McNeese St. to honor Natchitoches native, NBA HOF Joe Dumars against NSU

Published: Jan. 4, 2023 at 7:05 PM CST
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LAKE CHARLES, La. (KALB) - Natchitoches native and former NBA legend Joe Dumars will return to Lake Charles Thursday night as his alma mater, McNeese State, will unveil the naming of Joe Dumars Court.

Before the tip-off of the men’s Southland Conference game, a special ceremony will take place to honor the former Nat Central Chief.

After a dominant career with Nat Central, Dumars headed down to Lake Charles to further his career at McNeese St. where he played from 1982-1985. Dumars not only was named the 1985 Southland Conference Player of the Year, but he also became one of three players in conference history to earn first-team all-conference honors in all four seasons.

Dumars would eventually get drafted in the first round of the 1985 NBA Draft 18th overall to the Detroit Pistons where he was a member of the Bad Boys in the 80′s and 90′s. In his 14-year career in Detroit, Dumars won two NBA titles in 1989 and 1990 and was named the Finals MVP in 1989 in a sweep over the Los Angeles Lakers.

Dumars stays involved in the NBA, previously serving as the Pistons’ President of Basketball Operations before moving on to become the Executive Vice President and Head of Basketball Operations in the NBA.

One coach who watched his career from an early age is Peabody’s legendary coach Charles Smith, who was a coach for the Warhorses when Dumars was in Natchitoches. Coach Charles took out a scorebook from the 1980-81 season where Dumars scored 22 points, all when the three-point line was not invented yet, in a win over Peabody.

“Peabody has always been known for its defense, but we had no defense for this guy,” said Coach Smith. “We would go box in on him, we would go zone and man, but we could not stop him. He was just a phenomenal athlete. He had the body built for it and had the jump shot. There were no weaknesses in his game, so from high school, I knew that he was going to go on to bigger and greater things.”

McNeese St. will be unveiling the new court named after the school’s most decorated athlete prior to Thursday night’s game against Dumars’ former hometown team, Northwestern St.

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