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Former NBA, Notre Dame star Woolridge dies

NBA: Orlando Woolridge, the rugged forward who carved out a reputation over 13 NBA seasons as a scoring specialist and one of the original alley-oop artists, died Thursday at his parents’ home in Mansfield, La. He was 52.

DeSoto Parish Chief Deputy Coroner Billy Locke said Woolridge died while under hospice care for a chronic heart condition.

The 6-foot-9 Woolridge (pictured above) was the sixth overall pick by the Chicago Bulls in 1981 after starring at Notre Dame in college and Mansfield High School in Louisiana.

Known for his high-flying dunks and ability to throw down lob passes in the open court, Woolridge played for the Bulls, Los Angeles Lakers, New Jersey, Philadelphia, Denver, Milwaukee and Detroit, and also coached the Los Angeles Sparks of the WNBA. He averaged 16.0 points in just more than 28 minutes per game, quickly emerging as an offensive spark plug no matter if he was in the starting lineup or coming off the bench.

“I just love it when we go up in the transition game, up and down the court, Magic (Johnson) looking for the open guy,” Woolridge told Lakers broadcaster Chick Hearn shortly after joining the team in 1988. “I get excited when we start playing like that. That’s the way I love playing.”

He participated in one of the greatest slam dunk contests of all time in 1985, competing against Michael Jordan, Dominique Wilkins and Julius Erving, among others, and he averaged 22.9 points per game for the Bulls in 1984-85, the last player to lead Chicago in scoring before Jordan took over.

Woolridge is survived by his four children, Zachary, Renaldo, Royce and Tiana. Royce is a redshirt sophomore guard with Washington State who transferred from Kansas.

Associated Press

Uher signs with Penguins

Hockey: The Pittsburgh Penguins announced that Spokane Chiefs forward Dominik Uher has signed a three-year entry-level contract with the NHL club.

Uher was drafted by the Penguins in the fifth round (144th overall) of the 2011 NHL Entry Draft.

Uher’s 33 goals in 63 games last season led the Chiefs while his 68 points were second. 

The 6-foot, 195-pound forward has produced 58 goals and 144 points in 181 regular-season games with Spokane from 2009-2012.