William P. "Bill" Melchionni (born October 19, 1944) is a former National Basketball Association and American Basketball Association player.
Melchionni was a wispy guard from Bishop Eustace Prep (Pennsauken, New Jersey) who was a collegiate star in the mid-1960s at Villanova University and was the Most Valuable Player in the 1966 NIT, when Villanova finished in third place in the tournament. Upon graduation from Villanova, Melchionni joined the famous Phillips 66ers AAU Elite team, where he starred for a season before returning to his hometown to join the Philadelphia 76ers.
Melchionni was a key reserve on what is, statistically speaking, the greatest 76ers team ever, the NBA Champions led by Wilt Chamberlain, Luke Jackson, Hal Greer, Wali Jones, and Chet Walker in 1967. The team was coached by another AAU Elite alum, Alex Hannum.
Melchionni then jumped to the upstart ABA, becoming a key cog with the New York Nets. He played alongside Rick Barry, and later mentored a young Julius Erving. Melchionni was a key player in the 1974 ABA Championship, led by Erving, Larry Kenon, John Williamson, and Billy Paultz.
Melchionni played in three ABA All-Star Games, and was named to the All-ABA First Team in 1972. Melchionni led the ABA in assists per game in both 1971 and 1972.
Melchionni's #25 jersey was retired by both the Nets and Villanova.
Melchionni's brother, Gary Melchionni, was a two-year captain for Duke University and was an All-ACC performer. Gary's son and Bill's nephew, Lee Melchionni, played for the Duke Blue Devil's from 2002-2006.
By Dean Hanley
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