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Spurs 50 for 50, Number 40- Gene Banks

Duke’s All-American gets drafted by the Silver & Black

San Antonio Spurs v Washington Bullets

This year the Spurs are celebrating their 50th season in San Antonio. There have been many highs and a few lows. One trademark of the San Antonio Spurs has been their culture and their consistency. The keys to those qualities lie in their players. Always noted for development as well as being ahead of the curve on scouting international players, the Spurs way has made the franchise one of the most successful of all time. As we look back on the Silver & Black, we recognize the top 50 players in Spurs history. Each day, we will move up the countdown.

40- Gene Banks

San Antonio Spurs v New York Knicks

Although Gene Banks only played 6 seasons in the NBA, he is a glimpse into how a draft pick can make an immediate impact.

At Duke, during his senior season, Banks won the ACC scoring title over talents like James Worthy and Ralph Sampson, including posterizing the latter.

“Banks is widely seen as a crucial recruit as Duke slowly transitioned into the world of integrated college basketball. While the sixth African American player in Duke’s history, he was the school’s first Black All American, setting the stage for Coach Krzyzewski’s later recruiting success.”

After being drafted by the San Antonio Spurs 28th overall in 1981, Banks played in 80 games in his rookie season, but averaged just over 21 minutes with four starts. As a result, he contributed 9.6 points per game. His next two seasons saw more starts and an increase in minutes (just over 33 per game) pushing his scoring to 14 points per game.

In his fourth season, Banks saw his minutes and scoring dip. he signed with Chicago, where he stayed for two seasons (despite signing a four-year deal). He spent the remainder of his career as a player overseas.

In 2009, Banks returned to the NBA as an assistant coach to the Washington Wizards.

Next up: “The Rifleman” comes to Texas.

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