Former UCLA Basketball Guard Greg Lee Passes Away
Former UCLA men's basketball guard Greg Lee passed away on Wednesday, Sept. 21, at the age of 70. He died at a hospital in San Diego from an infection related to an immune disorder.
Lee, who lived in San Diego, exceled as a three-year varsity basketball letterwinner at UCLA from 1972-74. He played for head coach John Wooden and was a starting guard on UCLA's back-to-back NCAA championship teams in 1972 and 1973. Classmates with Bill Walton and Jamaal Wilkes, Lee averaged 5.8 points and 1.5 rebounds per game in 88 varsity contests. Through Lee's three seasons on the varsity team, UCLA compiled a record of 86-4.
Lee, listed at 6-foot-4 and 195 pounds in his first varsity season, helped UCLA secure consecutive NCAA titles with identical 30-0 records in 1972 and 1973. He finished his collegiate career as a three-time Academic All-America selection.
In UCLA's 87-66 win against Memphis State in the 1973 NCAA Championship contest, Lee registered a team-leading 14 assists through 34 minutes on the court. Walton finished that game with 44 points, connecting on 21 of 22 shots from the field as the Bruins won their seventh consecutive NCAA title.
While he only played basketball at UCLA, he competed on the professional beach volleyball circuit through the 1970s. He played in his first open in 1972 (Laguna Beach) and his first open victory took place that same year in Santa Barbara. Through his beach volleyball career, he entered 62 "Open" tournaments and reached the finals 39 times, collecting 29 tournament titles.
Lee became most successful as a beach volleyball player alongside teammate Jim Menges, who had played volleyball at UCLA. The duo played from 1973-82 and won 25 of 30 tournaments together. They registered three second-place finishes and had two third-place finishes.
In addition to his time as a beach volleyball player, Lee played professional basketball in the ABA and in Germany. He was selected in the 1974 NBA Draft by the Atlanta Hawks (seventh round) and played in the ABA for the San Diego Conquistadors. He briefly played for the Portland Trail Blazers during the 1975-76 season, alongside Walton, before heading to Germany for several seasons. Former UCLA player John Ecker had encouraged Lee to play in Germany in the late 1970s (for TuS 04 Leverkusen).
Lee grew up as the youngest of three brothers (Chris and Jon). He attended Reseda High School and played on the varsity basketball team for his father, Marvin, who had played basketball at UCLA under head coach Wilbur Johns (who had preceded Wooden). Lee was honored as the Los Angeles City "Player of the Year" during his junior and senior seasons of high school. He averaged 29.0 points and 27.3 points per game as a senior and junior, respectively.
Lee was honored as the valedictorian of his high school class before enrolling at UCLA, back when freshmen were not eligible to compete on the varsity squad. Playing alongside Walton (18.1 ppg) and Wilkes (20.0) on the freshman team, Lee helped his squad to a perfect 20-0 record, registering 17.9 points per game.
Following his athletic career, Lee earned his teaching credential from UCLA. He was a math teacher at Clairemont High School and coached varsity basketball and tennis.
Lee is survived by his wife of 48 years, Lisa; his brother, Jon; his son, Ethan; his daughter, Jessamyn Feves; his son-in-law, Ryan; and his two grandchildren, Donovan and Opal.