Former NBA, Cincinnati player Connie Dierking dies

Connie Dierking, a former University of Cincinnati star and longtime NBA player who was part of the trade that brought Wilt Chamberlain to Philadelphia, has died. He was 77.

His death Sunday was announced Monday by Cincinnati’s WKRC-TV, where daughter Cammy Dierking is a news anchor. It was confirmed by the University of Cincinnati, where he starred in the late 1950s.

WKRC reported that Dierking fell in November. No other details were released immediately.

The Brooklyn-born Dierking played with Oscar Robertson for the Bearcats in 1957-58. He later teamed with Robertson and Jerry Lucas on the NBA’s Cincinnati Royals.

Dierking averaged 10.0 points and 6.7 rebounds in his NBA career. He averaged a career-high 16.7 points in 1969-70 for the Royals.

The 6-foot-10 center was a 1958 first-round pick of the Syracuse Nationals, who became the 76ers. He also played in the short-lived American Basketball League during more than a decade of professional basketball.

In 1965, he was among three players traded to San Francisco to bring Chamberlain to Philadelphia, a move that helped the 76ers build an NBA champion. Dierking was later traded by the Warriors to the Royals.

Dierking was co-captain of the ’57-58 team that made the Bearcats’ first NCAA tournament appearance. He averaged 15.8 points and 14.9 rebounds. As a junior, he led the Bearcats by averaging 18.5 points per game and 18.8 rebounds. He still holds the school’s single-game rebound record, with 33.

”Connie Dierking was one of the pioneers that helped build the winning tradition of Cincinnati basketball,” Bearcats coach Mick Cronin said in a statement Monday. ”We want to extend our condolences to the Dierking family at this time.”

After retiring, he did color commentary on Bearcats games in the 1980s. He was inducted into the school’s athletics hall of fame in 1986.

Dierking is survived by wife Robyn and five children.