Manhattan Donnie Von Moore had to laugh when informed Kansas University basketball fans chanted "DUI, DUI," at Kansas State coach Bob Huggins during the Sunflower Showdown 12 days ago at Allen Fieldhouse.
"It takes the good-hearted fans to get the rivalry going again?" former Jayhawk power forward Von Moore cracked.
While proud of KU's current 23-game winning streak in Manhattan, Von Moore welcomes Huggins' arrival and a renewal of what once was a heated KU-KSU rivalry.
It was heated partly because of the fans.
"When I think of playing at K-State, I think of the banana incident," said Von Moore, boys basketball coach at Chicago's Tilden High.
The 6-foot-9, 230-pounder had a bunch of bananas tossed in his direction during pregame introductions prior to the Jayhawks' 75-63 victory over the Wildcats on Feb. 11, 1978, at old Ahearn Fieldhouse.
"It was like the whole damn town bought bananas and brought them to the game," Von Moore said.
"They covered the floor in a nationally televised game. It took an hour to clean that floor, there were so many. It was like everybody in the stands had bananas."
It was in response to KU fans flipping a handful of hot dogs onto the court at a K-State player before the Jayhawks' 56-52 victory over the Wildcats a few weeks earlier at Allen Fieldhouse.
"It all started when our fans threw hot dogs out there when they introduced Redding. I think that was his name," Von Moore said, correctly identifying flashy KSU guard Curtis Redding.
"It was a big deal. When we went down there (for the rematch), we heard what they were going to do. We heard they were going to throw stuff at us. Instead of going onto the court, we all went down and shook coach Hartman's hand when we were introduced. We figured out it'd be safer to go stand by him," Von Moore added of legendary coach Jack Hartman.
Of course, the bananas aimed at Von Moore were no laughing matter.
"It ticked us off," Von Moore said, "because at first we thought it had some racial connotations. They were basically calling us gorillas. Later they said we threw hot dogs so they threw bananas. It's just food. We beat them, so that's what mattered."
Von Moore, who played at KU from 1974-78, pointed out the KU-KSU games were much bigger than the KU-Missouri games at that time.
"It's because the fans hated each other so much," Von Moore said of games between "Snob Hill" and "Silo Tech."
"It was a rivalry where I guess they were depicted as these farm, country, backwoods types, and we were considered the snobs, I guess, because we were close to Kansas City. KU was the snobby part of the state. K-State was the agricultural school. They actually had a farm on their campus. It was the big thing with the two groups. With Missouri, it went all the way back to the damn war.
"But people didn't sleep out for Missouri. They camped for K-State for days."
Von Moore said as a proud alumnus who still follows the Jayhawks, he welcomes the return of a strong hoops rivalry with K-State.
"I don't care about 'The Streak,''' he said. "I just want them (Jayhawks) to play well and mature. These kind of games do it because there is a rivalry, a lot of pressure in these games.
"Twenty three in a row is a serious accomplishment considering the rivalry. But K-State hasn't been that good lately. They've been a better football team than basketball for a while now."
Von Moore said he catches as many KU games as he can on TV and closely follows freshman Sherron Collins, who played basketball at Crane High, which is in the Chicago Public League with Tilden.
"One of my freshman coaches is a good friend of Sherron," Von Moore said. "He is big news here. He is coming on strong. He plays baseball real well, too. He threw a no-hitter against Tilden his senior year."
Of another fellow Chicagoan, Von Moore said he noticed a similarity in his and Julian Wright's physique - long arms.
"Yes, but we didn't play that type of game," Von Moore said of a fast-paced attack, indicating Wright was great on the break.
"KU is really good, man, but they are still young," he added, noting Collins is a freshman, Wright a sophomore. "Hopefully, when they get to the NCAA Tournament, they'll have some luck. It seems they make rookie mistakes when they are in close games. You get older, those mistakes are limited. Hopefully the luck is with them because that's what it takes a lot of times."