First black UA hoops letterman recovering

The first African American basketball letterman at the University of Arkansas is recovering in an intensive care unit from stroke-related symptoms at a Pine Bluff hospital, according to his wife.

Evelyn Lee said Thursday her husband Almer Lee on Friday will be moved from Jefferson Regional Medical Center to a Little Rock hospital where he will go through rehabilitation and therapy. The Lees reside in Pine Bluff.

It was first reported during a radio program that Lee had suffered a stroke, but Evelyn Lee said the family was still unsure of the exact diagnosis.

A graduate of Fort Smith Northside High, Lee earned three letters under coach Larry Van Eman at Arkansas from 1970-72, according to his UA Sports Hall of Honor biography. The 6-foot-1 guard led the Razorbacks in scoring two years and was named the Southwest Conference Sophomore of the Year in 1970.

Lee averaged 17.0 points per game as a sophomore, 19.2 as a junior and 9.6 in a senior campaign limited to five games. His 107 field goals made and 220 attempted in SWC play in the 1970-71 season set school records at the time.

According to the bio, Lee was consensus prep All-America and state champion at Northside and played his first collegiate season at Phillips County Junior College, where he was named outstanding player in the regional tournament with a 25.2-ppg average. He scored 43 during a game in the tourney.

Lee retired earlier this year from the Arkansas Department of Human Services after 25 years there, Evelyn Lee said.

— I.C. Murrell