KJ’s BB Newsletter                     May 5, 2001







Apparently former Drake basketball coach Rudy Washington just hasn’t learned from past mistakes. Drake fans can’t help but remember how Rudy, while serving as head coach, spent most of his time and energy on heading the Black Coaches Association. His recruiting program consisted of picking up the scraps of his cronies, namely John Thompson and John Chaney. During his tenure, Drake basketball sunk as far as you can go in Division 1, namely due to his lack of attention to the team.

Well he’s apparently done it again, with his three-year stint as Commissioner of the Southwest Athletic Conference coming to an end. An AP report said that Rudy was “being recently placed on ‘leave of absence’ by Clinton Bristow, president of Alcorn State and chairman of the SWAC Council of Presidents”. Bristow said that there had been “some differences on how some things were being approached,” and added that “We’d given him some time to reconcile some things.” (Boy, that Bristow has a way with words, doesn’t he?) My guess is that part of those ‘some things’ was that Rudy has continued his concentration on the BCA, at the expense of his SWAC employers.

As a dark sidenote to the story, it was also reported that the league office was audited recently, but would not say if that audit had anything to do with Washington being placed on leave. ……….Another fine mess you’ve gotten yourself into, Rudy!!!


In the course of research, I have occasionally pored over the excellent Kansas Sports Hall of Fame web site at www.kshof.org/ <http://www.kshof.org/>.

Off the home page, one can search for inductees by name or from an alpha list. Of the 84 inductees, only five are women. The list includes such luminaries as Wilt Chamberlain, Gale Sayers, Tom Watson, Dr. James Naismith, Jim Ryun, Dean Smith, Al Oerter and Lynette Woodward. There is a brief bio on each with an accompanying photo.

I was surprised that the photo of Wilt shows him in a Lakers uniform. Since this is a “Kansas” site, I guess I would have used the famous Rich Clarkson photo of Wilt in a Jayhawk uniform, tying his shoelaces, with his huge sneakers dominating the scene.

The Hall is located in Abilene, KS, about 80 miles due west of Topeka on I-70. They publish the Kansas Sports Magazine, a bi-monthly magazine, and the web site has a description of the Hall and directions on how to get there. The web site also has a section showing high school records and championships. For example, I read where my hometown hero Wes Santee won the 1949 Kansas Class B mile and cross-country races. (Outside of my friend John Alsip, a fellow sports statistician and historian, I’m perhaps the only person in the world who would find that kind of data interesting.)

In viewing the list of inductees, I’m curious and amazed as to why some of Kansas’ greatest athletes are not included. My favorite sports are basketball and track, so my list of suggestions focuses solely on those athletes.

It would seem to me that being an Olympic medallist, a multi-year All-American, world record holder, or being a member of a national hall of fame would qualify an individual for membership in the Kansas Sports Hall of Fame. Therefore, I submit that the following Jayhawk athletes have those and other credentials and should be considered for immediate induction:

· Raef LaFrentz, 1995-98 - Basketball All-American; Second on KU’s all-time scoring and rebounding lists.

· Charles B. Black, 1942-47 - Four-time Basketball All-American.

· Paul Endacott, 1921-23 - Two-time Basketball All-American; led KU to two national titles; in Basketball Hall of Fame.

· Charles T. Black, 1922-24 - Two-time Basketball All-American; led KU to two national titles; in Basketball Hall of Fame.

· William Johnson, 1931-33 - Basketball All-American; in Basketball Hall of Fame.

· Darnell Valentine, 1978-81 - Basketball All-American; Olympian; fourth all-time leading scorer and ranks third in assists.

· Wes Santee, 1952-53 - World record holder in mile and 1,500 meters; two-time Track All-American; Olympian and National Champion.

· Charlie Tidwell, 1958-60 - World record holder in 100 meters, 100 years, and 200 meter hurdles; 3-time Track All-American; 5-time National Champion.

· Cliff Cushman, 1958-60 - Two-time Track All-American; Olympian; National Champion.

· Karl Salb, 1969-71 - Three-time Track All-American; National Champion

· Cliff Wiley, 1976-78 - Three-time Track All-American; world record holder in 400 meter relays; Olympian.

If you agree, click on www.kshof.com <http://www.kshof.com> and send the KSHOF a message encouraging them to recognize these great athletes and Kansas heroes.


The Utah Jayhawks, I mean Jazz, dropped their first round playoff matchup against the Dallas Mavericks. Karl Malone graciously accepted blame for the loss, but I believe the blame can be put squarely on the shoulders of coach Jerry Sloan. Here’s why.

First of all, Malone and John Stockton, while great players, are at the ends of their careers. They need to be rested. Particularly Malone, who had a bad back during the fifth game of the 5-game series. But Sloan played Malone 37 minutes and Stockton 40. They simply ran out of gas at the end, evidenced by the fact that the Jazz made only 12 points in the fourth quarter. For the game, Stockton made 4 points. Why not utilize Jacque Vaughn, who has developed this past year into quite a good guard and able backup? Sloan played Jacque 5 minutes. Surely Stockton would have been able to contribute more if Vaughn had been inserted to give him some rest.

Sloan also played Danny Manning 17 minutes. There could have been a good reason, but I’m not sure why you don’t put the smartest guy in the league on the floor more often. Greg Ostertag, who has outplayed starter Olden Polynice all year, only got 11 minutes. I’m not saying that Ostertag is a great player, but I still contend he’s better than Polynice. It’s just that Ostertag is, and has been for a long time, in Sloan’s dog house, and Sloan won’t let him out no matter what. Granted, Greg put himself there in the first place, but Sloan continues to hold the grudge, even though Big O has improved and has apparently finally developed some consistency.

It’s too bad when a great player like Malone has to take the blame. People will also say that Stockton is over the hill. This was likely Danny Manning’s last shot. If the Jazz had a smart coach, Malone, Stockton and Manning would still be in the hunt. They deserve a lot better leadership. But, count on the Jazz keeping Teflon Sloan around next year, while the old guys take the heat, and probably get shoved out the door. I just don’t understand it. ( Pst…Maybe Sloan has something on the owner!!!)

On the positive side, it’s great to see former Jayhawk center Scot Pollard do so well in helping the Sacramento Kings win their series. I can’t seem to find it now, but I read an article last week saying that Pollard’s energy and enthusiasm off the bench was the main reason for the Kings success against Phoenix. For example, Pollard’s short hook shot put Sacramento ahead with 1:13 remaining in the deciding game.

Although the LA Lakers overtook the Kings to win the Pacific Division in the regular season’s final week, Scot isn’t frightened by the prospect of playing the favored Lakers in the second round. "I don't care who we play. We've got something special here," said Pollard.


A graduate of the Universities of Kansas and Iowa, McLendon gained fame as a basketball coach. Unfortunately, as a black in the ‘30’s, he wasn’t allowed to play college basketball, but as an undergraduate he became a keen student of the game under the tutelage of Dr. James Naismith and Phog Allen. He became the first black to graduate from KU in 1936. After gaining his masters degree at Iowa, he went on to become the first coach in college history to win three consecutive national titles, guiding Tennessee State to the 1957, 58 and 58 NAIA national championships.

His well-rounded coaching background included positions at the high school, collegiate, AAU, Olympic, international and professional levels (e.g. As head coach of the Denver Rockets of the ABA, he was the first black coach of a pro team). He was an early pioneer of the fast break and authored two popular books on the subject. He compiled a 76% winning mark over his 25-year career, during which he helped initiate the integration of basketball. In 1978, he became the first black coach inducted into the Naismith Basketball Hall of Fame.


Sometimes after I’ve drafted an article, I’ll call upon one of my friends to give me their editing suggestions. So, after the first draft on my recent article on the KU Relays, I asked the aforementioned John Alsip to give me his thoughts. He and I are both statisticians who enjoy sports history, so I value his opinion and usually marvel at his memory. True to form, he edited the hell out of it, while telling me that he thought that the Drake Relays, instead of KU, were really the jewel in the track triple crown (he’s a Drake grad), and that Wes Santee actually got booed at the Drake Relays. He let me know that Cliff Cushman was a star athlete from Ames High, straightened me out on race distances, and even criticized my proposed title. I have to admit that my pride was a little dented, but knew that what he suggested was good (except for that Drake stuff, of course). So I went back to my Gateway and started improving on the draft.

His help was even more appreciated after I received a number of emails telling me how much they liked the article. I got one from a fellow former western Kansan who fondly recalled competing against Ashland, my alma mater, and then running at the KU Relays in the early ‘80s. A woman reader reminded me that Billy Mills remains the only American to ever win Olympic gold in the 10,000 meters, and even my sister threw me a compliment.

So let me thank John and all the others who have helped with their suggestions and occasional compliments. You’re much appreciated.