Big 12 Basketball

Kansas and Kansas State to Honor Program Trailblazers on Saturday

NCAA Basketball: George Mason at Kansas

Kansas and Kansas State will each honor a trailblazer that helped each basketball program break the color barrier during Saturday’s Sunflower Showdown game.

Kansas will honor LaVannes Squires and Kansas State will honor Gene Wilson.

Both played for their respective schools in the early 1950s and broke down the color barrier in what was then the Big 7 Conference.


Both teams will wear shooting shirts honoring each player. Both teams will wear patches on their respective uniforms that include both Wilson’s No. 3 and Squires’ No. 6 numbers in the shape of the state of Kansas.

Squires, the first African-American player at Kansas, lettered three seasons at Kansas from 1952-54 under head coach Phog Allen. He played in 33 games, and in 1950-51 he earned Kansas’ Freshman Basketball Award. Squires played on the 1952 NCAA championship team, played on three Big Seven championship teams and two Big Seven Holiday Tournament teams.

Wilson was the first African-American player at Kansas State and played two different times for the Wildcats — from 1950-52 and 1954-56. Wilson was drafted into the Army in 1952, where he served 13 months in the Korean War before returning to campus in 1954.

Wilson broke the color barrier at K-State in both basketball and track and field. Wilson’s time at K-State included a Big Seven Championship and an NCAA West Regional Semifinal appearance in 1955-56.

Squires and Wilson will be honored again at Kansas’ home game against Kansas State on Feb. 22 during Black History Month.

You can find Matthew Postins on Twitter @PostinsPostcard.

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