Friday, February 27, 2009

Hinrich amazed by honor

Ex-KU guard grateful for jersey retirement

Chicago Bulls' Kirk Hinrich defends against New Jersey Nets' Devin Harris during the fourth quarter of an NBA basketball game Wednesday, Feb. 25, 2009 in East Rutherford, N.J. The Nets beat the Bulls 111-99.

Chicago Bulls' Kirk Hinrich defends against New Jersey Nets' Devin Harris during the fourth quarter of an NBA basketball game Wednesday, Feb. 25, 2009 in East Rutherford, N.J. The Nets beat the Bulls 111-99.


Kirk Hinrich, who won two Big 12 championships and played in two Final Fours at Kansas University before being tapped seventh overall in the 2003 NBA Draft, says the greatest moment of his storied hoops career will take place Sunday.

That’s when his KU jersey No. 10 will be hung for eternity in the rafters of tradition-rich Allen Fieldhouse.

“I feel like for myself it’s the ultimate honor,” the 28-year-old Chicago Bulls point guard/shooting guard said Thursday, speaking via teleconference from Washington, D.C., where the Bulls meet the Wizards tonight.

“I don’t know if there’s a greater honor in basketball than to have your jersey hanging in the most historic basketball building in the world. It’s an unbelievable honor,” Hinrich added. “I feel Allen Fieldhouse is a very magical place, so rich in tradition. There have been so many great players to play there. It’s just an unbelievable honor to have this happen.”

So unbelievable that Hinrich said the word, “Wow” a handful of times in his 20-minute phone session with reporters — one that took place before the Bulls were to head to the White House for a meeting with President Obama, who hails from Illinois.

A reporter from Hinrich’s home state of Iowa asked the Sioux City native if he ever thought he’d get to this point.

“It’s a crazy cycle,” Hinrich said. “To think back when I was in high school have a chance to play at the University of Kansas was overwhelming. Understanding what it’s all about and the tradition, the people who came before me and made everything possible by keeping the tradition alive ... now to have the opportunity to have my jersey up in the rafters is just overwhelming.”

Hinrich will have several family members and friends in the stands Sunday, including former KU teammate and fellow Iowan Nick Collison. The jersey hanging ceremony will take place at halftime of the 1 p.m. KU-Missouri game.

“Coincidentally, he has an off day (with Bulls Sunday), which is good. But Kirk picked the Missouri game. He wanted to be here for that particular game,” KU coach Bill Self said.

Hinrich admitted that choosing the KU-MU game was a no-brainer.

“Playing in that Missouri-Kansas rivalry for four years, I definitely understand how important it is,” said Hinrich, who went 6-3 versus the Tigers from 1999-2003.

“Some of my most memorable games were against Missouri,” added Hinrich. His 25 points and nine rebounds helped the Jayhawks to a 95-92 victory over the Tigers on March 3, 2002, in Columbia — a game that completed KU’s perfect 16-0 run in the Big 12 Conference.

“I’m just excited to have the opportunity to be there for that game. I’m really looking forward to the ceremony, one, and two, to experience a game there again. It’s been awhile. It’s always special when it’s Kansas against Missouri.”

Hinrich is ninth in KU career scoring, fourth in assists, sixth in steals, third in most minutes played, third in three-pointers made, fifth in career free-throw percentage and 13th in career field goals made. He was a first-team All-Big 12 pick his junior and senior seasons and a third-team All-American his senior year. He was selected by the Bulls with the seventh overall pick in the 2003 NBA Draft.

“He deserves it,” Self said Thursday. “There’s really not a criteria other than the greatest players that play here deserve to be considered for that. Without question, he’s one of the best to play here.

“We did put the minimum five-year waiting period on everybody because we think it’ll mean more to the guy coming back if they had a chance to really think about what they accomplished as opposed to doing it right at the time they graduated or left school. I think it’ll be great.”

Future jersey retirements: Though no official announcement has been made, it’s believed Wayne Simien will be the next Jayhawk to have his jersey hung. Simien last played at KU in 2004-05.

As far as players on KU’s 2008 national title team, perhaps one or two will be honored down the line.

“You would say that some would deserve it. You could also say if some from that team deserve it, wouldn’t you go to past teams? Our leading scorer averaged 12.8 points a game (Brandon Rush 13.3, Mario Chalmers, Darrell Arthur both 12.8). Statistically, it’s not going to stack up,” Self said. “I’d be very surprised if somebody from that team did not get their jersey hung up there, maybe multiple guys.

“You look up there and see the guys, you see Kirk, who was fabulous and the seventh pick of the draft and averaged 18 a game. The team last year wasn’t a team built on individual statistics but built as a group, and guys left early (for NBA). I don’t want to make any predictions on who or when because you guys will write about that for the next four years. There will be somebody I’m sure.”


yates33333 12 years, 11 months ago

Why don't they put the entire starting lineup with the two main reserves under the year, 2008-09, on a banner hanging there? Surely, before his career ends Collins would have his number retired anyway. Self, as usual, is right. It was a group effort, all seven.

keith horinek 12 years, 11 months ago

I agree, I suggested that in yesterday's article as well.

jayhawkinATL 12 years, 11 months ago

Someone pointed out too that Mario will get his jersey in the rafters based on the fact that he was MOP.

Paul Meyer 12 years, 11 months ago

AFH is the mecca of basketball, but could be slightly improved if the retired numbers were actual jerseys, not plaques. Yes, an ACC arena named after a KU alumni already does this, but I still think the Phog of Allen needs some jerseys, opposed to frames.

Michael Auchard 12 years, 11 months ago

Well, Mario was a steal machine, too. He set and tied the steal record two years in a row. In that way at least, statistically he measures up for the award.

KUFan90 12 years, 11 months ago

Right jayhawkinatl - Mario is already in due to MOP. No reason to beat around the bush on that one. Self should go ahead and just acknowledge that he is in. He can remain tight lipped for anyone beyond Mario if he wants.

WilburNether 12 years, 11 months ago

Simien? They have got to be kidding. A nice player, to be sure, but his KU career warrants retirement of his jersey is ludicrous.

Geez, who's next? Roger Brown?

gatorhawk45 12 years, 11 months ago

  1. Kirk was one of the most friendly b-ball players on campus (while I was there) 2. He graduated 3. He hustled his butt off. They don't keep stats on any of that stuff, but it factors into his "awesomeness"

I hope they chant "Harry Potter" just for old time's sake.

Jim Pendleton 12 years, 11 months ago

Wilbur you have to be kidding me. Wayne Simien not only was a first team All American one year, but he also played in one Final Four and would have been in another had it not been for injury.

Yes the ending of his career and a few others from those teams did not finish the way anyone hoped. But to say he doesn't belong on that wall is ludicrous. In addition to the items mentioned above, he was also a great student, graduated, and a Kansan! In this era of one (or two) and done, I would bet you won't be able to say that a lot in the future about many of our outstanding players to be.

Finally, this should go without saying, but we not only need all KU fans in the house Sunday to be loud, but also wearing blue. Keep out the black and gold!

Jeff Hargate 12 years, 11 months ago

Simien will get his jersey retired because he was a national player of the year by one or 2 media services. By changing our offense Self made Wayne into an All-American. Can you imagine how long his speech will be? His Senior speech took about 5 years off my life. I am being harsh...he was one heck of a player.

homewood 12 years, 11 months ago

Yeah, I love Simien as much as the next guy. He is one of the greats of KU basketball, but he's not one of the ALL TIME greats. I like that we're finally relaxing a little bit about what were basically impossible standards to get your number in the rafters. That said, we can't put every great player up in the rafters - theres just too many of them. Simien was wonderful, but he's just not one of the all-time greats. Mario, I know, will definitely be up there some day, but other than that, probably nobody else on the NC team - unless they do some sort of a team banner. What I love more than anything else about the 08 NC team is that they were a "team". No players averaging more than 14 points and yet how many NBA draft picks? Every player playing for the team, every player a true leader. That's why we beat Memphis, we played as a team, and they played as a couple of stars and a supporting cast. That said, lets keep the standards for hanging a jersey in the rafters pretty high. Who's next, Chenowith?

homewood 12 years, 11 months ago

Alright, maybe Simien deserves a shot at the rafters, but still, he's not really one of the all-time greats in my mind and I still want to see plenty of restraint about who's haning up there.

chalmers2wright 12 years, 11 months ago

You mean some of these guys aren't as good as Wilt and Jojo White? Dang they must suck then. You talk about loosening the restrictions a little bit and then you say "Well Simien shouldn't be up there because he wasn't one of the all-time greats." When you play at Kansas odds are you aren't going to be one of the All-time greats. There have been too many amazing players at Kansas. And I'm not sure I wouldn't put Wayne Simien as one of the best Jayhawks. All-American...Big 12 player of the year...Averaged 20pts and 11reb his senior season....shot 55% from the field for his career. Not only does he easily fit the criteria (even the older more strict criteria I believe) but he was the heart and soul of that team and may have had even better numbers had he not hurt his shoulder (TWICE!) And as a bonus to a fantastic basketball player, he is a diehard Jayhawk and a great ambassador to the University of Kansas.

Dale Kroening 12 years, 11 months ago

chalmers2wright: I couldnt agree more. All American and Big 12 POY gets his jersey in the rafters. How many players have we had that have averaged 20 and 11? Not very many.

jaybate 12 years, 11 months ago

Hanging jerseys in the field house has always seemed problematic to me. KU has a hall of fame where all these great players can be inducted and their pictures, jerseys, even statues can be placed. But quit hanging individual jerseys on the walls of the field house, and take the ones that are up down. This is a team game. AFH banners should commemorate teams.

I would actually like to see banners on the end walls commemorating our greatest teams--a class that is different from just our champions. Why? Because KU has had lots of great teams that did not win it all. I would like to see each of those teams payed respect with a banner. Obviously, all our national champions should be bannered on the end wall, too. But Larry Brown's great team with Kellogg, Thompson, etc., should have a banner hanging on the end wall. So should that unbelievably great team of Roy's with Hinrich the year that Roy left. So should Wilt's first team that lost to UNC. These were all teams whose great talents and method of play had great impact on us and on the game.

I would also argue that there may be a few teams that should be bannered that were not all that great, but which played heroically and to the best of their lesser potentials. Some of these lesser teams, teams which survived and advanced through unbelievable adversity from injuries, or what have you, should be paid the respect of a banner. I remember one of Roy's lesser teams with T. J. Pugh on it. It was one of the most emotional seasons I ever experienced with KU basketball. Those guys where like Marines left on Guadalcanal, or American Army stuck indefinitely in Afghanistan. They were huge winners simply by surviving and doing the best they could against impossible circumstances. I have never seen a KU team struggle more heroically, or valiantly, for a season, than that team did. There were times all that season that that team should have just given up, but it never did. I truly believe there are some teams fighting lost causes due to a lack of talent that have been as memorable as our great champions.

jaybate 12 years, 11 months ago

We all remember these teams. We have all lived and died and felt enormous respect for some of these lesser teams that achieved so much without real hope of greatness. I loved these teams, as much, maybe even more than our supremely talented teams.

I love it when teams overcome great adversity to become as good as they can be, regardless of how good that is. There has to be room in Allen Field House, in the KU basketball legacy, for the heroism of teams fighting against impossible odds and somehow still achieving their full potential. Many, many teams do not achieve their full potential; probably most; maybe even one or two of our great talented teams. When the rare team does transcend itself, we ought to pay our respect with a banner, regardless of what their final record was. This would not diminish our champions. Our champion banners would still hang overhead above the court.

Every KU basketball fan I have ever spent any time with has recalled not just our great teams, nor some of our frustrating teams, but some of our fiercest, bravest, toughest teams that didn't quite have enough talent, but still persevered and reached their full potential. The older I get, the more I realize what an important part of The Legacy this truly is.

Bottom line: as Jim Morrison wrote, no one gets out of here alive.

So: like it or not, the most profound truth and example of heroicism sport has to offer is the struggle to be the best you can be even when there is no way to win.

kansaswingnut 12 years, 11 months ago

In an interview with Coach Self he was asked who was the best player he ever coached. "Wayne Simien. He could get 20 and 10 every night". That's good enough for me.

Lance Hobson 12 years, 11 months ago

Simien is a great choice! He played on two Final 4 teams and an Elite 8 team, and was the heart and soul of our program for several years. He commited to Kansas at his first opportunity and was a Jayhawk long before he even got to high school.

I remember when he hurt his shoulder in 2003, you could hear a pin drop in AFH. He was that important to the program and everyone knew it.

I can't believe anyone would question this.

Eliott Reeder 12 years, 11 months ago

Hate to nitpick at my favorite KU Basketball analyst Jaybate, but the Lizard King should be properly quoted: "No one here gets out alive."

Toto_the_great 12 years, 11 months ago

Any chance KH will have to decline because of the two deaths (Kerr and Van Lier) in the Bulls' family?

jaybate 12 years, 11 months ago


You never have to apologize for setting the record straight. :-)

I have to apologize for throwing it a curve.

kvskubball 12 years, 11 months ago


Coach noted in the press conference that the Bulls don't play on Sunday...So Kirk is free to come.

JayhawkPhil64 12 years, 11 months ago

At least I was glad Wilbur reminded me of Rodger Brown. He certainly wasn't one of KU's all time greats but he is on my KU All under rated Team. He had the misfortune of playing at the same time and being over shadowed by Dave Robish. I believe he still went on to have a decent pro career. Other members of my all under rated team are.

Eric Pauly who was our first postman since Robish to be able to consistently hit shots from the top of the key. Since then Wayne Simien and now Cole Adrich have carried the torch.

Kelly Knight who played on some horrible Ted Owens teams but played his heart out every game.

Terry Brown-- everyone said he couldn't play defense because he was just a 3pt shooter. I saw him play some pretty good defense.

Pierre Russell-- the hardest working player that(in my opinio) ever wore a KU uniform.

OKJAYHAWK5 12 years, 11 months ago

What was the best KU team ever guys? I am curious what you all think!

Chris Shaw 12 years, 11 months ago

Wilt Chamberlin Danny Manning-Clyde L-Sixth Man Paul Pierce Kirk Hinrich Jo Jo White

Chris Shaw 12 years, 11 months ago

I would also like to see the 2008 team play those guys above

Steve Gantz 12 years, 11 months ago

If we're talking Simien, then Collison is in too. Collison did an awful lot for the Jayhawks too. That being said, I don't think either is worthy of enshrinement. Kirk, definitely.

From last years squad, I like the idea of sticking around for four years as a sort of criteria, therefore, Mario, as great as he was, is not in.

On the all time KU best team, I am not too up on the pre 1980's teams. Last years team was very good. I still like the 97 team. They were spectacular, just killed teams. Unfortunately they ran into a very hot national champion, played terribly, still nearly won that game with a comeback at the end. 3 players from that team Pierce, Vaughn, and Pollard, are still hanging on in the NBA with Lafrentz no longer active I think. Just my opinion, don't shoot me!

JayhawkPhil64 12 years, 11 months ago

KUShaw stole my thunder, those are the guys I would have picked for my All KU team. I agree Hinrich beats out Valentine for one of the guard positions. I was to young to see Clyde Lovellete play but my uncle took me to see Wilt play when I was 12 years old.

I also have an All KU over rated team but now is probably not the time to bring that up.

Chris Shaw 12 years, 11 months ago

Darnell and Hinrich was a toss-up for me, but some of it I base on the career they had as professionals. I have to look at the complete body of work. What they did in college and how they transitioned that into a professional job. Just my take.

Chris Shaw 12 years, 11 months ago

wissox: Collison's jersey is already hanging from the rafters. Was that what you meant by your comparison of Simien and Collison? I don't think you realize that Collison has already had his ceremony.

Chris Shaw 12 years, 11 months ago

Jayhawkphil: I would like to see that all-jayhawk overrated team

kvskubball 12 years, 11 months ago


I'm just guessing, but the way you made your comment, is one of the all-overrated team members a current player??? Like kushaw, I think it would be interesting to see who you thought were overrated. Then we could vigorously debate that too...Always nice to have more grist for the mill, IMO!

It would be an interesting list to me, because I find it hard to dwell on those, because all of our great players and teams overshadow those that were lacking....Guess I'm just a homer, ha, ha...

We'd also need to know your criteria for inclusion into such a hall of flameout or hall of much-less-than-expectedness...

kvskubball 12 years, 11 months ago


Oh, I forgot, who would be KU's coach of such a team??? I have a name I could submit and I don't think it would be an obvious one, although he did coach for a long period of time... and his selection would be at least somewhat tongue-in-cheek, and also he would be lacking in a particular credential...meaning that while many people might disagree, I would have my reasons for his selection...Hey that was kinda fun creating a little fog around that....

Chris Shaw 12 years, 11 months ago

here is my overrated team: This is tough-Maybe I have two teams or three teams

Chenowith Ben Davis Kenny Gregory Sean Pearson Nick Bradford

JR Giddens Rick Calloway Otis Livingston Marvin Branch David Padgett

Pekka Markkanan (I have no idea how to spell his name) Marlon London Luke Axtell BJ Williams Sean Alvarado

There are a lot more, but my brain is fried and I don't want to be completely negative.

jaybate 12 years, 11 months ago

kushaw (anonymous) says...

Wilt Chamberlin Danny Manning-Clyde L-Sixth Man Paul Pierce Kirk Hinrich Jo Jo White

Ditto everything but Pierce. Based on college performance, Brandon Rush probably ought to be the man at 3 with Pierce the seventh man.

I just hope Brandon finds a franchise that can use him better than Bird and the Pacers are doing right now. I have a hunch Bird will dump some players and rebuild with Brandon as a cornerstone soon, but you never know. I would really love to see Danny Ainge bring him to Boston.

Brandon remains a monster talent that has yet to find his niche in the NBA. That's alright. Pierce struggled for several years, too, but Pierce was with a lousy franchise that could play him full time and so underwrite his learning curve.

chalmers2wright 12 years, 11 months ago

Ok people seem to be confused. Collison= Already in the rafters. Wayne Simien= A lock for hanging in the rafters because he already fits the criteria...there is no debate.

pmohr13 12 years, 11 months ago

Does anyone know where i can get the video of the grandpa from the simpsons making the flag of the USA with only 49 states, and saying it will be a cold day in hell before i recognize missourah as a state?

Lance Hobson 12 years, 11 months ago

All time overrated, as defined as hyped recruit coming into KU:

JR Giddens Kenny Gregory Eric Chenowith Micah Downs Lester Earl (KUshaw I know you regret leaving him out!)

Honorable mention: Greg Gurley, Ben Davis, TJ Pugh, Jaque Vaughn, David Padget, Mark Pellock, Greg Oestertag

Scott Smetana 12 years, 11 months ago

Great topic... Nice job jhawkPhil.

Vaughn overrated?? No chance Strikeso.... Also, excuse me if I've got the wrong person, but you're still in my forum doghouse for saying that last year's team had no chance after a couple of losses mid-season.
I also don't remember Kenny Gregory as being that bad. He never had that big of name. To be overrated you need to have a bigger name than your game. I remember Darren Hancock as a big name (and one of the best slammers), but overall very overrated. I also remember having Patrick Richie driving me nuts. I thought Brandon Rush was overrated as a freshman and soph, but boy did he make up for it as a Junior.
Nice list KUshaw.. but who the **** is Pekka Marcannan??:)

Eliott Reeder 12 years, 11 months ago

I know you guys all love to hate on Giddens, but any player who ended up being a first round pick in the draft was not overrated.

100 12 years, 11 months ago

In a few years after he finishes his college degree and goes to the NBA we might say:

Chamberlain Manning Pierce Jo Jo Sherron Collins -- Hinrich 6th Man

Coached by Phog Allen Assisted by Dr. Naismith, Bill Self, Greg Popovich, Roy Williams & Larry Brown Manager: Bill Pope

kvskubball 12 years, 11 months ago

Overrated team....

I start with Micah Downs, who was rated as high as #16 in the country before melting under the KU pressure, followed closely by Alex Galindo, who was rated as high as #20, next, IMO the major flameout CJ Giles, who was at one time rated as a top 100 player (My apologies to his dad, but...the honor of being on this team is well deserved). I agree that we got way too excited over the supposedly super-red-hot shooter who turned out to be our Cool-to-cold Hand Luke Axtell. Finding a fifth worthy of these other four is difficult, very tough indeed, such an honor...I guess I would go with Chenowith. Now he was a very servicable big man, but he was hyped to be the best big man to come to KU since Daniel Boone, or at least Danny Manning...His Cali cool just never let him get into the top gear that everyone thought he had, even though he was a decent backup in the NBA as well. I always thought fans were too tough on him when he was here, because he was over-rated coming out of high school and everyone thought he was a bust because of the extremely high expectations coming in. He did a decent job, just nowhere near what was expected. My sixth man would be the one who just seemed to become a cancer to the team before he finally moved on, yes JR-u-kidding-me-Giddens. Don't bring them guns to town son. Leave them guns at home son....

I know all of my guys are relatively recent, but my recollections of earlier talent are dim and confused. I'm sure there were several from the Ted Owens period, or our program would not have hobbled on one leg for some time, but I never lived in Lawrence and so didn't have the same kind of ability to watch the players of that period, that is now possible. Wow isn't technology great!

Who would you get to coach this team??? The only criteria I have for the coach is: He would have to have strong KU ties, not just incidental, and have been a head coach at the collegiate level. I have a name in mind but would like to see who others think would be 'Paul Rudd-worthy' or maybe more appropriately 'Pauly Shore-worthy?' or perhaps 'Groucho Marx-worthy' to coach such high rated talent. It's really difficult to describe the quality of coach that would be just right for this group. Let the next round of fun begin....

Gil Ek 12 years, 11 months ago

And the Celtics pick Giddens at the end of the first round draft last year with Chalmers available. YGBSM!!!

Scott Smetana 12 years, 11 months ago

Nice post kvskubball.... I agree with most of what u said. However, I remember Alex Galindo as pretty good, with spurts of greatness. I was VERY bummed to see him leave after Roy left. That was when I thought the ceiling was falling in at Allen.... but look at us now!

Giddens may have been drafted high (too high), but he had the slowest feet ever on defense. Any guard could drive right around him. He was definitely a cancer, and Bill was brilliant to let him go.

Chris Shaw 12 years, 11 months ago

strikewso: no, I thought about Gurley, especially Earl, but sometimes I feel a little sympathetic towards guys who have serious injuries. Gurley (Back) and Earl (His Knees) completely took them out of their games. Yes, they did have a lot of "Hype", but I'm a sensitive case towards serious injuries. They can't help their injuries caused their game to completely diminish.

I also thought about TJ Pugh and Patrick Richey, but Kept them off the list because they knew their roles and limitations. That's why I didn't put them on the list. TJ Pugh had a lot of "Hype" coming out of Nebraska, but he wasn't a really "Big-Time" prosepect on the National Level so I left him off the list. I liked Patrick Richey and you always knew what you got with him.

CJ Giles, Galindo, and Micah Downs seemed to "Recent" and "Too Easy" to call them out.

Now Giddens, because of all his troubles and his "Overall Hype" on the National Level caused him to be Overrated. I mean, his stock coming out of high school was crazy. Giddens got caught up in a tough situation with the coaching change so I'm also a little sympathetic towards him, but not so much. He at least got drafted.

Chris Shaw 12 years, 11 months ago

PikesPeak: You don't remember Pekka? He was our "Ivan Dra-Go". That guy did his job, but I remember the expectations of him being really high because he was coming from Russia or somewhere over in that area.

Chris Shaw 12 years, 11 months ago

PikesPeak: You don't remember Kenny Gregory! He was the biggest thing since "Slice Bread" coming out of Ohio. He won the dunk contest and some people were comparing him to Jordan. His FT's were horrendus, and he couldn't shoot a lick. He couldn't shoot past 15 foot for a 6'5" guy. He held the Ohio scoring record for a while until it was recently broken by I think Lebron and now that Diebler guy who plays at Ohio State, currently. Kenny was going to save the world and be better than Paul Pirece, but it turns out he was on two of the worst teams in the 90's.

Chris Shaw 12 years, 11 months ago

Jaybate: I'm having trouble seeing how Brandon Rush goes above Pierce. You know, they say Dean Smith is the only person who could keep Jordan under 30 every game. Well, I think the same could have been true for Paul Pierce. He was crazy in College. I remember everyone talking about Ron Mercer and Antoine Walker and I always knew Pierce was better then and would be better in the "Now". I got into some serious debates back in the day about that Ron Mercer, Antoine Walker, and Paul Pierce debates. I understand what you're saying. It's hard to separate out what Paul Pierce has done in the NBA. When it is all said and done and when Rush has a great career in the NBA, I still think Pierce is on top. This is why:

Pierce could create any shot he wanted thus creating for others on his team to get their shot off. Pierce was the ultimate "Playmaker". Rush was a far better shooter and his "Range" was definitely deeper, but he wasn't exactly the type that was creating for others. It was Chalmers, Robinson, and Collins that were the ones really creating opportunitities for Rush, Arthur, and Jackson. Just my take, but that's how I distinguish the two. One was a playmaker, creating for others, and the other was a great player that couldn't really create his own shot. I could be wrong.

chalmers2wright 12 years, 11 months ago

kushaw- He could great his own was that one-handed runner in the lane that never went in. In the end you are absolutely correct. Rush was a great 3 pt shooter, rebounder, and defender, but a mediocre playmaker and finisher around the rim. Still not sure how PikesPeak found Rush to be overrated as a freshman...Freshman of the Year in the Big12...First freshman ever on the All-Big12 First team...2nd most points by a freshman in Kansas history.

WilburNether 12 years, 11 months ago

Simien was a nice college player. (Of course, he flopped in the NBA, as any objective observer who noted the shortcomings in his game predicted, but that's not a factor in evaluating him as a college player. ) But one of KU's ALL-TIME GREATS?

That's laughable.

kvskubball 12 years, 11 months ago


I agree that Galindo had flashes of good play, but not great play. I thought he was never able to develop his confidence because he was kept on such a short leash. I would compare him, in that regard (As a KU freshman) to Travis Releford. I hope Travis will stay the course, because I think he will improve and be able to contribute here at KU.

Here are some stats on Alex Galindo...who now is a Senior at Florida International...listed as a forward The team is 11-19. He is the star player, or at least he plays 30+ minutes a game and is the team's leading scorer....(The following are from his stat sheet at FIU)

The categories for the numbers below are: Pts, Rebs, Asts, FG% As a freshman at KU = 4.1, 1.6, .3, .419 After sitting out a year... soph = 13.9, 5.9, .9, .432 jr. = 13.3, 6.7, 1.9, .435 sr. = 15.3, 4.9, 1.7, .422

Again, decent numbers, but remember he was rated as high as #20. Those numbers on a bad team are unlikely to get him even noticed by NBA GM's. I wonder how much better those numbers might have been(I know, I know, ifs and buts..) if he had played for a coach who can develop players like Coach Self....although when would he have played significant minutes before this year for KU? He would be a decent add at the three for our current team, IMO., but again if he'd stayed at KU, unless he redshirted a year, he would have been a senior last year....

More what if....If he had stayed at KU, we might not have had a scholarship for say D. Arthur or Brandon Rush, you noted things have worked out pretty well for KU...And he's had a decent college career at FIU....

I've always been curious whether Alex is related to the ESPN host, with the same last name? Or whether Galindo is just a very popular Hispanic surname like Smith or Jones in the US? Anyone know?

Chris Shaw 12 years, 11 months ago

Kvskubball: Okay, I have to defend Alex Galindo a little bit in this scenario. Alex Galindo almost had a season ending injury back in last summer. Everybody actually thought his career was over and would miss his entire senior season. Alex missed the first 14 games of this season and surprisingly has come back to average those numbers which you printed above. He's never been a good team at Florida International, but then again that's not why he went to Florida Interenational. He went there because of their high Puerto Rican student population. Yeah, he was #20, but I wouldn't say he was completely overrated. He should have just gone to Miami initially. I think Galindo is a good kid, but I can't call him overrated.

jaybate 12 years, 11 months ago


First, I don't disagree with you that Pierce is a great one. In my opinion, Pierce, Rush and Hinrich the three greatest KU players since Manning. Your case for Pierce is hard to refute and his NBA career makes it even harder. Maybe on a different day I would agree with you.

But where as you value shot creation, as a decisive criterion (and probably most would agree with you), I value Rush's unprecented combination of excellent trifectation, maybe best ever defense at the 3, and strong rebounding, plus the fact that he carried the team on his back for two seasons, then came back from a knee injury that many guys couldn't come back from, and some how healed in time to lead KU to a ring in a more diversified offense. These things add up to more to me than Pierce being able to create with the best of them.

Regarding Pierce vs. Mercer and Walker: we agree on this without a doubt. Pierce was significantly better than either as a collegian and as a pro. Pierce's problem always was that he was not a conventional 3 and people were not sure what to make of him. He has always looked kind of sleepy and slow on the floor, partly because of his facial expression, partly because of his immensely muscular and borderline heavy set physique, and partly because of how smoothly he would move as he bulled his way into the shot he wanted. He was in some respects a 2 inch taller version of Charles Barkley, albeit without the effervescent, provocative personality. But where Charles was more bouncey and explosive than one expects a burley fat guy to be, Paul was always quicker than his smooth burley-ness suggested he would be. Paul Pierce and Charles Barkely are both, though quite different from each other, both quite unprecedented physical specimens at the same position.

jaybate 12 years, 11 months ago

Mercer was just another one of many slender, 6'7" tweeners with a good touch and great bounce. He played on a slightly better team at UK playing a vastly more flashy style of ball and he won a ring. He fit the stereotype of the position and won, so everyone tended to rate peculiar Paul the lesser talent. But when it came down to which player created the greater match-up problems in the pros, peculiar Paul, just as the round mound of rebound slighly before him, created waaaaaay more match-up problems than a guy like Mercer. What do you do with a guy who can create, is way quicker than he seems, and can shoulder you into where ever he wants you. Mercer relied on springs. And at the end of the game Mercer wasn't jumping as high. but Paul, like Charles, was just as quick and was just as much of a load coming at you.

Antoine Walker should have been the African American Larry Bird. He had the right package. Bird even wrote that Walker was potentially a very special player. But Walker never had an organization that could surround him with a Kevin McHale and a Robert Parrish. Walker was doing the things Bird did (plus he had springs), but there was never anyone around doing what McHale and Parrish were doing. Instead he had Paul Pierce, who was never a good complement for Walker, or should I say neither player made the other better. Pierce always needed a Kevin Garnett, a tremendously athletic big who would also stay close to the blocks, not a power forward with a great gun, like Walker. Also, there had to be a flaw in Walker himself, for he could never really hang in and attach to a team that could really find a way to build a team around him.

Or so it all seems to me now.

Chris Shaw 12 years, 11 months ago

Jaybate: Great points about Rush! I see what you mean! Didn't really consider the defensive aspect of it. His rebounds were okay, but he didnt' get many steals so his defensive numbers don't reflect his "Lockdown D". You make a great case, but I'm still going to side with Pierce head to head vs Rush. Pierce's downfall was in retrospect that he didn't really have the spectacular guards that we all thought back in the day. I'm not saying Vaughn and Haase were overrated, but their downfall as a team was their inability to hit shots when it counted. I remember quite well for two straight years Pierce creating and drawing all sorts of attention only to kick out to Haase and Vaughn and clank it off the back iron when it counted most. I think KU's front line of Lafrentz, Pollard, and Pierce is the best of any team in KU's history. Haase and Vaughn were great college players, but their downfall was shooting and that in-turn took down the likes of LaFrentz and Pierce down with them.

Rush being a great shooter also had great shooters around him (Chalmers, Collins, and Robinson could hit it when it counted) that they often times would bailed Rush out. And I completely mean "Bail Out" in a positive light. Nobody really bailed out Pierce when it counted. Great case though Jaybate.

I just remember Antoine Walker and Ron Mercer at Kentucky leaving college before Pierce and all the National pundits salavating over both of their play. Granted, Kentucky won those Championships in 96 and 98 so that didn't exactly hurt the perception of those players come the NBA draft. Maybe that was a negative towards Pierce when he finally came out during his Junior year. Maybe that is why KU's guys got drafted the way they did in this year's draft. Only time will tell how their overall perception will stand the test of time.

Chris Shaw 12 years, 11 months ago

Jaybate: One other thing! Your "Burley" comments about Pierce and Barkley is what makes me like Lance Stephenson so much. He kind of has that Rush, Barkley, and Pierce thing going on like he's not trying or he's just plain slow. For some reason I like guys like that. I think what it boils down to with guys like that is that they are never in a hurry. That's what they always try to preach at the college level so I do become baffled when analysts will talk about that as a negative. They actually talked about it during the Okie State/Texas game tongiht Bryon Eaton. They said he has finally "Slowed Down" and let the game come to him. Just thought that was another interesting point that you gave.

jaybate 12 years, 11 months ago

Wow! Imagine bowling ball Sherron with a burley back court partner! Tag team perimeter play! :-)

Back to the "slow" thing.

My dad always called it "sneaky smooth."

In acting and dancing and math it is called elegance. Some persons really have to chew up a set to act out a part. Others, like Jimmy Stewart, just listen like hell to the other actor, who is sawing up the set. After the take, everyone thinks Jimmy was dull as hell and doing nothing at all. And everyone thinks the guy who was sawing up the set with major gestures and overblown expressions will look the best on the rushes. But then the next day they go in and look at the rushes, and no one can keep their eyes off Jimmy and how just right he was, while the set sawer comes off kind of unreal, or hackneyed.

Sports differs from moving acting however, because we are all judging our basketball players live. As a result, these elegant players doing the most with the least often look prosaic in real time in comparison to the flashy players with all the frosting. But when they occassionally rerun a play, suddenly it jumps off the screen what this elegant player really did.

There are just some persons who do the most with the least. And if they have a ton of talent, their elegance of action allows them to make being the best seem effortless, even though they are sweating bullets to be good. They just can't help themselves. They are elegant. Charles Barkley, for all his brashness, and provocateuring, was naturally elegant physically. I heard him interviewed once about the evolution of his game and he said in highschool and early college, he was very much what he called a flash-less, blue collar player. But when they showed early footage of him, what I saw was elegance without flash. In Europe, it is called mastercraftsmenship, or doing exactly what a design requires, never any more, nor any less than is absolutely required. They also simply and leave out. Greatness is measured by elegance, rather than flash, in that tradition. Well, Charles early on was craftsmen, not really a blue collar guy, unless by blue collar you mean a highly skilled machinist who will turn out exactly what you need with a minimum amount of fanfare. Then Charles became the Charles we mostly remember. He said he began to realize that he too could do a lot of the flashy stuff and that he needed to do some of it to market himself. He did that in the pros, but behind the fat and underneath the flash of the round mound of rebound, was an incredibly elegant, efficient basketball player.

jaybate 12 years, 11 months ago

Larry Bird was yet another of these phenomenally elegant types. Because he could shoot the ball from the next state and make it, he had some built in flash. But though he could have been, he was never a long range bomber type like World B Free, or whomever else you want to name. His long range shooting was always just what was needed when it was needed--no more and not less.

Magic and Michael Jordan were supremely flashy players on the surface, who were supremely elegant underneath the flash; this is I believe why they are rightly considered two of the best ever. There elegance extended to routinely doing things no one else could do, but still doing it with maximum elegance, when they weren't feeling obligated to entertain the fans.

Bill Russell seemed to be born elegant among big men.

Wilt was so omni-directionally talented, he actually had to evolve toward elegance. But by his Laker years, he was the most efficient, elegant big man ever. Wilt the Laker was just pure productivity. He got to the point for awhile where practically every movement he made resulted in some desirable effect and he made many fewer movements than he made when young. People said it was that he was old and too heavy. Wrong. He finally achieved elegance.

Truly elegant players are often the guys who score 25 or 30 points without you realizing they scored that many.

The guys who have to play all the way at the edge of their envelopes, the guys who have to saw up the scenery just to compete at a high level, these are the guys you can tell in the moment when they are scoring a lot of points.

We've talked about burley guys like Rush, Pierce and Barkley, because people are quite surprised when burley guys are elegant. But elegance is a product of mind as much as anything, a way a particular mind sees the world and goes about acting in it. We expect Fred Astaire to be an elegant dancer, because he's wiry and willowly, but Gene Kelly, who was built more like a college wrestler, or running back, we are surprised when he is elegant.

Take a ball room dance class some time. I did this once. This is where it all came clear to me. There were skinny guys, fat guys, tall guys, short guys in my class. Guys of all ages and races. And you could say the same about the women. There just were some burely men and women who were elegant in their motions in dancing.

jaybate 12 years, 11 months ago

I could go on and on with this, but I think the point is clear. The reason you so admire players like Pierce, Rush, Barkley et al, is that they possess elegance in vastly greater quantities than other players. They have so much talent, and so much elegance in use of that talent, that they can make playing at an incredibly high level seem effortless, even though it is not. They work just as hard as anyone else, but their elegance makes it seem more effortless.

Once elegance in action was highly prized and recognized in our society. But probably since the advent of rock and roll in the 50s, elegance as a paramount virtue seems to have been in slow, steady decline in appreciation, as things like passion and rhythm and flamboyant and free expression have ascended. And about the time elegance began to reassert itself the society produced a technological revolution that seems to have stymied the rise of elegance. Instead we have seen the rise of the techno chic, the age of machine music (started in Detroit in the late 70s), and the violent, rebellious, but mechanically repetitive baseline of rap/hiphop, and so on. Until now we are saturated with computer generated sound and imagery that realizes elegance largely through elegance of programming and modelling, while the observable surface manifestations of that elegant modelling and programming remain rather grotesquely, digitially translated. In fact the digital grotesquery of leaving off bytes of analog imagery and sound under the calculus curve has even become kind of a chic fashion the last decade or so.

But never fear. Elegance will eventually resurface and prevail for a time. It always does. As surely as barbarism intermittently has its day.

But until it does, we still have Paul Pierce and Brandon Rush. And maybe Bill Self will land Lance Stephenson to keep the light on in the window until the next age of elegance resumes.

Jim Pendleton 12 years, 11 months ago

FYI, Pekka Markkenen was from Finland.

Wayne Simien deserves to be on the wall - end of discussion.

Everyone wear lots of blue Sunday, and don't sell tickets to tiggger fans.

Finally, anyone know where I can buy Jaybate's book on this subject? We love you man, but you have more posts here than all the mailboxes in my neighborhood.

jayhawka15fan 12 years, 11 months ago


Who are you??? I lived in Stephenson starting is 1977!!!

jaybate 12 years, 11 months ago


Thanks for the love.

I figure since quantity is free, and since people can ignore, it is not an imposition.

And requiring me to say less would be like requiring someone else to say more.

The important thing is for Jayhawks to say what they have to say the way they can say it.

Rock Chalk!

Lance Hobson 12 years, 11 months ago

PikesPeak: I can't believe anyone remembers what I said in the middle of last season after those losses to OSU, KSU and I guess Texas. I don't even remember saying anything.

However, I do get emotional about KU bball so it is possible I lashed out at them, possibly in an effort to use reverse psychology. That said, in retrospect I was right because the team saw the same issues that I saw and called their now meeting at Henry T's after that stretch to straighten themselves out.

I request to be released from the doghouse.

As for Vaughn being overrated, I stand by my assertion. He had great moments but was usually out of control and never knew when to pull it back and stop trying to do too much. That weakness caused us to lose that Arizona game in '97 and in his four years we never reached a Final 4.

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