This is a new feature of  Back in the 90's, before the Internet, I published a KU basketball newsletter for several years, primarily for my Iowa friends who were Jayhawk fans.  It was a blog, long before the term 'blog' was created.  Through it, I took the opportunity to present and/or comment on things of interest throughout the season.  Once the Internet made it possible for Jayhawk fans everywhere to easily access information form virtually all sources, I stopped writing the newsletter, and have since been developing this web site -- focusing primarily on developing a historical data base of KU basketball information.  However, I've started this blog and will add stuff as the muse hits me.

2009-10 season

March 22, 2010 - Forgetting History
There’s an old adage that those who don’t remember history, are bound to repeat it.

Apparently Kansas didn’t remember Bradley, the Missouri Valley team that beat KU in the second NCAA game in 2006.  This time, they matched up again with a highly capable MVC team and didn’t take them seriously.

I watched Northern Iowa several times this year and was most impressed.  They are a senior-laden team that has played together for several years.  Like KU, they are solid at every position and have depth.  Bill Self should have had them prepared for a tough battle.

But the Panthers played hard with a mission.  On the other hand, the Jayhawks played like they thought they were going to win no matter what; not very hard and apparently not with a mission to win the championship.

It’s all so disappointing to KU fans. Personally, I felt all year that this was the best KU team ever, one that should run through the tourney with little trouble. As a historian, I was planning on putting Collins and Aldrich on my first team all-KU squad.  But the team and particularly those two just didn’t perform to their talent.  So, ended up as just another bunch of also-rans.

March 17, 2010 - The Iowa search
As many of you know, I've lived in Iowa since graduating from KU in 1970, so am knowledgeable about the Iowa Hawkeyes who are looking for a new coach after firing Todd Lickliter.  At lunch today, with several friends, I mentioned that I think that their wisest choice for a replacement would be Danny Manning.  Right now, the Hawkeyes biggest need is for a quality center.  Undoubtedly, Manning could land a good one -- I mean what top front court player wouldn't want to come under his tutelage? And I'm sure he is ready for heading a major program.

Surely Danny wants to be a head coach someday, but I would recommend he pass on that one, should he be offered the job by Gary Barta, Iowa's Athletic Director.  Iowa's last three bb coaches were all treated badly (Steve Alford, Tom Davis, and Lickliter), their resources are pretty outdated, and Hawkeye Carver Arena is a TOMB!

Psst.  Don't mention the idea to Barta...

March 17, 2010 - More on being screwed!
One could certainly speculate as to the various reasons why the NCAA selection committee broke all the usual rules, by placing Kansas, the No. 1 overall pick, in the most demanding bracket. It’s almost unanimous among all the TV and print pundits that KU got jobbed and the Devils got a free ride to the sweet sixteen. 

But, while clearly the Jayhawks were given the toughest road to the Final Four of any of the No. 1 seeds, I’m glad in a way – for two reasons.

One is that, after the Jayhawks win it all, there won’t be anyone in the nation (even the fans of the Kentucky Wildcats or the Dukies) who could say that Kansas didn’t deserve it.

Secondly, with a difficult road ahead, the Jayhawks certainly shouldn’t be able to take any opponent lightly (Well, okay, maybe Lehigh, but we all remember Bucknell).  Hopefully they will take Northern Iowa seriously also, as the Panthers are tough and experienced. Too, every opponent thereafter will pose a significant test. But the Hawks are a team that rises to the challenge, and therefore should win it all, in spite of the large hurdles set in their way by the NCAA.

So, that aside, let’s speculate about the selection committee.  Historically, the rules are that the #1 overall seed gets matched up with the worst of the 16-seeds. So, why did KU get Lehigh instead of the playoff team, which usually is assigned to the overall No. 1 selection?  Then, of all the 8 & 9 seeds, outside of maybe Gonzaga, I believe Northern Iowa is the one I’d fear the most. In the third round, either Michigan State or Maryland, are probably better than any other 4 or 5 seed, except perhaps Texas A&M.

But, at the Elite Eight level, I see pretty equal tough foes for all the #1 seeds (assuming they are still in it).  Still, one wonders what was the motivation behind the committee in sticking it to the Jayhawks while smoothing the road for the Blue Devils…???

I suspect politics in some way had an effect, but it’s clear that Dan Beebe, the Big 12 Commissioner, had very little influence on Kansas’ behalf to his selection committee counterparts.

March 15, 2010 - Screwed Again!
Well, they did it again!  I’m not sure why, but the NCAA selection committee seemingly places KU in the hardest bracket every time.  And, of course, Duke got the weakest.

I shouldn’t care, because KU is the best team and should be able to traverse its way through the Midwest bracket. But it just isn’t fair.

The way it’s supposed to work is that the No. 1 team should get the 8th-ranked team to be #2 in their region.  Which team was the second-seed in the Midwest? Ohio State, a team that probably should have been a No. 1 seed ahead of Duke.  Who’s the No. 2 seed in the South Region?  Villanova, a team that could have been a #3.

Duke not only gets the worst team in the tourney to start (the playoff winner, but they then get to play either California or Louisville in the second round (teams that combined for only 43 wins this season).  By contrast, KU matches up to either Northern Iowa or UNLV in the second round (teams that won 53 games this season).

Then look at the 4-seed in each bracket, predictably the team the #1 seed meets in the third round.  Duke gets Purdue, a team that had a good record until Robbie Hummel, their star, got injured, and now should be about a 10-seed.  KU draws Maryland, the winner of the ACC tournament.

What did Kansas do to the committee selection members? Any why does Duke always get the breaks?

March 14, 2010 - 2000, 200, 7 
What a run through the Big 12 tourney!  In the first game against Texas Tech, KU became the third team in college basketball history to win 2,000 games.  The win against Texas A&M gave Bill Self his 200th win at KU. And, in the title game against K-State, the Jayhawks won their 7th Big 12 tournament championship (and 4th of the last 5 years).

Now that the Jayhawks are at 2,002 wins, they have surpassed North Carolina which has stalled at 2,000.  The Hawks still trail Kentucky, which has 2,009.  Most of the Tarheels and Wildcat wins over the years were when former Jayhawks were coaching those teams, Dean Smith and Adolph Rupp, respectively.  Neither were very good players at KU, but they learned how to coach well from KU’s Phog Allen, the “Father of Basketball Coaching”.

Actually, during Allen’s reign at Kansas, KU had the most all-time wins record for quite a few years, but eventually lost that status to Kentucky and North Carolina during the Ted Owens regime.  Look for Bill Self’s team to recapture the #1 slot in the next year or two.

March 10, 2010 - 70 Years Ago
Several years later, KU coach Phog Allen was quoted as saying “The 1940 team ranks tops for their ability to overcome tremendous odds and advancing to the NCAA finals ... In achieving national fame, this team owned no big men, yet had the necessary team work and qualifications to rank as one of the greatest K.U. teams of all time.”

One era passed and another began during the 1939–40 season. Dr. James Naismith died on Nov.28, 1939, nearly 50 years after inventing the game and three years after seeing it gain worldwide acceptance as an Olympic sport at the 1936 Summer Games in Berlin.

Exactly three months later, on Feb.28, 1940, college basketball appeared on television for the first time when experimental station W2XBS in New York televised a Pitt-Fordham and Georgetown-NYU doubleheader at Madison Square Garden.

The Jayhawks finished the 1939-40 Big Six season at 8-2, in a three-way tie for the league title with Missouri and Oklahoma.  A playoff series to determine who would represent the league in the fifth district title game was held in Wichita.  And KU prevailed, beating Oklahoma 45-39 after the Sooners had beaten Missouri.

In a contest billed as “The Game of the Year,” Kansas met Oklahoma A&M for the fifth District title.  The Jayhawks won 45-43 in overtime and headed for the Western Championships in Kansas City.

After defeating Rice 50-44, KU advanced to meet Southern Cal in the NCAA Western final.  The Jayhawks weren’t given much of a chance: “The midget University of Kansas basketball team was up against the sun-bronzed giants rated the best in the nation. The Jayhawks looked puny by comparison,” the Saturday Evening Post reported.  But KU hung close and rallied in the final 18 seconds for a victory as Howard Engleman swished a high, arching shot from far out on the right side as the timer’s gun went off.  The Jayhawks had won 43-42.  “It was another miracle in Kansas basketball.  Kansas fans should be getting used to them by this time,” the Post reported.

Called the "Pony Express" because of its overall lack of height, the 1939-40 team galloped to the championship game in only the second year the NCAA Tournament was held.  But the miracles were over, and KU fell to Indiana 60-42 in the NCAA final at Kansas City’s Municipal Auditorium.  The Jayhawks, were as cold as the Hoosiers were warm and hit only 14 out of 81 shots. These shots, however, were hurried and many from long range near the end. The crowd of 10,000 jammed spectators rose in mighty tribute to this fine Indiana team at the finish.

Dick Harp and Don Ebling were captains of the 1939-40 team.  But other key players in Allen’s “seven-man starting lineup” were Ralph Miller and Allen’s son, Bob, who had fed Engleman the assist in the USC game. Harp, a guard on the Final Four team, and later Kansas’coach for eight seasons, is among only five people to have played and coached in an NCAA title game.

March 3, 2010 - the Aggies
No doubt about it, tonight’s game with K-State was extremely important.  Let me count the ways.

  • First of all, of course, it was Sherron Collins’ last game at Allen Fieldhouse. While he started slow, he finished fast, to a most well-deserved standing ovation on Senior’s night. What a career for KU’s all-time winningest player.
  • Next, it cinched the Big 12 regular-season title, KU’s 6th in a row.  The Big 12 is one of the top two conferences in college basketball.
  • Then, at least for those who remember the old days when the Aggies were our biggest rival, as well as for those who welcome that rivalry back, it was great to whip the Wildcats (twice yet)!  I liked it so much, I’m hopeful that the two squads might meet again a couple of times, in the league tourney, and for the national championship.  That would really stoke the old hostilities. 
  • The win also tightly locks a #1 NCAA seed, a bye in the conference tourney and gives the Jayhawks some momentum going into Columbia Saturday for a showdown with the Tigers. 
  • It moves Kansas one game closer to 2,000 all-time wins, increasing our chances of beating out the Tar Heels in that race.

Who says it’s just a game.  J

February 14, 2010 - 1945
In my files, I have a mimeographed copy of a typed publication called "Basketball at the University of Kansas, 1944-45", which was compiled, written and edited by Jim Mordy and Harry E. Morrow.  This was kind of a forerunner of the annual Media Guides that have been published by the Athletic Department for many years.

Here are some interesting statistics from that publication: 
University Enrollment - 2,758       Civilians - 2,199        Military Trainees - 559
Admission to Home Games:  Season Book (7 games) $4.10  Conference games - $1.00  Non-conference games - $.75

February 9, 2010 - Michael Jordan's first game
I watched the November 28, 1981 debut of Michael Jordan’s first game against the Jayhawks on ESPN Classics this evening (you can click on the You Tube video below) .  This was the short pants and no tattoo era, and was the first game of the 1982 season for both teams. The Tarheels starred All-Americans James Worthy and Sam Perkins, with skinny freshman Jordan showing signs of becoming a major star. Matt Doherty, a former KU assistant coach (1993-98), was also a starter. These Heels, were the team that eventually won the national championship the following March,  giving former KU player, Coach Dean Smith his first title.

Fighting against the preseason #1 Tarheels, the undermanned Hawks tied the Tarheels 37- up at the half, even though the game was in ‘neutral’ Charlotte, North Carolina.  The game was decided early in the second half however, after Ted Owens put in Mark Summers, a largely ineffective juco transfer, to give Knight a rest after getting 4 fouls. Things immediately went awry as Summers committed a couple of turnovers which led to points for UNC. So he put Knight back in and he almost immediately fouled out, and the Hawks were eight down. But, even without Knight, during the last eight minutes the Jayhawks actually outscored the Tarheels by one.

Although being beaten 67-74, the Jayhawks made a valiant game of it, and won eight of its next ten games, losing only to ranked Kentucky and to St. John’s in New York.  Things looked pretty good at that stage, but then the bottom fell out.  In spite of quality senior stars Tony Guy and Dave Magley, coupled with junior Jeff Dishman, clearly the Hawks were missing a center and a point guard, two of the most important positions in basketball, and lacked a bench, their holes were taken advantage of by subsequent opponents.

Kelly Knight, a 6’7 power forward who manned the center position, had to give away several inches almost every game. Even so, he captured an average of 12.3 points per game and 5.6 rebounds for the season.  Unfortunately, his backups were Brian Martin and little-used Mark Ewing. And obviously, freshman Tad Boyle was only a shadow of a substitute for Darnell Valentine, who led the Jayhawks the four previous seasons. And backing him up was track star Tyke Peacock, a world class high jumper, but a mediocre point guard. Lance Hill, a 6’5 juco transfer showed promise early as a guard/forward, but faded later.

So, after starting the season a respectable 8-3, they dropped 3 of the next 4 games, including getting creamed by Nebraska. After 3 wins at home, they then dropped 8 of the next nine games, including the last five in a row to finish a losing season 13-14.  What a disappointing end to a very promising start.

February 9, 2010 - Sporting News
Sporting News has finally realized that the Jayhawks are the best in the nation.  After giving Mike DeCoursy a little grief over the past two months for their lack of coverage, today's edition features the Jayhawks on the cover page, and has two following articles, one covering the demolition of Texas last night.

Would anybody in their right mind pick John Wall over Sherron Collins? Pick DeMarcus Cousins over Cole Aldrich?  Pick John Calipari over Bill Self?  And, Kentucky, the darlings of the sports media, don't have a Marcus Morris, a Brady Morningstar, or a supporting cast like the Jayhawks. And, KU has two redshirts that could be starters at UK.

February 4, 2010 - A tale of two games.
There aren’t too many times when your team misses 20 free throws, like the Jayhawks did against Colorado in Boulder Wednesday evening. Fortunately they had enough talent and toughness to otherwise pull out a tough win.

The Jayhawks weren’t so lucky in 2003, when they missed 18 free throws in the national championship game against Syracuse, losing to the Carmelo Anthony-led Orange, 78-81. Those Hawks were very talented and tough too, being ranked #1 going into the tourney, led by the Hawkeye tandem of Kirk Hinrich and Nick Collison.

The difference between the two outcomes, of course, is simply that the Buffaloes didn’t have a Carmelo.

January 31, 2010 - Octagon of Doom
When I was growing up in the 50s and 60s, Kansas and North Carolina were the hotbeds of college basketball.  KU and K-State were formidable rivals, the cream of the Midwest, with both being highly ranked most of the time.  The two Jayhawk-Wildcat games on the conference schedule were always the highlights of league play. Similarly, North Carolina and North Carolina State were heated east coast rivals and usually ranked as well.  Since then, in recent years of course, KU and UNC have continued to dominate, but the two state schools have lagged behind.

So, it’s great to see the old KU-KSU rivalry being renewed. It gets the old juices flowing among and between the Jayhawk and Wildcat faithful. However, the Octagon of Doom (Bramlage Coliseum) proved to be doom again last night, not for their enemy, but for the Aggies. After KU’s 81-79 win, the Jayhawks are now 21-1 in the ‘Octagon’, which one should tell the Manhattanites, that it's not really an octagon at all.  The win gave Kansas a two-game lead in the Big 12, and dropped the Aggies to 5th place (only a half game behind the three teams tied for second).

But, the game was close throughout and could have gone either way, except for the clutch play of Sherron Collins.  If, Collins keeps this up, he will likely surpass Darnell Valentine, in my mind, as being on KU’s all-time all-star team. I expect that the rubber match on March 3 in Lawrence will similarly be a tight one.  And, if luck has it, they may play a couple of more times – once in the Big 12 tourney and again in the NCAAs.

This scenario brings 1988 to mind.  That year, KU won by a point in Manhattan, but then lost in Lawrence, again in the Big 8 tourney, before meeting up in the Midwest Regional, where the Jayhawks got revenge, toppling the Wildcats 71-58, before going on to take the NCAA title.  Aside from the two losses to K-State, I could take that scenario again this year …

January 31, 2010 - Rex Walters
It was great to see that coach Rex Walter’s University of San Francisco team whipped #13 Gonzaga Saturday 81-77 in overtime.

Walters led KU in scoring in the 1992 and 1993 seasons, taking the Jayhawks to the title game in 1993.  After graduating, Rex spent seven years in the NBA.  After retiring as a player, he got into coaching with assistant gigs at Emporia State, Valparaiso, and Florida Atlantic, before assuming the head reins at Florida Atlantic after Matt Doherty left.  He's now in his second season as coach of the USF Dons.

January 29, 2010 - NCAA EXPANSION
Well, the NCAA is making noise about expanding the year-end tourney to 96 teams.  Of course, it’s about generating more revenue, but it just doesn’t seem to make sense to water down a great event just to make a few more dollars.

Dick Vitale recently said that “a berth in the NCAA Tournament is supposed to be a reward to those that have a great season.” I couldn’t agree more, and if it was up to me, the NCAA would be reducing the number, perhaps to 48, by picking the best 48 teams in the country, eliminating all the low-seed cream puffs, and awarding the top 16 teams with byes in the first round. 

Number 16-seeds have never won a game in the 25 years since the NCAA tournament expanded to 64 teams in 1985, and only 4% of the 15-seeds have won, and none of them went past the second round.  None of the 13 to 16 seeds have ever won a third round game.  So, basically, the bottom 30 or so teams in the tournament each year are merely fodder for the good teams.  Why not let these second tier teams have their own tourney, where they might have a chance at actually winning it all? It works for college football!

January 23-26, 2010: IT DOESN’T GET MUCH BETTER
Anytime KU wins and Kentucky loses, it just doesn’t get a whole lot better.

In fact, Kansas toppled Iowa State at Hilton on Saturday afternoon, and that’s always a great win for a Jayhawker living in the Hawkeye state (me), followed by a stupendous romp over the hated Mizzou Tigers in front of a national audience on Monday night.  The icing on the cake came the next night when lowly South Carolina took it to the then #1 ranked Wildcats.

If for no other reason, it puts KU one game closer to the Wildcats in the all-time win race. In case you want to know just how Kentucky got so many wins, you might check out Martin Manley’s web site:, and click on The Wildcat Culture over on the right hand side of the page.  I talk about how the Wildcat wins were abetted by a historical culture of cheating, assisted by lack of oversight by the NCAA.

Oh yeah, and what’s a Mizzou anyway? Sounds like some dread disease. Well, maybe it is. J

January 11, 2010 - PRODUCTION INDICES
Now that the non-conference season has ended, it’s time to evaluate how well (or poorly) the Jayhawks have faired so far.  I use Martin Manley’s Production Index, which adds up the good things players do (points, rebounds, assists, blocks, and steals, then subtracts the bad things (turnovers, missed field goals, missed free throws), and divides the resultant total by the number of games played and by minutes played.

Cole Aldrich has by far the best results, with a game production index of 20.9 and a minute production index of .807.  He’s down somewhat from last season’s game total of 23.9, but about the same as last year’s minute index of .806.




Cole Aldrich



Xavier Henry



Sherron Collins



Marcus Morris



Markieff Morris



Tyshawn Taylor



Brady Morningstar



Elijah Johnson



Tyrel Reed



Thomas Robinson



C. J. Henry



Conner Teahan



Jeff Withey



Jordan Juenemann



Chase Buford






New Years Day, 2010 - ALL DECADE TEAM (2000 – 2009 seasons)

Anytime you win over 80% of your games, you’re doing very good, and during the Naughties, the Kansas Jayhawks won 280 games, 80.5% of the 348 games played.  The decade also brought an outstanding 26-9 record in the NCAA tournament (even given the two flops in 2005 and 2006, where we lost in the first round to Bucknell and Bradley).

There is little argument against Nick Collison being the Jayhawk of the decade, as he left KU as the second all-time scorer in school history, and its third all-time leader in rebounds.

Center – Since Cole Aldrich only played two seasons in the Naughties, the center slot on the first team has to go to Wayne Simien, who achieved the third-highest efficiency rating since 1984.
Forwards – Drew Gooden, in addition to Nick Collison.
Guards – It would be hard to leave out either Kirk Hinrich or Sherron Collins.

Center – Cole Aldrich. 
Forwards- Darrell Arthur and Brandon Rush, both of whom led KU to the 2008 national championship.
Guards – Mario Chalmers (who could forget ‘the shot’?) and Aaron Miles.

Center -  Sasha Kaun.
Forwards – Julian Wright (even though he only stayed two years), and Keith Langford.
Guards – Kenny Gregory and Russell Robinson.

As good as Roy was, clearly the coach of the decade is Bill Self, who in his six seasons at the helm, won 81% of KU’s games and took the Jayhawks to the pinnacle in 2008.

Christmas Day, 2009 - If you click on the Jayhawks in the Pros section, you'll find that this is not a stellar year for former Jayhawks in the NBA.  Other than Paul Pierce, who has been doing well but is out for a couple of weeks with a leg infection, the other eight are performing at below career averages.  Darrell Arthur has been inured all season and probably won't be back until later in January.  Former starters Kirk Hinrich, Nick Collison, Julian Wright, Drew Gooden, Brandon Rush and Mario Chalmers are all now coming off the bench, either permanently or temporarily.  Hopes by Raef LaFrentz, Scot Pollard and Jacque Vaughn to be picked up by some team have not been fruitful so far, meaning that their careers are most assuredly over.



Don’t you find it strange that, on this Kansas team which is at least 14-deep, headed by two All-Americans, and ranked #1 in most preseason polls, there seems to be more questions than answers as we forge into the 2009-10 season.

That the Jayhawks will be led by junior center Cole Aldrich and senior guard Sherron Collins goes with out question.  And one would expect that Tyshawn Taylor will be considerably improved and steady at the point. Beyond that, however, lies considerable uncertainty.

1) Will the Morris brothers come back stronger and more consistent for their sophomore year?
2) Can heralded freshman Xavier Henry really be good enough to take a starting role?
3) Will senior Mario Little be healthy and finally live up to the hype?
4) Will C. J. Henry be able to shake off the dust of three years away from basketball?
5) Will the three local boys, Brady Morningstar, Tyrel Reed and Travis Releford, be able to capture significant playing time?
6) Will freshman Jeff Withey, who won’t be eligible until 2nd semester, redshirt this season?
7) Will the other two freshmen, Elijah Johnson and Thomas Robinson, be good enough to see much floor time?
8) With so much talent on board, how will coach Self be able to keep everyone involved?
9) Will Carl Henry be able to let Self coach his sons without popping off in the media?
10) Are they tough enough?

At this stage of the season, I think the answers to the first three questions appear to be: yes, yes, and yes.  According to the Sunday report ‘Twin Transformation’ in, the brothers have been working very hard this summer.  All the pundits say Xavier is ready for the pros now. I’ve heard Mario has healed and ready for action, but is considering red-shirting.

The remaining questions likely won’t be answered until the start of Big 12 play, but here’s my take:
4 – Carl believes so and Self hopes so.
5 – As a short, white, Kansas-bred kid myself, I certainly hope so.  While not super stars, they are hard-working, serious, and have paid their dues.
6 – I hope so, assuming that Markieff has beefed up enough to back up Aldrich, we won’t need Withey this year.
7 – Again, I don’t see that they are going to be needed much this year.  I doubt that they will be redshirted, but overall it might be the best course of action.
8 – Redshirting three players would alleviate the problem somewhat, but it would mean that you still have 11 guys fighting for court time (even during mop up time).  Maybe if KU fielded two teams…
9 – All Kansas fans are keeping their fingers crossed.
10 – Tough enough to take on the football team several times….

2008-09 season

April 14, 2009 - Sherron Collins and Cole Aldrich announced at the annual awards banquet last night that they are staying at KU next year. According to Ken Davis at, that makes KU the team to beat in 2010.


Eleven former Jayhawks were on the rosters of NBA teams starting this season. Here is how they stand at the end of the regular NBA season:

  • Darrell Arthur - Originally drafted by the Portland TrailBlazers as the 27th overall pick in 2008, Arthur ended up with the Memphis Grizzlies after two trades.  He has started 63 of 75 games, averaging 19.3 minutes per game.  He is scoring 5.6 ppg and gathering 4.5 rpg.
  • Kirk Hinrich - Kirk has recently overcome a bad season, starting with losing his starting position to Derrick Rose and then incurring a thumb injury which took him out for three months.  Now back in good playing shape, the Bulls are starting a 3-guard lineup, with Hinrich scoring 10.1 ppg and making 3.9 assists per game.
  • Mario Chalmers - Selected 34th overall in the NBA draft by the Minnesota Timberwolves, Mario has started all 80 games at point guard for the Miami Heat, and is scoring 10.0 ppg  with 4.8 assists. 
  • Nick Collison - In his 4th year, Nick was the starting center for the Oklahoma City Thunder, early in the year, but due to a series of injuries, he’s now coming off the bench.  For the year he is scoring 8.1 ppg and rebounding 7.0 rpg.
  • Drew Gooden - After being traded by the Cleveland Cavaliers during the off-season, began the season as the starting power forward for the Chicago Bulls.  Subsequently, he was traded to the Sacremento Kings for one game and then to the San Antonio Spurs, where he is coming off the bench.  His season averages are 11.9 ppg and 7.2 rpg.
  • Darnell Jackson - Drafted 22nd in the second round by the Miami Heat, Darnell is now a forward with the Cleveland Cavaliers. Unfortunately, he incurred a wrist injury during a preseason exhibition game which caused him to miss about 30 games.  He’s now averaging slightly less than 6 minutes per game.
  • Raef LaFrentz - A forward/center for the Portland TrailBlazers, Raef is out for the season season due to a shoulder injury.  He has been bothered since last season, when he only played in 39 games.
  • Paul Pierce - All-Star Pierce, a shooting guard on the NBA champion Celtics, is scoring and rebounding slightly better than last year.
  • Brandon Rush - Was selected 16th overall by the Portland TrailBlazers, and then traded to the Indiana Pacers. Brandon was a key small forward sub for the Pacers, usually the 6th or 7th person off the bench, for most of the year, but has recently become a starter.  He’s averaging 7.9 ppg and 3.1 rpg.
  • Jacque Vaughn - An 11-year veteran of the NBA, Vaughn has been a reliable backup point guard for the San Antonio Spurs.  However, he has had some injuries and has only played in 30 games this year.
  • Julian Wright - Wright started getting some good playing time as a reserve small forward for the New Orleans Hornets last season, but his minutes were drastically cut early this season. However, he has increased his playing time during the year and has averaged 4.4 ppg and 2.8 rpg.

February 21, 2009 - NO COMPARISON

I mean, which one would you rather have?  First you have a coach who has the unanimous hands-down pre-season selection, with the returning national player of the year and loads of talent. However, they have experienced three disappointing losses so far in an overrated league (24-3 overall). Or, would you pick a guy who has taken a total rebuilding effort, predicted to be at best third in his league, to a surprising 22-5 record, second in the conference to only No. 1 rated Oklahoma?

Don’t get me wrong, I have always thought that Roy Williams is one of the best coaches in KU basketball history, and did a great job for Kansas, regularly keeping the Jayhawks among the nations’ elite in his 14 seasons.  And, as an Iowa resident, I truly loved the fact that he stole Raef, Kirk and Nick away from Iowa State.

However, the hard facts prove that Bill Self is, in a word, BETTER.  First of all, his 81.4% winning margin in his first 200 games at KU tops the charts.  Secondly, and most importantly, he led Kansas to the national championship.  Not to mention that he recruits every year, and I haven’t yet seen him cry. 

I certainly am not among those KU fans that felt jilted about Roy’s departure.  Although, as a loyal Jayhawk fan for over 50 years, I am eternally grateful for his contributions to KU basketball, I did feel at the time that it was a good move for him, and for KU as well.  Although coming close several times, the big one eluded KU under his reign, and he was starting to wear a little thin for my taste.  It was a good time to switch, and clearly Self has proven to be the right choice for a replacement.

I certainly don’t wish Roy ill at North Carolina, and even pull for the Tarheels most times, as he has a bunch of my favorite ex-Jayhawks on his bench.  What I’m saying is, that those KU fans who harbor a grudge about his departure, should finally let it go and accept the fact that Kansas is now in better hands.

February, 2009 - During the Texas-Oklahoma pregame banter, it was stated that OU’s Blake Griffin scored the first 40 point, 20 rebound game in Big Twelve history. 

The fact is that, in letting the Texas teams join the Big Eight, they gave away their 100 year history.  All the stats quoted for the Big 12 now only include those from 1999.  What a slap at the conference’s illustrious past and it heroes, including Wilt Chamberlain, Wayman Tisdale, Danny Manning, and the many others whose stats exceed the recent accomplishments. 

The Big Eight gave everything away to the Texas teams, who have made all the decisions since.  You cannot find the league’s history before 1999 on the Big 12 site.  The league’s tourney has been moved from Kansas City to Dallas.  Unfortunately, the news media has supported this travesty, continuing to report only records achieved since 1999.

Dec. 30, 2008 – A great way to end the basketball year.

What a pleasant and welcome surprise!  I was pretty sure the KU-Albany game wasn’t going to be shown this evening, since I had checked the morning Des Moines Register to see what games were on TV. So I brought up ESPN to at least get the live scores for the game.  Then I drifted into the family room and started scanning some of the more remote channels our cable company provides, and lo and behold, I came across 175 and it said KU vs. Albany.  I almost just passed it by as I thought 175 was a channel usually not available.  But, when I clicked on it and the game opened in progress, I was overjoyed.

From then on it was a really, really enjoyable game.  The last third of the KU-Arizona game several days ago was painful.  This one made up for it, as the Jayhawks were cooking, and several of the newcomers rose to new heights.  I was so impressed with Marcus Morris.  With the exception of a couple of minor lapses, he played an outstanding job, both offensively and defensively.   He really brought his game tonite, and hopefully will continue to generate the kind of confidence that will make him an outstanding player. Almost the same was true for Travis Releford.  I’ve always been a fan of his and have been disappointed in his showing so far. As the season progresses, I wouldn’t be surprised if he supplants more of the time now allocated to Reed and Morningstar.

A third guy that had a morale-boosting game was Tyrone Appleton.  He came in and just took over the game for the time he was on the court.  He’s also been a little disappointing (to me, at least), as I expected that as a juco transfer, he would be a little better coming out of the gate.  He had a lot of energy, showed confidence, so hopefully can prove to be a reliable force off the bench when an energy boost is needed.

Aldrich had a great game, Quintrell had some good moments, and Morningstar hit on a couple. Clearly, Albany was woefully overmatched. Clearly, too, was that KU played well and it was a team effort.  They were having fun and showed it, along with their obvious mutual and collective pleasure in playing well.  In the end, it was to me one of the most purely enjoyable basketball games I’ve ever watched from start to the end.  And, I’m left with a boost in my own confidence that the Jayhawks are becoming a much better team.

December 22, 2008 -   SHOULD THEY HAVE OR NOT?

Three of KU’s underclassmen starters chose to leave Kansas to join the 2009 NBA draft. While it’s still a little early in the season, it’s about time to assess whether these early departers made good decisions.

Junior Mario Chalmers has been a starter at point guard for the Miami Heat since the beginning of the year.  The Heat have a winning record at 14-12 and are in third place in the Southeast Division.  He has been playing a little over 31 minutes per game, scoring 10.0 points per game, and dishing out 4.4 assists per game.  Given his success in the pros this year, and the fact that it would have been hard for him to surpass what happened last year if he stayed for his senior year, there is no question but what he made the right decision.

Junior Brandon Rush has recently been promoted to a starting position with the Indiana Pacers, which unfortunately have a 10-17 record and are in last place in the Central Division.  For the season, Rush is averaging 7.6 points and 2.8 rebounds in a little over 24 minutes per game.  Again, he made the right decision and is showing indications that he may become the next Paul Pierce.

Sophomore Darrell Arthur has started 20 of the Memphis Grizzlies 25 games so far this season, scoring 5.8 points and 4.6 rebounds in slightly over 19 minutes per game.  They too are at the bottom of their Division with a 9-17 record.  He could have been a star this season for the Jayhawks. But, although stuck with a bottom feeder, Arthur is proving that he can play at the pro level, and made the right decision for him, if not for KU.


December, 2008   CLAUDE HOUCHIN (1947-50)
Claude Houchin, a former three-year starter for KU from 1948-50, died on December 3, 2008, in Wichita, Kansas.

During his freshman year, he was lifted from the B team mid-year, and played on the varsity the last 14 games of the year as a reserve.  As a sophomore in the 1948 season, he claimed a starter’s role, and at 6’5 was one of the tallest guards in the nation.  During his three years as an under-rated starter, he scored 8.5 points per game, was named second-team All-Big 7 in 1949, and led the Jayhawks to the Big7 conference title in 1950.

Prior to enrolling at KU, Houchin served in the US Army Air Corps in World War II. After leaving KU he went on to a successful career as an independent oil operator. He married the Ann Ackerman, the daughter of former KU basketball All-American, Tus Ackerman. Houch and his wife were dedicated KU alums.

November, 2008 PLAYER LOSSES
It’s amazing to think about how much talent KU lost from the 2008 championship year.  The departure of nine players, including all five starters, six seniors, six of the top seven scorers, three NBA recruits, and two more joining top foreign teams, represents the biggest seasonal loss in KU’s basketball history since the 1977 season.  During this past season, these players contributed 2,669 points (83% of the seasons’ total), 1,111 rebounds (72%) and 86.6 production points of the team total of 103.98.

In the past 32 years, the second biggest yearly loss was from the talented 2005 team led by seniors Wayne Simien, Keith Langford, and Aaron Miles, which contributed 1,773 points, 740 rebounds and 73.2 production points.  Merely losing Danny Manning was enough to place the 1988 national championship team in third place.  Seniors Archie Marshall, Marvin Branch, Manning and six others contributed 1,593 points, 778 rebounds and 69.93 production points.

The 1981 team headed by Darnell Valentine, Art Housey and John Crawford, the 1990 squad led by Kevin Pritchard, Rick Calloway and Jeff Gueldner, and the 1998 team headlined by Raef LaFrentz, Paul Pierce, and Billy Thomas, also represented significant losses for the subsequent years.

November, 2008  JAYHAWKS IN THE PROS
I've recently analyzed where all the former Jayhawks are now playing professionally (NBA, D-League, Overseas, etc.).  Go to: