Archive for Thursday, February 14, 2008

Randall: ‘88 team not just Manning

February 14, 2008


Mark Randall didn't play in a game during Kansas University's magical 1987-88 national championship season.

The 6-foot-9, 235-pound Englewood, Colo., native, who had surgery to repair a misaligned jaw, did practice most of his red-shirt sophomore campaign, however.

Those practices - in which he was matched against national player of the year Danny Manning - proved pivotal in the emergence of Randall, who finished his career as KU's 11th-leading scorer of all time.

"Personally, he had a lot to do with my development, whether he knew that or not," Randall said of the 6-foot-10 Manning. "I learned a jump hook from him that to this day a lot of guys don't use. It was a huge shot for me.

"I wound up shooting a high percentage at Kansas because of that," added Randall, top shooter in school history at 62 percent. "I pretty much got my butt kicked for two years, and I had to figure it out."

Randall - he'll be back for this weekend's 20-year national championship team reunion - said Manning contributed to the title team in more ways than his 24.8-point, 9.0-rebound advantage.

"He was a great teammate," Randall said. "He was a guy who would lead by example more often than not, but he wasn't afraid to jump up and tell you if you weren't doing what you were supposed to be doing."

Randall - he eventually became a team leader during the Roy Williams era (he played on the 1991 national runner-up team) - said as great as Manning was, he wasn't solely responsible for the '88 crown.

"It's crazy, but the guys that were playing the games, they were so locked in to what was going on. I had a lot of time to reflect on it, and one of the things I can tell you : it's kind of driven me crazy over the years how much emphasis they put on it as 'Danny and the Miracles,''' Randall said of the media-driven nickname of the title team.

"Obviously, Danny had a huge part in it, but so many guys on that team played just as big of a part, and nobody really gets credit for it other than Danny."

Manning led the way with 31 points and 18 rebounds in KU's 83-79 national-title victory over Oklahoma. Yet Milt Newton had 15 points off 6-of-6 shooting, Kevin Pritchard 13 off 6-of-7 shooting, Chris Piper eight points, seven rebounds and three steals and Clint Normore seven points and four assists.

"The supporting cast was huge. You had guys like Kevin Pritchard and Chris Piper and Milt Newton and Jeff Gueldner, Scooter Barry. It's kind of a shame," Randall said of the reserves not getting more credit nationally.

"I understand why it happens. I'm not trying to downplay it. It's not something that Danny said, 'Hey, I want this bestowed upon me, and I want this to be remembered as my team.' Danny's not that type of guy, so I'm not slamming him in any way. But it just kind of perturbs me that the media over the years has looked at it."

Manning agrees with Randall that his teammates deserve credit for the '88 title banner that hangs in Allen Fieldhouse. Others who played in the title game were Gueldner, Barry, Keith Harris, Lincoln Minor and Mike Maddox. Marvin Mattox played in the semifinal victory over Duke.

"Whenever you lose a teammate, there is some type of damage to the morale," Manning said, referring to Archie Marshall going down to injury, Otis Livingston getting booted from the squad, Marvin Branch being declared academically ineligible and Mike Masucci being suspended prior to the start of the NCAAs.

"But we were able to pick up two great additions in Clint and Marvin (off football team). They did a great job fitting into the system providing quality minutes for us. Marvin helped us get better every day in practice. It was a true team effort."

Sean Alvarado joined Randall on the red-shirt list that season.

"We had disarray going the whole time," said Randall, who works in the front office of the NBA's Denver Nuggets in the community-relations department. "We had guys ineligible, getting kicked off the team. With Otis being asked to leave and Marvin Branch gone, Masucci his problems ... it was just wild."

Coach Larry Brown was the one who kept the ship afloat during tough times . KU had records of 12-8 and 17-10 before going on a tear late.

"We were losing games we shouldn't have been losing, and we're losing guys in between, and it didn't seem like everything was lining up for us," Randall said. "Coach Brown had a lot to do with us coming together. Your coach is someone who's going to be guiding you. He was the glue. He was the guy that's trying to get the point across and trying to get you to understand things. He's huge. If you don't have your coach on the right page and doing plays to the strength of the team, I just don't think you're going to have success."

The end result was victories over Xavier, Murray State, Vanderbilt, Kansas State, Duke and OU in the NCAAs.

"It was so special," Randall said.

Ryan Wood of the Journal-World contributed to this report.


stuckinthemiddle 10 years, 4 months ago

"Yet Milt Newton had 15 points off 6-of-6 shooting, Kevin Pritchard 13 off 6-of-7 shooting, Chris Piper eight points, seven rebounds and three steals and Clint Normore seven points and four assists"

Manning had a huge game... one of the best games in NCAA tournament history but Mark is right about these other guys... those are great numbers... I remember while watching that game how much I thought the entire team was clicking and that the Jayhawks' shooting was excellent...

craigers 10 years, 4 months ago

Plumberscrack teams win games and championships, not individuals. Danny had a phenomenal game, but without the others he wouldn't have won that game.

stuckinthemiddle 10 years, 4 months ago

some other numbers...

First of all, regarding the quality of player that Mark Randall was at KU, as stated in the article, he has the all-time leading FG% for KU... and he is the 37th all-time leading career scorer... At most schools that wouldn't be that big a deal, but at KU that puts him ahead of guys like Calvin Thompson, Roger Morningstar, Ron Kellogg, Greg Dreiling, Jeff Boschee and right behind Kirk Hinrick... Randall is also the 43rd all-time career rebounder... Again, at most other schools, no big deal... but if you are in the top 50 in any statistical category at KU it means you were a standout...

As for the guys who played in the championship game... Mike Maddox has the 10th all-time leading FG% for KU... Kevin Pritchard is the 39th all-time leading career scorer and behind Milt Newton he has the 2nd all-time leading 3ptFG%... Newton is first...

Just like Mark said, not taking anything away for Danny: we all know what kind of game we had: but people who think he had nothing but mediocre players with him simply don't know what they're talking about:

And just to throw this is for Chris Piper... on top of his solid 8 points and 7 rebounds in a NCAA Championship game... when Chris was a senior at Lawrence High he lead the Lions to a State Championship... in Danny's senior year the Lions failed to repeat...

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