Danny Ainge Athlete Profile

#22 Danny Ainge

Position: Guard Height: 6-5 Weight: 188 Roster Years: 1977-1980 | 1981-1982 Hometown: Eugene, OR Hall of Fame: 1991

  • 1991 Men's Basketball 



1991 Hall of Fame Inductee

Danny "Two-Sport" Ainge made six first-team All-America squads as a senior leading BYU to the Elite Eight in the NCAA post-season tournament in 1981.

The Eugene, Oregon, guard was gifted in many sports and went on to play professionally in basketball and baseball. While at BYU from 1977 to 1981, his routine was to play basketball for the Cougars, the hustle off to play baseball with the Toronto Blue Jays - without much time to rest in between.

His 2,467 points at BYU were in the top-20 career list for the NCAA. In 1981 he was selected as College Basketball Player of the Year by winning the Joe Lapchick, Eastman, and John Wooden awards.

Danny set nine Western Athletic Conference records and 10 BYU records and held the NCAA record for most consecutive games, scoring in double figures in 112 straight games. In addition to his prowess in athletic contests, he excelled in the classroom and was voted two-time Academic All-America by the College Sports Information Directors of America.

As a high school senior, Danny was picked by the Toronto Blue Jays in the 15th round of the free-agent draft in 1977. He played three seasons (1978-81) with the Blue Jays as an infielder, made the Topp's All-Rookie team in 1979, and had a major league batting average of .220. The Boston Celtics drafted Danny in the second round in 1981. He played for the Celtics from 1981-1989 and for the Sacramento Kings, Portland Trailblazers, and Phoenix Suns later in his career.

Danny won NBA Championship rings with the Celtics in 1984 and 1986 and helped the team to final appearances in 1985 and 1987. In 1988 he played on the 1988 NBA All-Star Team.

A communications graduate from BYU, Danny has served as national chair for both the Cystic Fibrosis Foundation and the Stay-in-School Campaign.


All-America

  • 1977-78 UPI Honorable Mention
  • 1978-79 Basketball Weekly Third Team
  • 1980-81 AP First Team
  • 1980-81 Basketball Coaches Association First Team
  • 1980-81 UPI First Team


Academic All-America

  • 1980 CoSida First Team
  • 1981 CoSida First Team

Personal 

  • Born on St. Patricks Day in Eugene, Oregon
  • Older brother Doug played 12 games for the Cougars in 1973-74 before transferring to Linfield College (Oregon)
  • Has two older brothers and a younger sister
  • Signed a multi-year professional baseball contract to play with the Toronto Blue Jays prior to coming to BYU
  • Played with the Blue Jays major league team, and the AAA farm club, the Syracuse Chiefs
  • Had one homer which broke the scoreboard on impact in 1978
  • In 1979 he was moved up to the majors where he ended the season prior to returning to BYU with a .237 average in 87 games
  • From May through June his average hovered around .300
  • He had 73 hits and 19 RBIs three of which were game winners, seven doubles, a triple and two homers
  • In 1980 he split time between Syracuse where he hit .245 and 38 games with Toronto where he batted .243
  • He was a member of the Topps Bubblegum all-rookie team
  • He married Michelle Toolson in March of 1979
  • B.S. in communications from BYU

Career Highlights

  • Led the Cougars in scoring each of his four years, finishing with a career average of 20.9 ppg
  • Upon leaving BYU Ainge was the holder of many team, WAC and NCAA records; among them are consecutive games scoring in double figures, NCAA (112)
  • Among top 20 career points leaders (WAC)
  • Most field goals attempted (1,875, WAC)
  • Most career field goals made (987, WAC)
  • Most career personal fouls (383, WAC)
  • Most career WAC points scored (1,118)
  • Most career WAC field goals attempted (857)
  • Most career WAC field goals made (440)
  • Most season WAC field goals made (157)

Before BYU

  • Named to All-American teams by Scholastic and Parade magazines in basketball, baseball and football
  • Was All-American in basketball also by AP and Coach and Athlete
  • For two years in a row was named District AAA MVP while playing for North Eugene High
  • At the Florida National Junior AAU tourney, Ainge was named to the all-tournament team, which included Albert King (Maryland) and Kelly Tripuka (Notre Dame)
  • For North Eugene High in basketball, Ainge averaged 24.5 points, 8.7 rebounds and 3.6 assists
  • In Oregon State-Metro series, Ainge was MVP both nights for State
  • In football he was All-State as a wide receiver his junior year and was All-State on defense his senior year
  • In all, Ainge was an all-stater two years in a row in football, basketball and baseball as selected by the Oregon Journal and Eugene Register Guard
  • Led the Highlander basketball team to two straight titles with a combined 52-1 record
  • He swished the longest field goal ever at McArthur Court (Oregons home court), an 85-footer in the 1977 state playoffs
  • In 1978 he was honored by being named the Bill Hayward Prep athlete of the year in Oregon
  • Lettered nine times in three sports
  • Prep basketball coach was Barney Holland, (Oregon)

After BYU

  • A two-sport star while at BYU, Ainge was drafted by the Toronto Blue Jays (MLB) and the Boston Celtics (NBA)
  • Played four seasons with Toronto while playing basketball at BYU
  • Played on two NBA championship teams at Boston, 1984 and 86
  • Played in six NBA finals for three different teams
  • Played on four teams in 14-year career (Boston, Sacramento, Portland and Phoenix)
  • Finished career with 1,002 three-pointers, at the time was one of only three players to hit 1,000 three-pointers
  • Played in 193 career playoff games, second all-time to Kareem Abdul-Jabbar
  • After retiring Ainge became coach of the Phoenix Suns a position he held until 1999, when he resigned to spend more time with his family
  • Served as an analyst on NBA broadcasts for Turner Broadcast Television
  • Currently the Executive Director of Basketball Operations for the Boston Celtics where he helped assemble the 2008 NBA Champions
  • His son Austin played on BYU's basketball team

Post BYU Honors and Societies

  • Inducted into the BYU Hall of Fame in 1991
  • Inducted into the GTE Academic All-America Hall of Fame in May 2000

Stats

Year     GP   FG-FGA   Pct.   FT-FTA   Pct. Rbds Avg.  PF-D  Pts. Avg.   A   S
1977-78  30  243-473   51    146-169   86   173  5.8  113-9  632  21.1 158  60
1978-79  27  206-376   55     86-112   77   102  3.8   87-3  498  18.4 122  46
1979-80  29  229-430   53     97-124   78   114  3.9   91-4  555  19.1 132  43
1980-81  32  309-596   52    164-199   82   152  4.8  102-3  782  24.4 127  46
Totals   118 987-1875  53    493-605   81   541  4.6  393-19 2467 20.9 539  195


1977-1978 | Freshman Year

  • Was the only WAC player named to the UPI All-American squad (honorable mention)
  • He was the second freshman in conference history to be named to the All-WAC squad
  • In 1977-78 he set a new BYU high of 632 points in a season, averaging 21.2 points to surpass Roland Minsons 1951 record of 619
  • His 243 field goals in 1978 broke Dick Nemelkas 1966 mark of 242
  • Ainge hit 11 of 11 free throw tosses to set a Marriot Center record against Arizona State
  • Was on the all-tournament team at the Rainbow Classic
  • Was named Sports Illustrateds player of the week following BYUs two home wins against Arizona (87-86) and Arizona State (96-89)
  • Also named WAC player of the week following the ASU-Arizona series
  • His high point performance was 36 against Idaho State in the 1977 season
  • He played in all of BYUs 30 games, only once being held below double figures
  • In 18 of his 30 games he hit for 20 points or better
  • He led the team in free throw percentage (86%) assists (158) and steals (60)
  • Ainge was the highest scoring freshman in the nation for most of the 1977-78 season

1978-1979 | Sophomore Year

  • Was the only unanimous choice to the All-WAC squad
  • Was MVP and a unanimous selection to the all-tournament team at the Cougar Classic was also All-Pilsbury Classic named
  • Jo-lene player of the BYU-Utah game in Salt Lake City
  • His 40 point performance against Oral Roberts ties him for he third highest single game at BYU
  • His 1130 career points rank him ninth on all-time scoring list
  • Was named third team All-America by Basketball Weekly

1979-1980 | Junior Year

  • Averaged 19.1 ppg and 3.9 rebounds
  • Among top three scorers in the WAC
  • Basketball Weekly named him to its second team
  • Hit double figures in 80 consecutive games (beginning Dec. 10 1977 vs. Cal-Fullerton)
  • Led team in scoring 15 of 29 games
  • High game of 32 came against UNC-Charlotte in the Far West Classic

1981-1982 | Senior Year

  • Led team in scoring (24.4), free throw shooting (.824) and assists (127)
  • Scored a then record 782 points, now second all-time
  • Led Cougars in scoring 26 of 32 games
  • Scored season high 37 points against UCLA in second round NCAA game, also scored 37 against San Diego State
  • Scored game winning lay-up in Sweet-Sixteen against Notre Dame to give the cougars a 51-50 victory
  • Named WAC Player-of-the-Year
  • Won Eastman Award (1981 Player of Year, NABC)
  • Won John Wooden Award
  • MVP
  • Played in the NABC All Star game
  • Earned First-team All-America Naismith, First-team All-American NBA Coaches, First-team All-American NABC (Kodak-Coaches), First-team All-American Associated Press, First-team All-American Basketball Writers Association, First-team All-American United Press International, First-team All-American The Sporting News, First-team Pizza Hut, District VII player of the year, All-WAC for fourth year, First-team Academic All-America for second year.