Archive for Monday, November 24, 2008

Long-lasting legacy

Manning joins 7-man class in basketball hall of fame

Danny Manning, star of the 1988 Kansas Univeristy national title team, is congratulated by KU coach Bill Self. The National Collegiate Basketball Hall of Fame inducted Manning on Sunday at Sprint Center in Kansas City, Mo.

Danny Manning, star of the 1988 Kansas Univeristy national title team, is congratulated by KU coach Bill Self. The National Collegiate Basketball Hall of Fame inducted Manning on Sunday at Sprint Center in Kansas City, Mo.

November 24, 2008


Long-lasting legacy

Former Kansas great Danny Manning received the ultimate honor for his college basketball achievements on Sunday night. Enlarge video

Manning in Vitale's top five

Dick Vitale has been an ESPN personality for 30 years, and he says Danny Manning is one of the five best players he's ever seen. Enlarge video

College basketball icons attend induction

Some familiar faces in the college basketball world were out on Sunday for the 2008 College Basketball Hall of Fame induction ceremony, where Danny Manning, among others, was honored. Enlarge video

— Twenty years, seven months and 19 days after his last game in a Kansas University uniform, Danny Manning’s status as one of the elite college basketball players of all time hasn’t been forgotten.

Sunday night, it was cemented forever.

Manning received induction into the National Collegiate Basketball Hall of Fame inside Sprint Center, part of a seven-man class that included former players Charles Barkley and Arnie Ferrin, coaches Nolan Richardson and Jim Phelan and broadcasters Billy Packer and Dick Vitale.

There was a bit of symmetry involved in Sunday night’s proceedings for Manning.

His Hall of Fame induction occurred just minutes from where he helped the Jayhawks capture the national title in ’88.

The event left Manning — KU’s all-time leading scorer (2,951 points) and rebounder (1,187) — feeling nostalgic.

“I think it’s all coming back, just reminiscing about the college career, the friendships I developed, me and my wife, playing for a great coach, playing at KU, all those memories just kind of flood back and forth,” Manning said just hours before the official ceremony. “It’s nice to reminisce. It was fun. That’s the bottom line for me, is college is a great experience.”

Kansas coach Bill Self introduced Manning at the ceremony and recalled matching up against him on the basketball court in college.

“Danny was obviously a fabulous player,” Self said. “I saw that first-hand having an opportunity to play against him when I played the back of a 2-3 zone at Oklahoma State and he went 15-of-16 from the field against us as a freshman. Then, I had the opportunity to towel him off and fetch water for him as a graduate assistant his sophomore year at the University of Kansas.”

Self said he had been asked many times who the best player he ever coached was.

“And I never say Danny because I didn't really coach him,” Self said. “All I did was just hang out and be there. But without question, (he is) the best collegiate player that I’ve ever seen in person.”

Manning's 31-point, 18-rebound effort in the 1988 national-championship game, which led the upstart Jayhawks over the favored Oklahoma Sooners, still generates awe from his peers.

“There have not been very many games where a player put his team on his back like that and all the role players fit in perfectly,” Packer said. “It was quite a show.”

Manning earned college basketball's 1988 player of the year award, as well as winning both the Naismith and Wooden Awards. He was named the Big Eight Newcomer of the Year as a freshman, earned three-time Big Eight Player of the Year honors and two-time All-American recognition.

On Sunday, one moment stood out above all the rest from his successful college career.

“The biggest memory for me was after we won the championship, sitting in the locker room with my teammates, just enjoying each other's company and the camaraderie,” Manning said. “That's something that sticks out to me to this day.”

Barkley, who played with Manning for two seasons from 1994-96 as members of the Phoenix Suns, remembered Manning's versatility as a player.

“Not many big guys can move like that, pass like that,” Barkley said. “It was fun to get a chance to play with him late in his career. That was cool for me.”

Barkley and Manning also were the two youngest members of the 2008 induction class.

“Obviously I know about all these coaches, but somebody I played with to go in (together), that's pretty special,” Barkley said.

In April, Manning saw Kansas claim its first championship since “Danny and the Miracles” pulled the feat in 1988. This time, he did it as an assistant coach on the Jayhawks' bench.

Sunday evening was the icing on the cake to an already sweet seven-and-a-half month stretch.

“This has definitely been one cool year,” Manning said.


Janet Olin 9 years, 6 months ago

Congratulations, Danny, for your well-deserved honor. We are very proud of you and delighted you are back in Lawrence.

justaverage 9 years, 6 months ago

Who came up with the moniker "Danny and the Miracles"?I HATE that line! With all due respect, KU was not the best team in the land during the 1987-88 season, but they did win the NCAA Tournament. KU had eleven loses during the regular season and lost three out of four to the Sooners, but they were able to win the big one by four points. Individual recognition can be well deserved and humbling. I hope this makes Danny a more friendly person to his fans and others he comes in contact with throughout his life.

mom_of_three 9 years, 6 months ago

Danny is a very friendly person to his fans and others he comes in contact with, but he does like his privacy, and he deserves it. His family comes first.

chzypoof1 9 years, 6 months ago

justaverage - Clearly, you are a VERY dedicated fan. It's Danny and the MIRACLES because they were not the best, they were not picked to win...yet they DID!!!!Congrats Danny. And thanks for helping lead our team to another national titlepof

Judgesmails 9 years, 6 months ago

justavg,you are a sure danny appreciates the 'life advice' from a LJW forum poster.idiot..........

justaverage 9 years, 6 months ago

I never said I didn't like Danny. His performance in the 1988 finals was one of the best ever. His coaching of KU's big men, is one of the reasons KU was so successful last year. I can only think of one other big man in KU's history with as much natural talent as Danny and that would be Wilt Chamberlain. Pretty good company I would say.

lawrenceishome 9 years, 6 months ago

I think "...and the miracles" can also refer to the miracle that KU won it all that year. Of course, it's refering to Danny's amazing performance, but I always think of how it was just a miracle winning the damn thing. So I guess, it's whatever you make of it.

Shardwurm 9 years, 6 months ago

Though in justaverage's defense if that '88 team had played any KU team from about '95 to present they'd get destroyed.That '88 team lost to KSU a couple of times I recall...but as mentioned KU managed to beat them in the final 8 when it counted. Tip 'o the hat.

RiverCityConservative 9 years, 6 months ago

The team came into the 87-88 season having lost at least two potentially great returning players and having to reconfigure their entire rotation. For the first half of the season you would see them in games where it was just Manning and everyone trying to get the ball to him, but that was not the winning formula. Finally, they "miraculously" got a bid into the NCAA despite their dismal record and their amazing run through the tournament began. The less experienced players around Manning had learned how to play with confidence themselves and it was more of a team effort than comments on this board reflect. The development of that cast of supporting actors over the course of the season is the other compelling story of the season that brought such happiness to Jayhawk fans. Seeing them all play over their heads the first half against a very conceited (and with good reason) Oklahoma team was something no one can forget. And when the OU team--just five players and no experienced subs to rotate in--began to flag in the second half, you could see in their eyes a growing awareness that they could actually lose. Breaking the confidence of the OU players was another key to this victory. And Danny Manning's cool-as-ice demeanor through the last five minutes cinched it for KU. What a great game and tournament and season-long trajectory. The true miracle is that they got into the tournament at all, giving them the chance to do what they did.

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