Santa Clara University guard Terry O'Brien finds his way blocked… (Associated Press )
Kenny Heitz, 65, who played on three NCAA basketball championship teams at UCLA in the 1960s, died Monday at his home in Pacific Palisades after a battle with cancer, the school announced.
At a time when freshmen were not eligible to play varsity sports, he joined Kareem Abdul-Jabbar (then Lew Alcindor), Lucius Allen and Lynn Shackelford on the 1965-66 freshman team that defeated the two-time defending national varsity champion in the first game played at Pauley Pavilion.
For the next three seasons, Heitz was a 6-foot-3 forward and guard for Coach John Wooden's varsity squad. The Bruins finished with an 88-2 record during Heitz's career and became the first school to win three consecutive titles, in 1967, '68 and '69.
A Santa Maria native, Heitz arrived at UCLA as a prep All-American center from Righetti High School in Santa Maria.
Heitz was an Academic All-American his senior year and graduated summa cum laude in 1969. Drafted by the NBA's Milwaukee Bucks, Heitz chose Harvard Law School instead and became an attorney in Los Angeles.
Times staff and wire reports