This is the fourth in a series of features on the 2011 University of Arkansas Sports Hall of Honor Inductees.
Almer Lee holds the distinction of being the first African-American to earn a letter with the University of Arkansas men’s basketball team, garnering three between the 1970-72 seasons. Coached by Larry Van Eman, the 6-1 guard from Fort Smith, Ark., led the Razorbacks in scoring two years and was named the Southwest Conference’s Sophomore of the Year after transferring to Arkansas from Phillip County Junior College in 1970.
Lee’s impact with the Razorbacks was immediate as he averaged 17.0 points per game in his first year. Over a 24-game schedule, Lee tallied 408 points on 43.8 percent shooting from the floor and 68.6 percent shooting from the free throw line. He also averaged 2.9 rebounds per contest and was the ninth-leading scorer in the SWC.
Lee’s junior year was even better as he earned team MVP honors after averaging 19.2 points per game and 3.0 rebounds. He improved his shooting to 50.2 percent from the floor and 71.8 from the charity stripe. He also improved to the No. 8 scorer in the SWC while setting Arkansas records for field goals made (107) and attempted (220) in SWC play. Along the way, Lee tallied a 30 point game against Texas A&M.
Unfortunately for Lee, he was only able to participate in five games his senior season, averaging 9.6 points and 1.4 rebounds per game. That season he tallied a season best 14 points against Southern Illinois.
In his one season with Phillip County Junior College, Lee was named the outstanding player in the Region II National Junior College Association Tournament as he averaged 25.2 points per game with a single-game high 43 points.
Lee’s career at Fort Smith Northside High School included two all-state honors, a Class AAA championship and unanimous selection as the state tournament’s outstanding player. He was voted the star of the Arkansas East-West game when he scored 31 points in the contest and was a consensus prep All-America.