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#KU50: 3 Clyde Lovellette

Three more days until the first official Kansas basketball game!

Few Jayhawks can match the resume of Lovellette: a National Player of the Year, 2-time All-American, NCAA Tournament Most Outstanding Player, and a national champion. And no one in NCAA history can claim to be a national champion while leading the country in scoring... except Lovellette, who averaged 28.4 points per game as a senior in 1951-52 as the Jayhawks went 28-3, winning the national title. Per game stats are what they are, obviously, but the Jayhawks as a team averaged only 64 points per game that year. It’s maybe the most remarkable season in NCAA history, as Lovellette added 12.8 rebounds and 2 assists per game to his ridiculous scoring totals.

Lovellette also accomplished another first, becoming the first player ever to win an NCAA title, NBA title, and Olympic gold medal, winning an NBA title with Minneapolis in 1954, and Olympic gold in the 1952 summer games in Helsinki. Lovellette, true to form, was that team’s leading scorer as well. (Fun facts: those were the first Olympics featuring the Soviet Union and communist China.)

Lovellette had a sparkling junior year as well, averaging 22.8 points and 9.9 rebounds per game (missing out on officially averaging a double-double by just 3 rebounds).

Lovellette was most known for his sheer size, as 6-9, 245 pounds was gigantic in those days (true to form, his nicknames were The Monster and The Beast), but he also had deft touch on the outside, and could have been a stretch 4 in the modern game.

He ended his college career with flair, scoring 31, 44, and 33 points in his final three games. He added 17 rebounds in the title game against St. Johns. Lovellette set records for most points in a tournament and in a tournament game in that tourney.