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Iowa History Daily: April 27 - Iowa State's John Crawford

Iowa History Daily: On April 27, 1958, John Crawford made the All-Big 8 Conference team. Iowa State’s first African-American basketball player, Crawford helped lead a 1956 team which won the school’s first conference tournament title.

Arriving in Ames from New York, the 6’5” power forward played alongside Cyclone legend Gary “The Roland Rocket” Thompson. Recruited by Bill Strannigan, Crawford earned honors as most outstanding player in New York City during high school. After sitting out his freshman year like all NCAA freshman at the time, Crawford stood ready to contribute as a sophomore.

Crawford stepped into the starting lineup immediately as a sophomore and contributed 12.6 points and 9.7 rebounds for a team which captured the 1956 Big Seven Conference Holiday Tournament title by upsetting heavily favored Kansas 67-56 while also climbing as high as seventh-ranked nationally.

Averaging a double-double of 13.6 points and 10.2 rebounds during his junior campaign, Crawford continued to etch his name in Cyclone lore. Crawford proved pivotal in Iowa State’s 39-37 win over Wilt Chamberlain and number one-ranked Kansas. During his final season in Ames, Crawford averaged 14.1 points and 9.1 rebounds to earn All-Big 8 honors while also leaving with the record for career rebounds at Iowa State. #IowaOTD #IowaHistoryDaily #IowaHistoryCalendar


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