Those who have seen it say the Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame is one unique building.
"I remember it being really neat," Kansas University senior guard Ryan Robertson said of the 48,000 square-foot museum located in Springfield, Mass., site of Friday's Kansas-UNLV men's basketball clash (6:35 p.m., ESPN).
Robertson visited the Basketball Hall of Fame his senior year at St. Charles (Mo.) West High. He was competing for the U.S. team in the Nike Hoop Summit contest at the Springfield Civic Center.
"It's not like I pay homage to it at noon every day," Robertson joked, "but it's definitely neat to walk around in there and look at all the things they have. I'm proud to be involved in such a great sport. It will be fun to see all the exhibits again."
The Hall has three levels of exhibits pertaining to college and professional men's and women's basketball and the Harlem Globetrotters.
Robertson remembers one exhibit quite well.
"My coach at that game was Bobby Hurley's dad," Robertson said of Bob Hurley Sr., head coach at St. Anthony High in Jersey City, N.J. "He and I bumped into each other while we were in the Hall. They were showing some Final Four stuff on a TV screen.
"It happened to be Duke and Kansas playing (in 1991 title game). His son was playing in the game. I had already committed to Kansas. He was talking about his son and what he was doing then. It was unique running into him with KU and Duke on the screen."
Included in the Hall are busts of the 222 inductees, including 13 representatives of Kansas University. The 13 Jayhawks inducted are: Phog Allen, John Bunn, Wilt Chamberlain, Paul Endacott, William Johnson, Dutch Lonborg, Clyde Lovellette, John McClendon, Ralph Miller, James Naismith, E.C. Quigley, Adolph Rupp and Dean Smith.
"I enjoyed looking at it last time," KU coach Roy Williams said. He visited the Hall once during his 10-year stint at North Carolina. "I think it'll be much more important to me now, being a part of Kansas, seeing what Kansas has done with 13 people in the Hall of Fame. That's more than any other school."
The Jayhawks will receive a special tour of the Hall today, on a day the building is closed to the public. Some of the Jayhawks will take shots at baskets in an interactive play area.
"It's fun. I could work up a sweat in there," Williams said. "We'll have the tour and give them some free time to look around, also."
The Hall of Fame will be rebuilt in coming years. It's part of a revitalization plan in downtown Springfield, Mass. Included in the Hall this year is a photo exhibit entitled "The Kansas Century," by Rick Clarkson.
The Jayhawks have a busy itinerary in Massachusetts.
On Wednesday, KU's players flew to Hartford, Conn., then took a bus to Bristol, Conn., site of the ESPN networks. The Jayhawks toured ESPN and filmed the opening tease for "SportsCenter" as they did a year ago.
Today, the Jayhawks will practice in the morning, eat Thanksgiving dinner at the home of former KU player Ken Koenigs (in Springfield), tour the Basketball Hall of Fame and stop by a banquet. On Friday, KU will have a shootaround, visit children in a local hospital, attend a luncheon, then play UNLV on Friday night.
While it is questionable to doubtful KU senior forward T.J. Pugh will play Friday, he will be back soon. Which begs the question: Will Ryan Robertson take over starting point guard duties if Pugh moves into the starting lineup? Or will Jeff Boschee remain starting point guard?
"Good question. I have no idea," Robertson said. "I'm willing to play either position. I'd be interested to hear what coach has to say about that."
"I will make no plans until we see when T.J. comes back and what level T.J. comes back," Williams said. "Then the decision has to be made to give the five best players more time than the next five and them more time than the next five. If we have to make changes we'll do that. If we don't have to, we won't."
Also, Nick Bradford is battling a painful toe injury. He had the toenail on his right big toe ripped off during the Fort Hays State game last Saturday. It's expected he'll play, but perhaps in pain.
-- Gary Bedore's phone number is 832-7186. His e-mail address is firstname.lastname@example.org