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Monday, February 18, 2008

Falkenstien, Davis rave about 110-year banquet

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Hawks sweep Buffs in anniversary win

Over 200 former Kansas players and coaches returned to the Fieldhouse Saturday to help remember 110 years of Kansas basketball.

As emcee of Kansas University's 110 years of basketball banquet, Max Falkenstien visited with a majority of the 200-plus ex-Jayhawk players and coaches who attended Saturday night's gala in the massive showroom-turned-banquet hall at Crown Automotive.

"Everyone was enraptured with the whole evening, the whole weekend. I talked to so many people. Every one of them said they'd be back in a minute if they had another one of these. The guys had such a good time," Falkenstien said Sunday night.

Falkenstien - he said the event "was the best of that type I've ever attended with the food, the setting, the flowers, the videos" - introduced the guest speakers.

They were: former KU players Jeff Gueldner, Bill Hougland, Delvy Lewis, Ryan Robertson, Wayne Simien and Darnell Valentine as well as coaches Larry Brown and Bill Self and athletic director Lew Perkins.

"The speakers represented different eras. All had funny stories about when they played. They all talked about the coaches they played for and had encouraging messages for the current players," KU play-by-play broadcaster Bob Davis said.

He and his longtime former radio sidekick, Falkenstien, were the only media members invited to the event who did not play ball at KU. Former KU players/media members Mark Ewing (Topeka TV), Chris Piper (Jayhawk Radio Network) and Greg Gurley (Sunflower Broadband) also were on hand.

"Darnell talked about playing at KU and watching the current players. He talked about Russell (Robinson) and Mario (Chalmers): 'Could I take them? How would I play against them?' He said the current players are bigger and faster," Davis said.

"Ryan said he'd talked to coach (Roy) Williams, who related his memories of teams and guys who played for him and his time at KU. Jeff Gueldner talked about the '88 team and how they came together, how they had the best coach and best player of any team in the country.

"Larry was wonderful. He was as charismatic as can be. He reiterated what a great place Kansas is."

KU's current players, who earlier in the day downed Colorado, 69-45, attended the banquet.

"Every speaker conveyed a common thread to the players - that these are the best years of your life. You don't realize it until years after you are gone," Falkenstien said.

Max and Bob each had a personal banquet highlight.

"Hearing Delvy Lewis was special to me," Davis said." We were the same age, going to high school in Topeka, in the national guard together. It was interesting hearing him talk about coach (Dick) Harp."

Falkenstien said: "Archie Marshall (of the '88 squad, who now works as analyst in the U.S. Attorney's Office in Texas) kind of stands out in my memory. Nobody knew where he was for a long time. He couldn't have been more friendly. I had a nice visit with Clint Normore ('88 team member who is director of multicultural student affairs at Oklahoma City University). My buddy Al Correll was there, Roger (Morningstar), Robo (Dave Robisch), everybody."

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Appleton update: Tyrone Appleton, a 6-3 sophomore from Midland (Texas) College, told Rivals.com he had a great time over the weekend on his unofficial visit to KU.

"The atmosphere and environment during the game was awesome," said Appleton, who hails from Gary, Ind. "It was just unreal and something I've never seen before.

Appleton said his final five consists of KU, Kentucky, Iowa State, Texas and Indiana.

Comments

Blake Post 6 years, 9 months ago

I still like the all-time team of Chamberlain, Lovellette, Manning, White and Valentine, but I think we need to expand it to 10 players so we can add guys like Pierce, Stallworth, Robisch and others. How great is that to have so many greats?

Chris Shaw 6 years, 9 months ago

There has to be a way to get Hinrich's Jersey up in the rafters. It's a shame that he is one of the best Jayhawks of all-time, but doens't have his jersey retired. Hinrich and Collison have to go in tact.

My top10:

Chamberlin, Lovellette, Manning, White, Valentine, Hinrich, Pierce, Robisch, Kellogg, Collison, Lafrentz

This is a hard debate because I had to put six on my next 5 because it was so hard. I mean if you think about it, the things that Drew Gooden did in 2002 were pretty amazing and pretty much outshines anything Collison and Lafrentz did in one season, but Collison and Lafrentz had more of a career. I do like Aaron Miles as my all-time favorite point guard because the things he did as a freshman and soph were amazing as well. Kevin Pritchard was a stud and is a close second. Jacque Vaughn could have been, but when you can't shoot against a zone that is what is embedded in my memory. You also can't forget about guys Walt Wesley, Bud Stallworth, and Carl Henry. Think about the things Henry would have done if he hadn't played just two seasons.

I think the first 5 are pretty easy to come up with, and half the team for the second 5, but after that it becomes very difficult to place individuals. What does everyone else think?

Chris Shaw 6 years, 9 months ago

It will be interesting to see what happens with this current group of Jayhawks. I hope they win a NC becuse it would cause a very intense debate on where they stand in KU's great history of all-time great Jayhawks.

Mike Gretencord 6 years, 9 months ago

What a great weekend to be a jayhawk fan. Thanks for all the greats times now and by the ex players. Thanks mikeg

jayhawkox 6 years, 9 months ago

anyone else notice that Simien and Hawkins chose to stand next to the Bill Self sign? Kind of an interesting statement on their behalf...

speedy 6 years, 9 months ago

back in the 70,s i wanted an all star game between kansas and ucla. we still would have won. wilt was better than kareem. and so were the rest of OUR alums!

why did they never list the players who attended? it could have refeshed some memories. dr.? jerry gardner,bh born? whos the oldest player still around?

63Jayhawk 6 years, 9 months ago

Roy Williams is a big part of KU history. I, for one, think that it is too bad that he was unable to attend. I can understand how difficult that would have been in the middle of the season while he is still coaching. But he IS a big part of our history.

jhawknc 6 years, 9 months ago

Any list of Jayhawk greats is incomplete without BILL BRIDGES.

LHS1980 6 years, 9 months ago

I would have stayed away too if I was him.

Linda Aikins 6 years, 9 months ago

It was an awesome turnout!!

Uh, soobawls, Roy had a game to coach Saturday....

sevenyearhawk 6 years, 9 months ago

I might be hallucinating ...

But I was almost certain that I saw LESTER EARL in KC at a grocery story, much later this same evening!

That just isn't possible, is it?

oldalum 6 years, 9 months ago

Speedy: the LJW (or maybe Topeka paper) did publish a list of all those who had accepted and were planning to attend. It was sometime during the week before the event. They had them listed by players, coaches, managers. I don't know if you could still find it or not.

TXJayhawk92 6 years, 9 months ago

I agree that it would have been nice for Roy to be there. I'm tired of all of the negative attitudes toward him. He is a huge part of our history and brought a lot of great players to KU. So what if he left.

Yes, he said that KU was where he wanted to be and that he couldn't leave his players but his home and his alma mater kept tugging at him. Get over it and appreciate him for what he did while he was here. Short of winnnig a NC, he did about everythign we could ask.

number1jayhawker 6 years, 9 months ago

Actually Roy was in town on Thursday I believe.

Mike Young 6 years, 9 months ago

I've been a Jayhawk fan since '89. Hinrich was my favorite of any player since then. His name belongs in the rafters. I thought it was already there.

KUglow 6 years, 9 months ago

Sevenyearhawk -

You were not seeing things, Lester Earl is alive and well in OPKS. In fact, I do believe that as of last summer, he was living in my apartment complex. No, he wasn't driving an SUV.

JayCeph 6 years, 9 months ago

I saw Moulaye Nyang (sp?) at a Target in OP, KS a few weeks back. I think he is on their 'corporate management' track... dressed in a suit, etc.

It was fun to see him in person (all 9 feet of him... looks pretty tall up close).

JNgohawks 6 years, 9 months ago

whatever happened to Moulaye? Why did he stop playing?

lance1jhawk 6 years, 9 months ago

I belive that Moulaye had health problems and could not play his senior year. Bill put him on as an asst in the coach's office if memory serves me correct?

Kit Duncan 6 years, 9 months ago

Soobawls, you disrespect Roy, yet you don't show the same disdain for Larry Brown for showing up. Roy had a far better career and raised the level of respect at Kansas far above anything Larry Brown did. Larry recruited Ed Manning as an assistant coach in order to get Danny to come to KU after finishing high school at Lawrence HS. Roy had better teams (But for Collison missing free throws he would usually make, Roy would have won the Championship). Had Gooden or Pierce stayed another year Roy might have won two more championships. He didn't leave KU to chase dollars, Roy followed his heart home to his alma mater.

Don't get me wrong, I respect and admire Larry Brown for winning a championship at Kansas. But it was not his coaching nor was it his charisma that won those games. It was the Player of the Year Danny Manning who took that team on his shoulders plus a couple of upsets in KU's bracket that made it all possible. Roy deserves our respect for everything he ever did at and for KU. He also needs no apologies for putting family ahead of our school. I truly believe Roy was torn between heeding Coach Smith's call and staying at KU but in the end it was his family's decision not his alone to leave.

I hope in the future Roy can make these banquets. He is just as much a part of the KU legacy as anyone who has ever coached or played at Kansas.

worrynotjhawk 6 years, 9 months ago

Moulaye had back problems. The doctors told him that if he kept playing at the collegiate level he would do permanent damage to himself. He is really a standout type of guy. He never complained, no matter what the circumstance...lack of playing time, getting sidelined with injury, or the constant earfull he received from Charles Gordon about how he would take him in a game of one on one. I was lucky enough to get to know him during and after his hoops career. The part about him working at Target is correct. He was always big into Finance and Business Management, so he probably is working his way up the corporate ladder. If you get a chance, I'd recommend talking to the big fella to see what he's all about.

jaybate 6 years, 9 months ago

Wayne Hightower? Does anyone recall what a terrific player he was? Hightower, Bridges and Nolen Ellison, if I recall correctly. That was not one of our great teams, because of lack of depth, but wow was their potential there.

FlaHawk 6 years, 9 months ago

Mo one on the current team is within the top 20 all-time at KU. This is not a knock on the team, but the lack of a talent.

KU has never gone to a NCAA without a top 20 all-time talent on the tam.

Coach Self has done an amazing job with a telented but not a top talented team.

actorman 6 years, 9 months ago

KUShaw, you are so right about Hinrich. I'll go mightyjoyung one step further and say that Hinrich is my favorite all-time Jayhawk. But KUShaw, you undermine your comment by putting Hinrich on the second team, behind Valentine. Not only was DV exclusively a point guard (from my limited recollection), but he was not nearly as good a shooter as Hinrich. Admittedly, Valentine was a better defender. But I think with the combo of shooting, slashing to the basket and the incredible speed with which he led the break, Hinrich deserves to be on the first team. I also would have a hard time not putting Henry in the top 10. It's not just that he only played two seasons, but that he played on two of the worst KU teams of the past 40 years. It would have been nice to see what he could have done with at least a little more talent around him.

NavyHawk, I think that was the best writing I've ever seen re the RW situation. I think you are completely right about his reasons for leaving, and I don't dislike the man--and in fact I would welcome him back for a reunion. But unfortunately, I still have to root against him at UNC. I'm not saying it's logical, it's just how I feel. Of course it would be completely different if Collison (and Graves) had just managed to make a few more free throws, or if Langford hadn't fouled out on a phantom call.

FlaHawk, I disagree with you on this year's team. It's obviously hard to rank them since their careers aren't complete, but I certainly think that Mario and Brandon have a shot at being in the top 20 KU players. If Arthur stays another year, he could end up there too. And if you go by just this year, DJ deserves consideration. One of the things that's hard in ranking this year's players is that there is so much depth on this team that it makes it hard to know how great some of these guys would be if there was less depth, as there has often been with past teams.

jayhawkinATL 6 years, 9 months ago

It definitely stung me when Roy left, particularly after he said he would have to be carried out in a casket (or something to that effect). But, damn, let's MOVE ON!!!! Roy DEFINITELY has a place in KU lore...he made KU a better place for Coach Self to be.

jhox 6 years, 9 months ago

My only problem with Roy is that I wish he had lied about his interest in the NC job and stated that he had absolutely no interest in that job until the Final 4 and national championship games had been played. Afterward, he could have said he mislead people so that it wouldn't be a distraction for his players as they readied for the biggest game of their lives.

I could have lived with that. What I can't live with is the way he basically skirted the questions about the NC job during Final 4 weekend. It had to be a distraction to the players. It's clear he knew he was leaving. Everything that week with Roy was "Nick and Kirk" this and "Nick and Kirk" that. He never mentioned the underclassmen. I thought that was odd at the time but I really believe he may have been distancing himself from those underclassmen already. He had other great Senior classes and that's the only time I can recall him focusing so heavily on only the Seniors whenever he spoke to the media. I'm also convinced he and Dean Smith had a gentleman's agreement weeks or months before NC fired their coach.

I could have lived with him leaving for his alma mater and to get closer to his family. What I still struggle with is that he let those players down during Final 4 weekend by allowing it to be a distraction.

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