KJ’s BB Newsletter                 March 24, 2001

· Stank ‘em

· Prognostication Review

· Twenty Years Ago

· Big 12 - 94 Years Old


stank.em \u8217’stank.em n 1: name of monkey on coach Roy Williams’ back 2 : name given by Billy Thomas to outside shot 3: v what the Illini did to keep KU from the Elite Eight.

No question about it folks, you can spread the blame for this loss. A lot goes on the shoulders of Kirk Hinrich, who was simply picked apart by Frank Williams, Illinois’ super guard. Here’s their comparative line:




















Abominable free throw shooting, especially by Nick Collison, can also be blamed. Overall the Jayhawks missed 17 free throws. Nick went 6-14 from the line. He can be somewhat excused from culpability however, as he played a great overall game, going 8-11 from the field, grabbing 7 rebounds, and making a steal.

Jeff Boshee and Eric Chenowith combined for a total of 3 points and 4 rebounds. Despite a good all-around game, Drew Gooden had 4 turnovers, and Kenny Gregory was mostly a non-factor, contributing only 11 points.

And you have to credit Illinois for playing an outstanding game. They just beat the Jayhawks in every aspect, suffocating the Hawks on defense and dominating the boards 45-30.

Going into the game, I felt that the backcourts matched up pretty well. And as it turned out, Boshee and Bradford pretty well cancelled out each other, Boshee holding Bradford to 4 points and no rebounds. However, Hinrich and Ballard were no match for the incredible Williams.

I also thought that the frontcourts were pretty even, and that proved to be pretty much true, except for the fact that Illinois had an endless supply of big men, compared to KU’s three (if you’re generous enough to count Chenowith at all). And with the way the Hawks were missing free tosses, the Illini big men fouled without impunity. In fact three of them fouled out and were hardly missed.

The bottom line is that the Jayhawks didn’t show well in their final game. The backcourt was humbled. Gregory and Chenowith did themselves no good as far as improving their pro chances. The lack of depth really hurt. We sure could have used the outside shooting of Luke Axtell, the quickness of Mario Kinsey, and the defense of Bryant Nash. You have to give credit however, to Roy Williams, for getting this team as far as it went.

To improve next year, Williams simply has to bring in a force in the post to complement Collison and Gooden. I heard they had a great chance on a Texas kid named Okafor, but that he is now leaning to Texas Tech since Bobby Knight is slated to take over the reins of the Raiders. Surely there’s a great postman out there someplace who would want to play for Williams.


Here’s something you won’t see on other sports web sites. I’m going to compare my preseason predictions with how things actually turned out. On October 27, 2000, I made my predictions for Drake, Iowa State, Kansas and Iowa. Just how good a forecaster was I?


I wrote. “This is a rebuilding year for Drake, which ended last year with an overall record of 11-18 (last in the MVC at 4-14). However, if O’Neill can come through, look for the Bulldogs to go as high as 5th

in the Valley. More likely though, they’ll finish 7th or 8th. No postseason this year.” I also predicted that freshman Luke McDonald would land a starting role by mid-season.

The reality. O’Neill, unfortunately, didn’t come through. Not only was he a bust in the first semester, he flunked out the second, along with starters Lamont Evans and Dontaie Smith and top reserve Alberto Jempierre. Luke McDonald, as I expected, did land a starting role, and became the Dogs leading scorer in the latter part of the season. The Bulldogs did finish in a tie for 7th, and didn’t make any postseason tourneys.

Grade. B+ (probably I would have gotten an A if those four had made their grades)


I wrote. “This will be a senior dominated team that should finish in the upper echelon of the Big 12 (3rd or 4th) and their experience should carry them to the Final 16. Tinsley will be 1st or 2nd team All-American.” I also wrote that freshman Jake Sullivan could provide some scoring punch, and that transfer Tyray Pearson should get a lot of playing time. Rebounding should be a problem.

The reality. The Cyclones bested my prediction for finishing in the Big 12 by finishing in first place, but didn’t get past the first game in the NCAAs. Tinsley did gain 2nd team A/A honors. Jake Sullivan not only provided some scoring punch, he landed a starting job early and maintaining it through the season, finishing as the Clones third leading scorer. Pearson did end up with considerable playing time and finished as the team’s sixth leading scorer and fifth best rebounder.

Grade. B-


I wrote. “Iowa could be as high as third in the Big Ten, but more likely 4th or 5th. (they may have contended for the title had Griffin and Galloway stayed around). They should win one or two in the NCAAs. Oliver should be first team all-Big 10.” I also predicted that Oliver and Recker would form one of the best backcourts in the country, and that Recker would be pushed by Ryan Hogan and Brody Boyd.

I said that Duez Henderson and Rod Thompson would be pushed by Reggie Evans and Glen Worley.

The reality. Iowa actually finished sixth in the league, largely due to the loss of Recker for the last half of the conference season. They did win one in the NCAA tourney, against Creighton, but lost in the second round to Kentucky. Until Recker’s season-ending injury, he and Oliver did form one of the better backcourts. But it was too short-lived and Oliver was named on the conference third team. Hogan did become the sixth man until his season-ending injury. I sure missed the boat on Reggie, though, not foreseeing that he would lead the country in rebounding and the team in scoring.

Grade. C (although I would likely have gotten a B or B+ if Recker hadn’t fallen).


I wrote. “The Hawks should win the Big Twelve, slightly ahead of Missouri and Oklahoma. Last year’s top three, Iowa State, Texas and Oklahoma State all lost key players and will drop. If all goes well, look for the Jayhawks to show up in the Final Four.” I also wrote that “if 7’1 center Eric Chenowith rebounds from his disappointing junior season, if 6’10 shooting guard Luke Axtell shows up healthy, and if 6’5 F/G Kenny Gregory can become more consistent, Kansas has the talent to top the Big 12.” I further predicted that Jeff Boschee would back up Gregory and Axtell at shooting guard, and that KU would have an 8 man rotation.

The reality. The Jayhawks finished the conference in a three-way tie for second with Oklahoma and Texas. Fortunately Gregory did become more consistent, even finishing as KU’s leading scorer and third best rebounder. But Chenowith was never the dominant force we expected, and Axtell was hurt most of the season, keeping KU from it’s rightful position atop the Big 12. Whew, did I miss on Boschee. He started at shooting guard all year, moving Gregory to small forward. KU did have an 8 man rotation for most of the year, until Axtell’s injury and Mario Kinsey’s departure. I never once mentioned Brett Ballard, a walkon who ended up being the main backup to KU’s starting backcourt. The Hawks ended two away from the Final Four. Would we have been there with a strong Chenowith and a healthy Luke? I think so.

Grade. C+

In summary, I would say that my picks were pretty good overall, but severely affected by injuries.


The top teams in 1981 were DePaul, led by All-American Mark Aguirre, Oregon State with All-American Steve Johnson, and Arizona State (which had four upperclassmen who later combined for 35 seasons in the NBA - Fat Lever, Byron Scott, Alton Lister and Sam Williams). Strangely, all three dropped their first games in the NCAA tourney (back then only 48 teams were invited, and the top 16 got byes in the first round). It was the second year in a row that DePaul was ranked No. 1 and lost their first game in the tournament. With tournament wide open, No. 9 Indiana, led by sophomore Isiah Thomas, came out of the Mideast Regional to win the title 63-50 over North Carolina. Virginia topped LSU for third place.

Other great players in 1981 included BYU’s Danny Ainge, Ralph Sampson, a sophomore at Virginia, and Lewis “Black Magic” Lloyd of Drake.

Arguably KU had the best guard tandem in the nation with All-American Darnell Valentine and Tony Guy, who collectively scored over 31 points per game. The Jayhawks had a seven man rotation, with 6’10 senior Art Housey and 6’9 junior Victor Mitchell double-teaming in the post, 6’7 senior John Crawford and 6’7 junior Dave Magley manning the wings, and 6’5 Booty Neal ably backing up the guards.

The Jayhawks started strong, winning 15 of their first 17 games but slumped before finally finished in a three-way tie at 9-5 with K-State and Nebraska, as Missouri grabbed the conference crown. KU won the post season league tourney and landed a 7-seed. They slipped by Mississippi and then destroyed 2-seed Arizona State 88-71, leading to a memorable match with Wichita State. The two teams had not met each other in 25 years, and the feeling in Wichita was that the Jayhawks thought they were too good to play the Shockers. WSU, however, had a talented team with Cliff Levingston and Antoine Carr, previously a teammate of Valentine on Wichita’s Heights HS. In dramatic fashion, the Shocks took KU 66-65, although Valentine got a no-call as he was flagrantly clobbered on the last play of the game. That ended KU’s season at 24-8.

Valentine finished his KU career with 1,821 points (now 4th all-time), and remains first all-time in steals and third on KU’s all-time assist list. He was on the 1980 Olympic team that boycotted the Moscow games and played ten seasons in the NBA.

The Drake Bulldogs featured Lewis Lloyd, who finished the year as the nation’s 4th leading scorer with 26.3 ppg. With little support, Black Magic carried the team to a fourth place MVC tie at 10-6 and an 18-11 overall record.

The Lute Olsen coached Iowa Hawkeyes had a very good team in ’81, featuring a senior frontline of Vince Brookins (who led the team in scoring with 14.7), Steve Waite and Steve Krafcisin, and a junior backcourt of Kevin Boyle and Kenny Arnold. Backups included sophs Bobby Hansen and Mark Gannon, and freshman Steve Carfino. Although losing their last two conference games, they finished 2nd in the Big Ten at 13-5, and gained a 3-seed in the NCAA tourney. Unfortunately, they couldn’t score against 6-seed Wichita State, dropping out in the first round 56-60, completing the season 21-7.

1981 was Johnny Orr’s first year at Iowa State, following an illustrious career at Michigan. Unfortunately, Lynn Nance had left a relatively bare cupboard. Center Robert Estes was the main man on this team which finished 2-12 in the conference. Overall, their record was a paltry 9-18.


The Big 12 is the oldest conference consisting of state universities. Founded on January 12, 1907 as the Missouri Valley Conference, the original members were Kansas, Missouri, Nebraska, Washington (of St. Louis), Drake and Iowa. The first season was 1907-08 and lasted 21 years through 1927-28. Iowa State was added in 1908 and Iowa dropped out in 1911. K-State was added in 1913, Grinnell in 1919, Oklahoma in 1920 and Oklahoma A&M in 1926.

At a meeting on May 19, 1928, six of the seven state institutions (excluding Oklahoma A&M) formally organized the Big Six, which lasted 20 seasons. On December 12, 1947 the University of Colorado was added and the name changed to the Big Seven, which lasted ten seasons. On June 1, 1957, the league became the Big Eight with the addition of Oklahoma State.

The Big Eight remained unchanged for 38 seasons until Texas, Texas A&M, Texas Tech and Baylor were added for the 1997 season. The following table depicts the number of league championships won by the various league teams.






















Iowa State












Oklahoma St.