“A true trailblazer.” LaVannes Squires, KU’s first Black men’s basketball player, dies at 90

LAWRENCE, KS (KCTV) — LaVannes Squires, the University of Kansas first Black men’s basketball player, died at the age of 90 last week.

Squires played three seasons for head coach Phog Allen and appeared in 33 games during his careers.

He was a member of KU’s 1952 National Championship team and a member of three conference championship winning teams.

“LaVannes Squires is important to the history of this program,” Jayhawks head coach Bill Self said. “Primarily, he paved the way and opened doors for many to follow. In large part, he is even more important to the history of college basketball because if he hadn’t come here, I doubt that Wilt Chamberlain would have come here. And that helped shape the landscape of the history of our game. It would never get as good as it is now without somebody like LaVannes Squires.”

Squires, one of 12 children, was born in Missouri and raised in Wichita. He played baskeball at Wichita East High School.

Squires later had a successful business career. He was the President of the Bank of Finance and later opened up a real estate company in California.