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Layups: R.I.P. Robert “Tractor” Traylor

Posted by Neil Paine on May 11, 2011

Sad that in the same week as one of Dirk Nowitzki's greatest professional triumphs, the man who was always linked to him via a draft-day trade -- Robert Traylor -- was found dead in his Puerto Rico apartment today at the age of 34:

"Robert Traylor, the former University of Michigan standout and short-time NBA forward, was found dead in his apartment in Isla Verde, Puerto Rico, according to Traylor's club (via Scott Schroeder). The big man affectionately known as 'Tractor' Traylor due to his size and strength was just 34 years old.

A cause of death and confirmation from Puerto Rican officials are not yet available. [...] Traylor struggled to make an impact at the NBA level, constantly struggling with both his weight and a heart defect that required aortic surgery in 2006."

Aside from a solid rookie season, Traylor's NBA career was nothing to write home about, but here are his career NCAA stats:

Season School Conf G MP FG FGA FG% FT FTA FT% TRB AST STL BLK TOV PF PTS
1995-96 Michigan BG10 22 19.9 3.7 6.7 .554 1.5 2.8 .548 5.9 0.5 0.9 0.7 2.4 3.1 9.0
1996-97 Michigan BG10 35 27.3 5.4 9.8 .556 2.3 5.0 .455 7.7 0.9 1.1 1.0 2.8 3.3 13.1
1997-98 Michigan BG10 34 32.1 6.6 11.4 .579 3.1 4.8 .642 10.1 2.6 1.3 1.4 3.2 3.2 16.2
Career Michigan 91 27.3 5.5 9.6 .566 2.4 4.4 .545 8.2 1.5 1.1 1.1 2.9 3.2 13.3

Following an NIT MVP performance at the end of 1997, in '98 he averaged a double-double on 58% shooting, leading Michigan to the 2nd round of the NCAA Tournament. He also had this backboard-shattering slam:

Rest in peace, big man.

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One Response to “Layups: R.I.P. Robert “Tractor” Traylor”

  1. Nathan Says:

    The first game I ever attended at Assembly Hall in Bloomington was Taylor's Wolverines in 1998. Hoosiers won the game handily, but I remember Taylor distinctively. Always a little disappointed he never made a name for himself in the NBA, but he will be missed.