STILLWATER — Two former Oklahoma A&M basketball standouts passed away recently.
Don Johnson, an All-American for the Aggies in 1952, died Monday evening at the age of 83. Weldon Kern, a member of OSU's two national championship teams in 1945 and ’46, died Monday evening at the age of 90
As a junior, Johnson was a key member of Henry Iba’s 1950-51 team that advanced to the Final Four, Oklahoma A&M’s fourth in seven seasons. During that season, he led the team with 12.1 points per game and was named first-team All-Missouri Valley Conference. As a senior, Johnson averaged 14 points per game, leading the team in scoring for a second consecutive season. He was named an All-American by the Helms Foundation, the only organization awarding All-America status at the time. Later that year, he was drafted by the Boston Celtics in the fifth round of the NBA Draft.
Johnson was inducted into the OSU Athletics Hall of Honor in 2011.
Kern came to Oklahoma A&M from Lawton in 1944 as a junior after spending his first two years at Cameron University. He served as the starting forward for the Aggies and averaged 9.8 points per game as a junior as a member of the national championship team. The following season, the Aggies repeated as national champions when Kern averaged 8.2 points per game, second on the team only to three-time All-American Bob Kurland.
Kern was one of five Aggies who received first-team All-Missouri Valley Conference honors as a senior in 1946. He signed with the Oklahoma City Drillers of the Professional Basketball League of America, a short-lived predecessor to the National Basketball Association (NBA). He spent the past 35 years working in private business in Shawnee Mission, Kan.