Basketball Australia would like to extend its sincere condolences to the family of Stu Inman upon his passing last week.
Inman, 80, an American executive and interim coach in the National Basketball Association, died after he collapsed in his Lake Oswego home in Oregon after an apparent heart attack.
He was a great help to our national men’s team and coaches Barry Barnes, Adrian Hurley and Lindsay Gaze, particularly in the lead up to the 1984 Olympics in Los Angeles when he organised former NBA players to scrimmage against the Boomers at San Diego.
Prior to that, he was recruited to conduct clinics in Australia in 1963 before bringing his team San Jose State to Australia and New Zealand in 1965.
“He was the most accurate judge of a player's ability and character that I ever met,” said Australian basketball legend Andrew Gaze, who was in close contact with Inman while in the United States. “He will be sadly missed.”
Inman starred for the San Jose State Spartans in the late 1940s, leading the squad to three consecutive 20-win seasons and leaving as the school's all-time scoring leader, a mark he held for more than 35 years.
He was selected in the 6th round of the 1950 NBA Draft by the Chicago Stags, but did not play in the NBA.
In 1960, he succeeded the legendary Walt McPherson as head coach of the Spartans, guiding them to a winning record four times in six seasons.
He went on to have a 24-year career as an NBA executive and was instrumental in the establishment of the Portland Trailblazers NBA franchise in 1970 and in their 1977 championship victory.
While he drafted NBA legends Bill Walton, Geoff Petrie and Larry Steele among others, he was also notorious for drafting Kentucky star Sam Bowie at number 2 in the 1984 NBA Draft, when with the third pick the Chicago Bulls selected Michael Jordan.
Inman, who lived near Portland, Oregon, had been helping the Lake Oswego High boy’s basketball team in recent years, for which 1 of his 17 grandchildren plays.
Inman is survived by his wife, Eleanor, and five children.