UCLA Mourns Death of Former Center Mark Eaton
Former UCLA men's basketball center Mark Eaton has passed away at the age of 64.
Eaton, a two-year letterwinner with UCLA's program in the early 1980s, was a fourth-round NBA Draft selection in 1982 by the Utah Jazz and enjoyed an 11-year NBA career. The Jazz organization confirmed on Saturday that Eaton had died on Friday from a bicycle accident in Summit County, Utah.
Eaton enrolled at UCLA for the 1980-81 season as a 7-foot-4 junior, after two seasons at Cypress College (Cypress, Calif.). During his two seasons at UCLA (1980-81, 1981-82), Eaton played in 30 games. He averaged 1.8 points and 2.4 rebounds per contest and totaled 27 blocks.
As an NBA rookie, Eaton played in all 81 games during the 1982-83 campaign for Utah, averaging 4.3 points and 5.7 rebounds per game. During his second and third NBA seasons, Eaton played in all 82 regular-season games for Utah and led the league in most blocks per game (4.3 in 1983-84 and 5.6 in 1984-85).
In fact, Eaton finished his NBA career with 3,064 blocks shots, the fourth-highest total in NBA history. He led all NBA players in blocks in 1984, 1985, 1987 and 1988. Eaton's 456 total blocks in 1984-85 stands as the league's single-season record.
Eaton was named an NBA All-Star during the 1988-89 season. He secured Defensive Player of the Year acclaim twice – in 1985 and 1989. Eaton was honored a first-team All-Defensive NBA selection twice and was a second-team selection one season. His NBA jersey number of 53 was retired by the Utah Jazz during the 1995-96 season.
Eaton, who resided in the Salt Lake City community, has attended UCLA's game at Utah (Jon M. Huntsman Center) each season for the past several years (since Utah joined the Pac-12 Conference in the summer of 2011).