SPRINGFIELD, MASS. Former Kansas University guard Al Kelley, who was a member of the 1960 U.S. Olympic basketball team, tonight will be inducted into the Naismith Memorial Hall of Fame along with his gold-medal winning teammates and coaches.
“Everyone will be there except for Lester Lane,” said Kelley, a three-year KU letterman for head coach Phog Allen (1952-54) and a member of the 1952 NCAA title team. “He had the head coaching job at Oklahoma and later passed away. There will be 11 of us and the assistant coach (Warren Womble) will be there too.”
The 1960 U.S. Olympic team won eight games by an average of 42.4 points.
“The main thing I remember were the players,” Kelley said. “The thing I remember about the practice sessions we played around the U.S. were Oscar Robertson and Jerry West were the ones I was competing against and I didn’t feel bad that I got beat out (for starting spots) because they both played pro ball for a long time. I remember the companionship with the rest of the fellas, the Olympic Village and the food. Some of the Olympics I watched was boxing with Cassius Clay. I watched Wilma Rudolph run and the decathlon was great with Rafer Johnson.”
Other KU ties to the 1960 USA Men's Basketball Olympic team include manager Arthur “Dutch” Lonborg and trainer Dean Nesmith. Lonborg, who served as KU athletic director from 1950-64, was inducted as an individual to the Naismith Hall in 1972. Nesmith served 46 years at KU from 1938-84.
Kelley’s gold medal from the Rome Games is in the Booth Family Hall of Athletics. Originally from McCune, Kelley and wife Barbara have lived in Lawrence for 10 years since he retired from Caterpillar.
Also to be inducted tonight is the 1992 Olympic Dream Team with Michael Jordan, Larry Bird, Magic Johnson, Karl Malone, Charles Barkely and others.
“It is also going to be a big deal (tonight) because that big pro team is going to be there,” Kelley said. “There are some big names on that team.”
Tonight’s Hall inductees also include NBA greats Scottie Pippen and Karl Malone, Lakers owner Jerry Buss, high school coaching great Bob Hurley Sr., and WNBA standout Cynthia Cooper. NBA veterans Dennis Johnson and Gus Johnson and international player Maciel “Ubiratan” Pereira will be honored posthumously.
Hurley is the third high school coach elected to the hall. He finished with a 957-106 record and 24 state championships in 38 seasons at St. Anthony High School in Jersey City, N.J. He coached KU’s Tyshawn Taylor.
“I am proud to have played for coach Hurley and be a very small part of his legacy,” Taylor said. “His coaching and teaching go far beyond basketball. He wants every one of his players to do well in life.”
NBA TV and NBA.com will show the induction ceremony, starting at 5 p.m. CDT.
• Recruiting: Nick Johnson, a 6-foot-2 senior shooting guard from Findlay Prep High in Henderson, Nev., will visit KU on Sept. 17-19, Rivals.com reports. Johnson, the No. 45-rated player in the recruiting Class of 2011, has a list of KU, Louisville, Arizona and Arizona State. Arizona is his leader ... Norvel Pelle, a 6-8 senior from Price High in Compton, Calif., tells Rivals.com he will visit KU in September or October. The country’s No. 44-rated player lists KU, Arizona, Arizona State, UCLA, Texas, Washington and others. ... Mikael Hopkins, a 6-8 senior power forward from DeMatha High in Hyattsville, Md., will visit KU in September. The country’s No. 76-rated player also lists Florida State, Virginia, Xavier, Maryland, Pitt, Boston College and others. ... Kyle Wiltjer, a 6-9 senior power forward from Jesuit High in Portland, has sliced his list to KU, Callfornia, Georgia Tech, Kentucky, Texas, Wake Forest and Gonzaga. He’s Rivals.com’s No. 22-ranked player.