Photo via Pixabay
Photo via Pixabay

A memorial service will be held Aug. 16 for John Rudometkin, who held USC’s basketball career scoring record for 23 years but whose professional career was cut short by cancer.

Rudometkin died Tuesday in Newcastle, California, of chronic lung disease that was the lingering effect of the cancer he overcame in his 20s. He was 75.

Rudometkin was a 6-foot-6-inch center who was a third-team All-America selection by The Associated Press for the 1960-61 season, when he helped lead the Trojans to their most recent outright conference championship, and a second- team selection in the 1961-62 season.

Rudometkin was USC’s leading scorer and MVP in each of his three seasons. He set USC career records for points (1,484), scoring average (18.8) and rebounding (831). His scoring record was broken in 1985 by Wayne Carlander.

Rudometkin is now seventh in scoring, fifth in scoring average and fourth in rebounding on the school’s all-time list.

Rudometkin was selected by the New York Knicks with the 11th choice in the 1962 NBA draft. He played three seasons in the NBA. His career was ended by non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma in his chest near his heart and lungs, but after a trying battle he overcame the disease.

Rudometkin’s ordeal led to a book, “Rudo The Reckless Russian,” based on a nickname given to him by USC’s play-by-play announcer at the time, Chick Hearn.

Following his basketball career, Rudometkin became a real estate investor, a minister and a motivational speaker.

Rudometkin was inducted into the USC Athletic Hall of Fame in 2001 and his No. 44 jersey was retired in 2010.

Rudometkin is survived by his wife of nearly 54 years, Carolyn, along with three sons, Ron, JD and Nathan, and four grandsons.

The memorial service will be held at Auburn Seventh-day Adventist Church in Auburn, California. In lieu of flowers, his family requests donations in Rudometkin’s name to the Christian humanitarian organization World Vision.

—City News Service

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