An Aggie great passed away on earlier this week.
Shaler Halimon Jr. was 76 years old at the time of his death. He was one of the best basketball athletes to play for the Aggies, being inducted into Utah State’s Athletics Hall of Fame in 2010. Halimon was selected as one of 16 basketball players to the All-Century team in 2005, when the school celebrated 100 years of the sport.
After playing at Imperial Valley Community College and earning junior college Player of the Year, Halimon came to USU in 1966 and quickly became a fan favorite. The 6-foot-5 swingman known as “Super Shay” left his mark on record lists as well after just two seasons.
“All I wanted to do was go to summer school,” Halimon told the HJ back in 2010. “... When I reflect back (on his days at USU), it’s on the education I got. That meant a lot to my mom and me. That gave me an opportunity. Other schools wanted to give me a scholarship, but they didn’t want to give me a chance to get my education. ... There is something wrong with that picture.
“I promised my mother I was going to graduate. When I left Utah State I had 216 credit hours and I think you only needed 166. I had more than enough, but I wanted to make sure I graduated.”
His diploma in social science from USU was special to him. Halimon gave it to his mother, who kept it for 35 years until just before she passed away. He proudly displayed it as his home in Portland, Oregon.
Halimon was the 14th pick in the 1968 NBA draft, chosen by the Philadelphia 76ers. He would play for the 76ers, as well as the Chicago Bulls, Portland Trail Blazers and Atlanta Hawks, averaging 6.7 points and 3.4 rebounds a game in the NBA. He ended his professional career in the ABA with the Dallas Chaparrals.
After retiring in 1973, Halimon worked as a social worker for seven years in San Antonio, Texas, with troubled youth. Then he became a bus driver in Tigard, Oregon, a suburb of Portland. He was named Driver of the Year and became well known in Portland as he drove bus for more than 30 years.
At his passing, the Trail Blazers issued a statement: “The Trail Blazers organization is mourning the loss of former Trail Blazer Shaler Halimon. Shaler was an original member of Portland’s inaugural 1970-71 team. While his time playing for the Trail Blazers was brief, he made a lasting impact on Rip City and ultimately called Oregon home once his NBA career concluded — and became a widely beloved driver for Oregon’s TriMet public transportation system. Shaler has been a proud member of the Trail Blazers Alumni Program for many years, promoting the good will of the Trail Blazers organization across Oregon and the Pacific Northwest. We extend our heartfelt condolences to Shaler’s family and loved ones.”
During that inaugural season with the Trail Blazers, Halimon appeared in 79 games and averaged a career-high 8.9 points per game.
Born in Tampa, Florida, Halimon went to high school in Romulus, Michigan.
When he became an Aggie, right away he was a prolific scorer. Halimon was named a Helms Athletic Foundation All-American during both his junior (1967) and senior (1968) seasons at USU. During his brief two-year Aggie career, Halimon scored 1,284 points which still ranks 20th all-time in school history.
He also recorded two of the three triple-doubles in school history during his career as he had 21 points, 24 rebounds and 10 assists in a 116-88 home win against Evansville on Dec. 11, 1967, and 35 points, 10 rebounds and 11 assists in a 96-80 home win against Arizona State on Feb. 10, 1968. Those 24 rebounds against the Purple Aces were a career high for Halimon and still ranks as the fifth-most in school history.
Halimon averaged 26.8 points during his senior season and his career scoring average of 25.2 points per game ranks second all-time in school history behind Wayne Estes. During his senior year, he scored a career-high 47 points against BYU, which ranks as the third-highest scoring game in school history.
Funeral arrangements for Halimon have not yet been announced.