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Archive for Friday, April 21, 1995

S DIES WILL CONTEND FOR DUNK TITLE

April 21, 1995

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I don't know who will win Saturday's Converse All-America slam dunk contest at Allen Fieldhouse.

But I will give you the name of one of the serious contenders -- Kansas State signee Manny Dies of Wichita South, who had some monstrous jams at Thursday's practice session.

"He is a big guy. I didn't know he was that big. He really surprised me. He was throwing them down," said fellow all-star L. Dee Murdock, a 6-foot-8, 220-pounder from Columbus.

Dies, who picked KSU over Wichita State and Oregon, stands 6-foot-7 and also is listed at 220 pounds.

"I'm just going to try to have some fun," said Dies, who averaged 14.7 points and 7.8 rebounds last season for 20-2 Wichita South. "This is nice. It gives me a chance to show my talents to people who haven't seen me. They'll get to know who I am.

"I'm excited about playing college basketball in here. I'm going to try to come in here and beat these guys. I'm trying to look at this building the same way I do the (Bramlage) Coliseum, instead of thinking of all the legends who played in here."

Like Dies, Columbus' Murdock will be competing against KU the next four years. Murdock picked Missouri over Kansas State, Oklahoma, Oklahoma State and Iowa State.

"It'll be kind of weird coming from Kansas, going to Missouri, playing in Allen Fieldhouse," Murdock said.

Saturday's all-star game will match future players from the Big 12 against a national all-star team. It will start at 8 p.m., following a 7 p.m. slam dunk-three-point contest.

"I grew up watching Kansas," Murdock said. "Coach Doherty (Matt, KU assistant) watched me play, but KU didn't really recruit me. I understand. There are a lot of great players here. You have to go with certain body types. I wasn't the type of player they needed. But I'm really fortunate. I had a lot of great schools to pick from."

Murdock, who averaged 30 points and 14 rebounds for 17-7 Columbus, admitted he took some ribbing from classmates after he committed to Mizzou. There aren't many Missouri fans in the state of Kansas.

"There will be now," he said, grinning. "They're all excited for me. I heard it from them, especially when (MU) lost to UCLA. I heard a lot about it the next day. It was sickening to watch that last-second shot go in. But we'll do well next year. I can say, 'We' now."

Murdock, who finished as Columbus' all-time scoring and rebounding leader, said he's comfortable with his college choice.

"Once I went there and talked to the coaches, I had the feeling, 'This is the place,''' Murdock said. "I really like it there."

He especially likes the league he'll be playing in.

"It's up-and-down, definitely a fast-paced game," he said. "It's what I wanted. I hope to reach my full potential there."

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