The Newell Post
A discussion in the office led me to this week’s Jayhawk Flashback, an 83-82 Kansas victory over Missouri on March 5, 2000.
The original curiosity came from trying to remember which game included that crazy dunk where the Mizzou guy flew over the KU guy but still was called for a charge.
This was the game (the Mizzou guy was Keyon Dooling, the KU guy Ashante Johnson). It’s still one of the nastiest dunks I’ve ever seen.
Oh, and the game was pretty exciting as well.
Below are the highlights from senior day in 2000, the last home game for Johnson, Nick Bradford, Lester Earl and Terry Nooner.
• Wow, is this a Drew Gooden highlight reel or what? I remember him being good, but this had to be one of his best games as a Jayhawk. With 20 points (tied then-career high), 13 rebounds (then-career high) and four assists, he showed NBA scouts the entire repertoire that day, including that quick jumper from the baseline.
Perhaps most impressive is his pass to Kenny Gregory on the fast break. Pretty good for a 6-foot-10 forward.
His no-look dish to Gregory underneath also reminded me of some of Julian Wright’s better assists.
It's also interesting to see Gooden minus the crazy hair and numerous tattoos as well. For those who haven’t followed him lately, his look has changed a few times over the years.
• Great reaction by Dooling after his dunk. I would have been shocked, too. At worst, it’s a no-call. In all honesty, Johnson probably should have been called for a blocking foul after undercutting Dooling. Don’t know where the charge call came from.
Kansas fans won’t complain, though. A potential MU three-point play could have probably made quite a difference in a one-point game.
• Speaking of the dunk, here’s Ashante Johnson’s quote after the game: “It was incredible what he did. He basically jumped over me. I was not expecting him to jump when he did. It didn’t count, but it’ll still probably be on SportsCenter.”
• I remember watching the Rush brothers back then and thinking KU was going to miss out on all of them.
Luckily for the Jayhawks, they got the youngest brother when they needed him most.
• Interesting to see that, in the final seconds of a close game, three freshmen were on the floor: Gooden, Kirk Hinrich and Nick Collison.
After looking at the stats, it’s easy to see why. The three freshmen combined for 45 of KU’s 83 points, 35 of KU’s 64 shots, 22 of KU’s 47 rebounds and 10 of KU’s 18 assists.
• By the way, superstitious coach Roy Williams said afterwards that he didn’t watch Gooden’s free throws with 12.9 seconds left. He simply waited for the crowd response to let him know if they went in or not.
• According to our notebook from the game, a television cameraman caught one of the Missouri assistant coaches making a choke signal after a KU turnover in the final minutes. I don’t remember much about this. Anyone remember if this was something that people saw on TV?
• Let’s not overlook Nick Bradford’s contribution in this victory.
Bradford had 15 points on 6-for-8 shooting to go with three steals. He also had a personal 7-2 run in the second half that helped KU extend its lead.
Bradford later reflected on the contest in a KU-themed book, calling it the best game of his Jayhawk career.
OK. For the next few minutes, you're Bill Self.
I have three players listed below based on single-season stats. Which player would you take if you had the choice?
Player A: 37 games, 7.9 points, 49.3% field-goal percentage, 26.8% three-point percentage, 69.9% free-throw percentage, 54 assists, 59 turnovers, 34 steals, 19.5 minutes per game.
Player B: 34 games, 5.5 points, 42.9% field-goal percentage, 31.3% three-point percentage, 73.5% free-throw percentage, 123 assists, 87 turnovers, 35 steals, 21.4 minutes per game.
Player C: 35 games, 9.7 points, 50.6% field-goal percentage, 36.4% three-point percentage, 72.4% free-throw percentage, 104 assists, 83 turnovers, 38 steals, 26.5 minutes per game.
Before scrolling down, please vote in the poll here.
Now, here is a random KU photo used so you guys can’t see the answers.
OK, I’m not positive, but I’m guessing most of you chose Player C. He has a higher scoring average, field-goal percentage and three-point percentage than the other two.
So who are these players?
Well first off, let me say that these are the freshman statistics for three Jayhawks.
Player A is Keith Langford, who ended as the sixth-leading scorer in KU history.
Player B is Kirk Hinrich, who now has his jersey in the rafters at Allen Fieldhouse.
Player C is Tyshawn Taylor.
It seems like there has been a lot of talk lately about Taylor’s inconsistency last season.
I think we’re all forgetting two things: 1. Taylor was still pretty darned good as a freshman; and 2. Taylor was just a freshman.
Not many KU players step into Allen Fieldhouse from high school and immediately look like polished NBA stars.
The point here is that perhaps some of the criticism of Taylor might be going a bit overboard. He should improve from his freshman to sophomore year just like hundreds of players have before him.
And though turnovers are a problem, Taylor still had fewer turnovers his freshman year (83) than Jacque Vaughn (98), Mario Chalmers (93) and Kirk Hinrich (87)*, who all turned out to be pretty decent in their Jayhawk careers.
* — I know it's not particularly fair to compare shooting guards to point guards when it comes to turnovers, but the point is, Taylor's turnover numbers were not far and away the worst freshman numbers in recent history.
Who would have thought that Langford would develop into the consistent scorer he became? Most KU fans also don’t seem to remember that Hinrich was not very good at all his freshman season.
As seen above, Taylor is already ahead of Hinrich and Langford in several statistical categories.
Let’s be careful to criticize someone for not reaching fan expectations that are oftentimes unreachable, especially for someone who still is only 19.
How Tyshawn stacks up
The following shows Tyshawn Taylor’s freshman statistics compared to the freshman statistics of Jacque Vaughn, Paul Pierce, Kirk Hinrich, Keith Langford, Aaron Miles, J.R. Giddens, Russell Robinson, Mario Chalmers and Sherron Collins.
Points per game
Paul Pierce 11.7
Mario Chalmers 11.5
J.R. Giddens 11.3
Tyshawn Taylor 9.7
Sherron Collins 9.3
Keith Langford 7.9
Jacque Vaughn 7.8
Aaron Miles 7.1
Kirk Hinrich 5.5
Russell Robinson 3.5
Tyshawn Taylor 50.6
Keith Langford 49.3
Sherron Collins 47.8
J.R. Giddens 47.5
Jacque Vaughn 46.7
Mario Chalmers 44.5
Kirk Hinrich 42.9
Paul Pierce 41.9
Russell Robinson 41.2
Aaron Miles 40.4
J.R. Giddens 40.7
Sherron Collins 40.5
Jacque Vaughn 40.0
Mario Chalmers 37.5
Tyshawn Taylor 36.4
Kirk Hinrich 31.3
Paul Pierce 30.4
Aaron Miles 28.9
Russell Robinson 28.6
Keith Langford 26.8
Aaron Miles 79.3
Mario Chalmers 78.8
Sherron Collins 76.6
Kirk Hinrich 73.5
Tyshawn Taylor 72.4
Russell Robinson 70.0
Keith Langford 69.9
Jacque Vaughn 67.0
J.R. Giddens 66.7
Paul Pierce 60.6
Mario Chalmers 89
Aaron Miles 60
Paul Pierce 44
Tyshawn Taylor 38
Jacque Vaughn 38
Kirk Hinrich 35
Keith Langford 34
Sherron Collins 28
J.R. Giddens 24
Russell Robinson 19
Highest single-game scoring total (freshman season)
Paul Pierce 30
Tyshawn Taylor 26 (vs. Oklahoma)
J.R. Giddens 24
Sherron Collins 23
Mario Chalmers 23
Jacque Vaughn 21
Keith Langford 20
Aaron Miles 16
Russell Robinson 13
Kirk Hinrich 12
Let it never be said that the Jayhawk Flashback blog doesn’t listen to its fans.
Many people had requested that we start mixing in some Kansas football games into the Jayhawk Flashback.
I decided to start with the most memorable game I could remember from my college years: Oct. 9, 2004 against Kansas State — also known as the streak-ender.
Not only did this stop an 11-year skid against Kansas State, it also signified a huge step for the program, showing that the Jayhawks could beat their in-state rivals.
Highlights from the game are below:
:40 — You notice at this point that Kevin Romary comments that KU coach Mark Mangino would do anything for a kicker like Kansas State’s Joe Rheem.
At that point in the season, KU’s Johnny Beck and Scott Webb combined to make just six of 13 field goals, and only one of seven from 40 yards or longer (Yikes!).
Johnny (B. Good, what a great nickname for a kicker) settled down after that, making six of his last eight field-goal attempts to end the season.
1:04 — Great hook and ladder execution by KU. The most fooled was Kansas State’s David Rose (No. 28). If you watch again, he had the best chance at getting John Randle, but he turned his back to go chase after Brandon Rideau.
Speaking of trick plays, it didn’t seem like KU ran many last year at all. I remember the wide-receiver pass from Kerry Meier to Dezmon Briscoe in the Insight Bowl, but off-hand I can't remember any others. Am I missing some?
1:35 — I think the Jayhawk fan in blue summed up KU fans’ thoughts on that night perfectly.
1:41 — This was the game of the interchanging quarterback. Both starters — Allen Webb and Adam Barmann — were replaced midway through the game by their counterparts, Dylan Meier and Jason Swanson.
2:15 — OK, I need your help here.
Pause the video at 2:15. The Kansas State cheerleaders are going crazy after the long touchdown.
In the upper-right hand corner, what does that Kansas State cheerleader sign say?
Because from this angle, it looks a whole lot like the word, “Lynch.”
Again, I know it’s not, but it still sticks out every time I rewatch the video.
Any ideas on what it really says*?
* — User Bob_Keeshan gave me an answer on LJworld.com. He said K-State's defense was referred to for a time as the "Lynch Mob," thus the signs. I didn't remember that, and/or I wasn't paying very good attention to KSU's program. Still seems like an, um, interesting thing to put on a sign. Wouldn't you get some looks if you carried that up to the stadium?
Anyways, thanks again to Bob for the info.
2:46 — Part of what made this game so memorable for KU fans is that, after having a lead for most of the game, the Jayhawks had all but lost this one in the fourth quarter.
After the fumble by Swanson, KSU was up 21-17 with the ball. And the Wildcats offense was moving well with Meier under center.
Even after playing so well for so long, it still looked like the Jayhawks were going to blow another lead late.
Only, as Chuck says, they didn't.
3:18 — A lot of times with my friends, I refer to something as a “scholarship play."
I use this term when an athlete — usually one who doesn't play much — still earns all his scholarship money with one single play.
Examples off the top of my head: Bryant Nash shooting in a three and getting fouled against Texas in 2003, helping the Jayhawks turn their season around by ending a three-game losing streak; David Padgett closing down the Hearnes Center in 2004 with his baseline, fadeaway jumper that gave KU an 84-82 victory.
I know Swanson had a few more great games in him (including a 19-for-29, 307-yards, four-touchdown, zero-interception performance against Houston in the 2005 Fort Worth Bowl), but even if he didn’t, I’m convinced that this one throw would have made his scholarship well worth it.
To me, this would have served as his scholarship play.
By the way, I’ve never seen KU’s student section go crazier at a football game than I did after that catch by Mark Simmons.
4:30 — I’m not going to lie. After that run, I thought John Randle might have an NFL career ahead of him.
• I know both goalposts came down, but only one of them actually ended up in Potter Lake. The other was marched by students all the way to Mass. St., where the procession stopped some traffic. The goalpost also made its way through a bar (I believe it was Quinton’s) before being thrown over the bridge into the Kansas River.
• One more photo. I think most of you will remember it.
Enjoy the Fourth. I know Joey Chestnut will.
My goal this week was to try to work former Kansas athletic director Bob Frederick into the Jayhawk Flashback.
After going deep into the archives (and getting lots of help from the Channel 6 staff), we were able to dig up one of Frederick's greatest moments as KU athletic director: the introductory press conference of KU coach Roy Williams from July 8, 1988.
The 6Sports package of the event, plus a couple extra interviews afterwards, is below:
• Is that really Roy with dark hair? It's hard to remember Roy before numerous Jayhawk players turned his hair gray.
• I don't personally know the 6Sports guy who was talking in the video package, but it doesn't seem like he was too happy with Larry Brown, does it? Check out the 25-second mark again where he says, "And unlike his counterpart, Larry Brown ..." The drawn-out "Larry Brown" part seems to convey a bit of disgruntledness, doesn't it?
• Sure doesn't look like Frederick hurt his reputation as a great dresser at this press conference.
• OK, before everyone takes off and rips Roy for not following his promise and staying 30 years at KU, let me say this. Thirty years is a long time. A long time.
Take a look at this blog written in January about the tenure of college basketball coaches. The Big 12's average tenure was 2.66 years*. The median was two years. Only one coach had been at his school for more than 10 (Rick Barnes).
* — What would this number look like if you took out Barnes and KU coach Bill Self?
Out of the big six conferences (Big 12, SEC, Big Ten, Big East, ACC, Pac 10), only 11 coaches had been with their schools for 10 years or longer.
The only current Division-I coach I could find that has been with their current school 30 years or longer is Syracuse's Jim Boeheim*.
* — Let me know if there's another, but I don't think there is.
The point is this: College coaches don't stay at the same school for extended periods of time. It just doesn't happen.
Roy was at KU 15 years. That's a long time. It took some loyalty, too, as he turned down NBA offers and other college coaching offers to stay at KU for that long.
And, looking back, can anyone really say that Roy made the wrong decision to go to North Carolina?
It's hard to argue with three Final Fours and two national championships in six years.
• It's Where's Waldo time. Can you spot (much younger versions of) Gene Budig, Chuck Woodling and Max Falkenstien in the video?
When I hear people talking about their pick to win the Big 12 North in football this season, the debate almost always becomes philosophical.
What wins championships? Is it a dominating offense, or a dominating defense?
Obviously, Kansas and Nebraska look like the two front-runners. Both look to win games in completely different ways.
For KU, it will be about outscoring opponents. With Todd Reesing, Dezmon Briscoe, Jake Sharp and Kerry Meier returning, the Jayhawks are as loaded with returning players at the skill positions as anyone in the conference.
For NU, it will be all about shutting other teams down. Defense is coach Bo Pelini’s specialty, and defensive tackle Ndamukong Suh — a sufefire top-10 pick in next year’s draft — should lead a strong defensive unit.
So what has won the Big 12 North in the past? Has it been teams that have a better offense than defense, or teams that have a better defense than offense?
The history might surprise you.
I went back and looked up the Big 12 scoring offense and scoring defense* ranks for each North team that has advanced to the Big 12 championship game since the league was formed in 1996.
*— Scoring offense is points scored per game. Scoring defense, then, is points allowed per game.
Here are the numbers:
2008 Missouri — 4th in offense, 3rd in defense
2007 Missouri — 4th in offense, 3rd in defense
2006 Nebraska — 4th in offense, 2nd in defense
2005 Colorado — 9th in offense, 7th in defense
2004 Colorado — 9th in offense, 8th in defense
2003 Kansas State — 4th in offense, 3rd in defense
2002 Colorado — 9th in offense, 4th in defense
2001 Colorado — 4th in offense, 7th in defense
2000 Kansas State — 2nd in offense, 2nd in defense
1999 Nebraska — 3rd in offense, 1st in defense
1998 Kansas State — 1st in offense, 1st in defense
1997 Nebraska — 1st in offense, 2nd in defense
1996 Nebraska — 1st in offense, 1st in defense
Average ranking of North champion team — 4.2nd in offense, 3.4th in defense
History doesn’t look good if you’re a Kansas fan.
In the 13 years of the Big 12, only twice has a North team advanced to the Big 12 championship with a higher-ranked offense than defense. The last time it happened was eight years ago (Colorado in 2001). Nebraska also accomplished the feat in 1997, but its defense was no slouch either, as the Huskers ranked first in offense and second in defense.
On the flip side, eight times in the last 13 years the North representative in the Big 12 has had a better defense than offense. Not only that, the last seven North teams to reach the Big 12 championship have had a better defense than offense.
I’m sure the first response from many KU fans will be to bring up 2007. The Jayhawks tied for the Big 12 North title that year with Missouri, and KU’s success that season should prove that teams can win the Big 12 North with a great offense, right?
Well, that’s partially true. But what we can’t forget is that the Jayhawks had an excellent defense that year, too.
KU actually ranked first in both scoring offense and scoring defense that season. So while KU was successful with a good offense, the victories were made just as possible with a Jayhawks’ defensive unit that allowed just 16.4 points per game.
Conference history would seem to favor the Cornhuskers to win the North this season.
For the KU football team to advance to its first Big 12 championship game, it will either need a significant improvement from its defense or it will need to buck a Big 12 North history that would indicate that defense — and not offense — still wins championships.
The Jayhawk Flashback returns this week with Allen Fieldhouse memories from Billy Thomas.
Actually, when I asked him, Thomas said he had two favorite games at the Fieldhouse: Dec. 1, 1995 vs. UCLA and Dec. 10, 1997 against UMass.
Unfortunately, I could only find the UMass game in our archives.
If you remember, in the UCLA game (during Thomas' sophomore year), KU trailed by as many as 19 points in the first half and by 15 points at halftime.
"I remember coach (Roy) Williams coming in screaming and yelling (at halftime)," Thomas recalled, "and at the same time, we knew we didn’t play well."
That all changed in the second half. The Jayhawks outscored the Bruins, 59-29, in the final 20 minutes, putting together the biggest second-half comeback in KU basketball history.
Thomas remembers one particular shot he made from the corner near his own bench during the comeback — and the thunderous roar from the crowd afterwards.
"I’d never felt anything like that," Thomas said. " ... It just kind of sent chills through my whole body. I’ll always remember that moment, man."
Thomas' other favorite game was significant for another reason: KU had a 49-game home winning streak entering its game on Dec. 10, 1997, against UMass.
The highlights of the game are below.
"(The streak) was in definite jeopardy because (UMass) played well," Thomas said. "We weren’t playing well. I happened to help us put together a string of shots.* We pulled the game out."
* — See 1:06 through 1:36 in the video above.
Thomas said another highlight also stood out in his memory.
"I dunked in that game," he said with a grin. "Whenever I dunked, everyone was like, ‘Whoa, what’s going on?’ I got a little fingertip dunk in that game. It was just an exciting game because it helped keep our streak alive."
Thomas tied a career-high with 21 points on 9-for-14 shooting and added four steals.
He also was a little bit fortunate, as his errant pass with 10 seconds left gave UMass one last chance to tie it. The Minutemen missed two shots before the buzzer, including a dunk attempt by Lari Ketner*.
* — Watch the video again and watch Raef LaFrentz's reaction on Ketner's dunk attempt. LaFrentz keeps looking around like he's expecting a foul to be called on him. We don't have a great angle, but judging by Raef's reaction, there was probably at least some contact on that final shot.
Thomas didn't talk to reporters afterwards (he was getting treatment on an ingrown toenail), but I put together a video below of some of the postgame comments from the KU players.
A couple of good clips here, as it sounds like ol' Roy calls UMass coach Bruiser Flint, "Bruso." Wouldn't that be a great name for a mafia gang leader in a movie?
And I'm digging Paul Pierce's winter coat from back in the day. Sometimes we forget that, not too long ago, these guys were just kids, too.
Welcome to a special Jayhawk Flashback.
The next two blogs won't feature my choice for a classic KU game, but instead a former Jayhawk's choice as his favorite Allen Fieldhouse memory.
We'll get to Billy Thomas' choice next week, but this week we'll focus on current Indiana Pacer Brandon Rush.
After asking him for his favorite home game, he only took a second to come up with an answer.
"I’d say my freshman year when we played Kentucky," he said with a grin.
The 6Sports highlights are below.*
* — Be warned: The sound quality isn't great from our archives. There are a few beeps that shouldn't be there. Feel free to mute if you need to.
So why did Rush enjoy the game so much?
"I was going off," Rush said Thursday. "I had 18, 20 points in the first half, and we blew them out, too."
His memory was close. Rush actually had 16 first-half points, but he ended with a then career-high 24 points and 12 rebounds.
The game also is best remembered for the appearance of actress Ashley Judd, who sat behind the UK bench.
"I saw the face she made when were whupping Kentucky," Rush said with a laugh. "It was really funny — a fun game to play in."
Rush admitted that he peeked at her during the game, oftentimes to see her scowl after a made KU basket.
"It made it a lot better," Rush said. "It was just a great feeling. It was funny. I saw it on ESPN a couple times and on YouTube. I watch it every now and again."
Other quick notes from the game
• Looking back, Rush showed his whole scoring repertoire against Kentucky. For more of his highlights, check out the YouTube video below.
• Interestingly enough, Rush said he was "sick a little bit" before the game because of nerves. He looked pretty relaxed in the highlights. Remember, this also was the point in Rush's career when KU coach Bill Self forced him to do sprints and/or run a treadmill — with the settings at the highest incline on a 4 1/2-minute mile pace — at practice whenever the he wasn't aggressive or passed up an open shot.
The message seemed to sink in for this game at least.
• I was disappointed after going through these highlights when I didn't find Russell Robinson's huge block. I remember watching it live, and Russell got so high for the fast-break block on UK's Patrick Sparks that I was sure that it was Rush that had blocked it. No doubt that was the highest I ever saw Robinson leap.
• Speaking of Russell, our own Tom Keegan lauded him for his stingy defense against UK sparkplug Rajon Rondo. Keegan said: "Rush was the star, Robinson (12 points) the glue."
Robinson ended with a career-high 12 points, while Rondo managed just nine points on 2-for-8 shooting.
• I had forgotten that Kentucky was playing short-handed, as Randolph Morris served his last game of a 13-game suspension for hiring an NBA agent.
"I thought it worked out just fine," Self joked afterwards.
• Kentucky had no assists in the first half. How does that happen?
• Recruits Brady Morningstar, Tyrel Reed, Cole Aldrich and Darrell Arthur all attended the game. Reed and Arthur had not yet committed to KU.
• I love watching Jeff Hawkins at the 2:15 mark. It's like he's saying, "I'm open, Russell. Hey Russell, I'm open. THROW ME THE BALL, RUSSELL!"
The jumping jack didn't work. Russell swished a three himself instead.
This week's Jayhawk Flashback surely has to be one of the highest-ranked on Kansas coach Bill Self's victory list.
"I don't think I've ever been a part of a better basketball game. ... This will go down as one of the great ones ever (to have been) played in this building."
The highlights of this "instant classic" are below.
• What I remember most about this game is that it was the closest to an NBA shooting performance that I've ever seen at Allen Fieldhouse. No one was missing shots. Consider this: KU shot a higher percentage from the floor than from the free-throw line. And KU made 65.2 percent of its free throws, which isn't too bad.
The Jayhawks were 31-for-47 from the field (66.0 percent). OSU was almost as hot, making 31 of 53 shots (58.5 percent). Combined, the two teams made 62 of 100 field-goal attempts.
Afterwards, Self said it was more a product of good offense than bad defense. I'll agree. Any shot that was even semi-open was swishing through that day.
• It also was one of the best performances for Wayne Simien, who will best be remembered in this game for his reaction to the victory afterwards. Big Dub had a career-high 32 points on 11-for-17 shooting. He also seemed to answer OSU's John Lucas shot for shot, putting up some attempts before it looked like he even had a grip on the ball (see the 2:02 mark).
Our own Chuck Woodling even wondered which performance was better: Simien's against OSU, or Nick Collison's 24-point, 23-rebound performance in 2003 against Texas.
• Speaking of Lucas, he was unbelievable this game. He started 9-for-9 and was taking (and making) tough shots, too. Don't know about you, but when he fired up that open shot just before the buzzer, I was sure it was going in.
"I can't believe I missed that," Lucas said after the game. "I shoot that shot at least a thousand times a day."
Some other quick-hit notes, which might only interest me:
•The game ended a three-game losing streak for KU. Previously, the Jayhawks had lost at Texas Tech, at home to Iowa State and at Oklahoma. Interestingly, after the OSU win, KU still had a one-game lead in the conference standings.
• The win also ended the silly media boycott of 2005. The Jayhawks went without cell phones and media one-on-one interviews for four days in an attempt to focus on the Cowboys.
It led to an interesting quote from Keith Langford afterwards:
"We hear what everybody says. A lot of times you try to not take it personally, but guys do. You put in blood and sweat, and somebody writes up something negative, it's human instinct to get riled up about it.
"It's part of the reason we didn't want to talk to the media. It feels good to get the monkey off our back. We can't put any blame on media guys or anyone else. It's the guys on the floor."
• Was Sasha Kaun really on that team? That guy really was at KU for a long, long time.
• Christian Moody returned to this game after suffering an infected floor burn against Texas Tech. meaning he sat out KU's previous two losses. Moody tied a career-high against OSU with 11 points. So was it a coincidence that KU won in the game he returned?
• Simien had a streak of 34 free throws in a row snapped in the OSU game. That record was broken by Sherron Collins this year.
• KU had a pair of interesting recruits show up that day. One was Burlington sophomore Tyrel Reed.
Bet he never would have guessed that his career at KU would start 4 1/2 years later.
The Jayhawk Flashback returns this week, and we had to go relatively deep into the archives for this one: KU vs. Oklahoma on Feb. 23, 1998.
I would consider it one of the most memorable Senior Night performances in Allen Fieldhouse history, though the outstanding effort didn't come from a senior.
In the final home game for Raef LaFrentz and Billy Thomas, junior Paul Pierce dominated with 31 points, scoring 15 straight during one point in the second half.
The highlights are below.
A few thoughts:
• I'm not going to lie: I kind of liked the big, yellow state of Kansas in the middle of the court. Not as marketable as the huge Jayhawk, I know, but still charming, nonetheless.
• No ads on the blue, backboard support pads? This must be old video.
• Nice to see Billy Thomas' deep range at the 50-second mark. I wonder if ol' Roy was happy with that deep shot.
• This is the first game I can remember KU fans chanting, "One more year!" And I must say, the "One more year" chant does not have a good success rate.
Jayhawk fans chanted it for Pierce and Drew Gooden, and both decided to forgo their senior seasons*. Sherron Collins might have reversed the curse, though, as after hearing the "One more year" chants and thinking they were funny, he decided to return to KU for his senior year.
* — I feel like I'm forgetting a few times when KU fans chanted "One more year." Can you guys remember any others?
• My eyes could be deceiving me, but isn't that Tom O'Neill and Steve Welmer calling the game? They don't seem to have aged much over the years. Kelvin Sampson looks almost the exact same as he does now, too.
• Sampson on Pierce's 31-point effort: "He didn't get a lot of easy baskets. He hit 12 tough, tough shots."
• There's great video at the 1:40 mark. Williams has an intense look (probably trying to keep his team business-like), while assistant Joe Holladay is grinning from ear-to-ear behind him. His face says it all. It looks like he's about ready to turn to assistant Matt Doherty and say, "Have you seen anything like this?"
• If you must see a replay of Sampson famously patting Pierce on the bum, you can find it here.
Unfortunately for Kansas fans, there's no way fast forward to next year's football and basketball seasons.
In the meantime, I figured we might as well go ahead and take a look back.
This will be the first installment of "Jayhawk Flashback." The idea with this blog will be to dip back into the 6Sports vault to find great games from KU history.
We're going to start with one of the best recent games in Allen Fieldhouse: KU vs. Georgia Tech on Jan. 1, 2005.
The highlights of the game are below.
A few thoughts:
• It's funny for me to see Luke Schenscher at the 1:02 mark, then later in the video. Every time I see him, I think about my friend Whitey, who believed Schenscher had the magical ability to transport himself from one end of the court to the other.
I laughed at first, but later agreed with him. It always seemed like I saw the 7-footer block shots on the defensive end and get rebounds on the offensive end. But I never saw him get from one end of the court to the other.
Even now, if you asked me what Schenscher ran like, I couldn't tell you.
• Speaking of Schenscher, he was a main part of one of the worst thought-up stories I can remember. In 2004, when Georgia Tech played Connecticut in the finals, I remember Yahoo! Sports ran a story hyping the game as perhaps the best matchup of centers in NCAA Championship history.
I've got no problem giving props to Emeka Okafor. He was good.
But Schenscher? Seriously? His 9.2 points per game were sixth on his own team.
And he was one half of the best center matchup in the history of the NCAA Championship?
I think Patrick Ewing and (then-named) Akeem Olajuwon might disagree.
• Remember how much Aaron Miles improved his three-point shot from his junior year to his senior year? Here you go.
Miles made 28 of 84 threes as a junior (33.3 percent).
He made 40 of 80 three-pointers as a senior (50 percent).
That's one of those statistics (and improvements) perhaps overlooked because of Bucknell.
• Did Alex Galindo have two bigger three-pointers in his career than he did in this game?
• I get tired about hearing that Keith Langford was a poor shooter. Look at the difficulty (and magnitude) of the shots he made in this game.
He's also sixth on the KU all-time scoring list, ahead of names like Paul Pierce, Kirk Hinrich, Wayne Simien, Jeff Boschee, Dave Robisch and Kevin Pritchard.
Seems to me like you have to be at least a decent shooter to accomplish that.
• How J.R. Giddens make that turning, twisting layup (5:20)? And why did he turn and twist to begin with? It looked like Tech's Jarrett Jack was well by him. Style points, I guess?
• It's funny to me that this is a "Jayhawk Flashback," yet Matt Kleinmann still is celebrating on the KU bench (5:24).
• "Get it to your senior and end this thing right now!" - 6Sports' Kevin Romary (6:00), with 12 seconds remaining in overtime. How did he know? Right after that, Miles passed it to Langford, who — sure enough — won the game with a jumper.
Romary must have been channeling his inner Miss Cleo.
• Speaking of Langford's final shot, I remember watching it live at the time and thinking it was not good shot selection. After watching the replay, I can't say I've changed my mind.
Langford did have a knack for making tough shots, though.
• Pause your video at 6:34. Christian Moody and Alex Galindo (with two hands raised) are both wide open. They both still probably should have known in that situation, Langford most likely wasn't going to pass up a shot.
• It's a little hard to see, but if you stop the video at 6:47, you can do some celebrity spotting behind the KU bench. In a blue, Kansas, No. 34 jersey is Julian Wright, and two spots down from him in a black, Chicago Bulls, No. 12 Kirk Hinrich jersey is Tyrel Reed. I can't quite tell if that's Sherron Collins in between them in the light blue shirt.
• Without cheating and re-watching the 7-minute, 31-second video, can you tell me what Luke Schenscher runs like?