Born: December 31, 1932 – Rentisville, Oklahoma
Graduated: Wichita East High School, 1951; Wichita University, 1955
The cornerstone of Wichita State University’s first venture into national prominence in college basketball, Cleo Littleton was one of a kind. He was the first college player west of the Mississippi River to score more than 2,000 points in a career and finished with 2,164, which still ranked No. 1 all-time 50 years after he left WSU.
High School Highlights
Littleton spent his high school (Wichita East) and college career at Wichita State, playing for the legendary coach Ralph Miller. He helped lead Wichita East to the 1951 Class AA state championship over Newton and played in 184 consecutive games from his sophomore year in high school to his senior season at Wichita State.
Littleton’s uniform number – No. 13 – is one of only five retired by the Shocker basketball program. But, Littleton has said many times, his proudest achievement and most important contribution to Shocker basketball was breaking the unofficial color barrier in the Missouri Valley Conference. He remains the only men’s basketball player in Valley history to be named first-team all-conference four times. During the 1953-54 season, Littleton led the Shockers to a 27-4 record and the team’s first-ever berth in the National Invitational Tournament.
Littleton was drafted by the Fort Wayne Pistons of the NBA in 1955, but on the advice of Miller, Littleton opted to play in Wichita with the Vickers AAU team and begin what would become a life-long career in baking, oil and construction.