Former Bulls, Notre Dame star Orlando Woolridge passes away

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Former University of Notre Dame standout and NBA veteran Orlando Woolridge, who played on Fighting Irish teams that four times knocked off the number-one-ranked team in the nation, died last night at his parents’ home in Mansfield, La., where he had been under hospice care due to a chronic heart condition. He was 52.

Woolridge was a first-round pick in the 1981 NBA Draft, as the sixth overall selection by the Chicago Bulls. He played with the Bulls from 1981-82 through 1985-86, the New Jersey Nets from 1986-87 (20.7 points per game) through 1987-88, The Los Angeles Lakers from 1988-89 to 1989-90, the Denver Nuggets in 1990-91 (25.1 points and a career-high 6.8 rebounds per game), Detroit Pistons in 1991-92 and 1992-93, Milwaukee Bucks in 1992-93 and the Philadelphia 76ers in 1993-94. He finished with career NBA averages of 16.0points (13,623 career points), 4.3 rebounds (3,696) and 19 assists. He played in Italy in 1994-95 and 1995-96. Woolridge averaged 22.9 points per game with the Bulls in 1984-85 while playing with Michael Jordan.

            Woolridge served as head coach of the WNBA Los Angeles Sparks in 1998 and 1999 and later coached the Arizona Rhinos of the ABA beginning in 2008-09. He was inducted into the Louisiana Sports Hall of Fame in 2010.

Sadly, his final year of life was marred by a run-in with the law. In February he was arrested for stealing aluminum tubes.

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