Former Kansas University men’s basketball player and assistant coach Dean Smith will be receiving the Presidential Medal of Freedom, President Barack Obama announced Thursday.
Smith, 82, played at KU from 1949-53 and was a member of the Jayhawks’ national championship team in 1952. After graduation, he served as an assistant coach for KU coach Phog Allen during the 1953-54 season.
Smith later coached at North Carolina from 1961-97, where he won two national championships. He retired in 1997 as the winningest coach in college basketball history.
The Presidential Medal of Freedom is the nation’s highest civilian honor. According to the White House, this award is given to individuals “who have made especially meritorious contributions to the security or national interests of the United States, to world peace, or to cultural or other significant public or private endeavors.”
The White House has not yet announced a date when the medals will be awarded in Washington D.C.
Top preps set KU campus visits
Jahlil Okafor, 6-10 senior from Chicago Whitney Young and Rivals.com’s No. 1-rated player nationally, told ESPN Chicago he will visit KU on Oct. 18, the same date as No. 2 Tyus Jones, 6-1 senior from Apple Valley (Minn.) High. The two will visit Baylor on Aug. 30 and Duke on Oct. 25. Okafor will visit Kentucky on Sept. 9 and Arizona on Oct. 11 without Jones, ESPN Chicago said. Okafor will also visit Illinois, Michigan State and Ohio State.
Myles Turner, 6-11 senior from Trinity High in Euless, Texas, will visit KU for the Oct. 4 Late Night in the Phog, Turner told JayhawkSlant.com. The No. 6-rated player in the Class of 2014 has a final list of KU, Arizona, Duke, Kentucky, Louisville, Ohio State, Oklahoma State and Texas.