Cole Aldrich flirted with his second triple-double as Kansas University ripped Missouri Monday. When he gets No. 2, he’ll still be tied for second with B.H. Born on the legitimate Jayhawk basketball charts. Unofficial as it may be, Wilt Chamberlain (1958 and 1959) rules the roost with at least five such feats. Now a second Born triple has come to light, so he’s still one-up on Cole.
Aldrich’s initial three-ply, officially the first in KU history, was 13 points-20 rebounds-10 blocks last season against Dayton. He went for 12-16-7 against Missouri. NCAA statistical procedures sadly have cheated some highly deserving guys like Born and Chamberlain. Due to other tardy tabulations, add the likes of Bill Russell, Bob Kurland, Oscar Robertson, Bob Cousy ... the list of statistical denial is long and illustrious.
Mark Yakle of Overland Park, a KU figure filbert of distinction, says it’s time to boost Born’s resume. It includes a 1953 NCAA title game effort of 26 points, 15 rebounds and 13 blocks (not officially tabulated then). Bert also got five steals, was fighting a vicious cold, was battered to smithereens by Indiana and fouled out with 5:36 to go. He was the first man on the losing team in the finals to be named most valuable for the tourney.
Yakle contends that if Kansas had won that 69-68 spellbinder, Born would have been hailed to the heavens instead of being shoved aside by adoration for the Hoosier stars. B.H., though his jersey deservedly hangs in Allen Fieldhouse, was a low-key, somewhat frail 6-foot-9, 190-pound kid from Medicine Lodge who never clamored for attention. I’ve never admired a KU athlete more than I do B.H., who did more with less physicality than just about anyone.
Clyde Lovellette pounded Born relentlessly, sometimes sadistically, in practice in Bert’s freshman and sophomore seasons, yet he admits it got him ready for his brilliant final two years and a great AAU career. He jokes that he and Clyde averaged 15 points a game for the 1952 NCAA champs — Clyde with 28.5 and Bert with 1.5.
Bert’s second triple-double, researched by Yakle, was against Oklahoma on Feb. 6, 1954 — 28 points, 15 rebounds, 12 blocks and “several steals in a brilliant defensive performance.” So Cole Aldrich is left playing catchup and B.H. Born gets some overdue plaudits.
The NCAA explains that its basketball records are confined to the “modern era,” which began with the 1937-38 season, the first without the center jump after each field goal.
Individual rebounds were not counted until 1950-51; assists were added in 1983-84; blocked shots and steals were officially added in 1986-87, same year for the three-point shot inclusion.
Fortunately for KU, sports publicist Don Pierce kept close track of Lovellette’s rebounds: 218 in 1950, 211 in ’51 and 411 in ’52, when he led the nation in scoring. Somebody had to be feeding Clyde to help him get all those points. Sadly, Jerry Waugh, Claude Houchin, Dean Kelley and Bill Hougland saw a huge number of assists vanish.
Think about shot-blockers such as Russell and Kurland, assist geniuses such as Cousy and Robertson and the early KU passers ... the NCAA statistics shortchange them in so many ways. It ain’t right, but it’s so.
As for Aldrich, I’ll be mighty surprised if he doesn’t bag at least one more triple-double before he’s through. Thank heaven his next such feat(s) also will be official.