the establishment of an endowed scholarship in his name.  WT alumni Jerry Schaeffer '81 and Karl Bradley '86 are leading the effort to honor their friend and former teammate.

"There are many reasons to honor Maurice, but none as important as his humility and his kindness for others and that we first saw on campus 40 years ago," said Schaeffer.  "Some people want to be honored, and some people deserve to be honored.   Maurice deserves to be honored, and it has been a personal joy for me to be a part of this project."

Cheeks will be recognized with a life-sized, bronze statue in his #10 West Texas State basketball jersey.  Renowned sculptor Brian Hanlon (www.hanlonsculpture.com) has been commissioned for the artwork, which will be installed on the entry promenade to the First United Bank Center, the home of Buff and Lady Buff Basketball.  This will mark the first time a former WT player or coach will be honored in this manner.  The Maurice Cheeks Endowed Scholarship for men's basketball will also be established, providing scholarship funds in perpetuity for the point guard position.

Friends and fans of Maurice Cheeks are able to make a contribution in his honor through the WTAMU Foundation.   Online gifts can be made at www.gobuffsgo.com.  Hover over the "Giving" tab and select "Maurice Cheeks Campaign" and follow the giving instructions provided.

For more information or assistance with giving, please contact Jessica Sims, Athletics Development Officer, at jsims@wtamu.edu or by calling 806-651-2688.

The date for the official unveiling of the statue and gala celebration will be announced in early fall. 

Cheeks played for the Buffs from 1974-1978, where he currently is seventh all-time in career scoring with 1,277 points, while ranking sixth in field goals made (460), fifth in field goal percentage (.568 on 460 of 810), sixth in free throws made (307), fourth in free throw attempts.  He is fourth in assists in a season with 212 during the 1976-77) season.  He earned all-conference honors during his time at WT and helped lead the team to the Missouri Valley Conference final in 1976-77.   Cheeks was inducted into the WT Athletic Hall of Champions in 1988 and his number 10 is honored on the wall of the First United Bank Center.

Following his career at WT, Cheeks played 15 years in the NBA, including 11 with the Philadelphia 76ers and was a four-time All-Star.   He made three trips to the NBA Finals (1980, 1982, 1983), claiming the championship in '83.  He was named to four-straight NBA All-Defensive squads from 1983-1986.  He ranks fifth all-time in NBA history in steals and 11th in assists, while averaging 11.7 points per game, and averaged over two steals per game for his career.

Since retiring from the NBA as a player in 1993, Cheeks embarked on a coaching career that continues today.   He has served as an assistant and head coach for the 76ers, head coach for the Portland Trailblazers and Detroit Pistons, and is currently on his second stint as an assistant with the Oklahoma City Thunder.

Most recently, Cheeks was inducted into the prestigious Naismith Basketball Hall of Fame at the 2018 NCAA Division I Final Four.

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