Hometown:  Hartselle, AL (Morgan Co. HS)

Bud Stallworth WEBRaftersJersies.jpg



CATEGORY   TOTAL   1970 1971 1972
YEAR     So. Jr. Sr.
HEIGHT     6'5 6'5 6'5
WEIGHT         190
Games Played/Started 82/   26/ 30/ 26/
Points 1495   329 507 659
   Per Game 18.2   12.7 16.9 25.3
Rebounds 553   156 198 199
   Per Game 6.7   6.0 6.6 7.7
FG: Attempts 1413   323 470 620
       Made 631   139 215 277
       Percent 44.7   43.0 45.7 44.7
FT: Attempts 334   73 119 142
       Made 233   51 77 105
       Percent 69.8   69.9 64.7 73.9
Production Points/Game          
Production Points/Minute          

1970:  Lettered

1971:  Lettered, All Big 8

1972:  Lettered, Captain, All Big 8, Conference Scoring Champ, All-American

BUD STALLWORTH (Player 1970-72)

Isaac “Bud” Stallworth, Jr. sent the fans into a frenzy when he hit for 50 points in his final collegiate game on February 26, 1972, a 93-80 victory over arch-rival Missouri, setting a school single  conference game record which still stands today. Clyde Lovellette, on hand for the 20th reunion of KU’s 1952 NCAA champions, watched Bud surpass his own personal high of 44 with 6:16 remaining in the game. In fact, the 50 points were the second-highest output by a KU player in school history, behind only Wilt Chamberlain’s 52 points against Northwestern in 1956. “It was my last game here, and my mother got to see me play for the first time,” Stallworth said

The story of Stallworth’s discovery now ranks with Quantrill’s raid as a Kansas legend. His discovery by Coach Ted Owens was almost by accident.  His journey to KU basketball immortality did not begin on the basketball court, but rather in music class in his segregated Alabama school. His father was the principal of Morgan County High, the all-black school he grew up in, and his mother was a teacher there.  In the Stallworth household, education and the arts held precedent over athletics.  His parents agreed to let him play basketball as long as he kept an ‘A’ average and participated in the band.  At age 16, between his junior and senior years of high school, he earned a scholarship to attend the KU Midwestern Music & Art Camp.  His sister Harrietta, a math major at KU, had urged Bud to come to gain some trumpeting experience.

During lunch breaks at the camp, Stallworth would put down his trumpet, pack up his Converse shoes, and run over to play basketball at nearby Robinson Gymnasium, where KU basketball players were playing pickup games. Although skinny, he held his own against the likes of All-American JoJo White.  JoJo felt that Bud had a chance to become something special and emphatically told Owens “You’ve got to see this guy.”

“I get back to my dorm; my counselor calls me,” Stallworth recalled.  “He said this guy named Ted Owens was looking for me.”  I gave Coach Owens a call and he told me that several of his players thought I was pretty good.  I didn’t know where this was going, but he just cut to the chase and said, “We’re very serious about this. If we can convince your parents and get their permission, we would like to give you a full scholarship to KU for basketball.”  Stallworth had been the first black player the University of Alabama attempted to recruit, but in contrast to his experience of playing pickup basketball with KU students, Stallworth said he never met the team on his recruiting trip to Alabama.  “Neither Alabama nor Auburn’s basketball programs compared to KU’s rich history and national prominence, so I chose the Jayhawks and never regretted the decision.”

As a frosh, he led the KU freshman team in scoring and rebounding. Because athletes were not allowed to participate in varsity athletics as freshmen, Stallworth did not see varsity action until the 1970 season. He wasted no time in asserting himself as a dominant player by scoring 27 points in the season opener.  The season ended 17-9 overall, 2nd in the conference, and Stallworth was the team’s third leading scorer and rebounder.

Stallworth played a key role on the 1971 team, the only team in Kansas history to go unbeaten in conference play and win its conference tournament.  Bud was the shooting guard on one of the biggest and most physical teams in the nation. A fearless shooter, he would be much higher than __th on KU’s all-time career list if the 3-point shot had been in existence and if he hadn’t played in an era when freshmen were excluded from varsity competition.

The Jayhawks entered the Final Four in Houston at 27-1, losing only to Louisville earlier in the year.    Although the Jayhawks were down 13 points with less than five minutes to go against the talented UCLA Bruins, they put on a full-court press and tied it up late in the game.  Center Dave Robisch scored, but the basket was negated on a controversial traveling call, and Roger Brown was called for goal-tending, eliminating another score.  KU wound up being another victim of UCLA’s string of national titles, losing 60-68 in the semi-final.

During his senior year in 1972, four of the top six players from 1971 were gone, so Bud carried the load, averaging 27.9 points per game in conference play. Although the team finished with an 11-15 record, Stallworth was named an All-American.  He has said that his proudest achievement was being one of only three Kansas players to earn All-American honors on the court and in the classroom. 

He was drafted as the seventh pick in the first round of the NBA draft by the Seattle Supersonics, and later played for the New Orleans Jazz.   His career was tragically cut short in 1977, when a cab he shared with some teammates ran a red light and broadsided another vehicle.  The accident left him with a herniated disc in his lower back, and forced him to retire. In 313 games over his five-season pro career, he averaged 7.7 points per game.  He went back to KU and graduated with a bachelor of social work degree in 1978.

After a stint as s restaurant owner in Hawaii, Stallworth returned to Kansas in 1987 to serve as Director of Design & Construction at the KU Medical Center, and then moved to Lawrence to serve in KU’s Design and Construction Management department.  He was in charge of 1996’s $40 million Crumbling Classroom initiative, providing improvements to more than 60 campus buildings, and then worked on the construction of the KU Athletic Hall of Fame. He’s an avid golfer and loves riding horses at his 160-acre ranch on the outskirts of Jefferson County. 

He has been very active in numerous charity organizations, which he says has become his “passion”. He has served on the board of directors for Kansas Special Olympics, on the advisory board for KU’s School of Social Welfare, and with a program for racial diversity and harmony call ‘Celebration of Cultures”.

Stallworth’s number 15 jersey hangs in Allen Fieldhouse, being appropriately retired at the KU-MU game in Lawrence, January 31, 2005. “When you join the KU Legends in the rafters, you become part of history. I’m honored to have been a part of this program and university close to 30 years.  It’s made me one of the luckiest people in the world.”

Former coach Ted Owens said although Stallworth would always be remembered as a KU legend, he was more proud of Stallworth’s charity work and the man he has become.

As evidence that he is still remembered, even now when he walks out on the floor of Allen Fieldhouse, the band breaks out in the Budweiser song and the fans sing:   ‘When you say Bud, you’ve said it all.”

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Former Kansas basketball standout Bud Stallworth hugs Ted Owens, his former coach, during the halftime of the KU-Missouri game Monday at Allen Fieldhouse. Stallworth's jersey was tired during the game.