KANSAS CITY, Mo. — Dean Kelley grew up in Monmouth, Kansas, an unincorporated community in southeast Kansas and went on to play basketball at the University of Kansas.
Kelley averaged 6.0 points and 3.3 rebounds — both ranked fourth-highest on the team — for the 1951-52 Jayhawks, which won the NCAA men’s basketball championship.
Key players from that team also made up the bulk of the U.S. roster for the 1952 Helsinki Olympics.
Kelley scored four points and appeared in six games during the tourney, which the U.S. team cruised through en route to a gold medal.
The U.S. beat Russia in the Olympic final.
Kelley returned to KU for his senior season in 1952-53, helping lead the Jayhawks to a third straight Big 7 title.
Kelley was the third-leading scorer on the team, which finished as the national runner-up behind Indiana in a one-point loss in the NCAA final, averaging 9.7 points with 3.0 rebounds.
He served as captain of the 1952-53 team.
During both the 1952 and 1953 NCAA tourneys, Kelley was chosen for the All-Tournament Team.
He was inducted in the KU Athletics Hall of Fame in 2008.
Kelley averaged 6.0 points in 71 career games with the Jayhawks before playing four seasons professionally for the Peoria Cats.
He later won a gold medal at the 1955 Pan American Games.
Kelley’s younger brother, Al, also played at Kansas in the early 1950s and won a gold medal for the 1960 U.S. Olympic men’s basketball team.
The Kansas City region has a deep, rich history with respect to the Olympic Games. As the 2020 Tokyo Olympic Games approach with the Opening Ceremony scheduled for July 23, we will profile an athlete with ties to Kansas City, Missouri or Kansas each day.
41 Action News and KSHB.com is your home of the Tokyo Olympics. Follow our coverage at kshb.com/sports/olympics and check out our complete list of 100 Kansas City-area Olympians as it is revealed.