Archive for Tuesday, November 5, 2002

Jordan thrilled by reception

November 5, 2002


Most athletes who play against Kansas University's men's basketball team are greeted by a chorus of boos during their introduction at Allen Fieldhouse.

Not a former Jayhawk like Adonis Jordan, though.


Jordan, who played for Kansas from 1989 to 1993, returned to Lawrence as a member of the EA Sports All-Stars and received an extended standing ovation before the Jayhawks' 111-94 victory Monday.

"It didn't surprise me," Jordan said, "because I did my thing when I was here. I didn't expect anything less than that. I love the fans here. I'll always be a Jayhawk. I don't get to come back as much because I'm all the way on the West Coast, but I'll always be a Jayhawk."

Jordan, the 19th leading scorer in Kansas history, scored nine points and dished three assists in his first return to the fieldhouse in four years.

A member of coach Roy Williams' first recruiting class, Jordan was drafted by the Seattle Supersonics in 1993 and played for the Denver Nuggets in 1994. He has since played in the Continental Basketball Assn. and in Europe.

Jordan said his trust in Williams helped create the opportunity for him to continue his basketball career after college.

"Basketball showed me so much," Jordan said, "and I've experienced so many things through basketball. My experience over the last nine years has been amazing, and a lot of it started right here."

Jordan's friendship with Williams continued even after leaving the program. Jordan said he talked to Williams on the phone about once a week and that he runs contract offers by Williams before signing them. Jordan's also still close to assistant coach Steve Robinson, with whom he had dinner Sunday night.

"I have an agent, but he's like my manager, so to speak," Jordan said of Williams. "He's like a father to me. I love him to death. When I signed that letter of intent, I didn't just sign it for four years. I signed up for a lifetime relationship with him."

That relationship extended to Kansas fans, who Jordan said were the best he's ever seen, especially after they nearly filled the fieldhouse for a preseason game against an exhibition team.

"They love their basketball here," Jordan said, "and that's the reason I came here. When I came here to watch Late Night (with Roy Williams) a practice I was thinking, 'Wow. It's midnight and there are 15,000 here. This is the place to come.'"

Jordan's return was also a pleasure for Kansas forward Wayne Simien. The Leavenworth native grew up watching Jordan lead the Jayhawks to two Final Four appearances during the early '90s.

"Just being on the same court with him was a great feeling," Simien said. "I'm real happy for him. He's one of the guys who built the program and I have a lot of respect for him."

Jordan's trip to Lawrence came just two nights after the All-Stars played Missouri in the Hearnes Center in Columbia, Mo., a game in which fans gave Jordan a reception expected of a former Jayhawk.

"It was funny, because I got booed when I was there," Jordan said, "but I knew two days later I'd come here and get some love here. I enjoyed every minute of it."

With two Final Four appearances during his days at KU, Jordan thinks this year's team could give Williams the national championship that has eluded him for the past 14 years.

"I talked to them yesterday and told them that they had a really good team," Jordan said, "and just to go out there and get coach Williams that championship because he deserves it. He's the best coach in college basketball. I think this team can definitely bring it back to Kansas."

Commenting has been disabled for this item.