Wednesday, January 28, 2004

Jankovich fondly recalls KSU

KU aide will never forget distinct 'smells' of Ahearn


— In a nostalgic mood, former Kansas State point guard Tim Jankovich paid a visit to old Ahearn Fieldhouse a couple of summers ago.

"I'd been gone 10, 12 years and I couldn't help myself. I was on a little, short vacation home. I went in and walked around by myself. Just the smells ... it brought a lot of memories back," said Jankovich, KSU's starting point guard from 1979 to '82 and an assistant coach on Bill Self's first staff at Kansas University.

Jankovich, a Manhattan High product and the eighth-leading assist man in KSU history, played his home games at Ahearn, which is now the home of KSU volleyball.

Since 1988, the Wildcats have played in Bramlage Coliseum, site of today's 8 p.m. game against KU.

"This building (Allen Fieldhouse) has a smell. Ahearn has a different smell. It's a real phenomenon of human nature, recognizing the smells," Jankovich said.

Asked about the smell of Bramlage, where KSU has played since 1988, Jankovich grinned and said: "I don't know. We'll find out. I hope it smells good."

He's actually been in Bramlage and likes the building where KU has an all-time record of 15-0.

"Bramlage is a really nice arena," Jankovich said. "It's new and it's shiny and people in this state are used to old and crowded. It's not those things, but it's a beautiful arena without a doubt. It's hard to recapture those old barn kind of venues."

Jankovich said he loved buildings such as Ahearn and Allen and could understand why some KSU fans wanted to play a game or two a year in Ahearn, but he offered no suggestion.

"That's not for me to comment on what they should do," Jankovich said. "I wish I knew what we (Jayhawks) should do every day. That's enough for me to think about."

Jankovich prefers to not think about KU's amazing 20-game win streak in Manhattan.

His Jack Hartman-coached KSU team beat KU in Ahearn in 1982 and KSU won again in '83, but the Wildcats haven't won another home game versus the Jayhawks since.

"There was no better rivalry in basketball for 30 years from the '50s to the '80s when I left. I don't think there were many, if any, college basketball games better anywhere," Jankovich said. "Now what is going on, I have no explanation. I know K-State has had some very good teams and players since then, maybe not consistently like the old tradition. KU has been great in that span, still nobody can understand it. From our standpoint, our streak here is one (at Allen) and there none."

Last year, K-State broke out replicas of jerseys from Jankovich's era -- lavender tops over purple shorts.

"People liked them. I liked them at the time," Jankovich said. "I've been in a lot of arguments. In school you have sore subjects where you end up in a lot of fights. I feel I've gotten in a lot of fights over that. I actually loved lavender uniforms back in the day."

KU junior Keith Langford has seen photos of Jankovich in his KSU garb.

"It's funny. It's like an oxymoron that a former K-State player is assistant Kansas basketball coach," Langford said. "I've seen old pictures of him playing against Isiah Thomas. I thought it was pretty neat."

Rest assured, Jankovich will have no mixed loyalties tonight.

"My feelings go with our team and staff," he said.


Simien in top 30: KU junior Wayne Simien is one of 30 midseason candidates for the Wooden Award, which goes to the country's top player. Andre Emmett of Texas Tech is the only other Big 12 Conference player on the list. The award will be presented April 10.


More on Harrison: Colorado center David Harrison told the Denver Post he was tempted to jump into the crowd Sunday to fight KU fans after he'd fouled out.

"I asked coach Dunn (Terry, assistant), if I could leave," Harrison said, "because if I didn't I was going to go into the crowd.

"There's tension between the fans and me for some odd reason. I haven't said anything negative about their program that I can remember since my freshman year. But that was three years ago. Most of those people are gone. It's humorous to me when you hear people in the crowd talk about my brother D.J. (a former CU player). Go get a life. You're living in the past. That was three years ago. Go get a life."

Of hard fouls against him, he told the paper: "I don't even know what to do about this. I can't call a commission and say, 'Let's watch tape together.' I don't think there is anything I can do about it. It's just a real frustrating situation where I'm not being limited by players. I'm being limited by other factors."

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