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Inman dies; put together Blazers' title team

PORTLAND, Ore. -- Stu Inman, who helped build the
Portland Trail Blazers' 1976-77 NBA championship team, has died of an
apparent heart attack. He was 80.

Inman collapsed in his Lake Oswego home about 1:30 p.m. Tuesday
and was pronounced dead at the hospital, his son, David, said.

"He didn't suffer," his wife, Eleanor, told The Oregonian
newspaper.

Inman drafted Bill Walton, Geoff Petrie, Larry Steele, Lloyd
Neal, Lionel Hollins, Bobby Gross, Wally Walker and Johnny Davis,
championed the signing of Dave Twardzik after the American
Basketball Association folded, and selected Maurice Lucas in the
ABA dispersal draft.

It was the only title the Trail Blazers have won since entering
the league as an expansion team in 1970.

A star at San Jose State with scoring and rebounding records,
Inman joined the Trail Blazers as chief scout in 1970. He became
vice president of player personnel, compiled a 6-20 record as
interim coach in 1971-72, and was general manager from 1981 to
1986, during which the Trail Blazers drafted Sam Bowie instead of
Michael Jordan in 1984.

After he left the Trail Blazers, he was director of player
personnel for the Milwaukee Bucks and the Miami Heat.

Inman lived in Lake Oswego, and four years ago began helping
Lake Oswego basketball coach Mark Shoff evaluate players.

"He had them to a T," Shoff said Wednesday. "Not only did he
have them as basketball players, he had their characters, too.

"He took time not to prejudge people but to see them as they
really are."

Shoff said he learned of Inman's death Tuesday but delayed
telling his players until after an 88-53 victory over West Linn.
"They took it awfully hard," he said.

Inman is survived by his wife, five children and 17
grandchildren. David Inman said a funeral service was planned for 2
p.m. Monday in Lake Oswego.