Jimmy Rayl

(Photo: IU Athletics)

Jimmy Rayl Biography

Jimmy Rayl (1941-2019) was a basketball player from Kokomo, Indiana. He played for Kokomo High School and was named Indiana’s Mr. Basketball in 1959. He played for Indiana University for four seasons between 1959 and 1963, where he still holds IU’s single game scoring record with 56 points, which he did twice against Michigan State and Minnesota. Jimmy Rayl played for head coach Branch McCracken. After graduating, Jimmy Rayl signed with the Cincinnati Royals, and later played two seasons with the Indiana Pacers.

  • Name: Jimmy Rayl
  • Nickname: “Spendid Splinter”
  • Position: Point Guard
  • Nationality: USA
  • Birthday: June 21, 1941
  • Died: January 20, 2019 (77 years old)
  • Hometown: Kokomo, Indiana
  • High School: Kokomo High School
  • Height: 6’2″ (188 cm)
  • Weight: 175 lb (79 kg)
  • Seasons: 4 (1959-1960, 1960-1961, 1961-1962, 1962-1963)
  • Jersey: #22
  • NBA Draft: 1963 / Round 3 / 22nd Overall (Cincinnati Royals)

Awards and Accolades

  • Indiana Basketball Hall of Fame: 1989
  • Mr. Indiana Basketball: 1959
  • All-Big Ten: 1962, 1963
  • Third Team All-American: 1962, 1963
  • Single Game Scoring Record: 56 points

Jimmy Rayl’s Seasons at Indiana University

1959-1960 Indiana Basketball Season
Branch McCracken (19th Season)
20-4 (11-3 Big Ten)
🥈 2nd Place Big Ten

1960-1961 Indiana Basketball Season
Branch McCracken (20th Season)
15-9 (8-6 Big Ten)
4th Place Big Ten

1961-1962 Indiana Basketball Season
Branch McCracken (21st Season)
13-11 (7-7 Big Ten)
5th Place Big Ten

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

Jimmy Rayl’s Indiana University Statistics

1960-1961 20 34 112 0.304 11 22 0.5 14 38 79
1961-1962 24 254 580 0.438 206 247 0.834 83 81 714
1962-1963 24 215 516 0.417 178 204 0.873 82 71 608
Career 68 503 1208 0.416 395 473 0.835 179 190 1401

Jimmy Rayl High School Career

Rayl played four years at Kokomo High School, leading his team to the state championship his senior year. He quickly gained a reputation as one of the best shooters in the history of Indiana high school basketball. Fans affectionately nicknamed him the “Splendid Splinter”, due to his slim frame. At 6-foot-1, Rayl only weighed 138 pounds (63 kg) as a senior in high school.

The “Splendid Splinter”

During his senior year, he averaged 29.6 PPG, and scored 114 points in the final four games of the state tournament. With those 114 points, he broke Oscar Robertson’s record and set a new state record. Rayl won the Trester Mental Attitude award in 1959, and was an obvious choice for Mr. Indiana Basketball despite losing the state championship to Crispus Attucks high school. Rayl graduated high school with 1,632 career points.

(Photo: Indiana University Archives)

Jimmy Rayl was recruited by Indiana University head coach Branch McCracken in 1959, who was already hoping to make up for losses of four star players that provided both rebounding and backcourt shooting. Right from the time he was recruited, Jimmy Rayl had high expectations placed on him and big shoes that he needed to fill as soon as possible.

Due to NCAA regulations at the time, players were unable to play their freshman year, so by the time Rayl was a sophomore, expectations of his performance were through the roof.

Jimmy Rayl’s Career at Indiana University

After sitting out his freshman year due to the rules of the NCAA, Jimmy Rayl’s sophomore year was unfortunately a bit disappointing for the Hoosiers, only accumulating 79 points for the whole season, averaging 4.0 PPG. It took until his second season, his junior year, for Rayl to regain his high school magic back and solidify himself back in a starring role.

(Photo: Indiana University Archives)

Jimmy Rayl started his junior year strong and kept it that way. He scored 34 points in the second game of the season against New Mexico State, and then scored his first 40+ point game against DePaul before heading to winter break. He then came back from break and scored 56 points against Minnesota, both an IU record and a Big Ten record. Rayl finished his junior year with a school record 29.8 points per game and was a consensus All-American.

When he came back his senior year, Jimmy Rayl picked up right where he left off. He continued to be a threat from anywhere on the court, averaging 25.3 PPG, the drop resulting in addition of more talented players, including the Van Arsdale twins. However, this increase in team talent didn’t stop Rayl from shining as both a team leader and a big shooter. His most impressive display his senior year came on February 23, when he tied his previous Big Ten record with 56 points against Michigan State. To the disappointment of fans, he was taken out by coach McCracken with three and a half minutes remaining in the game. Rayl finished his Indiana University career as the fourth leading scorer in IU history.

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Jimmy Rayl’s Career after Indiana University

(Photo: NBA)

After graduating from IU, Jimmy Rayl entered the NBA draft and was selected in the third round as the 23rd pick by the Cincinnati Royals. However, Rayl decided not to attend training camp without a guaranteed contract and instead took a job with the Goodyear Tire and Rubber Co. in Akron, Ohio. He mainly did this in order to play for the organization’s AAU (Amatuer Athletic Union) team. During the next four years he would help lead this team to two national championships, in 1964 and 1967.

After four years playing in the AAU, Rayl joined the newly created ABA (American Basketball Association) to play for the Indiana Pacers. He played one full season with the Pacers, averaging 12.0 points per game. At the end of his first season, Rayl was voted Most Popular Player by Pacers fans.

(Photo: Kokomo Tribune)

The following season he played 27 games before being cut from the team in late December. He averaged 8.9 PPG that season. After being cut, he never played basketball professionally ever again. He was inducted into the Indiana Basketball Hall of Fame in 1989.

Jimmy Rayl’s Death in 2019

On January 20, 2019, Jimmy Rayl passed away at his home in Kokomo, Indiana at the age of 77. Jimmy Rayl had fallen into poor health the months leading up to his death. In 2011, he suffered a stroke and underwent open heart surgery in the same year. To make matters worse, Rayl’s sons said that Jimmy’s kidneys had also been failing.

Jimmy Rayl Videos and Interviews

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