University of Illinois
Andrew "Andy" Phillip... born on March 7, 1922 in Granite City, Illinois... University of Illinois from 1940 to 1943, three-time consensus All-American... Philadelphia Warriors from 1950 to 1952... first player in NBA history to register more than 500 assists in a single season... passed away on April 29, 2001.
Andrew "Andy" Phillip was born on March 7, 1922 in Granite City, Illinois. As a stellar high school athlete, Phillip earned MVP honors leading his Granite High team to the 1940 Illinois State Basketball Championship.
Phillip attended the University of Illinois from 1940 to 1943. He was the captain and "floor general" that directed the "Whiz Kids" of Illinois during their glory years of the early 1940's to two Big Ten titles in 1941 and 1942. A great competitor who excelled in big games, Phillip ranked among the nation's top collegiate players and was a three-time consensus All-American.
During his time at the University of Illinois, Phillip served in the Marine Corps Reserve and in 1944; he attended the Officer Candidate School and received a commission as a Second Lieutenant. He attended Field Artillery School, and was subsequently assigned to Battery C 1/14. During February and March of 1945, he participated in the battle of Iwo Jima. First Lieutenant Phillip was discharged in June 1946 from active duty, and served in the reserves until June 1949.
In 1947, Phillip signed with the BAA's Chicago Stags until 1950. Phillip played with the Philadelphia Warriors from 1950 to 1952. In 1952, he became the first player in NBA history to register more than 500 assists in a single season playing for the Warriors and the Fort Wayne Pistons.
Phillip played in five NBA All-Star Games, and averaged double figures in eight of 12 seasons. Known for his quick hands and uncanny passing ability, Phillip was often mentioned alongside Bob Cousy and Dick McGuire as one of the era's best playmakers. In 1956, Phillip decided to retire from the game that he loved so much. However, Boston Celtics coach Arnold "Red" Auerbach persuaded Phillip not to retire. The "old", but steady playmaker and big game competitor contributed to Boston's first championship in 1957. Phillip finally retired in 1958 and was inducted into the National Basketball Hall of Fame in 1961.
Andy Phillip passed away at his home at the age of 79 on April 29, 2001.