Jim Rowinski, a former Purdue basketball player who rose from walk-on to Big Ten Player of the Year in 1984, died at the age of 63, his family confirmed on Tuesday. This post aims to provide you with all the relevant information regarding his passing.
A fan favorite and a leader
Rowinski was born in New York City in 1960 and spent his childhood playing basketball on the streets. He enrolled at Purdue in 1978 as a walk-on, hoping to make the squad coached by Lee Rose.
He impressed Rose with his hustle, tenacity, and work ethic, and he received a scholarship following his freshman year. He was a starter in his sophomore season, averaging 7.4 points and 4.3 rebounds per game.
When Gene Keady became Purdue’s head coach in 1980, Rowinski continued to enhance his game and leadership abilities. He was selected co-captain in both his junior and senior years and helped the Boilermakers capture their first Big Ten title under Keady in 1984. He averaged 15 points and 6.7 rebounds per game that season, earning the Chicago Tribune Trophy as the Big Ten’s Most Valuable Player.
He was also selected to the All-Big Ten First Team and the NABC All-District Second Team. Rowinski concluded his Purdue career with 1,113 points and 583 rebounds, ranking 35th and 20th, respectively, in school history.
He was also noted for his rugged style of play, which involved drawing fouls and setting hard screens. He owns the Purdue record for the most free throw attempts in a season (252) in a single game (23).
Jim Rowinski Cause of Death
Jim Rowinski, a former Purdue basketball player and the 1984 Big Ten Player of the Year, died at the age of 63. The reason for his death was not revealed; however, a close friend stated that he had been suffering health concerns for a long time.
Saddened to hear of the passing of Jim Rowinski. Row was one of the greatest success stories in Purdue history, going from walk-on to 1984 Big Ten Player of the Year before having an extended career overseas.
Our condolences go out to Jim’s family and friends. pic.twitter.com/TeJntl7Zgm
— Purdue Men’s Basketball (@BoilerBall) February 2, 2024
Rowinski, known for his extraordinary rise from walk-on to basketball superstar, was instrumental in Purdue’s success, helping them win the co-Big Ten championship in 1984.
His outstanding senior season, in which he averaged 15 points and 6.7 rebounds per game, made an everlasting impression on Purdue basketball history. Following his time at Purdue, Rowinski continued playing basketball for NBA teams like the Detroit Pistons, Philadelphia 76ers, and Miami Heat.
He had an international influence, having played professionally for numerous years. Jim Rowinski’s death has grieved the Purdue community, and his legacy as a fan favorite and Big Ten Player of the Year is a treasured part of basketball history.
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