KU basketball legend Clyde Lovellette dies

Picture courtesy: KU Athletics
Picture courtesy: KU Athletics

Courtesy: KU Athletics

LAWRENCE, Kan. – Kansas men’s basketball legend Clyde Lovellette died Wednesday evening in North Manchester, Indiana, where he lived, his daughter Cindy confirmed with KU officials. Lovellette, who had been battling cancer, was 86.

A two-time All-American center, Lovellette scored 33 points and grabbed 17 rebounds to lead Kansas to an 80-63 win over St. John’s in the 1952 NCAA championship game. In the process he set a then-NCAA?Tournament scoring record and earned most outstanding performer honors.

Also in 1952, Lovellette and six Jayhawk teammates helped lead the United States to the gold medal at the Olympics in Helsinki, Finland. Kansas coach Phog Allen was an assistant coach on the team.

“Clyde’s passing is a big loss for anyone who has ever supported Kansas Athletics,” Kansas Head Coach Bill Self said. “He was a great player, a national champion and Olympic Gold Medalist. He was a beloved teammate and a great ambassador for his alma mater. Our thoughts and prayers are with his family.”

Lovellette was elected to the Naismith Basketball Hall of Fame in May 1988 and the College Basketball Hall of Fame in 2012. His KU jersey was retired on Feb. 15, 1992, in a ceremony honoring the 1952 NCAA title team.

A native of Terre Haute, Indiana, Lovellette became the fourth Jayhawk to be named a consensus first-team All-American, and was also named All-Big Seven in 1951 and 1952.

Today, Lovellette ranks as the fourth all-time leading scorer in KU history with 1,979 career points, and as the No. 10 all-time leading rebounder with 813. In 1952, Lovellette became the only player in NCAA history to lead the nation in scoring (28.4) and play on the NCAA National Championship team.

Following his career at KU, Lovellette played one year of AAU ball, then embarked on a 12-year NBA career with stops at Minneapolis, Cincinnati, St. Louis and Boston. He retired from basketball in 1964. Lovellette was a four-time NBA All-Star and won three NBA titles – in 1954, 1963 and 1964.

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