2008 Oct. 31 KU basketball practice
There are oh, so many things to love about Allen Fieldhouse, home of Kansas University basketball the past 53 years.
In no particular order, there's ...
¢ The limestone facade.
¢ The quaint windows.
¢ The videoboard.
¢ The huge Jayhawk at center court.
¢ The northwest tunnel in which KU players enter and exit.
¢ And of course, the fans - most notably the crazies in the student section - who have provided an atmosphere second-to-none in the country these past five-plus decades.
It's all good, of course ... but one thing truly separates Allen from all other venues in the country.
¢ The banners.
Included are ...
¢ Four national-championship banners in the north rafters, simple in design and exuding class; one temporary 2008 title banner (likely to be moved into the new practice facility next season) in the south sky.
¢ The solitary "Pay Heed All Who Enter: Beware of the Phog" up top in the north end - the font not necessarily Trajan, but indescribably delicious.
¢ Conference championship and Final Four banners draped the length of the court.
¢ And, of course the 28 banners up yonder in the south end zone - banners signifying KU's retired jerseys.
Men's players represented are Tus Ackerman, Charlie T. Black, Charlie B. Black, B.H. Born, Bill Bridges, Wilt Chamberlain, Nick Collison, Paul Endacott, Howard Engleman, Ray Evans, Drew Gooden, Gale Gordon, Raef LaFrentz, Clyde Lovellette, Danny Manning, Al Peterson, Paul Pierce, Fred Pralle, Dave Robisch, Bud Stallworth, Darnell Valentine, Jacque Vaughn, Walt Wesley and JoJo White.
Women's players Angela Aycock, Tamecka Dixon and Lynette Woodard, and broadcaster Max Falkenstien, also are immortalized forever.
It recently was announced that Kirk Hinrich's jersey No. 10 will be hoisted sometime during the 2008-09 season despite the fact he didn't meet the stodgy criteria established in the past (college basketball player of the year, MVP of the NCAA Tournament, consensus first-team All-American, two-time first-team All-American and/or Academic All-American of the year).
You better believe six-year NBA veteran point guard Hinrich is deserving.
Here are some other players that I believe should be in the retired jersey conversation.
Discuss their credentials with your friends. Then e-mail your thoughts to firstname.lastname@example.org.
Wayne Simien: A consensus 2005 first-team All-American, 'Big Dub' will assuredly have his banner hung in 2009-10 - five years after his last game in the fieldhouse.
Mario Chalmers: His getting booted from 2008 NBA orientation camp should not stain the reputation of KU's 2008 Final Four MVP. His overtime-inducing three-pointer against Memphis has been deemed the biggest shot in school history. He's the Jayhawks' No. 24 scorer of all-time.
Brandon Rush: The silky smooth Kansas Citian was first-team all-Big 12 for each of his three seasons. Rush, KU's leading scorer for three straight years, is the school's 20th-leading point producer.
Keith Langford: Eight of the top 10 scorers in KU history will have their jersey banners hung once Hinrich's goes up. The only ones missing will be Langford, the No. 6 scorer in KU annals, who played in two Final Fours, and Kevin Pritchard, No. 10 scorer who started on KU's 1988 NCAA title squad.
Kevin Pritchard: Starting point guard on the '88 title team, Pritchard also is one of the NBA's brightest front-office minds. He's KU's No. 7 assist man in history.
Mark Randall: The oft-overlooked big man from Colorado is 11th- leading scorer in school history and 13th-leading rebounder. Randall also played for the last U.S. world championship team to compete without professionals, earning silver in the 1990 title game. Randall is KU's all-time field-goal percentage leader at 62 percent (minimum 500 shots), a record that may never be broken.
Aaron Miles: Lead guard on two Final Four teams, Miles crushed Jacque Vaughn's all-time KU assist mark, totaling 954 to JV's 804. Miles is the No. 8 leading assist man in NCAA history. At a place known for unselfish basketball, Miles might be the most unselfish player in school history. That might be worth hanging a banner in his honor.
Adonis Jordan: Jordan ranks 23rd in scoring and sixth in assists in school annals. He was lead guard on a pair of Final Four teams and signed with KU despite the Jayhawks being on probation following the '88 title season. Roy Williams credits the signing of Jordan as a significant step in the rebuilding of KU's probation-riddled program. How long would it have taken KU to return to prominence if not for Jordan?
Rex Walters: The gritty guard was first-team all-league in his two seasons at KU and conference male athlete of the year his senior year. He's No. 39-leading scorer in school history despite the fact he played just a pair of seasons. He'd have been a top-10 scorer had he started his career at KU, not Northwestern.
Ken Koenigs: If Vaughn can make it partly because of academics, why not Koenigs, a three-time academic all-Big Eight pick who went on to become a doctor? His jersey would be a victory for the brainiacs of KU basketball.
Jeff Boschee: KU's No. 13 scorer of all time (who wore jersey No. 13) is the Jayhawks' all-time leader in three-point field goals. How neat would it be to have a North Dakota Jayhawk honored for eternity?
I wouldn't have a problem with any of those guys getting their jerseys hung. I realize some other folks would.
Those who have the most realistic chances? Probably Simien, Chalmers, Rush and Miles. Any Tony Guy, Kenny Gregory, Calvin Thompson, Ron Kellogg, Richard Scott, Jerod Haase, Rick Suttle, Milt Newton, Cedric Hunter lovers out there? Remember to e-mail me your arguments for jersey banner retirements at email@example.com.