Meely Inducted Into Chicago BCA Hall of Fame
BOULDER - Former University of Colorado men's basketball great Cliff Meely was inducted into the Chicago Public League Basketball Coaches Association Hall of Fame last Saturday evening (May 14) in its annual Hall of Fame Recognition Dinner at the Hawthorne Race Course at Cicero, Ill.
Meely was one of 11 former high school greats to be honored that also included Tim Hardaway (Carver HS, 1984). Meely led Harlan High School to a pair of divisional championships and graduated in 1967. He received more than 200 scholarship offers from colleges during his prep career.
"It was a great honor with all the prominent players coming out of Chicago . . . For me to be inducted, it adds to some of the notable honors I have received," Meely said. "Chicago is one of the greatest basketball areas in the country - if not the greatest. I am overwhelmed by it all."
Meely began his career at Colorado during the 1968-69 season after transferring from Northeastern (Colo.) Junior College in Sterling. He helped lead Northeastern to the National JC Championships where he was named to the JC All-America team.
Known for his quickness and agility, Meely could play any position on the floor.
He led Colorado to the Big Eight title in 1968-69, as the Buffaloes were 21-7 with a 10-4 mark in league play. A three-time All-Big Eight team member, he earned first-team All-America honors as a senior, and set 16 school and eight conference records during his career. Additionally, Meely's 24.3 points per game career scoring average is still a school record and his 427 conference points scored in 1971 set a Big Eight record.
Meely was a leader on the Buffs' last Big Eight Conference title team. Overall, the Buffs won 49 games during his time on the CU campus under late coach Russell "Sox" Walseth, the fourth most over any three-year span in CU history, with his jersey number (20) just one of two retired in CU annals. Meely went on to play six seasons (over 300 games) in the National Basketball Association with the Houston Rockets and Los Angeles Lakers.
"He is the most complete player I have ever coached," said Walseth. "He was just outstanding for three straight years. He wasn't just a great scorer, but he was a great defensive player and rebounder, too."
In 1995-96, Meely was named to the Associated Press' all-time Big Eight Conference Basketball first team. Along with Meely, the-late Wayman Tisdale (Oklahoma), Danny Manning (Kansas) Jo Jo White (Kansas State), and Rolando Blackman (Kansas State) were named to the team. In addition the conference honor, Meely also earned the NCAA's Silver Anniversary Award presented to six former collegiate athletes who have gained recognition or done great work in their postgraduate careers.
Meely still holds the CU scoring mark for most points a single game (47) and owns five of the top-8 scoring games in school history.
Entering the 2011-12 season, he ranks second for most points scored in a season (729), second in career rebounding (971), and is fourth in career points (1,940). His name remains either at or near the top in over a dozen statistical categories, and he still owns the two top single season scoring averages in CU history: 28.0 as a senior in 1970-71, and 23.8 as a sophomore in 1968-69.
Meely's 12.1 rebounds per game average for his career remains one of the top numbers ever posted collegiately.