Gophers basketball legend 'Sweet Lou' Hudson dies at 69


Minnesota Golden Gophers basketball legend Lou Hudson died at the age of 69 on Friday, according to the Atlanta Journal-Constitution.

Hudson, also known as "Sweet Lou," suffered a severe stroke on March 24 and as a result spent his final days in hospice care in Atlanta, Georgia, according to the Star Tribune.

Hudson was a 6-foot-5 swingman who played for the Gophers from 1964-1966. In 1965 he averaged 24.8 points and 10.7 rebounds per game en route to leading Minnesota to a second place finish in the Big Ten. The All-American and first-team All-Big Ten selection then guided the Gophers to a Big Ten title in 1966, according to GopherSports.com.

The most amazing fact about Hudson's 1966 season is that he averaged 19 points and 7.5 rebounds shooting left-handed. According to the Greensboro News & Record, Hudson played that season with a cast on his right hand – his natural shooting hand – so he was forced to shoot with his left.

The University of Minnesota retired Hudson's No. 14 in 1994.

Hudson was picked fourth overall by the then-St. Louis Hawks in the 1966 NBA Draft. He was a six-time All-Star, spending 11 of his 13 seasons with the Hawks before joining the Los Angeles Lakers for the final two years of his career.

The Greensboro, North Carolina native also had his No. 23 retired by the Atlanta Hawks. The organization released this statement after learning of his death.

“Lou Hudson holds a special place in the Hawks family, in the hearts of our fans and in the history of our club," Hawks co-owner Michael Gearon said. "As a fan growing up with this team, I’m fortunate to say I was able to see almost every game Sweet Lou played as a member of the Hawks. He was an integral part of successful Hawks teams for over a decade, and is deservedly recognized with the ultimate symbol of his significance to the franchise with the number 23 hanging inside Philips Arena. On behalf of the Hawks organization, I’d like to extend condolences to Lou’s family and friends.”

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