Advertisement

Wednesday, March 4, 2009

Big 12 crown within reach

Kleinmann amazed at thought of fifth conference title

Kansas center Matt Kleinmann pulls down a rebound in this Nov. 18, 2008, file photo at Allen Fieldhouse. If Kansas wins the Big 12 crown this year, Kleinmann could become the only player in Kansas history to win five conference titles.

Kansas center Matt Kleinmann pulls down a rebound in this Nov. 18, 2008, file photo at Allen Fieldhouse. If Kansas wins the Big 12 crown this year, Kleinmann could become the only player in Kansas history to win five conference titles.

Advertisement

KU hunts for fifth consecutive Big 12 title

The Kansas men's basketball team will guarantee itself at least a piece of the Big 12 crown with a win over Texas Tech on Wednesday.

KU vs. Texas Tech

— Kansas University basketball coach Bill Self and one of his favorites, fifth-year senior center Matt Kleinmann, had a nice chat at the airport last summer as they embarked on the Jayhawks’ Labor Day weekend trip to Canada.

“Coach Self brought it up. He told me if things worked out, I could be the only player in history with five Big 12 championship rings. I think that’d be very cool. I came to Kansas hoping to win a ring, not five,” Kleinmann added with a laugh.

The 6-foot-10 walk-on out of Blue Valley West High — who red-shirted during the 2004-05 season — will be assured “one for the thumb” if KU defeats Texas Tech in today’s 8:30 p.m. tip at United Spirit Arena.

A victory would guarantee KU (24-5, 13-1) a tie for the league title with one game to play.

A victory coupled with an OU defeat at Missouri tonight would give the Jayhawks the outright crown.

KU concludes the regular season at 3 p.m. Saturday, at home versus Texas.

“Maybe back in the day,” Kleinmann said, asked if he knew of any college player with five conference rings in his safe deposit box.

“If you go too far back, freshmen weren’t allowed to play. I’m sure some guys on teams that had success at the UCLAs, Kentuckys, might have done it. But I don’t know. It might be one of those obscure ‘Jeopardy’ facts nobody will ever get right.”

It’s believed Kleinmann indeed is trying to become the first Jayhawk in history to snare five regular-season title rings. KU last won as many as five titles in a row during a six-year span from 1922-27.

Freshmen were ineligible and did not take red-shirts in that era.

“Coach Self was talking the other day. He said he doesn’t know if anybody’s ever won five. It’d be quite a deal to get another one for Matt,” said KU senior walk-on Brennan Bechard, who like Kleinmann has just one home game remaining in his college career.

Self, who acknowledges, “it’d be a big deal for (Kleinmann),” also desperately wants the title for the other members on the 2008-09 team.

“Winning league is a big deal,” said Self, whose Jayhawks wrapped up a share of the league title (with Texas) last year in the conference finale at Texas A&M.; “Any time you clinch it is special. We are not approaching it like we are going there to win league, but put us in position to win the league Saturday. Technically if Missouri beats OU it could happen (today) if we are successful.”

Self said the only way the Jayhawks would celebrate tonight was with the sweep: a KU victory and an OU loss.

The Jayhawks do admit it was fun hoisting the league trophy in the locker room on the road a year ago in College Station.

“It’s a great feeling to clinch on the road. You get to celebrate in somebody else’s locker room,” junior guard Sherron Collins said. “The bus ride or flight home ... everybody is talking and it’s fun. It’d be nice to win it on the road.”

“We want to win it on the road,” junior forward Mario Little noted, “then hold it down for the seniors (on Senior Day) Saturday.”

To win tonight, the Jayhawks will have to stop a Tech team (12-17, 2-12) that has double-digit scorers in sophomore guard John Roberson (14.3 ppg, single-season school record 188 assists against 101 turnovers), senior guard Alan Voskuil (13.8 ppg), junior guard Nick Okorie (11.2) and soph forward Mike Singletary (10.7).

“Our last two trips there have been losses. We’ve taken pretty good teams to Lubbock and lost both times,” Self said. His Jayhawks lost, 69-64, on Jan. 20, 2007, and 80-79 in double overtime on Feb. 14, 2005.

“They’ve got a team that can shoot the ball. If you don’t defend the three, they can give you problems,” Self added. “Their point guard (Roberson) is having an all-league type year.

“Last year the stars aligned for us,” Self added of the Jayhawks’ 109-51 rout of the Red Raiders on Senior Day in Allen Fieldhouse. “They struggled, labored to get things done in that game. I’m sure Pat (Knight, Tech coach) will use that as motivation this year.

“Some things happened late where we pulled away. This game means a lot to us. We have a chance to at least tie with a victory.”

It’s a tie (or outright crown) that would please everybody, including Kleinmann.

“We’re not the most talented and athletic team (in KU history), but we’re definitely one of the tougher ones,” Kleinmann said. “In the tougher games, we’ve done what we had to do to win.”

Comments

Ben Kane 10 years, 10 months ago

if you count his national champ ring then this one would be one for the other thumb.

Jonathan Andrews 10 years, 10 months ago

Great stock photo of Matt. He looks like Magilla Gorilla!

aw41285 10 years, 10 months ago

It's UNIVERSITY of KANSAS, not Kansas University.

Cody Stumma 10 years, 10 months ago

Actually aw41285,

Its can be called either way. The proper term is University of Kansas, but it is acceptable to call it Kansas University as well.

gleece 10 years, 10 months ago

If anyone wants to take a trip down (bad) memory lane, ESPN Classic is showing the Valentine's Day loss at 2 p.m. C.S.T. today.

KUPROUD 10 years, 10 months ago

And it's KU, not UK like Kentucky. WE ARE KANSAS!!!

jayhawkr34 10 years, 10 months ago

Matt may not have made the impact of Moody, but he has been a icon for KU, and not to mention a leader as well. Matt your bright red hair will be missed, BTW you look alot like my son, which made my Mattwatch that much more interesting. Hope you get alot of minutes these next few games left. Thanks for your effort on and off the court. Go big red.....Rock Chalk Jayhawk, Go KU!!!

jaybate 10 years, 10 months ago

Well, if he's not the first guy to win five, I will bet my hose that he is the first guy to win five and get a degree in architecture. :-)

jaybate 10 years, 10 months ago

Well, if he's not the first guy to win five, I will bet my house that he is the first guy to win five and get a degree in architecture. :-)

jaybate 10 years, 10 months ago

What the heck. I'll bet either one. :-)

John Randall 10 years, 10 months ago

''It's university of KANSAS, not Kansas University.''

It is both, aw41285.

Go ask a UofO fan which conference games they lost at home.

InfiniteJ 10 years, 10 months ago

The game from 2005 still haunts me for some reason.....I will never forget Darryl Dora the Explorer hitting that last second jumper.

Larry Smith 10 years, 10 months ago

Any Jayhawks in west Texas need a ticket for tonights game?

KUFan90 10 years, 10 months ago

If it makes you all feel better, instead of "rooting" for MU tonight, think of it as we putting them to work for us. "Go on Tiggers, go win us an outright Big 12 title". It has to take a little shine off their win tonight (if they get it) knowing that they delivered the Big 12 title to us and allowed us to celebrate early.

wischalk 10 years, 10 months ago

Um... you don't have to root for Mizzou tonight. We still win the league outright with wins tonight and against TX on Saturday, no matter what OU does. I'll root for that.

BCRavenJHawkfan 10 years, 10 months ago

Is the Saturday game senior night? Or did I miss it several games back?

Tony Bandle 10 years, 10 months ago

Jaybate

Having gotten a Bachelor of Architecture degree from KU [which provides a fantastic program by the way thanks to the efforts on Dean Gaunt and a great staff], I can attest how absolutely grueling it was for five years.

To be a Division 1 player on the team of the caliber of KU and balance this with the school workload has always staggered me and has made Matt one of my all-time favorites.

I graduated with honors but the only ring I would have ever earned would have been one I found in a box of Cracker Jacks!!!!

GO Matt!! GO Hawks!!! Less is More!!!!

Jonathan Allison 10 years, 10 months ago

There's no way I'm rooting for MU, ever. And wisc is very right. There's no reason to root for MU, because we can win the conference outright without ANY help from any other teams. We just have to earn wins in Lubbock and defend our home court against Texas. They will both be hard fought games, but by rooting for MU you are in a way conceding one of those two games.

I want OU to (crimson and) CREAM mizzou.

Sally Presson 10 years, 10 months ago

My husband graduated from KU with a degree in architecture and I don't see how Matt did it and played basketball, you're quite a guy and my hat is off to you. Congratulations Matt, your future is bright. Thanks for all you've done for KU basketball.

And thanks to all the walk-on players, we wouldn't be where we are without you. All KU fans know what you do for the team and we appreciate you!!!

jayhawk02 10 years, 10 months ago

Sally P. you are right on!! Thank you very much walk-ons. You are as important to this team as the starters. You make them better with each practice. Congrats Matt, and best of luck in your future.

kacyku32 10 years, 10 months ago

Can the Mizzou game end in a tie? I can bring myself to cheer for the Tiggers.

Iheartku 10 years, 10 months ago

I perfer we do it on our own. Win tonight and win on Saturday. I never want to rely on someone else. Especially not Missou.

Rodney Stice 10 years, 10 months ago

I'm not going to root for the tiggers. Let KU win the next 2 games and win the conference outright. If mizzou can somehow muster up the energy to beat ou then so be it.

d_prowess 10 years, 10 months ago

As someone else mentioned here, Matt would not just have 5 Big 12 Champion rings, he also has a National Championship ring too!
That said, could Matt go down as the most successful KU Basketball players of all time!?!

Karen Mansfield-Stewart 10 years, 10 months ago

I want to see a picture of the 5 (or 6) rings he has on this website!

TheShot122293 10 years, 10 months ago

My love for KU supersedes my hatred of Mizzou, which is the opposite of the typical Mizzou fan. Any love they have for their school is built on hatred of us.

Whatever is best for KU is what I want to happen. If that means Mizzou winning tonight, then that is what I want to happen. However, since we are going to:

1.  Beat Texas Tech in Lubbock,

2.  Beat Texas in the Fieldhouse, and

3.  Beat Oklahoma in the Big 12 Tournament championship game,

then what is best for KU is to have the strongest, highest-ranked, highest-RPI OU possible going into the championship game. The fact that Mizztupid is the team OU needs to beat tonight makes me smile, but they are of such little consequence in KU's life that it hardly matters. Mizzou cannot be our archrival; to be that, they would have to be an elite program. Whoever is in our way in pursuit of an annual national crown is our archrival.

Michael Auchard 10 years, 10 months ago

You got any LION/MEAT BELT quotes to make people laugh after you get blown out this year, Coach Knight Jr?

Scott Oswalt 10 years, 10 months ago

jayhawkr34- Kleinmann is not an icon for KU. Icons don't sit the bench. Although, we will definitely miss his GPA.

chalmers2wright 10 years, 10 months ago

Will he give a speech at senior night? I think the only seniors we have are walkons but I think the students appreciate them and they deserve their night.

Steve Gantz 10 years, 10 months ago

Tonite is the type of game that can trip up a young team like ours. They've just come off their two biggest wins of the year, on the road against an inferior opponent who also has a lot of payback on their mind. I'm glad ESPN is showing it, although I've got to endure their announcers, so I should be able to see the entire game. Should be fun to watch, and congratulations Matt for your accomplishment!

irish2255 10 years, 10 months ago

we'll win the outright on our own. I'm cheering for MU 2nite to help the Hawks chances of playing in KC. If OU loses 2nite and again in OKC and we win out we should slip ahead of them in seeding and get first 2 rounds at Sprint Center.

cklarock 10 years, 10 months ago

Kleinmann is an icon to KU fans, because we know that if he's in the game, we're about to sing Rock Chalk. His contribution in practices earned those rings he wears, and he's busted his butt to make his teammates better.

When Matt scores in a game at AFH, the crowd goes wild.

Combining the rigors of a big-time D1 basketball program with an Architecture degree? As others have pointed out, that is legendary. I was a fine arts student at KU, and we called that school "Archi-torture," because they were working all the time.

One for the thumb, Matt!

oldrocker 10 years, 10 months ago

Anyone rooting for Mizery is not a Jayhawk!...and that's all I have to say about that.

NebraskaJayhawk 10 years, 10 months ago

Anyone else ever wonder if the writers intentionally insert Kansas University instead of the University of Kansas for the purpose of ticking off all the anal gripers that post about it? I would find that quite comical if they did. :)

tis4tim 10 years, 10 months ago

It's pointless to root for Mizzwho anyway. They are completely unreliable. Reading their comments about how they won the second half of their game against us despite getting waxed by 25, I don't think it's above them to throw the game versus OU just because they think it's the best way to affect us.

NebraskaJayhawk 10 years, 10 months ago

Anyone know what chances Kansas has of playing in K.C. this year? I know some current projections have them seeded 2nd and playing at the Sprint Center. What if they aren't a 2 seed.....still a chance?

jayhawkr34 10 years, 10 months ago

soswalt4......he is in me and my families mind...you have yours i have mine. you almost took away from all his hard work, shame shame

jaybate 10 years, 10 months ago

OakvilleJHawk,

You asked me once to write down some of what I had pieced together about the Okie Ball/IbaBall/EddieBall/BillBall Legacy. I keep adding bits and pieces to the overview. Here is my latest compilation, which is not hugely different from what has come before, but with a bit more comment about Coach Self's own evolution.

http://www2.kusports.com/news/2009/mar/02/how-did-ku-get-good-fast/#c832424

Rick Arnoldy 10 years, 10 months ago

I'll take a methzouri victory tonight and a sure thing. I love the irony that they help us win the championship. Besides, I didn't think it was possible a couple of weeks ago but an OU loss might put us in line for a #1 seed.

InfiniteJ 10 years, 10 months ago

For the Love of Ray Jay! Why would any KU fan say "we should root for Missouri"???? That troll should have thier membership revoked. I will never ever root for Missouri....I hope OU drills them tonight.

Rick Arnoldy 10 years, 10 months ago

soswalt4 - to be a fan favorite doesn't mean you have to be one of the best players. He could have gone to some other school and started. Instead, he came to Kansas and put in just as much effort as the All Americas just to play 30 seconds a game in blue uniform. That's a Jayhawk.

100 10 years, 10 months ago

Okieball has nothing to do with it Jaybate. It's Hawkball all the way. Self's first coaching job out of college was with Larry Brown at KU and he's always said he was his biggest influence.

As for more important things, Jaybate.. I want to hear your take on the all time team. I'm imagining a video game type idea where you can play a college's best (or pro or Olympic in a tournament) using your players at the prime of their careers. This would have a median age of around 26 or so, matching bball IQ with basketball skills and confidence.

For a tester I've put the alltime KU team in a final four style winner take all tourney with the 2008 Gold Medalists, the 1992 Gold Medalists & the all time UCLA team.

All teams get a full year to prepare (so if you take someone like Endacott from the 20's he could get up to speed)

Interstingly enough, thanks to Chamberlain & Manning, I'm not sure we can lose (not to mention our three point shooters and defending ability with our unbeatable coaching staff, lead by Phog Allen).

Here's my starting lineup:

  1. Wilt Chamberlain
  2. Danny Manning (or pollard if against 92 dream team)
  3. Paul Pierce 2 jo jo white
  4. Sherron Collins (or manning if against 92 dream team).

I think, seriously, these guys could win the whole thing, and take the alltime team mythical title, in fact, running away. Might not even be a competition by the time the 2nd half rolls around. Wilt alone gives us the edge, much less Manning, Pierce, Jo Jo & Sherron lighting it up.

So Jaybate, who would be your starting five & why? Also, could your starting five take the 92 dream team or 2008 gold medalists?

jman18562 10 years, 10 months ago

I've recently been recruited by Kansas and Memphis as a favored walk-on. I'm probably going to red-shirt at either school so my goal will be to win 5 Conference Championships just like my idol Matt! (yeah, I've got red hair)

The fact is I don't like trying very hard at anything. I HATE challenges and hard work. But I sure like winning stuff! Hmmmm....

After much thought I believe I will attend Memphis. For some reason I can see myself being the first player over 5 years to never lose a conference GAME! Hmm, seems easy enough. GOOOOO TIGERS!

RawkChawkJHawk 10 years, 10 months ago

Maybe I'm the only one a tad worried, but I sure hope tonight isn't a trap game. Lots of talk about clinching a share of the conference title and winning outright and Texas at home later and senior night and five rings vs. six... not much talk about playing a Texas Tech team in their barn tonight. I sure hope the team is focused on the task at hand rather than the prizes that (potentially) await. To be clear, I am certain this KU team is quite CAPABLE of winning tonight. But they need to be focused for ANY road game in the Big 12. I'm not seeing a whole lot of talk about this specific opponent. Am I wrong?

Lance Hobson 10 years, 10 months ago

The hype is a good thing, it reminds our young players how important this game is. If TT relies on shooting, they have little chance tonight since literally no team ever shoots over 50% against Bill Self coached teams.

The five rings story is amazing, it really is. I hope Matt earns his last one tonight. Despite what the players are saying, we win the title tonight regardless of what happens with OU or with us on Saturday. A tie is still a title.

There is no way I'd cheer for Mizzou, that's just blasphemy. OU deserves a tie for the conference title anyway since Griffin got hurt.

LAJayhawk 10 years, 10 months ago

Everyone is forgetting that you also get a ring for going to the Final Four. So, technically, this would be Matt's 7th ring.

Winning 5 titles in a row in a major "BCS" conference (for lack of a better term) is simply remarkable. With the talent that comes to the Big 12, to win 5 in a row is astounding. Let's get it done tonight, then walk over Texas on Saturday (and I also say screw mizzou, we don't need any help).

And RawkChawkJHawk, there is a big difference between what's being discussed on message boards, and what's being done in practice and the locker rooms.

Yakihawk 10 years, 10 months ago

Wouldn't we have the title outright since we beat OU?

YaBoyJrod 10 years, 10 months ago

This comment was removed by the site staff for violation of the usage agreement.

Derek Conway 10 years, 10 months ago

NebraskaJayhawk- The main thing is that we have to finish higher than oklahoma. If we can do that, and we receive a one or two seed, then we will play in K.C. If that does not happen, I highly doubt we'll get to play there.

Hays_Hawk 10 years, 10 months ago

Do you guys think tonight's game will be in true HD (16:9) or the crappy 4:3 format that a lot of the match-ups are shown in? I would assume, because it's at Texas-Tech, that we'll only get 4:3.

LAJayhawk 10 years, 10 months ago

Yakihawk,

Regular season titles go by conference record to determine champion, head to head matchups don't matter. Of the last four we were "co-champions" in three of them because our records were tied with OU and Texas. We would be considered the number 1 seed in the conference tournament if we win tonight, however, because the tournament does consider head to head matchups and we have the tie-breaker over OU.

If we win out, then we have the best record and own the title by ourselves.

Scott Oswalt 10 years, 10 months ago

jayhawkr34-

I know he works hard at everything he does. I appreciate his effort on the b-ball court and the classroom. 6 rings in unheard of. He deserves a little playing time on senior night for sure. I'm sure to his family and friends he's an icon, but not to me. Maybe my definition of icon is different than yours?

keith horinek 10 years, 10 months ago

I don't usually get too animated in these blogs, but you guys are trying to split hairs when it comes to Matt. He's played five years of KU BB. give the guy some credit for crying out loud! He could have played almost anywhere else at a Kansas school but chose to walk on at KU, his lifelong dream, knowing he may not get much playing time. I bet he's totally stoked saturday when he starts against UT. I can't wait to see him play!

Jared Grillot 10 years, 10 months ago

There seem to be some lurkers on the board today. Please don't talk about Memphis here, it will just bring up painful memories for you. It would obviously be much better to beat the tar out of poor C-USA all the time than to play at one of the single most iconic basketball programs in the country... duh.

Some may not see Matt as an icon, but the fans of this team have always been very gracious and appreciative of their walk-ons, and for some people, they identify a little more readily with those guys because they DON"T get all the glory, they just work hard. My daughter absolutely LOVES Matt, and gets all fired up every time he gets a little playing time. When we went to Ford Field for the Sweet Sixteen, she yelled and screamed for him the whole time, and when it was all over, I let her send him an email and he has always been very courteous and just a really great guy, maybe even a little amused to have a fan like that. He's not Danny Manning, or Nick Collison, or heck, even Greg Ostertag. He's just a hard-working dude who is out there having fun, busting tail to guard Cole on one end and survive the architecture studio on the other.

He may not be a basketball legend, but he is a fantastic role model, and its awesome to see him get a little piece of that glory to call his own. Rock on, Matt! RCJH

Jared Grillot 10 years, 10 months ago

And yeah, no matter how much I want that title outright right now, can't, just can't root for tiggers. It's blasphemous. Makes me nauseous just thinking about it.

Lin Rahardja 10 years, 10 months ago

Don't count the chip before you actually win it. Go hawks!!!

Jared Grillot 10 years, 10 months ago

soswalt4 - I agree completly with jayhawkr34. Matt Kleinmann has been a very important contributer to the KU basketball team. Playing time is not important, its what you bring to the team that means the most. I would definitly say that Matt has brought both stamina and points to this team. Were you not watching for his dunk at the end of the game a few nights ago?

" 6 rings in unheard of. " Yeah buddy read the article... he Will have 5 rings when KU DOES win the Big 12 Championship for the 5th time in a row. He hasnt even been playing basketball for KU for 6 years.

He is as much of an idol to KU fans, as any other player that has played to KU now and in the past. To have 5 Big 12 Championship rings AND a National Championship ring, AND to graduate high in his class in an architect major... yeah that is definitly grounds for being an idol, no matter who's definition it is.

Great Job Matt! We are all proud of you. You'll be an idol for KU fans for many years to come.

Drew Bender 10 years, 10 months ago

JG,

" 6 rings in unheard of. " Yeah buddy read the article... he Will have 5 rings when KU DOES win the Big 12 Championship for the 5th time in a row. He hasnt even been playing basketball for KU for 6 years.

"To have 5 Big 12 Championship rings AND a National Championship ring"

Do the math... 5 + 1 = 6... Im pretty sure he knows that he hasn't been playing for 6 years... He was saying the same thing you just said i believe

beakem_in_LA 10 years, 10 months ago

soswalt4,

"Kleinmann is not an icon for KU. Icons don't sit the bench. Although, we will definitely miss his GPA."

Uhhhh... actually, sometimes they do. Since you said your idea of an icon may differ from other peoples, here's a definition:

"a picture or symbol that is universally recognized to be representative of something"

I think it's safe to say Matt is a symbol that the game is over. Now, there have been many walk-ons that go into a game late symbolizing the end of the competition, but Matt is one of the distinct few. Remember TJ Whatley and the "Whatley Watch" late in games? People still remember him because of his (rather impressive) mustache and indication that the bus driver could go ahead and start the engine. That made TJ an icon. Matt's got the big red hair going on. He's an icon- people will remember him for a long time, too, just like Whatley.

Martin Rosenblum 10 years, 10 months ago

Matt probably has a lot of interesting stories that we've never heard about all of his former teamates throughout the years. Just think, he was there with Giddens, Galindo,Giles and Downs. I'm not sure if he was there with Padgett - anybody know? He could write a book, I'm sure, if he wanted a break from architecture. There must be endless material from those guys who left the program for their individual reasons as well as the studs who surely provided juicy stories that we could only hear from a former teamate.

Steve Brown 10 years, 10 months ago

root for mizzou just can't....but sure would like another conference flag..for our rafters.

the Big 12 tourney in OKlahoma City will set it up for the Sooners....but I still value the conf crown as more important.

NCAA 1st round games: if we get to the Sprint center, those tix will be just crazy expensive, anyone know of a site other than StubHub.com to find extra tix? We don't want it full of Memphis and/or Sooner fans....

Rock Chalk..

jaybate 10 years, 10 months ago

100,

Interesting concept for a game. The difficulty for me comes in anticipating how your algorithms weight different contributions. Does a ring mean anything, or are we just to take into account actual aggregate statistics. Per game, or total? If so, which ones?

I can't really say about this KU all time team vs. the 2008 Gold Medal Team, but I suspect that it would overwhelm KU's all time team in the back court and Wilt and Danny would do serious damage against Sherron. Jo Jo would hold his own.

No chance to beat The Dream Team. Period. The only way it could have been beaten was with a team of Chamberlain, Russell, West, Robertson, and any number of great 3s; and I think they would have handily beaten the dream team. Michael Jordan was not the greatest perimeter man of all time in college basketball, or in pro ball. Oscar Robertson and Magic Johnson are tied for the honor as the greatest perimeter men I ever saw. Jordan was to Oscar Robertson in particular, what Bill Russell was to Wilt Chamberlain. Jordan and Russell were the greatest winners the game has ever produced, and because the game has a score that is kept, that makes them the best of all time, regardless of their advantages in circumstances or whatever. Winning in competitive sport is the ultimate criterion and anyone who thinks otherwise is kidding themselves. But when it comes down to saying who was the best individual perimeter player, that was Oscar Robertson. When it comes to saying who was the best individual post man, that was Wilt. And it is so to this day. And I'm not saying Oscar and Wilt would have won more if than MJ and Russell had they had swapped situations. Winning is a skill, like everything else. MJ and Russell had more skill at winning than any other anchor players in the history of the game in my opinion.

jaybate 10 years, 10 months ago

I can't really say about this KU all time team vs. the 2008 Gold Medal Team, but I suspect that it would overwhelm KU's all time team vs. Sherron and Wilt and Danny would do serious damage against the front court. Jo Jo would hold his own.

No chance to beat The Dream Team. Period. And I say this knowing Magic and Bird were over the hill at that time. The only way the Dream Team could have been beaten was with a Dreamier team of Chamberlain, Russell, West, Robertson, and any number of great outside shooting 3s (think John Havlicek, or Dave Debusschre); and I think they would have handily beaten the dream team. Michael Jordan was not the greatest perimeter man of all time in college basketball, or in pro ball. Yep, I just said that blashemy. Oscar Robertson and Magic Johnson are tied for the honor as the greatest individual perimeter men I ever saw. Jordan was to Oscar Robertson in particular, what Bill Russell was to Wilt Chamberlain. Jordan and Russell were the greatest anchorman winners the game has ever produced, and because the game has a score that is kept, that makes them the best of all time, regardless of their advantages in circumstances or whatever. Winning in competitive sport is the ultimate criterion and anyone who thinks otherwise is kidding themselves.

But when it comes down to saying who was the best individual perimeter player, that was Oscar Robertson. When it comes to saying who was the best individual post man, that was Wilt. And it is so to this day. And I'm not saying Oscar and Wilt would have won more if MJ and Russell had swapped situations with them. Winning is a skill, like everything else. MJ and Russell had more skill at winning than any other anchor players in the history of the game in my opinion, including Oscar and Wilt.

KU versus UCLA's all time team--it would get very interesting. If you don't weight depth of talent, and total rings won by both schools and both school's coaches total rings, I would go with KU. If you do rate these, your game has to favor UCLA.

Let's cut to the chase on coaches.

jaybate 10 years, 10 months ago

Wooden was to Allen, what MJ and Russell were to Oscar and Wilt. Wooden had much greater skill at winning than Allen. It is not even close, with the one caveat that Allen had to labor many years without a national tournament that could have let Allen win a lot more rings than he did in the eastern biased sports writers votes for ring winners before the tourney. But the only way we can compare them rationally and empirically is in the years since the tourney existed, and on that criterion, Wooden wins hands down. Allen,on the other hand, as you have noted many times, frankly created and developed every basic concept of playing the game, as well as about every basic strategic concept used in coaching the game. He was one of those rare, tirelessly curious geniuses who explored the game in every dimension talent then allowed and brought to it almost every characteristic of the game we recognize, plus I would suspect many more that have fallen by the way side as talent and rules have changed. Put simply, Doc Allen developed more ways to play basketball than any other single coach who has been involved with the game since. Some could argue that he was just lucky to be there at the birth of the game, but in fact thousands were there at the birth of the game and only he did all that he did. There were no laws preventing other coaches from making the endless developments and innovations in the game both pre 1950 and post 1950 that Allen made. There was not even a hide bound legacy creating blinders to prevent recognizing the innovations that he made. But no one else did it in the enormous number of ways he did it. No one. So Wooden was the greatest winner bar none, because Doc Allen rightly made the game about championships, when he lobbied the Madness into existence. The greatest winner, or the greatest coach should never be thought of in terms of total wins. Wooden was the greatest winner. Allen was the greatest coach. Iba, I truly believe, contributed the most profoundly influential and lasting (at least at this juncture) single integrated strategic philosophy in the game, but I know we diverge on that. Period. As you, 100, have so eloquently noted, Allen had either created, or developed, or tried just about everything all the other coaches subsequently have tried all by himself, and he did so before they did, whether or not they perfected it.

Now to the team.

Jared Grillot 10 years, 10 months ago

ESU, soswalt, and others... slight apologies for that last post. That was not me, that was my aformentioned daughter who read the article and posted a comment, not realizing that it would be under my name. While I appreciate her enthusiasm, and now you can see it as well, she can be a little mouthy, as you can see, though I can't say why she suddenly felt the need to do that, other than her love of Matt!

I re-explained to her the idea of the National Championship ring, and she's better now. Honestly, her math is usually better!

jaybate 10 years, 10 months ago

Off the top of my head, I would say you have the KU all time team picked correctly with Kirk Hinrich possibly getting the nod over Jo Jo, and Brandon possibly getting the nod over Pierce, if you need the best possible trey shooting at the two and three to go with Wilt and Danny in the paint!

Still, no one dominated a game from the backcourt quite the way Jo Jo did when he began stripping it from people on one end and scoring on the other. He was cat quick and a lock down defender before the term existed. And as huge of a fan of Brandon's as I am, Pierce sprung from Roy's rigidities, just seems such a huge talent in the league that I have to believe that was there and restrained, while he was at KU.

More on White: it is hard for younger fans who have seen such great basketball that last 20 years under Roy and Self to imagine that there could be anyone in the past equal or better than Mario Chalmers at stripping the ball, or even as good at shooting the long ball as Kirk and Mario. Note: I am not saying Jo Jo was unconditionally superior to both in these regards, but Jo Jo was about as good and he was he was actually quicker than either player. He was a great, great athlete. This is sometimes hard to quantify. So were Chalmers and Hinrich as time goes by. But White had something extra. Put it this way, there is no telling how good Jo Jo White might have been had he played for a coach like Bill Self. Again, its hard to imagine, but that is what my memory tells me.

Jo Jo and Wilt are the only two old timers that I think are unquestionably as good, or better than today's players. Maybe throw Bill Bridges in there. Definitely Bill Bridges with good knees. Maybe Wayne Hightower. But for sure, Wilt and Jo Jo were freaks of nature existing out of time...forerunners of what players would become. But memory plays some tricks some times, so I could be over-endowing Jo Jo in retrospect. But I don't think so. Bottom line: Red Auerbach wanted him baaaaaaaad. Red only wanted a few guys baaaaaaaaaaad. Russell. Chamberlain. White. Bird.

jaybate 10 years, 10 months ago

I would be very interested to see how Wilt and Danny would match up against Kareem and Bill Walton? I suspect Wilt's stats would equal or exceed either but that Danny's would fall shy for the simple reason that Kareem and Bill were able to be the anchor players and huge scorers from their first seasons while leading their teams to 3 rings in a row each, where as Danny could only will one great ring run. Again this is no knock on Danny, but Kareem and Bill are widely considered, along with Wilt and Bill Russell, as the four greatest big men of all time, though Shaq father's pro stats and pro rings may now alter that a bit by career's end (though his college years were lackluster, being wasted with Dale Brown at Lost State University). Its very close, but I have to give an edge to Wilt over Kareem in college and give an edge to Walton over Danny in college. Note: I only give Wilt a nod over Kareem, because I saw Wilt play Kareem even or better in the pros, when Wilt was an old man and past his prime; this tells me Wilt would have eaten him alive when both were young. Wilt was a truly great athlete and a truly great post man, whereas Kareem was a truly great post man only. Kareem was the Clyde Lovellette of his time and scored even more magnificiently than Clyde. But Wilt was of another dimension in terms of athletic ability. Summary: edge Wilt, edge Bill Walton, balanced to even.

As a footnote on bigs, Dave Robisch might also figure strongly in the mix for KU. He tends to be overshadowed by Wilt, Danny and Clyde, but Robisch was a very serious big man who never got his due, because of the plod ball Owens played in those days. And the length of Robisch's pro career, even with injuries and a congenital spinal deformity, imply he was a heck of a player. What a sweet turn around baseline jumper! Automatic two! He was in some ways a precursor to Larry Bird, though Bird was clearly the superior outside shooter. Very horizontal player. But man could he score AND rebound consistently.

Beyond these two big man spots, I would think the two guard spot would be very tough for KU with either Reggie Miller or Gail Goodrich vs. Jo Jo White, or Kirk. Since everyone probably remembers how terrific Reggie Miller was fairly recently in the pros, I will not comment on him, except to say that he would have been a bitch even for Jo Jo to guard.

Jared Grillot 10 years, 10 months ago

Beak em - Heck Yeah! "We want Whatley!! (clap, clap, clap clap clap) We want Whatley!!"

Him, and later on, Terry Nooner. We loved calling for Whatley, and then going completely nuts when ol' Roy would finally send him in. We've always given proper love to those guys.

Sometimes, you're ok with scout team sitting on the bench, just because you're sitting on that bench in that uniform. And, every once in a while, you're Christian Moody.

jaybate 10 years, 10 months ago

In reality, Jo Jo vs. Gail would have been a fascinating match-up of great defense vs. great offense. Their paths crossed at times in the NBA, but strangely I have a blind spot about how their matches went. Maybe you recall. But in a digital gaming realm, stats might bias this all in favor of Gail.

Goodrich had a much higher scoring college career 21.5ppg and 24.6ppg (to Jo Jo's 15ppg) and won two college rings, plus he had a much higher scoring pro career than did Jo Jo, though he won only one NBA ring to Jo Jo's two. In Jo Jo's favor, his lower scoring average reflects playing on a slow down team, whereas UCLA put up big numbers because of its full court game. Still, Goodrich averaged 22.5 ppg and 5 assists for 7 years or so in the NBA, too, and retired as the 11th leading NBA scorer of all time and 10th in assists. On the Lakers, he was the shooting guard to Jerry West's PG, which gives you some idea of just how fabulous of a shooter and creator he was, though only 6'1" tall!

Gail Goodrich is one of the greatest forgotten greats of all. Its tempting to say Jo Jo could have taken him, because of his defense and because Jo Jo is a more classic Adonis of the two spot, than the bowling ball that was Goodrich. But Goodrich was by far the bigger producer in every other measurable way than steals. Sherron in my opinion should go back and study Gail Goodrich. All short guards should go back and study Goodrich. He was the giant of short guards IMHO. He was the best, short offensive guard in history by quite a long margin. His defense was a bit like Sherron's, too, which is to say, not perfect, but not as bad as everyone says.

Though UCLA seemed to have an endless string of great threes, Keith Wilkes probably being the ultimate (certainly so in Wooden's eyes), Pierce could have contained The Silk defensively and his brawn would have made it very difficult for The Silk to contain Pierce, if the game were called as it is today. Silk might have had the edge under refereeing in the old days. Still, edge Paul Pierce. Frankly, I think Pierce would have had a lot more trouble with Marques Johnson or Curtis Rowe, but I don't have enough hubris to overrule Wooden on how good The Silk was, and I think Pierce could have handled Johnson or Rowe. One caveat I am sure you are expecting of me. I might very well pick Brandon Rush over Paul Pierce at the three, since the team has Wilt and Danny, and so no real need for any of Paul Pierce's impressive penetration ability. Brandon's great defense, good rebounding, and probably superior three point shooting would be much more valuable to this KU all time team. I am going to avoid the problem of the great Sidney Wicks by keeping him at the 4 and sitting him behind Walton. :-)

jaybate 10 years, 10 months ago

The point guard is very dicey and sure to breed controversy. It is fascinating that neither great program, despite all their storied seasons, has produced what would be considered one of the all time point guards of the college or pro games. Neither program ever yielded a Jerry West, or an Oscar Robertson, or a Pete Maravich, or even a Derek Rose, when I stop to think about it, though Sherron may yet prove me wrong, as he handled Rose okay in the ring game last year. It was endlessly ironic that the all American point guard from Purdue, the Indiana Rubberman himself, never really landed that all time great point guard. And it is ironic that Allen failed to land Wooden in Lawrence even though my conversation with Wooden indicated he would have seriously considered it had anyone bothered to pick him up at the train station. He left in a huff and never regained a warm spot in his heart for KU again, according to Nell, if I recall an 30 year old conversation with him and her correctly.

At every other position, Wooden landed one or two who could be ranked at the top or in the second eschelon, at least. The same holds at the PG at KU. Strange but true. Lots of good ones at both schools, but never the bell ringers (note I am not speaking here to pre 1950, because I just don't know the early PGs that well). I am going to do one of my limb dances here and give Sherron the edge over all of UCLA's PGs; that's how good I think Sherron truly is. I know people from UCLA would saw it off. They would say Henry Bibby, Jordan Farmar, or Barron Davis, or Tyus Edney, or Darren Collison are just as good. Davis maybe, but he turned out never to really maximize what he was college or pro so we can't say for sure on him. I am going to be a complete homer here and pick Sherron to have a tiny, tiny edge over Davis and a significant edge over the rest. Though Coach Wooden would be shocked and apalled at me (or anyone else) preferring Sherron's offense to what I believe were his personal favorites: Mike Warren and Henry Bibby, both of whom were probably superior defenders, better passers and equivalent ball handlers. But in today's game, Sherron could take them both out. He's that strong. Please don't ask me to defend the Baron Davis assessment. I just believe in Sherron.

So: could KU's all time team beat UCLA's all time team?

A qualified yes.

jaybate 10 years, 10 months ago

Front court bigs even.

3 edge to KU.

2 Edge to UCLA.

1 Edge to KU.

Coaching: This is the qualification. UCLA if its based on winning. KU if its based on the greatest coach in all aspects of the game.

For those who don't respect Sherron's game the way you and I do, then they have to go with UCLA.

End Note: UNC, UK, Duke seem to come up short at the 4 and 5, but they deserve some serious consideration at the 1, 2 and 3 slots, where they might equal or exceed KU and UCLA. Ohio State might be worth a look with Greg Oden and Jerry Lucas. Houston (Olajuwan and Elvin Hayes) and Georgetown (Ewing and Mourning) would seem the only schools with the big men good enough to even compete in the game with KU and UCLA. Allen Iverson gives Georgetown an edge at the 1 over either KU or UCLA, that when combined with Ewing and Mourning could make them very tough. And Houston had that fabulous three with Olajuwan on Phi Slamma Jamma. I forget him. Memory fails on what else Georgetown and Houston could come up with.

Commenting has been disabled for this item.