Hall of Famer Bobby Wanzer, a five-time All-Star with the Rochester Royals and a star guard on their 1951 championship team, died Saturday, the Rochester Democrat & Chronicle reported. He was 94.
Wanzer played his entire nine-year career with the Royals and joined with Bobby Davis to form one of the best guard tandems. Wanzer also coached the team for three-plus seasons, two in Rochester and one full campaign plus 18 games into another after the franchise moved to Cincinnati as part of the lineage of the organization that would eventually become the Sacramento Kings.
“He was a player’s player and as good as anyone in that decade, including (Bob) Cousy,” former Royals owner and coach Les Harrison once said of the 1950s, according to the Democrat & Chronicle. “He was a complete player. Every time we played Boston, he guarded Cousy and he usually outplayed him.”
The first-round pick by the Royals in the 1948 Basketball Association of America draft out of Seton Hall was inducted in the Hall of Fame in 1987 as part of the class that also included Rick Barry, Pete Maravich and Walt Frazier. Wanzer later coached at St. John Fisher College in Pittsford, N.Y., from 1963 to 1987.
“It’s certainly sad that he’s gone but what an unbelievable, wonderful life he lived,” Rob Kornaker, the current coach at Fisher, told the Democrat & Chronicle.