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Knicks Sign Grambling Star Center Willis Reed

June 30, 1964 - The New York Knicks, who have been searching for years for a good big man, today signed Willis Reed (pictured), a 6-10 star from Grambling College in Louisiana. He was the Knicks’ second draft choice at the NBA’s spring meeting.

New York’s first draft pick, Jim (Bad News) Barnes of Pan American College in Texas, is a member of the U.S. Olympic basketball team and cannot be signed until after the Olympic games are complete in Tokyo, Oct. 25. Barnes stands 6-8.

Reed averaged 21.3 rebounds during the 1963-64 season at Grambling, and his scoring average during that campaign was 26.6.

Reed, 22 years old, played four years with Grambling, leading the Louisiana quintet to one championship in the National Association of Intercollegiate Athletics’ playoffs and three Southwestern Athletic Conference titles. In four seasons, he scored 2,215 points in 125 games for an 18.5 average.

Reed plans to move to New York from Bernice, La., with his wife and 1-year-old son if he makes the Knicks. He will continue his studies towards a master’s degree in education at New York University.

Only one other Knick in the team’s history was taller than Reed. That was 6-11 Ray Felix.

Reed is the second Knick to agree to terms. The first was Art Heyman, the former Duke star, who was a rookie with the Knicks last season.

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