Thursday, July 16, 2009


KU’s 10 biggest stars


Wilt Chamberlain, Lynette Woodard, Gale Sayers, Jim Ryun, Danny Manning, John Hadl, John Riggins, Bill Nieder, Clyde Lovellette, Jo Jo White, Paul Pierce, Wes Santee, Billy Mills, Ray Evans, Willie Pless, Bob Allison, Otto Schnellbacher, Bobby Douglass, Nolan Cromwell, Brandon Rush, Aqib Talib. Kansas seldom falls short on star power, even in years when depth is lacking. Even by KU standards, this shapes up as a particularly bright upcoming year for stardom in Kansas sports.

Star power can’t be measured by any one number or trait, rather blends popularity, ability, value to a team, clutch performance and toughness.

Make your own list of KU athletes in terms of star power for the upcoming season and rank them from one to 10, but make sure to adhere to one rule: Only athletes who are enrolled in school can be considered teammates and only teammates are eligible for this list:

1. Todd Reesing: Has played a major role in transforming Kansas from a basketball school to a dual-threat heavyweight. Has created 10 plays more memorable than the average college quarterback’s most memorable one. Refuses to give up on a play, even when it looks as if he’s about to get creamed. Question: Is there a more exciting athlete in college? Answer: No.

2. Sherron Collins: Calls to mind 1978 College Player of the Year Butch Lee on his relentless drives to the hoop. A rare blend of strength and quickness, Collins will have more scoring help this year and is a threat to earn first-team All-American honors.

3. Kerry Meier: One day, I’d like to grow up to be as mature as Kerry Meier, but I’d rather remain brown instead of turning blue, so I won’t be holding my breath waiting for it to happen. He’s so in tune with Reesing because he understands the quarterback position so well and shares the skill of never quitting on a play.

4. Cole Aldrich: Part of his star power centers on how much he loves life as a student-athlete. Guaranteed money awaited him had he decided to make himself eligible for the NBA Draft. You have to love him for not doing so.

5. Danielle McCray: She carried the women’s basketball team to the WNIT title game and in the process nearly packed Allen Fieldhouse. She embodies everything that college sports is supposed to be about and does it with such a warm smile.

6. Dezmon Briscoe: If turf had veins it would bleed to death the way this receiver cuts so sharply after catching the ball. If he can develop the discipline to remain out of the doghouse, nothing will stop him.

7. Tony Thompson: Everybody loves a power hitter. A Triple Crown threat in any league, Thompson batted .389 with 21 home runs and 82 RBIs in 61 games. Project that over 162 games and it equates to 56 home runs and 218 RBIs.

8. Darrell Stuckey: Few things match watching Stuckey run down a player who thinks he’s on his way to six points.

9. Jake Sharp: Fast, tough, exciting, cocky — not necessarily in that order — and another example of why it doesn’t pay to obsess on size.

10. Tyshawn Taylor: The World University Games gold medal he wore around his neck Wednesday seemed to help his confidence without curbing his youthful appeal.


suttonku 11 years, 4 months ago

Switch the top two...yes Reesing is awesome and we love him but Collins is the face of this school and everyone knows it...they both make exciting plays but as I have observed the last couple of years the students and fans still care more about basketball than football...myself personally I love both teams but I still think Collins is number one

CD2010 11 years, 4 months ago

"Only athletes who are enrolled in school can be considered teammates and only teammates are eligible for this list:"

Oh look, Keegan managed to turn this into an anti-Xavier article. What a surprise. Xavier is enrolled in classes for the upcoming fall already, and you didn't specify current term. I'm also quite sure everyone on the team (and HCBS) would consider him a teammate.

kingpin 11 years, 4 months ago

I think everyone can agree Sherron & Todd are the faces of KU right now. As much as I love Sherron, I would give Todd the #1 slot. I want our football team to climb the success ladder in the worst way haha

kerbyd 11 years, 4 months ago

Keegan, cannot believe you did not list Al Oerter on your list. One of only 3 people in history to ever win 4 olympic gold medals.

suttonku 11 years, 4 months ago

Kerbyd- current jayhawks only...not my rules theyre keegan's.

And I still would put Sherron ahead of Todd...not just because Sherron has a nice championship ring, but because this is about who is a bigger star and to me you can be a star on and off the court/field...Sherron could be the greatest PG in the history of KU basketball and thats pretty dang good when you think about it, and who would is more recognizable on campus? thats Mr. Collins...yes Todd is the best QB to ever go through KU and both guys are great leaders (Todd probably more than Sherron)...the more impressive thing is best PG considering the basketball juggernaut that is KU basketball...but love both players as they have both done amazing things for KU

championhawks 11 years, 4 months ago

sutton- I think kerbry was referencing the list at the beginning of the article.

The top 2 on this list has to be Collins and Aldrich. They are the 2 most recognizable names, and as much as the football team has improved and is pushing for a Big XII title, KU is still (and probably always will be) a basketball school. The criteria that Keegan mentions (popularity, ability, value to a team, clutch performance and toughness) Collins, Aldrich, and Reesing are probably all on the same level as far as ability, value, clutch and toughness. Popularity, however, I don't think Reesing is on the level of 2 of the best college basketball players in the country. While he might be close in the rings of die hard KU fans, nationally and the 'every day' KU fan he isn't close to the 2 basketball stars.

Ted Toulouse 11 years, 4 months ago

Sorry, but the list at the beginning HAS to include Chalmers. "Star power can’t be measured by any one number or trait, rather blends popularity, ability, value to a team, clutch performance and toughness." Other than lacking a little bit on the popularity contest, there wasn't anyone more valuable to the team during his tenure than Chalmers. His defense was lock-down good and he was more clutch than Rush because he could handle the ball better.

is it fooball season yet? baseball is boring...

sevenyearhawk 11 years, 4 months ago

Todd and Sherron stand side by side ...

Everyone's going to gripe about something, but that list was pretty good and demonstrated how, quoting Coach Mangino "... those days are over of just being one dimensional."

Men's hoops, women's hoops, football, baseball ... if volleyball and softball can develop into consistently competitive programs, and women's soccer return to recent form - our University will become an athletic juggernaut.

Ryan Gerstner 11 years, 4 months ago

It's definitely Reesing. Todd will likely going down as the best QB ever at KU despite if he ever plays a second of pro football or not. Football's a more popular sport nationally, which gives Reesing good exposure. Apparently you didn't see the spread on Reesing in USA Today recently. Hasn't been anything like that on Collins, but I could be wrong.

Timmay97 11 years, 4 months ago

ttoulouse -

Chalmers is not "currently" enrolled at KU. He "was" enrolled. Keegan's rules.

For the most part, I don't have a problem with how this list was made. If I could change anything, I would put Collins AND Reesing as a tie for #1. They are both seniors and are leaders for their respective teams. This is probably a poor way to look at it......but if you took both players off their teams, which team would excel. My best guess would be the basketball team. Too much talent there. Our football team would hurt without Reesing.

Either way, this is a fun article and something to think about when putting your own list together.

Tony Bandle 11 years, 4 months ago

Hey, Hey, Hey..wait a minute, wait a minute, wait a minute.....

No love for the Multi-National Champion KU Debate Team!!!!!?????

Tommy, Tommy, Tommy, say it ain't so!!! :} :} :}

Collins has to be #1 if for no other reason his dribble and dish to Mario for "THE SHOT" has been viewed world wide umpteen million times!!

waywardJay 11 years, 4 months ago

what so different about the two really ???? Both undersized, both have hearts bigger than their bodies, and both have had Huge moments in big games for us.....

if it comes down to Judging on Merits.... that sophomore season pass against oklahoma state out-does anythign sherron managed.... and let's be honest... That was todd and todd alone who made that play.......

for those who don't recall....

I don't discredit sherron at all.... i love him... but comparing what the two had around them isn't even clsoe to fair....... Todd 1, Sherron 1a

KCJHawk08 11 years, 4 months ago

Hawkfan20 -

Congrats to Todd for getting the spread in USA today. But, you have to be crazy if you think that Collins hasn't gotten anything that compares to that during his time here. You only have to look back to the numerous spreads that were done in national publications on all the different players immediately before and following the championship. Then, Sherron got a lot of national during the tournament last year. He is a much bigger star than Reesing. However, neither is the face of the university. That would be Baby Jay.

Jaminrawk 11 years, 4 months ago

We should post billboards of all of these players ASAP. :)

jakejayhawk 11 years, 4 months ago

kerbyd stole my comment, so I will just agree with kerbyd. Al Oerter certainly deserves to be listed in Tom's opening line. While Track & Field no longer has the following in the U.S. that it once did, Al was a very popular figure. And this extended to the world as there is a lot of interest in Track & Field in many countries. Then to do it on the biggest stage of the Olympics four times, well it just means that Mr Oerter will always be on any list of KU's greatest.

hailtoku 11 years, 4 months ago

  1. Sherron Collin (basketball will always reign supreme)
  2. Kerry Meier (is more of a "fan favorite" over Reesing)
  3. Todd Reesing
  4. Cole Aldrich (hard to miss on campus)
  5. Xavier Henry (honestly, what's the one thing everyone can't wait to see this year..)
  6. Dezmon Brisco (is going to be an All American this year)
  7. Tyshawn Taylor (USA! USA! USA!)
  8. Darrell Stuckey (not quite at the Aqib status, but closely approaching)
  9. Morris twins (everyone whether sports fan or not, seem to know the Morris') 10.Jake Sharp (well known, whether you like him or not, you still know him)

Ted Toulouse 11 years, 4 months ago

Timmay97- Chalmers should be on the first list (instead of Rush) not the "current" list.

Jonathan Briles 11 years, 4 months ago

I have no idea who should be number one for me it should just be these ten are the best in no particular order so people can just imagine, but I would probably put Todd up at the top.

See if this video does not just get you pumped for this upcoming season

WilburNether 11 years, 4 months ago

Regarding his all-time list, when did either Paul Pierce or Brandon Rush turn in a performance like Nick Collison's against Texas? I'd take Collison over either of them (in terms of what they did at KU, not subsequently in the NBA, of course).

bobbyfinstock 11 years, 4 months ago

Keegan, You are a petty, little man. Why exclude the Henrys from eligibility on your list? Does anyone else remember Keegan's treatment of Sherron when those false allegations came out? Your writing doesn't "stir the pot" it smacks of pettiness. "Only athletes who are enrolled in school can be considered teammates and only teammates are eligible for this list:" I very much agree with what CD2010 stated above and I will be watching very closely throughout the upcoming season to see what Keegan's articles look like once X starts blowing up and producing like everyone predicts he will for KU.

I would LOVE to see the Henry family refuse to speak with the LJW if this is how they are going to be treated. LJW should thank their lucky stars for that family because of all the additional ink you've been able to push courtesy of their recruitment and related stories.

For those of you who think they haven't "earned" their spot on the list, grow up. This is big boy(and girl) athletics and talent rules. Xavier, and I would suspect CJ, are going to come to campus and contribute in a major way to KU's quest for a national title and everyone will love them then and disavow their short-sighted statements they are making now... nice job, enjoy your ride on the band-wagon with Keegan.

stravinsky 11 years, 4 months ago

Maybe no out of wedlock children, Max, but Reesing does have... cough.... a, um, reputation.

I'm so glad Briscoe isn't in trouble with the big man anymore. Him and Reesing are going to shred things up this year.

KANSTUCKY 11 years, 4 months ago

Collins and Aldrich. Nevermind KU's first official triple double and passing up a first round draft. Let me know when we don't get our a$$ handed to us against Texas, OU, and Tech. Football is still second tier, prove me wrong please.

Kokomo49 11 years, 4 months ago

Obviously some impressive names from KU's athletic past have been listed here by Tom Keegan but a few others come to mind. The first is Al Oerter (as has been mentioned by Kerbyd) with four Olympic Golds in the discus, then Karl Salb, who won 6 NCAA Chamionships in the shot put from 1969-1971 (all 6 for which he was eligible, both indoors and out, back in those days) and Dave Robisch, who played some 14 seasons in the ABA and NBA, after leading the Jayhawks to the Final Four in 1971 with a 27-1 record.

Jonathan Briles 11 years, 4 months ago

Basically you guys are kind of saying he left out a lot of names. Honestly I'm not surprised and its kind of a good thing. It means our programs tradition is so rich and has so many people that its hard to put everyone on it. I'm sure there are still more that everyone is forgetting about. There are tons of great players in KU history, thats what makes us such a great University. He made a short list and I'm sorry if he left off a couple of your favorites but its not that big of a deal. About the Henry brothers I'm glad they are not on there yet. I promise they would be after the season but they have not earned a spot yet. Its a seniority and respect thing. They are part of the team and I do respect them VERY much and am extremely happy to have them but they have not done anything at KU yet and should not be listed as of now. Mid season yes they would be up there for sure. All in all there is no need for the bashing of all of the LJW journalists. If you hate them so much then go to a different website.

Timmay97 11 years, 4 months ago

ttoulouse -

Fair enough.....I don't disagree with you there.....Chalmers first.....than Rush! Done deal!

Jonathan Allison 11 years, 4 months ago

Collins, Todd, Cole, Meier are the top 4 and are leaps and bounds ahead of the rest. Everyone at KU (whether you like sports or not) knows who these four fellas are.

Xavier does NOT belong on this list because KU students who don't follow sports have probably still have no clue who he is.

When I was at KU I didn't know the recruits before the fall season started. My junior year I had no clue who Brandon Rush was and why everyone thought he was going to lead us to a championship and then bolt for the NBA after one year. I didn't know anything about the kid from Alaska either, though I did know a little about Julian Wright.

KGphoto 11 years, 4 months ago

After 2007 it was Reesing #1, Chalmers #2.

But after a slight step back in 2008, Reesing slips to #2, with Collins #1. And you just can't put Meier ahead of Aldrich. Aldrich is a lottery draft pick and the key big man in a national title run.

  1. Collins
  2. Reesing
  3. Aldrich
  4. Briscoe (see draft status)
  5. Meier
  6. Taylor
  7. Stuckey
  8. Sharp
  9. McCray/Goodrich
  10. McMorris

Hell let's keep going.

  1. MkMorris
  2. Jonathan Wilson
  3. Jake Laptad
  4. Boogaard
  5. Morningstar
  6. Opurum
  7. Nicolette Smith
  8. Mason Finley (hey, he's already posting here under jayhawkfinley)
  9. Thornton
  10. Sade Morris

Yep. I left out most of the other sports outside of Basketball and Football. I thought popularity was a huge factor, in that if I've never heard of you, I can't very well rank you.

yed 11 years, 4 months ago

From a kid whose dad used to take him to both KU football and basketball games in the '80s, my #1 KU star is Todd Reesing. We can all debate "star power" and talk about championships and national notoriety, but he has provided us so many insane youtube highlights the past two and a half years it's crazy in my mind to go any other way. Here's my personal favorite:

Oh and for fun, here's a shining example of "toughness":

Here's to the team and another year of highlights and memories. Rock Chalk!

KCJHawk08 11 years, 4 months ago


Your logic is bad. While College Football is more popular (not "a thousand times more popular"), that still doesn't mean that more people across the nation know Reesing. Within their own sport, Collins is much more recognizable and popular than Reesing on the national level. Collins is regularly discussed during national sportscasts,etc. during basketball season. The same cannot be said for Reesing. He may be as much of a star locally, but there is no question that on the national level, Collins is more of a star.

ABeesus 11 years, 4 months ago

I thank Mr. Keegan for starting the conversation on KU's all time great athletes! His opening paragraph must have been just a quick dash off in writing, to get to his point about current players.

An 'All Time' list is of more interest to me. He left off Oerter as has been mentioned, and many other stars. Glenn Cunningham comes quickly to mind. Jim Bausch might make someone's list? KU stud in basketball, football, and won gold in '32 Olympics for decathlon.

sevenyearhawk 11 years, 4 months ago

Have the Henry brothers even stepped on the court yet?!?!?!

I can't believe some of your knuckleheads are actually having a discussion about whether they merit inclusion ...

rasta_meta 11 years, 4 months ago

I can tell you that on the West coast, where college sports aren't all that important to most people, Reesing and Meier seem to be know better than Collins. In fact, Aldrich is even known better than Collins. IMHO, that makes these guys bigger stars than Collins because more people seem to be aware of them.

Ryan Gerstner 11 years, 4 months ago

KCJ, you need to watch more football. Reesing comes up a lot nationally. He's had individual GameDay stories done on him unlike Collins. I realize KU is historically a basketball school, but football is still a bigger sport nationally, and Reesing is the bigger star. When all is said and done, Reesing will go down as the best ever QB at KU and we've had some exceptional QBs.

Matthew Mellor 11 years, 4 months ago

I'm glad a couple of people are stepping up for some of the track and field greats that came through this university. Glenn Cunningham, considered the greatest miler of all time (at least until another KU standout came along in the sixties) certainly has to be mentioned. Al Oerter is one of only three people to win gold in 4 different Olympics. But unlike his peers, he set an Olympic record each time. With no disrespect to terrific athletes like Brandon Rush, these guys earned their stripes at the next level.

100 11 years, 4 months ago

Paul Endacott?????

How about Bruce Kalmeier? (I know he was a punter, but 65 yard lofting spirals every single kick).

Great article. And yes, everyone caught it -- he had a typo, he meant Chalmers, although we all do hold Rush very high as well.

And how about the so called "best goal thrower in the world" Naismith landed 106 years ago... A young man named Forrest C. Allen -- best 35 foot shot we've ever had (before he injured his back).

Overall though a great article -- how about an article on the planned Chamberlain & Naismith statues that are going up in the next couple years around Allen Fieldhouse? If not an article about the statues, at least an article about the secrecy of when they will be unveiled & who is responsible for the artwork & donations?

Thanks LJW -- keep up the good summer reads.

William James 11 years, 4 months ago

Collins is a great basketball player & will certainly go down in KU history as one. However, Todd Reesing has rocked the foundation of college football. KU isnt supposed to be in BCS Bowls and KU isn't supposed to have a preseason Hiesman candidate. From the moment Reesing first stepped on the field in 2006, KU has and never will be the same. Whatever Micheal Jackson and Elvis meant to entertainment, is what Reesing means to KU.

Tyler Daniels 11 years, 4 months ago

Todd Reesing deserves the number 1 spot because he delivered a perfect pass to Meier on 4th and 7 at around the 28 yard line in the border war against mizzou. That automatically makes him number 1.

John Randall 11 years, 4 months ago

""Keegan, cannot believe you did not list Al Oerter on your list. One of only 3 people in history to ever win 4 olympic gold medals.""

kerbyd -- in the interest of accuracy, please restate this "to win Gold in 4 different Olympic Games".

There are many, even many in Track and Field, with far more than 4 Golds.

Not sure if you wanted props for Al, or just taking a jab at Keegs, but the longevity is astounding. With the fact Oerter wasn't even among the favorites the last two times, it is even more remarkable.

John Randall 11 years, 4 months ago

""Fair enough.....I don't disagree with you there.....Chalmers first.....than Rush! Done deal!""

Why not side-by-side? Isn't that the way they played?

Eric Schneider 11 years, 4 months ago

Reesing's No. 1, and it's not even close. Reesing will most likely be in the Heisman discussion if we win the North. 4,000 yards and 40+ touchdowns are very realistic expectations given the weapons he has. Plus he has made KU relevant on the national stage each year he has been a starter. The KU football program has never had a multi-year stretch like they are having right now.

Collins is going to go down as one of the most successful players in KU history. But he'll also have a lot of company.

Besides, Aldrich will be a bigger name nationally this season. He very likely could make it 3 out of the last 4 years that a player from the Big XII has won National POY.

Eric Schneider 11 years, 4 months ago

One other thing. Those that say Keegan's just being anti-Henry, I have three names for you. Luke Axtell. Lester Earl. Ben Davis. All three were supposed to come in and be All-Americans right away. None ever became anything more than role players. Davis transferred. So prove it on the court/field before you make this list. Toben Opurum could very well be on the list by the end of the year. But not yet.

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