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Saturday, April 19, 2003

Bridges’ visit a rarity

Legend presented trophy to Collison

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Attendees at Kansas University's men's basketball awards ceremony Thursday night witnessed a rare appearance by one of the most productive -- but least recognized -- Jayhawks of all time.

Bill Bridges was at the Lied Center to present the rebounding award named after him to senior Nick Collison.

Bridges, a carom-retrieving machine for the Jayhawks from 1958 to 1961, always has maintained a low profile, but was encouraged to return for the ceremony by KU benefactor Dana Anderson, who accompanied Bridges to Mount Oread from Los Angeles where both live.

Bridges, listed as 6-foot-51¼2, was inch-for-inch the best rebounder in school history, averaging 13.9 boards a game during his three years with the Jayhawks. Only 7-footer Wilt Chamberlain compiled a better average.

After leaving KU, Bridges played two seasons for the Kansas City Steers of the old ABL, then 13 seasons in the NBA. Although not known as a scorer, Bridges led the ABL in scoring one year with an average of 29.2 points a game. During his NBA career from 1962 to 1975, he averaged 11.9 points and 11.9 rebounds a game.

Although KU officials have relaxed their guidelines for retiring jersey numbers, Bridges still doesn't qualify. He wore No. 32.

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Quite a response: A couple of days ago the Journal-World encouraged fans to write or e-mail KU's players to tell them how much the Jayhawk backers enjoyed the players' performances during the 2002-03 season. Joanie Stephens of the basketball office reported Friday afternoon she had received more than 600 e-mails and countless letters.

"I haven't opened today's mail," Stephens said, "but it's been quite a response."

The J-W also encouraged fans to write KU's four incoming freshmen and tell them how much people anticipated seeing the newcomers perform next season.

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Roy's camps on hold: Both weekly sessions of Roy Williams' June summer instructional camps are full, and their status is up in the air until KU announces the hiring of a new coach.

Quite likely, the 1,000 or so youngsters who have paid $290 to be a day camper or $380 to be a boarding camper will be given an opportunity to participate in the new coach's camps. That's the situation in North Carolina where Williams has taken over Matt Doherty's camps.

Money gleaned from summer camps accounts for a significant portion of the outside income in an NCAA Division One coach's total package.

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The Roy is history: For three years, Mojo's Restaurant at 7th and Vermont streets has offered a pulled pork sandwich with Carolina barbecue sauce and cole slaw. It's still on the menu, but it's no longer called The Roy.

"We added it three years ago when Roy said he was staying but that he missed Carolina barbecue," James Langford, the restaurant's owner, said.

Langford dropped the name after Williams announced he was going to North Carolina and he is now conducting a contest to rename the sandwich.

"One person voted to call it 'The Christian Moody,'" Langford said.

Moody is the only KU player who hails from North Carolina. He's from Asheville, Williams' hometown.

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