DETROIT — Terry Duerod, a college basketball standout who played for Dick Vitale at Detroit in the 1970s before winning an NBA title with the Boston Celtics, has died. He was 64.
The school announced Duerod's death Friday and said he'd been fighting Leukemia. Vitale said in that news release that he'd found out from Duerod's wife about his death.
“So sad to learn about the passing of Terry Duerod,” Vitale said. “He is one of the really special players at the university. I am absolutely crushed. I found out with a phone call from his wife this morning that he had passed from cancer. He was unique. He was Mr. Excitement. When the ball was in his hands, the crowd was in a frenzy."
Duerod ranks sixth in school history with 1,690 points. In 1977 — Vitale's last year coaching at the school — the Titans won an NCAA Tournament game for the first time. That was Duerod's sophomore season. He played two more at Detroit after that, averaging 23.3 points a game as a senior and helping the team to another NCAA Tournament appearance.
“His range was the minute he came out of the locker room,” Vitale said. "I am telling you, if there was a 3-point line during that era, he would have put points up at a staggering rate and his stat totals would be way higher than they are.”
Duerod was drafted by the Detroit Pistons in the third round in 1979 and played 143 NBA games over four seasons with Detroit, Dallas, Boston, and Golden State. He won a title with the Celtics in 1981.
Duerod also had a 27-year career as a firefighter in Detroit. He retired from that in 2016.