Hall of Fame forward Lovellette dies after cancer battle

LAWRENCE, Kan. (AP) — Clyde Lovellette, the Hall of Fame forward who led Kansas to the 1952 national championship before helping the U.S. win gold at the Helsinki Olympics, died Wednesday after a battle with cancer. He was 86.

Lovellette’s family said he died at his home in North Manchester, Indiana.

A two-time All-American, Lovellette had 33 points and 17 rebounds in the Phog Allen-coached Jayhawks’ victory over St. John’s in the NCAA title game. The performance helped him earn tournament MVP honors.

The 6-foot-10 Lovellette led the nation in scoring as a senior with a 28.4 average. He’s fourth on Kansas’ career scoring list with 1,979 points and 10th in rebounding with 813.

Lovellette spent the 1952-53 season with the AAU’s Phillips 66ers and went on to play 11 seasons in the NBA, averaging 17.0 points and 9.5 rebounds in 704 regular-season games with Minneapolis, Cincinnati, St. Louis and Boston. The four-time All-Star helped Minneapolis win the NBA title as a rookie in 1954 and was on Boston’s championship teams in 1963 and 1964 in his last two seasons in the league.

“Clyde’s passing is a big loss for anyone who has ever supported Kansas Athletics,” Kansas coach Bill Self said. “He was a great player, a national champion and Olympic gold medalist. He was a beloved teammate and a great ambassador for his alma mater. Our thoughts and prayers are with his family.”

From Terre Haute, Indiana, Lovellette was inducted into the Naismith Basketball Hall of Fame in 1988 and the College Basketball Hall of Fame in 2012.