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Archive for Tuesday, March 16, 2010

Olathe South junior KU-bound

March 16, 2010

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Those of you with a head for Kansas University men’s basketball trivia probably know the answer to this question:

Who are the only three brothers who have earned letters while wearing a KU uniform?

Answer: The Knights — Danny, Mark and Kelly.

Don’t feel badly if you didn’t know. Danny played in the mid-‘70s while Mark and Kelly suited in the early ‘80s. Yeah, it’s been a long time.

So why bring up their names now?

You may have read the other day that a guard named Natalie Knight sparked Olathe South to the Class 6A girls state championship.

A 5-foot-7 junior, Knight scored 23 points, grabbed seven rebounds and had six assists as the Falcons trimmed Wichita Heights, 54-49, in Saturday’s 6A title game in Emporia.

Since she has already made an oral commitment to attend KU on a basketball scholarship in August of 2011, one might assume Knight is the daughter of one of those three brothers who played for the Jayhawks.

She isn’t. All three, however, are her uncles.

You see, there was a fourth Knight brother. James, the youngest, also played college basketball, but not for the Jayhawks. After two years at Johnson County Community College, he wrapped up his college career at San Diego U.

Thus after Natalie graduates from Olathe South and enrolls on Mount Oread, all four Knight brothers with have a connection to KU basketball.

Of the three Knight bros who played for the Jayhawks, Kelly put up the biggest numbers. In four seasons, the 6-foot-8 forward scored 1,057 points. But Danny, the oldest and tallest at 6-10, had the distinction of playing in a NCAA Final Four. Danny was a starter on the ’74 team that made it to Greensboro, N.C.

Curiously, both Danny and Kelly had teammates whose sons currently play for the Jayhawks. Danny played alongside Brady Morningstar’s dad, Roger. And Kelly started in the frontcourt with Carl Henry, father of Xavier and C.J.

Mark Knight wasn’t the impact player his brothers were. At 6-foot-5, he was neither as tall nor as talented, and played in only 11 games as a walk-on during the 1980-81 season. But he logged enough time to letter, and thus make the Knights a part of KU basketball lore.

As a sad footnote, Danny Knight died in 1977 at the age of 24 after suffering a brain aneurysm.

• On another subject, I’m sure you noticed KU’s baseball team won two of three games from No. 1-ranked LSU over the weekend in Baton Rouge, La.

But did you realize how many city prep products played notable roles for the Jayhawks?

In the two victories, three-fourths of the infield was composed of Free State High grads — Brett Lisher at first, Robby Price at second and Jordan Dreiling at third — while Lawrence High’s Brian Heere started all three games in center field. Meanwhile, Free State’s Travis Blankenship pitched late relief in a couple of the games.

I can’t remember as many as four city players starting for a KU baseball team, and certainly not five appearing on the diamond at the same time.

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