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Archive for Tuesday, February 11, 1997

ROBISCH LOVED KU CAMPUS

February 11, 1997

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If Dave Robisch wasn't the most highly sought schoolboy basketball player in the country in the mid-'60s, he was definitely in the Top 10.

In the 1967 Illinois state tournament, Robisch scored a record 152 points in four games for Springfield, Ill., High., and had recruiters camped on his doorstep.

How did Robisch wind up at Kansas?

"I think three things," Robisch said. "Sam Miranda did all the recruiting in Illinois then, and I was very impressed with coach Miranda and coach Owens. That and the great tradition of Kansas basketball. And, when I visited, I fell in love with the campus."

Miranda was Ted Owens' chief aide in those days. After Miranda laid the groundwork, Owens visited the Robisch household in Springfield.

"After coach Owens arrived, he sat down and I asked my dad if he'd go in the other room with me," Robisch said. "I told my dad I really wanted to go to Kansas, so we went back in and I told coach Owens I was going to KU.

"He about fell out of his chair. He said, 'I haven't even given you my best pitch yet.'"

Robisch went on to become one of the most prolific scorers and rebounders in KU's storied history. He currently ranks No. 4 in both points (1,754) and rebounds (815), and he played only three seasons.

Robisch arrived on Mount Oread in the fall of 1967. During the 1967-68 season, he led the KU freshman team by scoring 26.5 points and grabbing 15.4 rebounds in their eight games. Freshmen weren't eligible for varsity competition in those days.

Robisch averaged 26.5 points a game as a junior, but his best all-around year was as a senior when he almost single-handedly propelled Kansas into its first NCAA Final Four appearance in 14 years.

At the 1971 NCAA Midwest Regional in Wichita, Robisch scored 29 points as Kansas squeezed Houston, 78-77, then he scored 27 points as KU edged Drake, 73-71, to advance to the Final Four at the Houston Astrodome.

Kansas went to Houston with a 27-1 record, but bowed to eventual champ UCLA in the first round and to Western Kentucky in the third-place game.

Robisch's best game occurred during his junior year when he scored 39 points and snatched 26 rebounds against Iowa State.

Robisch, 47, also had a solid if unspectacular professional career that spanned nearly 14 seasons. While playing for countless teams, he scored more than 10,000 points, a significant plateau. He finally retired in 1984 at the age of 35 with the old Kansas City Kings.

Today Robisch is a state government employee in Illinois' state capital. He works for the Secretary of State as youth education coordinator, visiting high schools and junior highs and giving speeches about traffic safety and alcohol and drug awareness.

He and his wife, Lou, whom he met while a student at Kansas, have a daughter Stacey, 24, in addition to their two sons who play basketball at Oklahoma State.

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