Mel Turpin Dies: Former Kentucky and NBA Player Commits Suicide
News broke over night that former University of Kentucky basketball star Mel Turpin committed suicide in his Lexington home. The former UK player was 49 years old at the time. Details are still unknown regarding the scenario around Turpin's untimely death, but his loss is a blow to the Kentucky community.
Turpin's death is putting his name in the headlines for an unfortunate reason following his career in Kentucky blue and a short-lived career in the NBA.
Turpin was the star that led the Wildcats to the SEC championship in 1984. Nicknamed "The Big Dipper", Turpin was an All-SEC player from 1980-1984. Turpin led the Wildcats to three consecutive SEC regular season titles. He averaged 15.2 points per game during his senior season and shot over 74 percent from the field.
Trivia question. Who followed the famous top five of the 1984 NBA Draft of Hakeen Olajuwon, Sam Bowie, Michael Jordan, Sam Perkins and Charles Barkley?
That would be Turpin who was drafted sixth overall by the Washington Bullets who traded his rights to the Cleveland Cavaliers on draft night.
Turpin spent three seasons in Cleveland before playing one year with Utah and Washington before leaving the NBA in 1990. He averaged 16.1 points and 8.7 rebounds per game before bowing out of the NBA due to chronic injuries and weight issues.