Source: CVDaily Feed
One of Utah State University’s all-time greatest basketball players, Bob Lauriski, passed away this weekend from an apparent heart attack. Lauriski was 63 years old.
“It’s a little bit of a shock to our family,” says Lauriski’s brother-in-law and high school basketball coach Rod Tueller. “Robert has been having some health problems with this heart and infections in his legs. We were absolutely shocked that he had an incident this weekend that took his life.”
A standout basketball player for both Logan High School (1968-69) and USU (1971-73), Lauriski also played 13 seasons internationally. In 2005 Lauriski was named to USU’s All-Century Basketball Team.
“His health had been waning. We didn’t have any idea it would be so serious, that his heart would give out on him so soon,” Tueller says.
Funeral services for Lauriski will be 12 noon Friday at Allen-Hall Mortuary. Family, friends and fans can pay their respects Thursday from 6-8 p.m. or Friday from 10-11:30 a.m.
Lauriski wasn’t a native of Logan, but transferred from New Mexico during his junior year of high school where his father was working in mines. Tueller’s wife Valene was Bob’s older sister.
Lauriski was an All-State basketball player for the Grizzlies in 1968 and 1969 and was named Mr. Basketball for the State of Utah in 1969. His senior year Logan High lost to Bountiful in the state championship game.
Tueller remembers that year fondly.
“Probably, for me, that was the greatest high school team I ever had the privilege of coaching at Logan High.”
Out of high school, Lauriski was recruited by just about every school in the Intermountain West, including New Mexico where he played as a youth. Ultimately, with Tueller’s admitted guidance, Lauriski chose to play for Utah State University under LaDell Andersen.
“It has been a long time since we’ve had a local player of his caliber come out of one of the local high schools,” Tueller says, “therefore it made quite a popular combination: a local boy making good with the Aggies.”
Because of NCAA rules, he couldn’t play as a freshman but started his next three years at Utah State.
“The thing about Robert as a player,” Tueller explains, “is that he was very highly skilled. He had a deft touch on shooting and rebounding. He wasn’t the highest jumping player around at 6’7” but was very smart, a very smooth basketball player.”
Lauriski finished his Aggie career with 1266 points and 720 rebounds. He averaged 16 points and nine rebounds a game over his USU career. Lauriski also finished with 32 double figure rebound games, 31 double-doubles and five straight games in 1972 with double figure points and rebounds.
After finishing his international basketball career (with most of those years spent in Rieti, Italy), Lauriski eventually returned to Cache Valley where he worked with former Logan High teammate and former Aggie basketball head coach Kohn Smith. Tueller says Lauriski had a great love of the outdoors and working with Smith tying flies and leading fishing expeditions was a great fit for both of them.
“We’ll certainly miss him as a family. Probably the greatest player I ever coached in high school and college combined, and I had a lot of very fine players. Robert was as good as any of them.”