Nickname: "Wonderous Willie"
College - Drake
ABA Teams: Los Angeles (1969-70), Utah (1970-71 to 1973-74), Virginia (1974-75 to 1975-76)
Undrafted; Walk-on with the Los Angeles Stars in 1969-70; 3-Time ABA All-Star; 2-Time ABA All-Defensive Team; Member of ABA All-Rookie Team in 1969-70; 2-Time Member of ABA All-Pro Team; Member of 1970-71 Utah Stars ABA Championship Team; After the ABA/NBA Merger Wise played for two NBA teams, the Denver Nuggets (1976-77) and the Seattle Supersonics (1977).
From Jim O'Brien's 1972-73 Complete Handbook of Pro Basketball:
Burning desire to excel in all phases of game has pushed this modestly talented player to great heights . . . Regarded as one of best two-way players in pro ranks . . . In 1971-72 season barely trailed Big Z in scoring, with 23.2 points per game compared to 23.6, and in 1973 playoffs Willie upped his norm to 25.3 to lead the team . . . During Stars' drive to Western title, he scored 20 or more points in 31 consecutive games. High game was 50 against Kentucky Colonels on February 23, 1972 . . . Strong rebounder as shown by 10.7 average, and shoots well -- 50.7% from field in regular season and 56.6 during playoffs . . . Looks pudgy and sleepy, but it is strictly a masquerade . . . Was working on ground crew for minor league baseball team in Des Moines, Iowa, where he went to school, when Los Angeles Stars invited him to come for tryout . . . Was overweight, but made team, and became starter at end of first season, and helped the Stars, a tailender all season, make it all the way to ABA Finals before bowing to Indiana Pacers . . . May be best defensive forward in league . . . Is quick enough to guard a guard when asked to. Most important, he wants to play solid defense . . . Team's pool shark . . . Jehovah Witness and interested in ministry . . . Only Utah Star who doesn't wear flag patch on shorts, owing to Jehovah's Witness faith.
|Career ABA Totals
|ABA Playoff Totals
|ABA All-Star Totals
Sound Clip: Wise explains how he developed his game before playing in the ABA.
Streaming RealAudio file -- RealPlayer plug-in required (free download here)
Clip courtesy of Van Vance and used with permissio)
Wise uniform photos courtesy of Bob Lieb and James Tiucker