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Ex-Jayhawk tormentor/Tiger Sutherland gives football a shot - on the Kansas side

Jason Sutherland, a former standout University of Missouri basketball player, looks for a receiver in the Kansas Kaos' 34-0 victory over the Cass County Renegades in this photo from June 28 in Bonner Springs. Sutherland is the minor-league football team's starting quarterback.

Jason Sutherland, a former standout University of Missouri basketball player, looks for a receiver in the Kansas Kaos' 34-0 victory over the Cass County Renegades in this photo from June 28 in Bonner Springs. Sutherland is the minor-league football team's starting quarterback.

July 17, 2008

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Jason Sutherland, a former standout University of Missouri basketball player, looks for a receiver in the Kansas Kaos' 34-0 victory over the Cass County Renegades in this photo from June 28 in Bonner Springs. Sutherland is the minor-league football team's starting quarterback.

Jason Sutherland, a former standout University of Missouri basketball player, looks for a receiver in the Kansas Kaos' 34-0 victory over the Cass County Renegades in this photo from June 28 in Bonner Springs. Sutherland is the minor-league football team's starting quarterback.

KU fans loved to hate curmudgeonly former Mizzou coach Norm Stewart, at right in photo. But current MU coach Mike Anderson seems to have escaped the ire of the Jayhawk Nation.

KU fans loved to hate curmudgeonly former Mizzou coach Norm Stewart, at right in photo. But current MU coach Mike Anderson seems to have escaped the ire of the Jayhawk Nation.

Jayhawk Adversaries

The following is a look at some of the most disliked opponents to come through Allen Fieldhouse in recent memory:

¢ Jason Sutherland, Missouri - Viewed by many as a dirty player for his reckless style of play.

¢ Derek Grim, Missouri - Remembered for cheap-shotting Raef LaFrentz during a game in the Fieldhouse in 1997.

¢ David Harrison, Colorado - Always seemed more interested in jawing with the crowd than putting up good numbers.

¢ Anthony Beane, Kansas State - Flashy Wildcat point guard walked into Lawrence and won in 1994.

¢ Curtis Stinson, Iowa State - Liked to mix it up with fellow New Yorker Russell Robinson, but never really got the better of him.

If not for legendary Missouri basketball coach Norm Stewart, Kansas University fans might have had 20 more games to heckle Jason Sutherland.

Sutherland, the fiery former Mizzou point guard who undoubtedly ranks high on KU fans' list of least favorite opponents, actually considered playing football at Missouri before Stewart sacked the idea.

Today, 11 years after playing his last game of roundball for the Black and Gold, Sutherland finds himself playing out his football passion - for a team in Kansas, no less.

"I've never really thought of it like that," said Sutherland, the starting quarterback for the Kansas Kaos, a minor-league football team affiliated with the North American Football League. "I guess it's all right. The older I get, those feelings aren't as strong. It's not like I like KU now, though. I still drive down the road, and when I see a car with a KU sticker, I think, 'Man, that guy can't drive.'"

It's that type of attitude that caused KU fans to loathe Sutherland every time he stepped onto the Allen Fieldhouse floor from 1993-1997. As a fan of the game and a die-hard competitor, Sutherland understands that now. He even appreciates it.

"There were a lot of places that had their own little deals, but (Allen Fieldhouse) was always one of the toughest," Sutherland said. "They let the students in early, and they were always spitting on you, yelling at you, throwing things at you. But that's part of what made the rivalry so great, the entire atmosphere. I'm sure the Antlers (Missouri's infamous jeering section) did the same stuff to the KU players."

The former basketball star's football career popped up by chance. After becoming good friends with former NFL running back Allen Williams, a player and member of the management team for the Kaos, Williams mentioned to Sutherland that he needed a quarterback to complete the roster. Never one to back down from a challenge, the former high school football standout from South Dakota obliged.

Things have moved pretty quickly since then, sometimes literally.

"It's really been a new experience for me because I haven't played football for 14 years," Sutherland said. "Last year, the pace of the game was tough, especially at quarterback, but this year's been better, and things are starting to slow down."

During Sutherland's four-year MU career, in which the team tallied an 82-45 overall record, the Tigers typically played the part of Lex Luthor to KU's Superman. Sutherland helped lead MU to three NCAA Tournament appearances and knocked off KU four times during his career.

For him, though, the tough losses stand out more.

"I have a lot of great memories from my career," Sutherland said. "But unfortunately, every March Madness I'm reminded of one of the worst."

It was Sutherland, a sophomore in March of 1995, who shadowed UCLA's Tyus Edney as the Bruins' point guard went coast-to-coast in the final 4.8 seconds of a second-round NCAA Tournament game to beat Mizzou, 75-74. The improbable bucket remains one of the most exciting buzzer beaters in tournament history and proved to be a catalyst for UCLA's most recent national championship season.

After playing smaller roles during his first two years in Columbia, Mo., Sutherland became a bona fide team leader during his junior and senior seasons. He ranks 22nd on Mizzou's career scoring list (1,194 points) and sits atop the charts for three-pointers made (190) and attempted (469). Not surprisingly, he also ranks in the top 10 in career fouls with 317 in 125 games.

After college, Sutherland forged a hoops career in Italy and Germany that was cut short because of a torn anterior cruciate ligament. He remained close to his alma mater and coached under former MU coach Quin Snyder for a couple of seasons before taking a shot at running his own program at the high school level. That, too, eventually ended, which prompted Sutherland to go to work in the commercial and residential mortgage industry. That's what pays the bills today. But a couple of times a week he makes the short drive to Bonner Springs to join the Kaos.

Many who played against Sutherland during the height of his athletic career are not surprised to hear that his athleticism has taken him to the gridiron.

"When I heard that he was playing football now, my first thought was, 'That fits,'" former KU guard Ryan Robertson said. "He kind of took a football mentality with him onto the basketball floor every time out. I remember him being a fierce competitor, and I remember him being an incredible athlete. You knew whenever you played against him that you were going to have to bring it."

More times than not it was Sutherland who brought it. That, he said, was a product of the win-at-all-costs way he was raised and, later, a result of the philosophies Stewart instilled in him at MU.

"The people in Columbia look at me as a guy who played hard and did whatever it took to win," Sutherland said. "But people in every other town looked at me as a dirty player. But that didn't bother me at all. It actually kind of motivated me, and I enjoyed it."

Comments

Joe Hyde 5 years, 9 months ago

As I do with any Big-12 (formerly Big-8) team that gets into the NCAA Tournament, I was pulling bigtime for Missouri to beat UCLA in that game. Had they won, they'd have gone to the Final Four.And if memory serves, at the time of that MU-UCLA game Missouri was the only surviving member of our conference: every other team (including KU, I think) had already been eliminated. Missouri was the only team left flying the conference's flag. Get 'em, Norm! And he almost did.I'm a KU fan but it still hurts me, thinking back on that last-second full court drive where UCLA's guard banked that shot off the glass in the lane, the shot that beat Missouri by one point. Missouri wins that game and they might have been the NCAA champions that year. Missouri is one of our conference teams and I support MU anytime they're not playing us.Sutherland was one rough guy, a "combat guard"; Ryan Robertson is so right about that. But we'd have all loved Sutherland if he'd been on KU's team. That guy could flat out play.

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kaosfan 5 years, 9 months ago

Games are played at Bonner Springs High School, 100 N McDanield, Bonner Springs, KSJason has lead the Kaos to a 2-0 start and the team is currently #1 in the Great Plains Division and ranked #9 overall in the North American Football League (consist of over a 120 across the country)Come out and see the Kaos as they battle division rival Junction City Spartans this Saturday, July 19, 2008For ticket information visit: www.kaosfootball.com or call (913)957-4997Gates Open at 6pmKick Off is at 7pm

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TheOriginalCA 5 years, 9 months ago

Sutherland needs to lighten up and grow up. He still sounds like he is in college. I have NEVER known KU fans of any age to act like he claims they acted. If they did that to him, though, he brought it all on himself. I will never forget when Derrick Grim drove his forearm across Raef Lafenz's adams apple and injured Lafrenz. KU's players were defending Lafrenz and Sutherland used it as an opportunity to go after Haase.

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Siver454 5 years, 9 months ago

In regards to this side bar blurb:¢ Curtis Stinson, Iowa State - Liked to mix it up with fellow New Yorker Russell Robinson, but never really got the better of him.I am not really sure that is entirely accurate unless you are judging this strictly on wins and losses as Stinson's three games down there were quite productive. Below is Curtis's ppg in AF:-- 29 pts. off the bench in the 63-61 OT win-- 19 pt.s in the 88-75 loss-- 26 pts. in the 90-89 loss in OT

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TGRLVR 5 years, 9 months ago

Haase is still on the floor waiting for the camera's to focus on him. Cue him for when the red light comes on and he'll even produce a grimmace.

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Ramsfield 5 years, 9 months ago

Is haase still in a shooting slump?

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number1jayhawker 5 years, 9 months ago

I remember Sutherland in one game kept hacking at and trying to grab, IIRC Jerrod Haas' sore wrist. He was a dirty player no doubt.

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Ramsfield 5 years, 9 months ago

Hell? LOL!!lighten up, francis

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jimmyspeachbaskets 5 years, 9 months ago

Minor league football is about the only Jason Sutherland should have ended up. That or manning the fry basket. Or even hell for that matter. There was a difference between playing "scrappy" and playing "dirty". He was a dirty player with limited athletic skills and made up for it by sticking out a knee or elbow every chance he had. Good riddance.

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Ramsfield 5 years, 9 months ago

I found the article interesting but i still hate mizzou.....

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makeitstop 5 years, 9 months ago

This article really should have only been this long:"It was Sutherland, a sophomore in March of 1995, who shadowed UCLA's Tyus Edney as the Bruins' point guard went coast-to-coast in the final 4.8 seconds of a second-round NCAA Tournament game to beat Mizzou, 75-74."Who in Lawrence wants to open the paper in the morning and read about a washed-up, has-been, missouri thug who played for an alcoholic?Not I...not I...

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Take_a_letter_Maria 5 years, 9 months ago

TopJayhawk (Anonymous) says: So where is this team located?Since neither you nor the JW seem to be able to figure it out on your own.................http://www.kaosfootball.com/

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cato_the_elder 5 years, 9 months ago

It's always special to recall the memory of Tyus Edney's coast-to-coast drive and the stunned look on Norm's face thereafter. Thanks, J-W, for a cheerful start to the day.

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TopJayhawk 5 years, 9 months ago

So where is this team located?

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