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Former St. John’s star big man LeRoy Ellis dies at age 72


LeRoy Ellis, the second-leading scorer in St. John’s history, died Saturday at the age of 72 after a long battle with cancer.

A New York native, the 6-10 Ellis averaged 23.5 points per game in his career with St. John’s, before being selected by the Los Angeles Lakers with the sixth pick in the 1962 NBA Draft.

He was later selected by the Portland Trailblazers in the 1970 NBA Expansion Draft, becoming a member of the franchise’s inaugural team.

“LeRoy Ellis was a very important member of the first Trail Blazers team and was a very high-class individual,” Trail Blazers Founder and President Emeritus Harry Glickman said in a statement. “We extend our deepest sympathy to his family.”

The Ellis family has roots in college basketball, as three of LeRoy’s children went on to play at the collegiate level.

His daughter, Lisa, played basketball at California State, Long Beach and also at Kentucky over the course of her career.

LeRoy Jr., his eldest son, played at Pacific and was also part of 1990 Division II national champion Kentucky Wesleyan.

His younger son, LeRon, played college basketball at Kentucky and Syracuse, before being selected with the 22nd pick in the 1991 NBA Draft by the Los Angeles Clippers. He went on to play three seasons in the NBA.

Daniel Martin is a writer and editor at, covering St. John’s. You can find him on Twitter:@DanielJMartin_