Archive for Monday, February 2, 2004

Former Kansas players revel in rivalry with MU

February 2, 2004


Recent Kansas University graduates and players from decades ago have at least one thing in common -- they don't like Missouri.

"I can handle a lot of losses, but I hate losing to Missouri," said Jerry Waugh, who played at KU from 1947 to '51 and worked as a Jayhawk assistant coach from 1957 to '60.

Waugh's not alone, either.

C.B. McGrath, who played for the Jayhawks from 1994 to '98 and now is an administrative assistant at North Carolina, said, "I don't pretend to like them or have ever liked them. I love when they lose."

Added Mark Randall, who played for the Jayhawks from 1986 to '91 and now works as a community ambassador for the Denver Nuggets: "It goes without saying I don't like Missouri. I don't have near the hatred for Kansas State that I have for Missouri."

Get the picture?

Former Jayhawks tend to get emotional when talking about the Tigers, who will invade Allen Fieldhouse at 8:05 tonight.

Here are some additional comments and stories from Jayhawks about KU-MU game day:

Jerry Waugh

Waugh, from Wellington, now is retired and living in Lawrence.

"I would emphasize that when I played, the Kansas-Missouri competition was a physical one bordering on dirty," Waugh said. "When we played Missouri, I knew I'd be tripped and elbowed.

"The worse thing as a player is knowing somebody will kick your feet out from behind you while you are running full-speed."

Waugh, who was one of Wilt Chamberlain's coaches at KU, remembers the Tigers' tactics used against the Jayhawks' 7-foot phenom.

"Missouri tried to intimidate you. It was their strategy against Wilt to have a player jump in front of him at the last moment. Wilt would hit the player and be called for a foul. There's a little bit of a tradition of physical intimidation in Missouri's coaching."

C.B. McGrath

A former KU player from Topeka, McGrath enjoyed the rivalry.

"It gets ugly at times, but I think it's a healthy rivalry," he said. "Their fans see things one way, our fans see things another way. I think it's what makes college athletics so great."

He remembers KU's fans and former coach Roy Williams becoming enraged Feb. 18, 1997, when MU's Derek Grimm body slammed KU's Raef LaFrentz to the floor at Allen Fieldhouse.

No punches were thrown, but tensions ran high until LaFrentz picked himself off the floor.

"I remember Grimm fouled Raef hard. It got a lot of pub," McGrath said. "You could consider that dirty. I know our fans did, but it was one of those that looked worse than it really was."

McGrath's favorite games in the series?

"I enjoyed beating them there to go 16-0 in the league (95-92, in 2002). Last year, Aaron's and Kirk's threes crushed them. I remember Aaron's shot was not really a shot, but it went in, and that's what counts."

Miles' two-handed desperation three as the shot clock hit zero tied the game at 74, and was followed by a Hinrich three with 25 ticks left that proved to be the game winner last season at Hearnes Center.

Greg Gurley

A KU player from 1991 to '95 and television color commentator for Sunflower Broadband's replays of KU games, Gurley doesn't agree with those who believe the KU-MU rivalry is out of hand in the wake of a fight between the KU and MU women's teams earlier this season in Columbia.

"I think what happened in the women's game was an isolated incident, two teams going at it a little too hard. I don't think it's too big. It's a healthy rivalry," said Gurley, of Overland Park.

He said he always expected physical games versus Mizzou and expects another tonight.

"It was a game they always got their shots in and we did, nothing extremely dirty," Gurley said. "Of course, one of their guys always got shots in, Jason Sutherland. He seemed to get something in every time we played."

Mark Randall

Randall remembers some great games against the Tigers.

"They always had top talent. My freshman year Derrick Chievous, then Doug Smith and Anthony Peeler. My biggest memory was the '89-90 season. We kept going back and forth as No. 1 and No. 2. We'd keep it a while and lose it, then get it back."

KU lost two games to MU that year, but went 30-5 overall.

"The thing I remember the most against Missouri is chasing Doug Smith up and down the floor, chasing his butt," said Randall, who now has a lot of friends who played at Missouri or are Missouri graduates.

"You flip that switch and throw the ball up and something changes."

He knows what changes in Columbia.

"It's their fans. I never noticed the same type of hostility in the fieldhouse as their place," Randall said.

"I could have gotten in six fistfights that night, easily," Randall said of an incident a few years ago while scouting a game for the Nuggets. "Their fans were on me, cussing at me. Mind you, it's 10 years after I left. I was like, 'Obviously, this isn't going to die down any time soon.' They said, 'Randall, you bleep.' I said, 'It was 11 years ago I played. Move on.'"

Bill Self

First-year Kansas coach Self went 3-0 versus the Tigers the past three years as head coach at Illinois and 3-6 as a player at Oklahoma State.

"I remember our game against them in '83 in the Big Eight tournament," said Self, a former OSU guard who helped the Cowboys to a 93-92 win in double overtime.

"The end of regulation and the end of the first overtime both ended in last second shots to force the second overtime," Self said. "I know everybody fouled out. We had a young man who lives in Kansas City now, at the time was a walk-on. He wasn't after that. Rick Anderson made some free throws to win the game for us. He was going against Stipo (Steve Stipanovich) and winning the game, so it was a lot of fun."

Kevin Pritchard

A KU point guard in 1986-90, Pritchard now is a scout for the San Antonio Spurs.

"I think there are probably only two or three other rivalries in sports equivalent with the same passion behind it," he said. "Kansas City is right in the middle, and that creates tension between people who bump into each other all the time."

Pritchard said his favorite KU-MU moment came in 1988 when the Jayhawks won at Columbia, 82-77.

"The year we won the (national) title we were on the bubble at one point as to whether we'd even make the tournament," Pritchard said. "Coach (Larry) Brown told us it'd be a big-time win if we could win. We won at Missouri, and it opened our eyes to the fact the opportunity really is there."

Roy Williams

Former KU coach from 1988 to 2003 and first-year coach at North Carolina, Williams is a great friend of former MU coach Norm Stewart.

Nonetheless, he knows why the series is known as the Border War.

"It does feel like a war," Williams said of the rivalry. "The history of it sort of gets all the blood stirring because of the alumni, because the rivalry has been around such a long time. When I walked out at Columbia my first year, the intensity that people showed, the comments I got before the game and after the game ... we lost my first four games to them and then won six in a row after that. That sort of saved me."

Brett Ballard

Ballard, who played for the Jayhawks from 2000 to 2002, now is a KU student aide.

"I remember my senior year. It was halftime and tied or a close game. The second half we came out and put it on 'em," he said of KU's 105-73 win at Allen Fieldhouse. "It's the loudest I've ever heard the fieldhouse."

Ballard doesn't think the rivalry has become too fierce to the point it's unhealthy.

"I don't think it's too heated between the players," he said. "The women's players fighting this year wasn't good, but that's one game. I think our games have had good sportsmanship. I do think some of the signs MU fans have (at Hearnes Center) are inappropriate and should be controlled. I haven't seen those kind of signs at Allen. I think it should be clean."

Chris Piper

A TV studio host for Big 12 Conference basketball, Piper played for the Jayhawks from 1984 to '88.

"I think it's a healthy rivalry. How many times over the years have there been fights in the KU-Missouri game? Not many," Piper said.

There have been just a few scraps. In the late 1950s, Missouri's Charlie Henke and KU's Wayne Hightower precipitated an on-court slugfest. Also in 1977, KU's Donnie Von Moore chased MU's Jim Kennedy out of the northwest tunnel of the fieldhouse. Also, Kim Anderson and KU's John Douglass were involved in a brief scrap, as were Ken Doughty and KU's Nolen Ellison in 1973.

"Rivalries are what sustain college basketball. It's the difference between college and NBA ... the rivalries. If you try to regulate it too much, it takes away what makes basketball special."

Asked if he took any elbows in the KU-MU contests, Piper said with a grin, "I gave a few, too."

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