BH Born

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BH Born

Postby rlee » Thu Mar 26, 2009 12:46 am

Born the first Jayhawk to dance the Triple Double
By Kevin Haskin
Topeka Capitol Journal

Making history is fun.

At least that's how Cole Aldrich described it after recording a triple-double for Kansas.

Failing to read history is dumb.

At least that's how I'll remember it.

The Final Four record book sat just a couple of inches from my keyboard this past Sunday and I didn't bother turning to the list of triple-doubles recorded in the NCAA Tournament. Instead, I was content to read what was printed on the postgame notes, and simply accept that Aldrich notched the 14th triple-double in tournament history.

Watching from his home in Peoria, Ill., B.H. Born knew a few more details.

The former All-American for KU was the first player to achieve the feat in the tournament. And, he remains the only player to do so in the championship game.

Well, Born didn't specifically tell me that.

It's there in black and white in the NCAA annals — 26 points, 15 rebounds and 13 blocks against Indiana in 1953. KU lost the title game, 69-68, but Born still was named the most outstanding performer of the tourney.

To him, however, the numbers reflected in the triple-double aren't as significant as another total along his stat line — five fouls.

"We had them beat, Indiana, going into the last minute," Born recalled, "and I made a stupid foul and fouled out."

A 6-foot-10 junior from Medicine Lodge, Born averaged 18.9 points that season after playing behind Clyde Lovellette the year before when the Jayhawks captured the national championship.

Given his opportunity to key another title run, Born made the most of it before fouling out. He'll never forget watching those final seconds unfold from the KU bench in Kansas City's Municipal Auditorium.

"We put in Jerry Alberts and Jerry missed the last shot we took," Born said. "We were trying to get the ball to Al Kelley, but we didn't get it around to him. Jerry's shot hit both sides of the rim — the right-hand side, then the left-hand side — and skipped right over."

Born starred in the game despite an infection in his eyes stemming from a case of the flu. The illness drew the undivided attention of KU coach Phog Allen at halftime.

"B.H. wasn't feeling too good and had a sore throat," Kelley recalled. "So during halftime, Phog was putting on a demonstration on how to gargle. I guess you could say we didn't get much strategy."

The triple-double Born managed is listed as unofficial in the NCAA tournament records because assists, steals and blocks were not charted, though official box scores from that era reflected those statistics.

KU does not list the triple-double by Born in its press guide, but does address two such feats Wilt Chamberlain accomplished — unofficially — during the 1956-57 season, against Marquette and Colorado.

Oddly, Born was instrumental in Chamberlain coming to KU.

"We both played in the Catskills one summer for different teams the hotels put together to entertain (tourists)," Born said. "He was a senior in high school and I was a senior in college. I suppose there was a half-dozen times I talked to Chamberlain one-on-one, and no one at that time had ever contacted him from Kansas."

Born spoke with Chamberlain about KU, then relayed the information to the coaching staff.

"I had 44 points in a game, which was the record at KU then," Born said of a performance against Colorado in 1953. "When Wilt got to be a sophomore, he shot the hell out of my record when he got 52 in his first (varsity) game against Northwestern."

Although he was picked in the third round of the 1954 NBA Draft by the Fort Wayne Pistons, Born chose to work instead for Caterpillar Tractor Co., in Peoria.

That's where he continues to follow the Jayhawks and beamed with pride when Aldrich finally made a triple-double official at KU.

"I like how he plays. He's going to be one of the best to come out of KU," Born said. "Maybe he should have played a little more last year, but that was a pretty good bunch he was with."
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Postby giasyc94 » Thu Mar 26, 2009 3:44 am

Here is an article about the Peoria Caterpillar AAU/NIBL teams. ... s_to_gold/

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Re: BH Born

Postby rlee » Wed Aug 21, 2013 1:26 am

B.H. 'Bert' Born, Kansas and Peoria basketball star, dies at 80

Journal Star
Feb 04, 2013

Read more: ... z2cYwo1yb0

B.H. "Bert" Born, who made his basketball name in Kansas and then made his home in Peoria for nearly 60 years, died unexpectedly Sunday night. He was 80.

Born was a 6-foot-9 all-American at the University of Kansas before he went to work for Caterpillar, Inc., and led the company's basketball team to two national AAU championships during the 1950s.

As a junior at Kansas, Born led the Jayhawks to the 1953 NCAA championship game, where they lost by one point to Indiana after he fouled out in the final minutes. Despite the loss, Born was voted Most Outstanding Player of the tournament after he posted a statistical triple-double — 26 points, 15 rebounds and 13 blocked shots — in the title game.

He was only the second player from a non-championship team to win the award. That feat has been matched only nine subsequent times, and not at all since 1983.

After graduating in 1954, Born briefly considered playing in the NBA. But a trip that summer to play summer ball in the Catskills of New York proved instructive for him — and ultimately productive for his alma mater.

"Red Auerbach was one of the coaches," Born told the Journal Star in 2003. "He told this kid from Philadelphia, 'You're going up against an all-American (Born), and he'll probably eat you up.'"

According to Born, the kid "could really play. He was tall, and he could jump. Once, he even hit his head on the bottom of the rim-holder. They had to stop play and put a bandage on his head and wipe up the blood. His name was Wilt Chamberlain.

"Well, I figured if a high school kid was that big and that good, I'd better get a real job."

So Born, who would help talk Chamberlain into attending Kansas, called Warren Womble, coach of Caterpillar's basketball team and announced his availability. He played the next five seasons for the Cats in the powerful National Industrial Basketball League and retired from play as the team's all-time scoring and rebounding leader.

Born worked for 43 years in Caterpillar's personnel department and never moved back to Kansas, although he remained a loyal native of the Sunflower State and a staunch Jayhawks fan.

"After I spent a few years here, I fell in love with the company," Born once said. "The people were great, and I couldn't imagine living anywhere else."

Born's basketball uniform is one of those retired by KU and hangs in famed Allen Fieldhouse. Born is a member of the KU Athletics Hall of Fame, the Kansas Sports Hall of Fame and the Greater Peoria Sports Hall of Fame.
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