Kansas Men’s Basketball Great B.H. Born Dies
LAWRENCE, Kan. – Former Kansas men’s basketball great B.H. Born died Sunday, Feb. 2, in Peoria, Ill., Born’s son David told Kansas Athletics Monday. Born was 80 years old.
“We heard this morning about the passing of B.H. Born,” Kansas head coach Bill Self said Monday. “He’s one of the very few people that have been the most outstanding player of the Final Four on the team that did not win a national championship. He was certainly a gentleman and a great ambassador for KU through the years. Our sympathies certainly go out to his family as they go through this difficult time. I’m sure our KU family is saddened today but also very proud of the legacy that he left as a faithful Jayhawk.”
A 6-foot-9 center from Medicine Lodge, Kan., Born played for Kansas head coach Phog Allen from 1952-54, when KU won three conference titles and amassed a 63-14 combined record. His sophomore year, Kansas won the 1952 NCAA National Championship posting a 28-3 overall record and 11-1 Big Seven Conference title mark.
In 1953, Born became the center of attention for the Jayhawks and established himself as one of the nation’s best centers. He was named All-American and first-team All-Big Seven. That same year, Born was selected as the most outstanding player in the NCAA Tournament, becoming the first player to win the award from a non-championship team. KU fell to Indiana, 69-68, in the 1953 NCAA title game and Born had 26 points, 15 rebounds and 13 blocked shots in the Jayhawks’ efforts. Though unofficial, it is believed to be KU’s first ever triple-double.
In Born’s senior season, he was named to the All-Big Seven First Team. He led Kansas in scoring his junior and senior seasons with an average of 18.9 ppg in 1953 and 19.0 ppg in 1954. He went on to represent the USA in winning the gold medal at the 1954 World Championships.
Following his KU career, the Fort Wayne Pistons selected Born with the 22nd overall pick in the third round of the 1954 NBA Draft but he did not join the team. In the mid-1950s he played for an Amateur Athletic Union (AAU) in Peoria, Ill.
Born’s KU jersey No. 25 was retired on Feb. 15, 1992, in a ceremony honoring the 1952 NCAA title team. A member of the KU Athletics Hall of Fame, the Kansas Sports Hall of Fame and the Greater Peoria Sports Hall of Fame, Born would frequently come back and visit the Kansas basketball family.