🏀 KU to Host McLendon Classic, Nov. 5-6

LAWRENCE, Kan. – Kansas Athletics will host the inaugural McLendon Classic over the weekend of Nov. 5-6 on the campus of the University of Kansas. On Sunday, Nov. 5, at 5 p.m. CT, KU will host the McLendon Classic Community Event at the Lied Center. The two-day recognition will conclude when Kansas basketball hosts North Carolina Central on Monday, Nov. 6, at 7 p.m. in Allen Fieldhouse.

The McLendon Classic Community Event will feature a screening of Fast Break: The Legendary John McLendon. Following the showing, there will be a round table discussion featuring KU professor and Emmy Award winning director Kevin Willmott, KU director of equity and success initiatives Melissa Peterson, North Carolina Central head coach LeVelle Moton and KU head coach Bill Self.  KU professor Shawn Alexander will serve as moderator to the round table discussion, and the group will share their thoughts about the documentary while exploring the profound impact that John McLendon had on the University of Kansas, the game of basketball and society at large. The McLendon Classic Community Event is free to the public and attendees will have the option to donate resources to the NCCU Black Student-Athlete Summit Experience Fund.

The Nov. 6 basketball game will honor McLendon during the contest. Both teams’ coaching staffs will wear patches and feature special pregame shooting shirts. There will be recognitions throughout the contest honoring McLendon as well as moments to highlight current affinity groups at KU that are continuing McLendon’s legacy of inclusion, proactivity and perseverance.

“In hosting this event and North Carolina Central, we get an opportunity to honor one of the greatest coaches our sport has ever known, John McClendon,” Kansas head coach Bill Self said. “We want to create awareness for the McClendon Foundation Leadership initiative on our campus and in our building playing an HBCU institution associated with the great John McLendon.”

Single-game tickets are available here for the Nov. 6 North Carolina Central contest.

McLendon began his head coaching career at what is now known as North Carolina Central, from 1941-1952. His time at NCCU launched an illustrious coaching and activism career for McLendon as his trailblazing efforts led him to become the first African-American coach to win a national tournament in 1954, the first African-American head coach at a predominantly white university, and the first African-American to coach the USA Men’s Olympic team in 1968. McLendon was also the first African-American to graduate KU with a bachelor’s degree in physical education in 1936 and while McLendon was at KU, he studied the intricacies of basketball from his mentor, and the inventor of the game, Dr. James Naismith. A pioneer for the integration of college basketball and the architect behind the fast break and pressure defense, the Hiawatha, Kansas native and member of the Delaware Tribe of Indians is a two-time inductee into the Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame in 1978 as a contributor, and again in 2016 as the first African-American coach.

To learn more about the McLendon Foundation, one can go to minorityleaders.org.