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Northwest Athlete Spotlight – Detlef Schrempf

Emerald City’s Adopted Son

Name:  Detlef Schrempf
Born:  January 21, 1963
Birthplace:  Leverkusen, West Germany
Height:  6″10″  Weight:  235lbs
University:  Washington
Drafted:  Dallas Mavericks, 8th Overall Pick 1985 Draft
Teams (1985-1999):  Dallas Mavericks, Indiana Pacers, Seattle Supersonics (Jersey #11), Portland Trail Blazers (Jersey #12)
Position:  Small Forward / Power Forward
Stats:  15,761 points (13.9ppg), 7,023 rebounds (6.2rpg), 3,833 assists (3.4apg)
Awards:  NBA All-Star (1993, 95, 97), NBA Sixth Man Of The Year (1991, 92), All NBA Third Team (1995)

Northwest From the Start

The “Grand Teuton” arrived in Seattle in 1981 and immediately made an impact on the amateur basketball scene, leading the Centralia Tigers to the High School state title in his senior year.

Offered a scholarship by the Washington Huskies, Detlef Schrempf plastered his name among the record books over the course of his four years on campus, finishing with an average of 11.9 points, 6.2 rebounds and 2.3 assists.

Helping lead the Huskies to back-to-back March Madness appearances, including a spot in the Sweet Sixteen, Schrempf finished his collegiate career being named a member of the All-Pac-10 Team and Second Team All-American.

Detlef Schrempf Seattle Sonics

Schrempf was drafted by the Mavericks, but it wasn’t long before he made his return to the NW (Photo: Robert Sorbo/AP)

NBA Bound

Schrempf’s NBA career would start in Dallas as the eighth overall pick in the 1985 draft.  “Det” would soon find a serviceable role with the Mavericks before being shipped off to Indiana , where he would find himself on the verge of being a household name.

His value to the game—and his team—was shown by being named back-to-back Sixth Man Of The Year in 1991 and 1992.  Schrempf returned to the Emerald City for the 1993-94 campaign after the Seattle SuperSonics traded Derrick McKey and Gerald Paddido for the 6’10″ forward from Germany.

While not quite the prolific scorer that Dirk Nowitzki has been, Schrempf broke ground for the Diggler, showcasing his ability to play inside, drain from deep or handle the rock.  Teaming up with The Glove (Gary Payton), The Reign Man (Shawn Kemp), Big Smooth (Sam Perkins) and The Hawk (Hersey Hawkins), Schrempf played in his only NBA Finals in 1996, falling to the Chicago Bulls 4-2.

Change of Scenery

Three years later, the Sonics felt that they needed a change of direction and sent Schrempf to the waiver wire.  Knowing the value that he still possessed, the Portland Trail Blazers quickly rerouted the forward down the I-5, adding him to their roster on the same day the Sonics released him.

While he only played approximately 18 minutes per game over his two-year stint with the Blazers, Schrempf came within a single game of returning for a chance at the championship when the team fell to the LA Lakers in an epic seven-game Western Conference Championship series in 1998.

A Northwest Advocate

After retiring in 2001, Schrempf returned to the game from 2005 to 2007 as a member of Bob Hill’s coaching staff for the Seattle Supersonics.  

Living in Seattle, Schrempf has made himself a fixture in supporting the return of the NBA to the Northwest, often appearing at rallies and speaking engagements on behalf.

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About Steve Lee

Steve is a 12 year writing vet, and writes for a number of sports sites, offering a unique and abstract look at the games we love. He still hopes the Grizz + Sonics return to the Northwest, and has been a Lakers fan since "Showtime".
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