MANHATTAN, Kan. – Dick Knostman, the first men’s basketball player to claim All-America honors twice in a career and a member of the 1951 NCAA national runner-up team, recently passed away (March 16) at the age of 90 in Wickenburg, Arizona.
Knostman, who was named an All-American following the 1951-52 and 1952-53 seasons, was also a member of the K-State Athletics Hall of Fame (2003) as well as the State of Kansas Sports Hall of Fame (2008). His number 33 jersey hangs in the rafters of Bramlage Coliseum after he was honored by the school in 2007.
Knostman grew up in nearby Wamego before transitioning to K-State and playing three seasons (1950-53) for Hall of Fame head coach Jack Gardner. He helped guide the Wildcats to a 61-13 (.824) record, including three consecutive Top 10 finishes, three top-2 finishes in the Big Seven Conference, the 1951 Big Seven regular-season championship and a runner-up finish at the 1951 Final Four.
Knostman is one of 12 Wildcats to be named a First Team All-American, earning consensus honors from the Helms Foundation, Look magazine and the Newspaper Enterprises Association as a senior in 1953. He averaged 22.7 points in helping K-State to a 17-4 record, including a second-place finish in the Big Seven, and a final ranking of No. 9 in the UPI and No. 12 in the AP polls. He was also a Second Team All-American by the AP, United Press International (UPI), Colliers and International News Services and a fourth team selection by Converse Yearbook.
Knostman first earned All-America accolades as a junior in 1951-52 when he averaged 16.3 points in guiding the Wildcats to a 19-5 record, including a 10-2 mark in Big Seven play, and final ranking of No. 3 in the AP and No. 6 in the UPI polls. He was selected a Second Team All-American by the Converse Yearbook and to the AP Third Team.
As a sophomore, Knostman was part of one of the greatest teams in school history, as K-State advanced all the way to the 1951 NCAA Championship game, where the Wildcats lost to Kentucky in the finals, to finish the season with a 25-4 record, including a first-place finish in the Big Seven with an 11-1 mark. The team finished the season at No. 3 in the UPI poll and No. 4 in the AP poll. The 25-win season remained tied for the school record for single season victories until it was eclipsed by the 29-win campaign in 2009-10.
For his playing career, Knostman averaged 14.6 points on 41.8 percent shooting and 64.5 percent shooting from the free throw line in 74 games played.
Upon graduating, Knostman was drafted by the Syracuse Nationals in the 1953 NBA Draft.