NBA

Why Was Rick Fox Ineligible to Play Basketball as a High School Senior?

Rick Fox was a star when he played college basketball at North Carolina. He also had himself a solid NBA career with the Boston Celtics and the Los Angeles Lakers. In high school, Fox was ineligible to play his senior season but somehow still managed to become an Indiana All-Star that year.

Rick Fox was a standout at North Carolina

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As a 6-foot-7 forward, Rick Fox played 34 games, starting three, as a freshman for perennial NCAA powerhouse North Carolina in 1987. Fox only averaged 10 minutes per game, but it set the tone for the rest of his college basketball career. Fox made some noise for the Tar Heels, mainly in his junior and senior seasons.

As a junior, Fox became a full-time starter after starting in half of North Carolina’s games as a sophomore. During his junior campaign, Fox averaged a career-high 28.9 minutes per game while putting up 16.2 points per contest. Fox was named Third-Team All-ACC.

In his senior year, Fox helped guide the Tar Heels to a berth in the Final Four. He was named First-Team All-ACC during the 1990-91 season. Fox finished the season averaging career-highs in points (16.9), rebounds (6.6), assists (3.7), and steals (2.0). He was also named the MVP of the ACC Tournament.

Fox had a very solid NBA career

Rick Fox was a first-round pick in the 1991 NBA draft. He was selected at No. 21 by the Boston Celtics. Fox made an immediate impact with the Celtics, playing in 81 games in his rookie year. He played 19 minutes per game and averaged eight points.

Fox played the first six seasons of his 13-year career with the Celtics. His best year in Boston came during the 1996-97 season – his last with the Celtics. He finished the year with a career-high 15.4 points-per-game average. After that season, however, the Celtics surprisingly released Fox.

Fox then signed with Boston’s rival, the Los Angeles Lakers. He spent the next seven years in LA. With the Lakers, Fox became a three-time NBA champion after the Lakers won three straight titles between 2000-2002. Fox averaged 8.7 points per game during his time with the Lakers.

Why didn’t Rick Fox play as a high school senior?

Rick Fox’s early years were spent in the Bahamas. He attended Kingsway Academy in Nassau and then moved to Indiana, where he attended Warsaw High School. Fox played high school basketball in both the Bahamas and in Indiana. Fox was projected to have a big senior year at Warsaw when the Indiana High School Athletic Association determined Fox had already played eight semesters of high school basketball. He was declared ineligible for his senior year.

Despite sitting out the entire year, Fox was a part of the Indiana All-Stars and played during their end-of-the-season game against the Kentucky All-Stars. “We need Rick Fox for us to be a good ball team,” said Indiana All-Stars coach George Griffith to The Associated Press in 1987. “We need Rick Fox for us to win. I was very pleased with the way he played.”

Fox scored 24 points and grabbed 12 rebounds as Indiana won 104-92. Although he put up big numbers in the game, Fox said the layoff hurt him. “I think I just need experience,” he said. “I’m not close to being the player I can be.”