100 days of Kansas City-area Olympians: John Keller, basketball

John Keller.jpg
Posted at 8:00 AM, Jun 29, 2021
and last updated 2021-06-29 09:01:01-04

KANSAS CITY, Mo. — John Keller was born in 1928 in Page City, Kansas, an unincorporated town founded in 1884 in western Kansas as a Union Pacific Railroad depot.

He started his college studies at Garden City (Kansas) Community College, but transferred to the University of Kansas in 1950 — at just the right time.

As a senior captain with the Jayhawks, Keller helped lead the team to the 1952 NCAA championship, averaging 2.3 points and 2.5 rebounds, and a win in the Olympic qualifying tournament.

That led to a gold medal at the 1952 Helsinki Olympics.

Keller scored three points against Czechoslovakia during pool play and appeared in one other game at the Olympics.

After graduating from KU, Keller returned to western Kansas, where he was a teacher in Great Bend.

He died in 2000 and was posthumously inducted in the KU Athletics Hall of Fame in 2008.

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 is your home of the Tokyo Olympics. Follow our coverage at and check out our complete list of 100 Kansas City-area Olympians as it is revealed.