Don Dee, a member of the United States Olympic gold-medal winning basketball team in 1968, died Wednesday of natural causes in North Kansas City, according to his family. He was 71.
Dee, who led Kansas City’s Bishop Lillis High to a 32-0 record and state championship, started his college career at St. Louis University in 1963, but a knee injury forced him out of action and he left school. Dee later became a standout at St. Mary of the Plains in Dodge City.
He averaged 25 points in 1968 and was selected for the NAIA squad at the Olympic tryouts. That was the last Olympics where the basketball trials involved all-star squads from the NCAA, AAU, NAIA, junior colleges and the Armed Forces.
Dee made the team, along with future professional standouts Spencer Haywood, Jo Jo White and Charlie Scott. Dee averaged 4.7 points as the United States, coached by Henry Iba, won its seventh straight gold medal, beating Yugoslavia in the final. The winning streak would end in 1972.
Dee was drafted by the Detroit Pistons in 1968 and played one season with the Indiana Pacers in the ABA, averaging 5.7 points in 58 games in 1968-69.