Dean Meminger, the former Marquette guard who played a reserve role on the New York Knicks' 1973 NBA championship team, was found dead Friday in a Manhattan hotel room. He was 65.
New York City police said staff at the Hamilton Heights Hotel found Meminger unconscious and unresponsive inside a room and emergency medical personnel pronounced him dead. Police said there were no signs of trauma and that the cause of death hadn't been determined. They said an investigation is ongoing.
"We want to thank everyone for their prayers and condolences during this difficult time for our family," Meminger's family said in a statement. "Dean `The Dream' Meminger touched the hearts of so many on and off the basketball court. Through basketball and education, he helped countless people around the country receive scholarships, high school and college admissions, and even employment."
Meminger averaged 6.1 points in six seasons with the Knicks and Atlanta Hawks.
"Everyone at the New York Knicks' organization is saddened to hear the news of Dean Meminger's passing," Knicks general manager Glen Grunwald said in a statement. "From the day he was drafted by this franchise in 1971, Dean was a friend and close family member of this team. On April 5, 2013, the 1973 world championship team was honored at Madison Square Garden on its 40th anniversary. There was no one prouder than Dean to be back on the court with his teammates. We send our heartfelt condolences to the entire Meminger family."
A former New York City prep star at Rice High School, Meminger led Marquette to a 78-9 mark in three varsity seasons for coach Al McGuire, averaging 18.8 points. Meminger averaged 21.2 points as a senior in 1970-71 and was drafted 16th overall by the Knicks.
"We are deeply saddened by the passing of Dean Meminger, one of the greatest players in the storied history of Marquette University basketball," Marquette athletic director Mike Broeker said in a statement. "Dean will always be remembered by MU fans for leading the program to the 1970 National Invitation Tournament title and being a consensus All-America selection the following year."
Meminger had short coaching stints with the New York Stars in the Women's Basketball League, the Albany Patroons in the CBA and the Long Island Knights in the USBL. He coached Manhattanville College in 2003-04.