When I opened Wednesday morning’s Journal-World sports section to page 3C, my attention was quickly drawn to the four-column picture at the top. The photo had been taken Tuesday at Kansas University’s football camp, and the caption read: “Omaha Westside High quarterback Ron Kellogg heaves a pass over the middle to a receiver.”
Ron Kellogg. … Omaha. … Hmm. Could this Ron Kellogg be related to the former KU basketball standout of the same name? That Ron Kellogg was also from Omaha. On the flip side, this young quarterback was throwing right-handed and KU’s Kellogg was left-handed. Was Ron Kellogg’s namesake son in that photo? Or was it just a coincidence? I’ve been in the newspaper business long enough to know never to take anything for granted, so I started looking for phone numbers.
I couldn’t find the Kelloggs’ number in Omaha, but I was able to come up with the number of Omaha Westside High coach Marty Kauffman. He wasn’t in, but a school secretary said she would ask him to call me. Less than half an hour later, my phone rang. It was Kauffman. I told him why I had called and, sure enough, the Omaha Westside coach confirmed the Kelloggs are indeed father and son.
Ron Kellogg Jr. is a 6-foot-1, 200-pounder who will be a sophomore at Westside this fall. He was the starting quarterback on the school’s freshman team last season. “We have a returning quarterback this fall,” Kauffman told me, “but we’d like to get him some playing experience this year. He might help us out someplace defensively. He’s a good enough athlete.”
Young Kellogg, who also plays — no surprise — basketball, is four inches shorter but 10 pounds heavier now than his dad was when he wore a KU uniform from 1982-86. “He’s a big, strong kid,” Kauffman said. “He’s 15 years old and he has a lot of growth left.” Kellogg Jr. guided Westside’s freshman team to the conference championship basically by just handing off and running the ball because passing attacks are usually too sophisticated for that level. “But we throw the ball a little more on the varsity level,” Kauffman said, “and that’s his No. 1 attribute.”
Kellogg’s dad may have had a strong arm, too, but that wasn’t his No. 1 attribute. In fact, in nearly four decades of watching KU basketball players I’ve never seen a more accurate shooter than Ron Kellogg. No doubt my most memorable one-man show was Danny Manning’s 31-point, 18-rebound performance in the 1988 NCAA championship game, yet the most memorable one-man shooting show belongs to Kellogg.
The date was Feb. 2, 1985. The place was the Devaney Center in Lincoln, Neb. On that night, Kellogg drilled 16 of 19 shots — some inside but most of them from the outside — and was a perfect 7-for-7 at the free throw line to finish with 39 points. I’m guessing Kellogg would have scored 44 or 45 points that night if the three-point line had been in effect, but the three-pointer didn’t become law until two years later.
Anyway, whether in football or basketball, I’m sure we’ll hear more about Ron Kellogg Jr.