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Archive for Saturday, February 11, 2006

Mayer: Big Julie wonder to watch

February 11, 2006

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I'm amazed at how many seemed to miss a fabutastic fast-break dunk that Kansas University's Julian Wright imposed on Nebraska in that 42-point basketball blowout here. Big Julie was roaring down one side of the court, and a Husker was keeping up with him pretty well ... until Wright exploded for what seemed to be two 20-foot steps and slammed the ball home. When Julian cut in the afterburner, it was as though the Husker defender suddenly hit a Krazy Glue spot and got frozen in his tracks.

If that caper isn't played prominently in a season-highlight film, there's no justice. I'd put the Wright Stuff into the same class as that Raef LaFrentz left-handed rebound slam against Missouri when it seemed Raef reached as far south as Baldwin for the ball. Bet you remember that one.

It's a delight to see KU youngsters like Wright blossoming. Nobody will want to face the burgeoning Jayhawks come March. Things took a drastic turn toward big-time success when Bill Self installed Russell Robinson and Mario Chalmers as the key backcourt duo and let them play, warts and all. So sad that Robinson couldn't have been given far more chances to orchestrate, cover, steal and penetrate last season when Aaron Miles wasted too much time doing the Perimeter Waltz.

RussRob has arrived, Mario is increasingly sensational, and the other kids, many of them like Wright with innate skills you just can't coach, are measuring up to their potential. KU fans realistically can dream about things like two or three victories in NCAA Tournament play rather than a subservient role in the NIT.

KU's biggest pre-March showdown will be Feb. 25 at Texas. The Longhorns will be favored, but by the time KU gets there, it may have all the tools to win the way Oklahoma did. Kansas could have a definite advantage in guard play; the 'Horns still are shopping for a Robinson-Chalmers combo.

l Had to chuckle about the flap after a camera caught a KU cheerleader giving Brandon Rush a pop on the popo in appreciative fashion at the end of the thrilling victory over Oklahoma. It was an emotional moment, time to celebrate, the gal was excited. Can you believe some "sexual harassment" dolts wanted her suspended?

Would the world be worsened if KU's women won a really big one and some male yell leader delightedly patted Crystal Kemp on a bun? Not exactly a Danish anti-Muhammad cartoon, huh? Lighten up, folks!

l With all the recent talk about basketball triple-doubles, an alteration: Wilt Chamberlain registered at least two trio-duos as a Jayhawk when blocks weren't tabulated as they are now. However, Uncle Dippy was the second Jayhawk to do that. Don Pierce, the flawless KU media director in those days, documented such a feat for B.H. Born in the 1953 NCAA title game. Fighting a horrible cold, Bert scored 26 points, nabbed 15 rebounds and had 13 blocked shots as Indiana kept driving to foul him out. Born missed the final 5:36 due to the foul-out, but still was the first to be chosen tourney MVP despite playing on the losing team (69-68).

When college blocks became official, Greg Ostertag set a kosher KU single-season record - 97 - in 1994. In 1956-57, Chamberlain had 182 swats, about seven a game, and got 120 more in 1957-58 for a two-year total of 302, despite missing three games. Ostertag logged 258 in four years, 44 shy of Wilt's two-season effort.

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