John Wendelken was the first player to gain stardom as a center in the history of basketball. A graceful, dashing figure, well educated (he was medical student during the early years of his basketball career), Wendelken was a well-liked and much-admired star. He was the inventor of many of the first plays involving the center position. In 1896, Wendelken joined the newly-organized 23rd Street YMCA team in New York City. The team lost just one game over the course of the next two seasons before turning pro in 1898. Because they had no home court and  because they were one of the first teams to barnstorm extensively, the team became known as the New York  Wanderers. The team joined the National Basketball League for the 1899-90 season. During his four NBL seasons, Wendelken finished  second in field goals three times. After retirement from professional basketball, he taught anatomy for more than forty years in New York at the Savage School of Physical Education which he had co-founded. While he never formally coached any teams, Wendelken remained interested in basketball all his life and tutored many young players including Nat Holman.



JOHN WENDELKEN Height: 6:00 Weight: 175 College: None
Dr. John Henry Wendelken Born: Nov 4, 1876 Died:  Dec 12, 1959 Hometown: New York, NY
Year Team League     GA FGM  FTM FGA  PCT.  AST  PTS AVG
1895-96 New York 23rd Street YMCA AAU
1896-97 New York 23rd Street YMCA AAU
1897-98 New York Wanderers Indep
1898-99 New York Wanderers Indep
1899-00 New York NBL 25 71 6 148 5.9
1900-01 New York NBL 31 116 13 245 7.9
1901-02 New York NBL 36 108 0 216 6.0
1902-03 New York HRL 37 179 0 358 9.7
1903-04 Springfield WMBL 13 59 0 118 9.1
1904-05 New York Wanderers Indep
1905-06 New York Wanderers Indep
1906-07 New York Wanderers Indep
1907-08 New York Wanderers Indep
1908-09 New York Wanderers Indep
1909-10 New York Wanderers Indep
1910-11 oughkeepsieHudson NYSL 7 17 4 38 5.4
Major League Totals 149 149 550 23 1123 7.5


This entry was posted in . Bookmark the permalink.