Boozer Named to National Collegiate Basketball Hall of Fame

MANHATTAN, Kan. – Two-time All-American basketball player Bob Boozer was among eight individuals announced Tuesday to the 11th class of the National Collegiate Basketball Hall of Fame.

Boozer, the only two-time consensus All-American in school history, was joined in the 2016 Hall of Fame induction class by fellow players Mark Aguirre (DePaul), Doug Collins (Illinois State), Lionel Simmons (La Salle), Jamaal Wilkes (UCLA) and Dominique Wilkins (Georgia) as well as coaches Hugh Durham (Florida State/Georgia/Jacksonville) and Mike Montgomery (Montana/Stanford/California). 

Already a member of the Naismith Basketball Hall of Fame for his efforts on the record-setting 1960 U.S. Olympic team, Boozer is the third person with K-State ties to be named to the National Collegiate Basketball Hall of Fame, including the second men’s basketball player, following his legendary coach Tex Winter (2010) and Rolando Blackman (2015).

The 2016 induction ceremonies will be held Friday, Nov. 18 at the Arvest Bank Theatre at the Midland in Kansas City. Tickets will be available to the general public in September. The ceremonies will be held in conjunction with the championship rounds of the 16th annual CBE Hall of Fame Classic, which takes place Nov. 21-22 at the Sprint Center.

A 6-foot-8, 220-pound power forward from Omaha, Neb., Boozer played three years for Winter from 1956-59. He helped the Wildcats to an incredible 62-15 (.805) record during his three-year playing career, which included a trip to the 1958 Final Four and consecutive Big Seven/Eight Conference titles in 1958 and 1959.  

Considered one of the most decorated players in K-State history, Boozer was the landslide leading vote-getter for the school’s All-Century Basketball team in 2003. A first team All-American in both 1958 and 1959, he averaged a double-double for his 77-game career with 21.9 points on 44 percent shooting with 10.7 rebounds per game. He is one of only two players (Willie Murrell) in school history to average 20 points and 10 rebounds in a career. In addition to All-American honors, he was one of only a handful of players to earn first team All-Big Eight honors three times.    

Boozer was a charter member of the K-State Athletics Hall of Fame in 1990 and his No. 30 jersey was among the first retired by the school in 2005, joining Ernie Barrett and teammate Jack Parr.
 
Although he played nearly 60 years ago, Boozer still ranks among numerous Top 10 lists for single-game, single-season and career records at K-State, including first in career 20-point games (45), second in career scoring average (21.9 ppg.), career 30-point games (10), fourth in career rebounds (824) and fifth in career points scored (1,685). He still owns the all-time marks for free throws made (529) and attempted (702), while his 23 makes (on 26 attempts) against Purdue on Dec. 1, 1958 remains No. 1 on the chart for most free throws made in a game.

Boozer averaged a then school-record 25.6 points per game as a senior en route to leading the school to the Big Eight regular season title with a perfect 14-0 mark and the No. 1 ranking in the final regular season poll of 1959. The scoring mark stood for nearly 50 years until Michael Beasley averaged 26.2 points per game in 2007-08. Boozer and the Wildcats came within a game of its second consecutive Final Four, losing the Midwest Regional Final to No. 5 Cincinnati and fellow Hall of Famer Oscar Robertson.

The first Wildcat to play on an Olympic team, Boozer was part of the gold-medal winning 1960 U.S. Olympic team that was enshrined into the Naismith Basketball Hall of Fame in 2010. Touted as the greatest basketball team in Olympic history, the 1960 U.S. squad went a perfect 8-0 in winning gold in Rome, averaging 101.9 points a game and posting an average margin of victory of 42.4 points. Boozer averaged 6.8 points per game in playing in all eight games. Coached by legendary coach Pete Newell, 10 members of the 12-man roster went on to play in the NBA.  

Boozer was the No. 1 pick of the 1959 NBA Draft by the Cincinnati Royals. He went on to play 11 seasons in the NBA for six different teams, including a four-year stint for the Royals from 1960-63 and again from 1963-64. He led the Milwaukee Bucks to the 1971 NBA title in his final season. Twice he averaged better than 20 points per game for the Chicago Bulls in 1967-68 and 1968-69. He scored 12,964 points (14.8 ppg.) on 46.2 percent shooting during his NBA career with 7,119 rebounds and 1,237 assists in 874 games. 

Following his professional career, Boozer returned his hometown of Omaha, where he built a career with Northwestern Bell (now CenturyLink). He passed away on May 19, 2012 at the age of 75 and is survived by his wife of 46 years, Ella.