As emcee of Kansas University's 110 years of basketball banquet, Max Falkenstien visited with a majority of the 200-plus ex-Jayhawk players and coaches who attended Saturday night's gala in the massive showroom-turned-banquet hall at Crown Automotive.
"Everyone was enraptured with the whole evening, the whole weekend. I talked to so many people. Every one of them said they'd be back in a minute if they had another one of these. The guys had such a good time," Falkenstien said Sunday night.
Falkenstien - he said the event "was the best of that type I've ever attended with the food, the setting, the flowers, the videos" - introduced the guest speakers.
They were: former KU players Jeff Gueldner, Bill Hougland, Delvy Lewis, Ryan Robertson, Wayne Simien and Darnell Valentine as well as coaches Larry Brown and Bill Self and athletic director Lew Perkins.
"The speakers represented different eras. All had funny stories about when they played. They all talked about the coaches they played for and had encouraging messages for the current players," KU play-by-play broadcaster Bob Davis said.
He and his longtime former radio sidekick, Falkenstien, were the only media members invited to the event who did not play ball at KU. Former KU players/media members Mark Ewing (Topeka TV), Chris Piper (Jayhawk Radio Network) and Greg Gurley (Sunflower Broadband) also were on hand.
"Darnell talked about playing at KU and watching the current players. He talked about Russell (Robinson) and Mario (Chalmers): 'Could I take them? How would I play against them?' He said the current players are bigger and faster," Davis said.
"Ryan said he'd talked to coach (Roy) Williams, who related his memories of teams and guys who played for him and his time at KU. Jeff Gueldner talked about the '88 team and how they came together, how they had the best coach and best player of any team in the country.
"Larry was wonderful. He was as charismatic as can be. He reiterated what a great place Kansas is."
KU's current players, who earlier in the day downed Colorado, 69-45, attended the banquet.
"Every speaker conveyed a common thread to the players - that these are the best years of your life. You don't realize it until years after you are gone," Falkenstien said.
Max and Bob each had a personal banquet highlight.
"Hearing Delvy Lewis was special to me," Davis said." We were the same age, going to high school in Topeka, in the national guard together. It was interesting hearing him talk about coach (Dick) Harp."
Falkenstien said: "Archie Marshall (of the '88 squad, who now works as analyst in the U.S. Attorney's Office in Texas) kind of stands out in my memory. Nobody knew where he was for a long time. He couldn't have been more friendly. I had a nice visit with Clint Normore ('88 team member who is director of multicultural student affairs at Oklahoma City University). My buddy Al Correll was there, Roger (Morningstar), Robo (Dave Robisch), everybody."
Appleton update: Tyrone Appleton, a 6-3 sophomore from Midland (Texas) College, told Rivals.com he had a great time over the weekend on his unofficial visit to KU.
"The atmosphere and environment during the game was awesome," said Appleton, who hails from Gary, Ind. "It was just unreal and something I've never seen before.
Appleton said his final five consists of KU, Kentucky, Iowa State, Texas and Indiana.