Portage Area High School graduate Len Chappell, a Wake Forest University and National Basketball Association star who was a member of the inaugural Cambria County Sports Hall of Fame Class of 1965, died on Thursday.

He was 77.

According to the Wake Forest University website, Chappell had been in failing health for the past couple of weeks.

Chappell scored 2,240 points at Portage High School, including 977 points in his senior year with the Mustangs, whose gymnasium is named in his honor.

An Associated Press All-Pennsylvania selection, Chappell attended Wake Forest University and was three-time all-Atlantic Coast Conference (ACC) and twice was ACC Player of the Year. Chappell was named MVP in the NCAA Eastern Regionals in 1961 and 1962.

The 6-foot-8, 240-pound center/power forward was a first-team All-American selection in 1961 and 1962. Chappell set a three-year scoring record with 2,165 points at Wake Forest, where his jersey number has been retired.

Chappell was a first-round NBA Draft pick of the Syracuse Nationals, fourth overall, in 1962. He played 591 NBA games and scored 5,621 career points.

In addition to the Cambria County Sports Hall of Fame, Chappell is a member of the Wake Forest Hall of Fame. He led the Demon Deacons to two ACC Tournament titles and the program’s only Final Four appearance in 1962.

Mike Mastovich is a sports reporter and columnist for The Tribune-Democrat. He can be reached at (814) 532-5083. Follow him on Twitter @Masty81.