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Archive for Saturday, January 18, 2003

KU Basketball Notes: Jayhawks to honor Gooden tonight

January 18, 2003

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Kansas basketball coach Roy Williams received some congratulatory phone calls after Wednesday night's 98-70 win against Wyoming -- the 400th victory of his 15-year career.

One of the most meaningful calls came from NBA rookie and former Jayhawk forward Drew Gooden, who contacted KU's coach after the Memphis Grizzlies' 100-92 loss at Portland.

"He had seen the highlights on 'SportsCenter' that we won and he called," Williams said of the 6-foot-11 Memphis forward who will have his jersey retired tonight at halftime of the KU-Kansas State game (7 p.m., Allen Fieldhouse).

"He's a special kid."

Williams believes Gooden will be touched by tonight's ceremony, which will include the unfurling of jersey No. 0 in the south fieldhouse rafters.

"I think Drew will be really proud," Williams said. "He'll be very honored. He'll be very happy. I think it will shake him a little bit to see that jersey."

There's a good chance Gooden also will be tired. The Grizzlies played Friday night at Seattle.

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Simien update: Forward Wayne Simien (dislocated shoulder), who has been shooting and dribbling at practice, will be examined next week.

"He is getting better," Williams said. "I do think there's a great chance he'll be back this season. It's something we are optimistic about, though it is guarded optimism. It's something they are trying to let the body do the healing. If it does, we will get him back. If it doesn't, I don't know (if) we'll get him back."

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Stingy Cat defense: No team has scored more than 73 points against K-State this season. The Jayhawks lead the country in scoring at 88.9 points a game.

"It could be ugly, but I think one of the strengths of our team is we can win in the 50s and 60s," Williams said. "We'd just rather win in the 90s."

KSU coach Jim Wooldridge realizes controlling tempo will be vital tonight.

"You can't get this (KU) team in transition and you have to take care of the ball," he said. "This team likes to play out on the open floor like the Texas Techs and Arizonas of the world. They are just exceptional."

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One-time mistake: Williams on signee J.R. Giddens, a 6-foot-5 senior from Oklahoma City's John Marshall High, who faced felony theft charges after a shopping spree at a Wal-Mart but had the juvenile case settled before going to trial.

"Roy Williams is going to stick by a kid as long as it's a mistake. If those mistakes become more frequent or are habits, then I do have a problem," Williams said. "No doubt in my mind, J.R. Giddens will represent the University of Kansas and our basketball program in a great manner throughout his entire career. He is a great kid. You cannot find anybody in that school (John Marshall High) or that area that won't say, 'This is really a nice kid,' and they all were shocked by what happened."

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Jawbreaker: Freshman Jeff Hawkins bruised his jaw when he was clipped in the chin by a Wyoming player's shoulder late in Wednesday's game.

"I thought my jaw was broken at first. It really hurt," he said. "I couldn't shut my mouth. I couldn't put my teeth together. I've been chewing gum a lot to keep it from locking up."

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