Dick Van Arsdale

Dick Van Arsdale Biography

Richard “Dick” Albert Van Arsdale is a former Indiana University basketball player and later an NBA coach. He graduated from Indianapolis Emmerich Manual High School and played for Indiana between 1962-1965. He was drafted by the New York Knickerbockers in the second round of the 1965 NBA Draft. He has an identical twin brother, Tom Van Arsdale, who played with him at Indiana and later the Phoenix Suns.

  • Name: Richard “Dick” Albert Van Arsdale
  • Position: Guard / Small Forward
  • Nationality: USA
  • Age: 81 years old
  • Birthday: February 22, 1943
  • Hometown: Indianapolis, Indiana
  • High School: Indianapolis Emmerich Manual High School
  • Height: 6’5″ (196 cm)
  • Weight: 210 lbs (95 kg)
  • Seasons: 3 (1962-1965)
  • Jersey: #30

Awards and Accolades

  • Co-Indiana Mr. Basketball (1961)
  • All-American (1965)
  • World University Games Gold Medal
  • Academic All-American
  • Indiana Basketball Hall of Fame (1988)

Dick Van Arsdale’s Seasons with the Hoosiers

1962-1963 Indiana Basketball Season
Branch McCracken (22nd Season)
13-11 (9-5 Big Ten)
🥉 3rd Place Big Ten

1963-1964 Indiana Basketball Season
Branch McCracken (23rd Season)
9-15 (5-9 Big Ten)
8th Place Big Ten
1964-1965 Indiana Basketball Season
Branch McCracken (24th Season)
19-5 (9-5 Big Ten)
4th Place Big Ten

Dick Van Arsdale’s High School Career

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Both Dick and Tom grew up with a passion for basketball and played the sport growing up. They fell in love with the Hoosiers during the 1953 NCAA championship run watching the team beat Kansas.

Adolph Rupp noticed the development of both the Van Arsdale brothers and could not convince them to go to Kentucky over Indiana for school.

The two brothers were inseparable and very similar to one another. In fact, they were so similar that they both won the Indiana Mr. Basketball award in 1961. They also shared the Trester Award for Mental Attitude after the state title loss to Kokomo.

They both went to the inner-city area of Indianapolis to improve their game prior to attending Indiana University and being coached by Branch McCracken.


Dick Van Arsdale’s Indiana University Career


Both brothers enrolled at Indiana University to play under Branch McCracken which was his 22nd season as coach in 1962. Both Dick and Tom had immediate impact on the court and in nearly identical numbers to one another. Dick had 1,240 points and 719 rebounds while Tom had 1,252 points, 723 rebounds. They were forced to wear different color socks even when on the court as they could not be differentiated from one another.

The three years that they played for Indiana were the three final years for the coach. He was not able to redo his prior level of success in getting two NCAA titles for Indiana and did not make post-season play in any of the years.

Dick Van Arsdale’s Post-Collegiate Career

Both Dick and Tom were drafted into the NBA after the conclusion of the 1965 college season. For essentially the first time in their life, they went separate ways due to the draft. Dick was drafted by the New York Knickerbockers and Tom was drafted by the Detroit Pistons.

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Dick played for the Knickerbockers between 1965-68 and was named to the NBA All-Rookie team along with his brother. He played the remainder of his career for the Phoenix Suns between 1968-1977 for a total of 12 years in the NBA. He was selected as an NBA All-Star three times between 1969-1971, was NBA All-Defensive Second team in 1974 and had his No. 5 Jersey retired by the Phoenix Suns.

He later became the coach for the Suns in 1987 for a year following the departure of John MacLeod.

He averaged 16.4 ppg, 4.1 rpg, 3.3 apg during his career. He was remembered as the “original Sun” in Phoenix Suns lore.


Contributor: Dakota Thompson