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BasketBuffs History Week: Burdette Haldorson & Cliff Meely

Discussion in 'Colorado Basketball Message Board' started by Goose, Jul 19, 2012.

  1. Goose

    Goose Hoops Moderator Club Member Junta Member

    Aug 25, 2005
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    As we near the end of BasketBuffs History Week, we're going to discuss some of the biggest names in Colorado basketball history. There are really four names that you think of with this program (or, as Rumblin' put it, "the Mt. Rushmore of CU Basketball"), and we're going to go over two of them today before dealing with the other two tomorrow. Today you're going to learn about the only men's basketball player to have two gold medals and the man who averaged the most points per game in CU history. Today also deals with the only two Buffs to ever have their jerseys retired.


    * Member of the Naismith Basketball Hall of Fame
    * Member of the CU Hall of Fame
    * Member of the Colorado Sports Hall of Fame
    * Member of the Pac-12 Basketball Hall of Honor
    * 1960 Gold Medal Winner (Men's Basketball)
    * 1956 Gold Medal Winner (Men's Basketball)
    * 1954-55 All-American
    * 1954-55 All-Big 7 Conference First Team
    * 1953-54 All-Big 7 Conference First Team
    * His #22 is retired at CU

    One of two players to have his jersey number retired by the University, Burdette “Birdy” Haldorson will go down as one of the all-time great Buffaloes. Along with being a 1955 All-American, Birdy won two gold medals with the United States Olympic basketball team (1956 & 1960) and was inducted into the PAC-12 Basketball Hall of Honor for his contributions to the school. Along with all of this, he’s also in the Basketball Hall of Fame along with his teammates from the 1960 gold medal award winning team.

    In 1955, Haldorson led CU to a conference championship and a third place finish in the NCAA tournament. Along the way he led the Big Seven Conference in scoring with 23.9 points a game and set a CU record that still stands today with 346 rebounds for the year.

    Haldorson was offered a $7,000 contract from the St. Louis Hawks when he graduated college. He did continue playing though, and led the Phillips 66 team to a National Industrial Basketball League title. That led to a job with Phillips 66, and a career in Colorado Springs forming his own gas and oil distribution business. In 1994, Colorado retired his #22 and he was named to the University of Colorado Hall of Fame in 1999.


    * All-Time Big 8 Conference Men's Basketball First Team Member
    * 1970's Big 8 All-Decade First Team
    * Member of the CU Hall of Fame
    * Recipient of NCAA's Silver Anniversary Award

    * 1970-71 All-American
    * 1970-71 All-Big 8 Conference First Team
    * 1969-70 All-Big 8 Conference First Team
    * 1968-69 All-Big 8 Conference First Team
    * 1968-69 Big 8 Player of the Year
    * 1968-69 Big 8 Sophomore of the Year
    * His #20 is retired at CU

    The school’s all-time leader in points per game and rebounds per game, Cliff Meely was named an All-American during the 1971 season. Meely was named to the All-Big 8 First team all three years he was at Colorado and in 1969 was named the Big 8 Player of the Year along with Big 8 Sophomore of the Year. Add it all up and he was not only one of the members of the 1970’s Big 8 All-Decade First Team, but in 1996 he was named to the AP’s All-time Big 8 Conference Basketball first team along with Wayman Tisdale (Oklahoma), Danny Manning (Kansas), Jo Jo White (Kansas State) and Rolando Blackman (Kansas State).

    The big man was athletic enough to play all five positions on the court and according to Coach Sox Walseth, Meely was “the most complete player” he had ever coached. Meely set sixteen school records while at CU and eight Big 8 conference records.

    Meely was drafted in both the NBA and ABA drafts, and signed with the San Diego/Houston Rockets. He spent five years with Houston before being traded to the Los Angeles Lakers for his last season in the NBA. Meely finished with career averages of 8.4 points and 5.4 rebounds per game. In 1996, Meely also was one of six former collegiate athletes to earn the NCAA’s Silver Anniversary Award which is presented to athletes who have gained recognition or done great work in their postgraduate careers. The Buffs have retired the number 20 that he wore during his time in Boulder.

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