|Kelley, Allen "Al"|
Born: December 24, 1932 - Dearing, GA
Graduated: McCune High School (KS), 1950; University of Kansas, 1954
Deceased: August 13, 2016 - Lawrence, KS
An NCAA basketball champion, an Olympic gold medalist, and an inductee of the Naismith Basketball Hall of Fame in Springfield, Massachusetts. Al Kelley is simply one of the most decorated basketball players in KU and state of Kansas history. He was an integral part of the successes enjoyed by every basketball team for which he played.
Kelley was raised in McCune, Kansas, where he and his older brother Dean were standout basketball stars. Growing up, the brothers were inseparable and when Dean enrolled at the University of Kansas to play basketball for coach Phog Allen, younger brother Al followed him in 1950.
A National Champion
Kelley saw limited action during his sophomore year of 1951-1952. That year, behind the leadership of fellow KSHOF inductees Clyde Lovellette, Bill Lienhard, Bob Kenney, Dean Smith, and Bill Hougland, the Jayhawks claimed the national title. Kelley came off the bench and scored four points in the national championship game. The following season, Kelley was named an All-Big Seven performer, scoring over twelve points per game on the national runner-up Jayhawk squad. His senior year, Kelley was named a captain and was once again named an All-Conference player. Kelley was a part of three conference championship teams, a national runner-up team in 1953, and a member of the NCAA championship team in 1952.
Professional and International Career
Kelley was selected in the seventh round of the 1954 NBA draft but instead chose to join his brother playing for the AAU Peoria Caterpillars. While with the Caterpillars, Kelley competed in the 1954 World Championships in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, winning the gold medal. And still, his best work was yet to come...
Following a loss to the college all-star team in the 1960 AAU Tournament, Kelley was one of three at-large players selected to play on the U.S. Olympic team alongside the collegiate all-stars which included Cincinnati's Oscar Robertson, West Virginia's Jerry West, Kansas State's Bob Boozer, and Ohio State's Jerry Lucas. That 1960 U.S. Olympic squad has been called one of the greatest basketball teams in Olympic history and, in 2010, was enshirned in the Naismith Basketball Hall of Fame. The U.S. team dominated in the Rome Olympic games, finishing 8-0 and beat their opponents by an average of over 42 points.
Kelley is a member of the KU Athletic Hall of Fame and was a member of the 1960 U.S. Olympic Team that was enshrined in the Naismith Basketball Hall of Fame in 2010.