Kansas City, Mo. Former Kansas University basketball phenom Clyde Lovellette, who led the Jayhawks to the 1952 national title, was one of 10 individuals inducted into the National Collegiate Basketball Hall of Fame Sunday night at the Midland Theatre.
Others inducted: Patrick Ewing (Georgetown), Phil Ford (North Carolina), Joe B. Hall (Kentucky), Dave Robbins (Virginia Union), Kenny Sailors (Wyoming), Earl Monroe (Winston Salem State), Willis Reed (Grambling), Jim Host (founded Host Communications) and Joe Dean (Louisiana State University).
Playing for Hall of Fame coach Phog Allen at KU, Lovellette was the first player to win championships in the NCAA, AAU, NBA and Olympic Games. The 6-foot-9 center was a three-time All-America selection for the Jayhawks and led the Big 7 Conference in scoring in each of his three seasons. He was the country’s top scorer in 1952 with 28.6 points per game and was the Most Outstanding Player in the 1952 NCAA Tournament.
“There are too many people to thank for being enshrined in the Hall of Fame,” Lovellette said at the ceremony. “It’s always an honor to be inducted to a Hall of Fame. It’s always great to be represented in basketball. That’s been my life ever since I could bounce the ball. Playing for a great coach like Phog Allen and being with a group of guys like Bill Lienhard, Bill Hougland, and Bob Kenney, those are the people that really make the team. Without a staff around you, I wouldn’t be here. I don’t believe one man can win any ballgames. They can have a big impact, but the other four men that are with him, that’s where you develop team play, camaraderie and the real togetherness to win a ballgame.”
Of his game, Clyde said: “I started out with a good hook and then I had a good one-handed shot. The hook shot has sort of gone away because not many people play with their back to the basket anymore. They’re big enough and moving quicker. They’re out there in front where they can see the basket. I shot my shot with my back to the basket, so I couldn’t see the basket. You had to have that touch and distance. It just came natural.”
Lovellette still ranks fourth all-time in Jayhawk history for total points, while his 24.7 points per game marks the second-best scoring average behind only Wilt Chamberlain’s 29.9 points per game. Lovellette’s career average of 10.5 rebounds per game places him fourth on KU’s all-time charts.
“I think anybody who ever played at Kansas is recognized,” Lovellette said. “It’s a great tradition at KU. The people take their basketball to heart. They know the players. They know the old players because their grandpa told them, or uncles or aunts. It’s a family affair at Kansas.”