Jack Twyman was a man with a soft touch and a soft heart. He is most famous for caring after his Royals’ teammate Maurice Stokes who was paralyzed by an on-court accident. For over a decade Twyman helped raise funds for Stokes’ medical care and personally visited Maurice every week for the rest of the fallen all-star’s life.
All the while, Twyman was delivering his soft touch on the court.
He debuted with Stokes on the Rochester Royals in the 1955-56 season. The rookie Twyman scored a very respectable 14 points and nabbed 6 rebounds a night at small forward. Over the years, and after Stokes’ debilitation, Twyman assumed a bigger offensive load:
1956: 14 PPG
1957: 16 PPG
1958: 17 PPG
1959: 26 PPG
1960: 31 PPG
That rise in Twyman’s scoring average coincided with the decline in the Royals’ on-court fortune. Sure he was, along with Wilt Chamberlain, the first player to average over 30 points for a season, but the Royals won only 19 games. Help came the next year, though, in the form of Oscar Robertson.
Twyman no longer needed to dominate the offense, but he still was an instrumental cog averaging 25, 23 and 20 points over the next three seasons. His average was declining but his FG% stood at 48% during this period compared to 43% before Oscar arrived. Robertson had the ability to hit Twyman at the right time for the right shot for Jack to nail.
Illustrating this last point, in 1966 the Royals held Jack Twyman Night in honor of the man who was retiring at season’s end. Robertson decided to make the nigh truly special by feeding Twyman over and over. Jack who was averaging 7.5 points in that final year netted 39 against the hapless Knicks. It was one final spectacular display of the thing Twyman did so great: taking and making jumpers.
Perhaps there was a shot Jack Twyman met that he didn’t like. We’re still looking for it, though.
Years Played: 1956 – 1966
2x All-NBA 2nd Team (1960, 1962)
6x All-Star (1957-’60, 1962-’63)
NBA – 823 Games
19.2 PPG, 6.6 RPG, 2.3 APG, 45.0% FG, 77.8% FT
FG% Leader (1958)
Contemporary NBA Ranks (1955-56 through – 1965-66 season)
4th Points, 16th PPG
3rd FGs Made, 17th FG%
9th FTs Made, 32nd FT%
15th Rebounds, 17th Assists
2nd Games Played, 4th Minutes Played