One man's Big Eight basketball retrospective:
Surprise Team of the Year Kansas. Tabbed for fifth place in the Big Eight's pre-season poll and for last place by some pundits the Jayhawks reached the No. 1 spot on the wire service polls three different times.
Surprise Player of the Year Jeff Gueldner, Kansas. Who would have believed the 6-5 senior would suddenly become the most accurate three-point shooter in the conference?
Newcomer of the Year (tie) Kansas' Rick Calloway and Kansas State's Jean Derouillere. Honorable mention: Oklahoma's Jackie Jones. But no one took the Big Eight by storm like Colorado's Shaun Vandiver and Iowa State's Victor Alexander did last year.
What's the Capital of Derouillere? As every school kid knows, it's Dover.
Best Player with a Strange Nickname Oklahoma's Herman "Skeeter" Henry. I assume "Skeeter" dervies from mosquito. Or maybe Henry's folks were skeet shooters.
Worst Player with a Strange Nickname Colorado's Rodell "House" Guest. Why doesn't this guy play football instead?
Best Shooter from Scandanavia Oklahoma State's Mattias Sahlstrom.
Best Rebounder and Defender from Scandanavia Kansas' Pekka Markkanen.
Scandanavian Countries With No Big Eight Players Denmark and Norway. (If I've omitted any Scandanavian countries, blame my sixth grade geography teacher).
Best Threat to James "Buster" Douglas Lance Simmons. Kansas State's senior forward kayoed both Oklahoma State's Byron Houston and KU's Kevin Pritchard during the season.
I'll Bet Nobody Missed Him Colorado's graduated Dan Becker. He's still the best Big Eight basketball player ever to come out of Winnipeg, though.
Best Player Who Doesn't Look That Good in a Suit Missouri freshman guard Travis Ford.
Had a Good Year But Hardly Anybody Noticed Nebraska guard Clifford Scales. The 6-2 junior had twice as many assists as turnovers, was among the league's steal leaders and shot 84 percent from the free throw line.
Most Prolific Home Run Hitter to Wear No. 3 Since Babe Ruth Terry Brown. The Kansas guard was the Big Eight's most prolific three-point shooter, averaging roughly one artillery shot for every three minutes on the floor.
Brick Tripod Winner Corey Williams. Oklahoma State's sophomore guard had made only 27.3 (18 of 66) percent of his three-point shots going into Thursday's Iowa State game.
All-Freshman Team Kansas State's Askia Jones, Missouri's Travis Ford, Oklahoma's Terry Evans, Iowa State's Justus Thigpen and Kansas' Adonis Jordan. Where were the big men? Jones is the tallest at 6-4.
Hung Out to Dry Colorado's Tom Miller. Why didn't CU officials wait until after the Big Eight Tournament to fire Miller? Why make him a lame duck coach in the tourney?
More Likely Successor to Miller than Larry Brown Zsa Zsa Gabor.
Whatever Happened to. . .? Missouri's Anthony Peeler. Suddenly, Peeler, who has player-of-the-year credentials, can't toss a basketball from a rowboat and hit water.
Where Was No. 45? As an experiment, the Big Eight numbered its officials and had them wear digits 10 through 44 on their left sleeves. I thought sure a No. 45 would show up for at least one game, but I'm still waiting.
Most Meaningful Game of the Year The championship game of the Big Eight Tournament if neither Kansas, Oklahoma, Kansas State nor Missouri are involved.
Best New Road to Kemper Arena Interstate 670.