Inducted February 18, 1989
Don Anielak was an SMSU basketball standout during the 1952-53 and 1953-54 seasons after transferring to SMSU for his junior year following two seasons at Moberly Junior College. The 6-foot, 8-inch St. Louis native was one of the earliest big men in the SMSU program, as he was a member of the 1953 NAIA national championship team under Coach Vanatta and then played for the NAIA third place club of Coach Eddie Matthews a year later. Those two Bear ballclubs, both MIAA championship teams, combined for 44 victories in 54 games and Anielak averaged 17.4 points a game for his SMSU playing tenure, still the seventh best figure on record for a Bruin cage career. His total of 888 points remained a record for a player in a two-year career until 1974 and 35 years after Anielak left SMSU, only Dennis Hill and Winston Garland have exceeded Anielak’s two-year total. Anielak was an MIAA all-conference selection in 1953 and was a member of the NAIA all-tourney team that year, an award that carried with it NAIA All-America status. Anielak set an SMSU single game scoring record with 39 points at Northeast Missouri on Jan. 12, 1953, in a game which still ranks as the fourth best point total ever for a single game at SMSU, and Anielak had a 38-point night later that same season in the Bears’ four-overtime game at Central Missouri State. He still holds the single season record for free throws, having hit 145 charity tosses during the 1952-53 season. Anielak was drafted and signed by the New York Knicks of the National Basketball Association following his Bruin playing career and had a brief career with the Knicks in the NBA.