Wanzer, Hall-of-Fame pioneer, dies at 94

Sam Amico

Before the arrival of the 24-second shot clock in 1954 turned pro basketball into a fast-paced game, many a victory came from clever passing and ball-handling in the backcourt that set up good shots.

The Boston Celtics’ Bob Cousy and Bill Sharman formed the best-known backcourt tandem in the N.B.A.’s first decade. But rivaling them were guards Bobby Wanzer and Bob Davies, former Seton Hall players who helped propel the Rochester Royals to the 1951 N.B.A. championship, the only league title in the history of that much-traveled franchise.

Wanzer, who was inducted in 1987 into the Basketball Hall of Fame at Springfield, Mass., where Davies, Cousy and Sharman were already honorees, died on Saturday at his home in Pittsford, N.Y., near Rochester. He was 94.

His family announced his death.

“Davies and Bobby Wanzer were deadly shooters, drivers and feeders in backcourt,” the New York Times sportswriter Leonard Koppett wrote in his N.B.A. history “24 Seconds to Shoot” (1968), recounting an era when “a six-two guard was considered tall, six-four a freak.”

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