Colorado legend Cliff Meely dies

Updated: May 29, 2013, 11:34 PM ET
Associated Press

BOULDER, Colo. -- Cliff Meely, one of the best basketball players to ever play at the University of Colorado, has died. He was 65.

The school said in a news release Wednesday that Meely died at Boulder Community Hospital on Tuesday from complications from a blood infection.

"Our entire university community mourns the death of Buff basketball legend Cliff Meely," chancellor Dr. Phil DiStefano said in a statement. "He was a valued member of our CU family and the Boulder community, and a life-long supporter of CU athletics who was a fixture at our men's and women's basketball games. He will be greatly missed."

Meely was born in Rosedale, Miss., and went to high school in Chicago.

He played for Colorado from 1968-71 and averaged 24.3 points per game and 12.1 rebounds, school records that still stand. He also holds the single-game scoring mark of 47 points and his jersey number 20 is one of two retired by the program.

Late Colorado coach Russell "Sox" Walseth called Meely "the most complete player I have ever coached."

Meely went on to play six seasons in the NBA with Houston and the Los Angeles Lakers.

"I thought he was a true gentleman, and you look at the numbers and he was arguably the best player to ever play here," Buffaloes coach Tad Boyle said. "He loved the university; he was a special guy. This is a sad day. He went too early."

The school says Meely was "generally in good health," but developed septic shock from the infection and died unexpectedly.

Meely is survived by a sister, Pat, and longtime girlfriend Janine Zumerchik.


Copyright 2013 by The Associated Press