W A L T E R F. D U K E S, J R.
Born on June 23rd, 1930, Walter Dukes began his basketball career as a standout, 7-foot, 220-pound, center at Seton Hall University and helped lead the 1952-53 Pirates to a 31-2 record and the 1953 NIT Championship. Dukes, the tournament's MVP, scored 21 points in the championship game and Seton Hall finished the season as the No. 2-ranked team in the country. His No. 5 jersey is retired and hangs in the rafters at Seton Hall's Walsh Gymnasium.
Dukes earned Consensus All-America honors as a senior and also earned the Haggerty Award as the top collegiate player in the Metropolitan New Jersey-New York area.
Dukes still holds the NCAA single-season rebound record with 734 and Rebounding average of 22.2 in 1952-1953. He had a Seton Hall record 1,697 rebounds in three varsity seasons and is seventh all time in scoring with 1,789 points during the 1952-53 season. He won NIT with Seton Hall in 1953 and was named the tournament's most valuable player.
After graduation from college, he was a 1st round NBA pick drafted by the Knicks, but, instead, signed a lucrative two-year deal with the Harlem Globetrotters before joining the pro ranks. Between 1956 and 1963 he played with the New York Knicks, the Minneapolis Lakers and six years with the Detroit Pistons and averaged more than 13 rebounds per game for four years, and had a 10.4 average for 553 games.
While playing for the Detroit Pistons, Dukes had the distinction of being a two-time NBA All-Star.
Walter F. Dukes Jr. was recipient of literally hundreds of athletic and humanitarian awards, including the Monroe County High School Hall of Fame and the Frontier Field Walk of Fame. He was inducted into the Rochester, New York Section V Basketball Hall of Fame in 2001 and inducted into Sports Hall of Fame of New Jersey in 2002.
During his NBA career, he attended Law School at NYU during the summers, and was eventually licensed to practice law in New York, California and Michigan. Walter F. Dukes Jr. died of natural causes in February of 2001.
|Walter Dukes, Detroit Pistons Center 1957/58 Topps card||Walter Dukes receives 1953 Haggerty Award for Best Tri-State Player||Walter Dukes, Detroit Pistons Center 1961/62 Fleer card|
|Walter Dukes and fellow Pirates players illustrated on 2003 Seton Hall Pirates Limited Edition Print||Walter F. Dukes, Jr. original 1950's on-the-road uniform, sold at 2003 online auction.||Walter Dukes, Detroit Pistons Center fights to retain possession of the ball against New York's Willie Noulls|
|Text Reads: "A track and high jump man at college, this seven foot beanpole who gallops like an agitated ostrich runs rival Goliaths flabby legged and gasping. A defensive wizard, he gets most of his points by dunking the ball on the run. He can also hook with either hand, and on occasions, flashes a deadly jump shot, on which he seems to plummet the ball down into the cords. An outstanding foul shooter, he is one of the few men in the league who has converted more free throws than two-point tries. Here he fights to retain possession of the ball against New York's Willie Noulls."||Text Reads: "Walter is as good a big man on defense as the sport has ever seen. Despite his size, he is one of the fastest men in the league.At Seton Hall, he also excelled in track, running the quarter mile and half mile. He was also an excellent cross-country runner and cleared 6 feet, six inches in the high jump. Studied law and hopes to become a lawyer after his playing days are over. An outstanding rebounder, he grabbed over 1,000 rebounds last season."|