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Thursday, February 21, 2013

Timeless miracles: Danny Manning-led 1988 title team approaching 25th anniversary

The 1988 NCAA national-champion Jayhawks

The 1988 NCAA national-champion Jayhawks

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Journal-World File Photo

The 1988 NCAA national-champion Jayhawks

The nickname for Kansas University’s 1988 NCAA basketball championship team has stood the test of time.

Twenty-five years after the fact — heading into this weekend’s 115 Years of KU Basketball reunion — the mere mention of “Danny and the Miracles” brings to mind a 27-11 team that stuck together after a 12-8 start and embarked on a magical Danny Manning-led, six-game postseason run. It was capped with KU’s 83-79 victory over Oklahoma (35-4) in the title game in Kemper Arena in Kansas City, Mo.

“Danny’s unbelievably humble. He’s the one who complains about the name, ‘Danny and the Miracles,’’’ said 1988 title team reserve guard Scooter Barry, a 46-year-old businessman from San Francisco who retired from professional basketball six years ago after a long playing career in Europe and Australia.

“Everybody else says it’s a perfect name. Danny always says, ‘It wasn’t me. It was all of us.’ Everybody knows he and coach (Larry) Brown carried the weight of the team. With their experience and ability to communicate and take over games ... it gave us the opportunity to be in position to win.”

For instance, in the title game ...

“Larry’s big thing was, just stick with Oklahoma long enough to where we are in the game the last two minutes, then Danny will take care of it, and Oklahoma will be nervous because they don’t get in that situation often. He was right,” Barry said. “We stuck with it until the end. Oklahoma was in an awkward position, and we were able to win.”

Billy Tubbs’ Sooners, who had defeated KU twice during the regular season, played KU to a 50-50 halftime tie. The Jayhawks slowed the pace the second half en route to the title.

Was that ’88 team, which suffered through injuries and player suspensions, a team of destiny?

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Mookie Blaylock, left, looks to make a pass against Scooter Barry during the Jayhawks' 83-79 win over the Sooners on April 4, 1988, to secure the school's fourth national championship.

“I think so,” Barry said. “If you look back, it was a situation we were not supposed to win. I think the cards and stars lined up right. Teams were knocked off in front of us, giving us different match-ups.”

KU, the No. 6 seed in the Midwest Regional, defeated No. 11 seed Xavier, No. 14 Murray State, No. 7 Vanderbilt, No. 4 Kansas State and No. 2 Duke before knocking off No. 1 OU. Upsets kept KU from playing the likes of No. 3 N.C. State, No. 2 Pitt and No. 1 Purdue.

“Locations were easy for us in Nebraska and Kansas City,” Barry said of the first- and second-round sites and site of Final Four. “Not that Oklahoma was (full of) bad guys, but its reputation was an arrogant team that liked to blow people out by 50 points. We were 12-8, and people didn’t even know if we were going to make the tournament.

“It was nice to see the good guys don’t finish last every time.”

Manning scored 31 points versus OU in the title game. The other starters were Milt Newton (15 points), Kevin Pritchard (13), Chris Piper (8) and Jeff Gueldner (2). Clint Normore had seven off the bench, Lincoln Minor four, Keith Harris two and Barry one point and two assists in nine minutes.

Barry, who was red-shirted a year, played four years at KU for Larry Brown, one for Roy Williams.

“I played in Spain as a 40-year-old. It was my last year under contract as a player,” Barry said. “I have two children, a 9-year-old daughter and 6-year-old son. With two kids, it was ridiculous to keep playing. I still play for the Olympic Club in San Francisco on a travel team.”

“I told Archie (Marshall, former teammate) and coach Brown and whoever else is in the (Dallas) area, I’ll be back April 18 playing at TCU. We play teams like the New York Athletic Club and LA Athletic Club.

“I just took a job six months ago with a startup software company in the Bay Area, high risk, high reward in trying to make it work,” Barry added. “If it does, I’ll be in a good position. If not, we’ll go down another path. I was with 24 Hour Fitness almost three years coming back after looking at coaching overseas. I decided the gypsy lifestyle for my family wouldn’t be healthy. I thought about coaching in the States. I have a good list of people to ask: Larry, Roy, Turg (Mark Turgeon). Most of those guys told me, ‘If you want to see your kids, don’t coach.’ I made a decision based on their feedback. I’d be lying if I said basketball was not a part of me.”

Barry, like current SMU coach Brown and Tulsa coach Manning, won’t be able to make it back to Lawrence for this weekend’s festivities, which include about 200 former players, coaches and managers being introduced at halftime of Saturday’s 3 p.m. game against TCU. Milt Newton (Washington Wizards front office) and Kevin Pritchard (Indiana Pacers) also haven’t signed up because of their ongoing seasons.

“If I had something I would say to everybody (it’s that) I’m really disappointed I can’t be there,” said Barry, whose new job responsibilities prevent him from attending. “I was at the 20-year reunion and had a great time.

“We ended up winning it all that year, so they should fly us in all the time,” he joked. “Knowing a lot of the team won’t be able to make it there took a lot of pressure off me to where I feel I’m not letting anybody down. I want to try to reconnect with Kansas basketball. Being overseas as long as I was, I wasn’t privy to a lot of opportunities to be with the team. I’m glad Bill (Self) is keeping the tradition together and bringing back the former players. It’s a super opportunity for guys who played there to feel appreciated for what you did for your school. I’d love to thank Kansas as a school for giving me all these opportunities and memories.”

Greene honored: Kansas University basketball signee Brannen Greene has been named Mr. Georgia Basketball as presented by the Atlanta Tipoff Club. Greene, a 6-7 forward from Tift County HIgh in Tifton, Ga, is averaging 29 points a game.

Comments

Jeff Soisson 1 year, 10 months ago

OK, not sure a six seed ever won the tourney and I am sure someone will correct me but I remember Chris Piper for his 'D' as does the now Travis Releford. Role players and guys we would not have won without-well done. You Rock!

BainDread 1 year, 10 months ago

Villanova won it all as an 8 seed in 1985, and North Carolina State as a 6 seed in 1983.

bgthemanofsteel 1 year, 10 months ago

And, of course, a 6 seeded Arizona stole our National title in 97.

bgthemanofsteel 1 year, 10 months ago

Actually, just looked it up. Arizona was a 4 seed. My mistake.

Suzi Marshall 1 year, 10 months ago

AZ and '97 are words that should never be spoken together. I was tempted to hit the "suggest removal" tab.

ffletch 1 year, 10 months ago

I was going to say Arizona was a 4 seed, but you got it... That game was gut wrenching.

ku_foaf 1 year, 10 months ago

I was there in Birmingham, it was rough. We had some pretty fast guys (Pierce, Vaughn, LaFrentz), but Mike Bibby and Miles Simon were faster. Bibby remains the fasted player I've ever seen in a live game! Andre Turner of Memphis State was also like that in the Fieldhouse around 1982.

Mike Bratisax 1 year, 10 months ago

That loss is still the most painful loss of all for me with the 2003 coming in 2nd.

Scott MacWilliams 1 year, 10 months ago

Scooter Barry played to age 40?!?!?! How often does that happen in professional hoops? Okay, it wasn't the NBA, but I love hearing about that kind of longevity doing what he obviously loved doing.
And how many 11-loss teams have won the NC???

I lived in Oklahoma for about 12 years before returning to KU in 1988, so I had a lot of friends at both places. When I went back down to Norman for a visit in May, 1988, I went to a party and didn't say a word to anyone about the Jayhawks to anyone of my buddies there. NOTHING! Finally after about an hour, this one guy just yelled at me: "WELL?? Aren't you going to say something about KU winning??" I just smiled at him, patted him on the back, and said, "No, Mark, I don't need to." Man, he was just smoke out the ears at me. Great times...

As always and forever, Rock Chalk!!!

Jim Roth 1 year, 10 months ago

One NCAA champion had 11 losses.

Two had 10 losses (NCState '83, Villanova '85).

Three had 9 losses.

Joseph Kuebel 1 year, 10 months ago

Ya, he recently beat their best player, Kidd-gilchrist, one-on-one at the age of 50. The rest of the team was watching. Clearly, the GOAT.

jgkojak 1 year, 10 months ago

I think its even more interesting to look at the fact that KS was highly ranked coming into the 87-88 season - if in November you had said "Kansas will win the championship" it would be a little like if this year you said "Syracuse will win the championship" - not mind blowing.

Its the injuries and suspensions that drove us into that losing streak and Brown's and Manning's brilliance that brought us back.

Michael Luby 1 year, 10 months ago

I remember watching the '88 title game. It was the first time I really became interested in KU basketball, and basketball in general for that matter. Havent looked back since. The college game is and always will be my favorite sport. Its not without its faults, to be sure, but IMHO it is the last of the highly televised sports to remain pure. Of course there are occurrances that cause certain teams like UMass and Memphis to vacate their wins, but for the most part its who has the best team at the end will win and not who has the most money to buy the best players.

Kip_McSmithers 1 year, 10 months ago

I asked the same thing last week. I like hearing about CF, so why not the other future Jayhawks?

MinnesotaJay 1 year, 10 months ago

I lived in the Midwest most of my life, except for a little less than one year when I was working in New York. It just so happens that I was in NY in late 1987 when the Jayhawks came to the Garden (Madison Square Garden) to face St. Johns in what was a rematch from the season before. In the first matchup, we won on a couple of Keith Harris foul shots with no time on the clock. I didn't live in New York then, but by a twist of fate, was there on a business trip and caught that amazing game.

I also saw the game in late '87. The game was close when, with a couple of minutes before the end of the first half, Archie Marshall went down with a broken leg. Anybody who's ever been to a game in the Garden knows how brutal that crowd is. When play was stopped, I think there weren't too many people who really cared all that much that he was hurt. At least, it didn't seem so to me. They had to carry Archie off, and I remember thinking it looked pretty bad, but I didn't realize at the time that he'd actually broken it, effectively putting an end to his college career. (The loss, by about 20 points, also cost me about $60 in champagne which I had to pay off to my boss, a St. Johns fan).When I learned the news, I remember thinking that the chances of a title run, which had seemed respectable, had just dropped to close to zero.

The team went into a tailspin, but gradually began to stabilize, then improved to the point of playing pretty well as the Tournament approached. Still, I remember thinking that at the rate they seemed to be improving, they would actually have a chance to win the thing if it would start a month later. But amazingly, after the Tournament started, the team seemed to be improving at warp speed one game to the next. It was like they were being chased down by a pack of wolves, because there was no way you could feel comfortable about any one of those games, at the same time that they were chasing after the golden fleece. Like Scooter Barry said, they caught some breaks with teams getting knocked off. I think by the time we got into the finals, we really were the best team, but that we were a lot better than we were at the beginning of the Tournament. The stars truly did line up just right.

ku_foaf 1 year, 10 months ago

I remember that game, and I had nearly forgotten it was that same season. I believe Max said Larry Brown shed tears on the floor when he saw how he was hurt. I also remember the crew implying the crowd intimidated the refs to the point where they might actually fear for their safety!

KULA 1 year, 10 months ago

Danny and Larry were actually the miracles that year and the rest of the guys were good role players who did their job.

Dirk Medema 1 year, 10 months ago

Larry and Danny obviously were huge, but we don't make it past KSU without Larry and Scooter. KSU was sagging off Gueldner on Danny, and Jeff couldn't hit a 3. Larry told Scooter to step in and take/make the shorter J, which he did. Just as much as the increased D, Scooters J's were a nice O boost, but even more it opened up the middle for Danny to continue his magic.

Jack Wilson 1 year, 10 months ago

Not to nitpick, but I'd argue that Newton and Pritchard were well above role players. Newton dropped 20 vs. Duke in the semis.

Sam Constance 1 year, 10 months ago

He also put in 15 in the title game on perfect shooting from the field.

jhox 1 year, 10 months ago

I have to agree with HEM, Newton and Pritchard were very key players on that team.Next to Manning the most important. Newton had a very solid tournament. Piper was a solid defender and role player, and passed well from that position.

Normore was a guy on a KU football scholarship, who Brown added to the team for some added depth. I think there was a second football player that was added as well. Normore was a big key in the championship game, hitting some big, timely shots.

Another key, if I'm not mistaken, I believe Manning had something like 18 rebounds in the championship game. He did that against a tall team, and probably the most athletic team in the country. I don't believe anyone has ever had as impressive of a championship game as Manning had that year. It is mind boggling how well he played that night.

jhox 1 year, 10 months ago

Marvin Mattox was the other scholarship football player on that team. I just saw his name on the reunion list.

Sam Constance 1 year, 10 months ago

Next to someone as talented as Danny, everyone has a tendency to look like a role player. But I would second suggestions that Milt and Kevin were both solid players in their own right. If you are curious...

Pritchard was drafted 34th in the 1990 draft and played for six years in the NBA. This was after being a double-digit scorer for KU in all but his freshman year. In fact, his Junior and Senior years were actually quite impressive:

66 games

14.5 points/gm

4.7 assists/gm

2.4 TOs/gm

1.96 A/TO ratio

51.6% from the field

42.6% from three

As far as Newton goes... he never played in the League, but made a nice career out of playing overseas. Plus, the year after Manning left, Newton was the team captain and averaged something like 17 pts and 5 rebs per game. I wouldn't expect a role player to succeed in that kind of leading role.

jaybate 1 year, 10 months ago

Scooter Barry needs hoops. Hoops needs the Scoot. And his kids need him more.I hope his biz goes well, but if not, then I hope he coaches for Roy, or LB. He has that something extra for hoops that all the Barry's have. A guard playing to 40 is amazing. Know he is not the only one, but it's still remarkable.

leonard 1 year, 10 months ago

Some snippets from Ken Johnson's "KU Basketball Newsletterf".

-- In the preseason, there were high expectations for the Jayhawks. Basketball Times picked KU #1, the Sporting News had them second, and the APO picked us #7 in the first poll.

All American Danning Manning was back for his last year, along with returning starters Chris Piper, a 6’8 forward, and sophomore guard Kevin Pritchard. Back after a year layoff with a broken leg was 6’6 swing forward Archie Marshall, who was a starter on the powerful 1986 team. Three highly touted Juco transfers, 6’10 Marvin Branch, 6’0 Otis Livingston, and 6’3 guard Lincoln Minor were also on board. Other returnees with promise were 6’4 forward Milt Newton, 6’4 guard Scooter Barry and 6’5 F/G Jeff Gueldner...

The Jayhawks got off to a rocky start, losing two of their first three games in the Maui Classic. They then started building steam, winning the next seven. In the second game of the Holiday Classic, they faced St. John’s, a team they had beaten three weeks earlier. With a 21-20 lead, Archie Marshall got hit and went down with torn ligaments, ending his collegiate career. KU couldn’t get on track and lost the game, sending their record to 8-3 and down to 18th in the polls.

They adjusted and won their next three, including the conference opener against missouri. On January 13th, the first day of the second semester, Marvin Branch was declared academically ineligible. With two starters now gone, the Jayhawks lost to Iowa State in Hilton Coliseum and four of their next five games, putting their record at 12-8 (1-4 in the Big 8) and out of the polls...

Then things started to jell as the Hawks son their next five conference games before losing to #6 Duke after storming to a 23-8 lead on national TV, and then to #4 Oklahoma in Norman. They then won their next four games before losing to Kansas State in the second round of the conference tournament, to finish the regular season 21-11, and third place in the Big 8 at 9-5. Pritchard strained a knee in the tournament..

Now unranked, KU got a #6 seed, paired against #18 Xavier with a 26-3 record. Pritchard played with his gimpy knee taped and led the team to a 85-72 victory. In a nail biter, KU then squeaked by 15th seed Murray State 61-58, and by 7th seeded Vanderbilt 77-64 to reach the final eight. They were joined by Big 8 foes, K-State and Oklahoma, both of which had beaten KU twice earlier in the season. Early in the second half KSU went up by seven, before KU’s defense started taking control. In the last ten minutes, KU turned the game into a runaway 71-58 victory and a trip to the Final Four in Kansas City... --

http://hoopszone.net/Kentucky/Kansas/Season/1988.htm

Eric Dawson 1 year, 10 months ago

SF Archie Marshall (Jr) was not a starter on the 1986 Final Four team that went 35-4. The starters were PG Cedric Hunter (Jr), SG Calvin "Pony" Thompson (Sr), SF Ron Kellogg (Sr), PF Danny Manning (So) and C Greg Dreiling (Sr). Archie and PG Mark Turgeon (Jr) were the 1-2 punch off the otherwise short KANSAS bench. Archie and Mark were vital contributors to that great squad, my all-time favorite.

robertson4ku 1 year, 10 months ago

My favorite KU team as well. That's the KU team that got me interested in watching Jayhawk basketball!

BainDread 1 year, 10 months ago

I have always wondered what that team, and Ron Kellogg in particular, could have done if the three-point shot had been in effect at that time.

ku_foaf 1 year, 10 months ago

True...what was so cool was Archie could come in the team did not miss a beat!

April13 1 year, 10 months ago

They beat a fourteen, an eleven, a seven, a four, a two and a one to win the title. I'm actually a little tired of hearing people minimize the accomplishment.

OU was 1988's version of the Kentucky's team from last year - the big bullies on the block. The difference was that Danny couldn't be stopped.

hawk_of_ages 1 year, 10 months ago

Yeah, Oklahoma had knocked off the Sean Elliott-Steve Kerr Arizona Wildcats in the semifinal, which was a very imposing team in its own right. I lived in Tulsa at the time; when I wore my KU shirt to school that fateful Monday, all my OU friends tried to draw me into betting on the title game. But, I'm embarrassed to say, I thought we had no chance against the Sooner juggernaut, so I passed -- obviously a decision I regret to this day.

leonard 1 year, 10 months ago

Danny and the Miracles...Mario's Miracle Shot...how 'bout JoJo's "near" miracle in 1966?

-- After defeating SMU 76-70 in the first game of the NCAA Tourney in Lubbock, Texas, the Jayhawks faced Texas-Western (now UTEP). In only his ninth outing as a Jayhawk, JoJo played a phenomenal game, although his teammates were sluggish. For the first time since White joined the team, Kansas played a tight game. The Miners led by three at halftime, 38-35. JoJo put Kansas back in contention with a three-point play with 38 seconds remaining, sending the game into overtime tied at 69.

With time running down in overtime, the Jayhawks decided to put their fate in the hands of JoJo, a sophomore with only eight games of major-college experience. Owens said, “We inbounded it to him, and as he started to penetrate, Texas Western did a good job of pushing him to the sideline. He pivoted on the sideline, and with one second to go, hit a 35-foot jumper”, apparently winning the Midwestern Region title for KU. The Jayhawks were staring at a victory and Final Four trip. “We were going nuts, and everybody jumped up and grabbed each other.” The jubilation ended quickly, however, when referee Rudy Marich waved the basket off, saying that White stepped on the out-of-bounds line.

The Jayhawks just couldn’t get back on track after that, and bowed in the second overtime 81-80. The Miners, an all-black team, went on to defeat the all-white Kentucky team for the ’66 national championship. -- http://hoopszone.net/Kentucky/Kansas/Season/1966%20final%20team%20statistics.htm

"Kansas was the best team we faced, by far. If we hadn’t beaten Kansas, they could have won the national championship." -- Miners coach Don Haskins

1 year, 10 months ago

I remember watching the '88 National Championship game in the 5th floor commons area at McCollum Hall with about 100 of us residents gathered around a 19" TV. We ran to Jayhawk Blvd as quick as we could to celebrate the victory, with some of the fans mimicking OU's low five. Great times! :^)

FearlessJayhawk 1 year, 10 months ago

With just a hair's bit of luck, KU could easily be hanging three more NCAA banners in Allen. Not only the 66 game which I remember well, but the one point lose to Indiana in 53 and the triple overtime loss to NC in 55.

ohjayhawk 1 year, 10 months ago

And, don't forget the 3 point loss to Syracuse in 2003.

BainDread 1 year, 10 months ago

...when the Jayhawks missed 18 free-throws!

justinryman 1 year, 10 months ago

I became a KU fan 2 years before this '88 title. My dad was a HS assistant coach and had went to a Larry Brown coaching clinic and brought back that team photo with a copy of everyones autograph, I still have it in a box somewhere. I got a hat and a tshirt too. I was hooked.

And the kicker is I grew up in a small Nebraska town where NU football was more important than most anything else. I stood alone as a Jayhawk in a see of red and I have never thought twice about it.

Speaking of Scooter Barry. The inaugural Big12 Title football game in StL., my room mates had an extra ticket to the game so I went with them. Here I am in Stl. wearing a KU sweat shirt hours before the game. We are looking for something to eat before the game and this guy starts yelling, "Hey KU guy" over and over. Thinking we were gonna get in a fight my roomies leave me for dead. Well he was a KU alum and gives me 4 tickets to the commissioners brunch. Ha to my roomies. So we go. I am talking KU basketball with a reporter and I say the name scooter Barry, and this large hand grabs my shoulder and it was Bob Frederick, the AD at KU at the time. I almost missed kickoff talking KU sports with him.

So thats my story. Rock Chalk

KUFan90 1 year, 10 months ago

Did you really have to use a black and white photo? You know we did have the technology to take color pictures back then right? : )

KUFan90 1 year, 10 months ago

On the website? Weird...here is what I see:

justinryman 1 year, 10 months ago

Oh sorry, the picture I have at home of this team with the photo copy autographs below the pic. That is in color, sorry for the confusion.

IkePikeHawk 1 year, 10 months ago

On the eve of the tournament, there were concerns that Pritchard would be able to play the first game. Another player left the team at this time. Does anyone recall his name? I wonder if he will make the festivities?

Perhaps, this team spent all it's bad luck during the season and saved the good luck for the last. It was very satisfying in route to the title to beat the three teams that defeated us in Allen that season-Kansas State, Duke and Oklahoma.

1 year, 10 months ago

Regarding the player who left the team, are you thinking of Otis Livingston?

http://www.hoopszone.net/Kansas/Kansas/Players/L/livingston-otis.htm

BainDread 1 year, 10 months ago

Yes, Livingston had started some games earlier in the season, but got in Brown's doghouse. He played a couple of minutes in the last regular season game, but Brown suspended him before the Big-8 post season tournament and he never returned to the team. I don't know if the permanent separation was forced or voluntary.

Tony Bandle 1 year, 10 months ago

I watched that game in my house alone and cheered them onto victory,

However, my Dad taped the game and gave me a VCR tape copy. The televsion reception wasn't the best and my folks home was near Lambert airport, so when a plane flew overhead, the picture would flip and go grainy for awhile..

I have clean, beautifully reproduced DVDs of that game...yet, whenever I watch it, I always go back to Dad's old VCR tape, grainy interruptions and all, and I thank the Lord my dad directed me to Kansas and made me a Jayhawk!!

PS "Big Bill", as me and my four brothers lovingly refer to him, turned 90 in December...and still hates Mizzou with all of his heart!! :)

Dirk Medema 1 year, 10 months ago

No mention of Larry recruiting the football players to provide "practice" players when they ran low on eligible, healthy bodies. Clint Normore was one of those guys, and ended up playing significant minutes at the point in relief of Pritchard. But the best was when he broke up the crossing pattern, errr, stuffed Harvey Grant at the rim to reject his dunk. Who cares if he got a foul. Football on hardwood!

Jack Wilson 1 year, 10 months ago

Normore with 7 points, two three pointers .. just when we needed it.

Woody Cragg 1 year, 10 months ago

You're right, Normore was huge for them. Speaking of FBallers who played big for KU, I wonder how Vernon Vanoy is these days. He was a DT for the Packers & Giants after his years in Lawrence.

GortHawker 1 year, 10 months ago

This is going to date me , but so what. I was there for that 1988 season, we lost to KState at home that year and I'll never forget the knot in my stomach, we got payback in the regionals against them, Lon Kruger had a great team with the likes of Mitch Richmomd, we lost to Ok twice that year and had to face them in the championship, the cherry on this whole cake was the " GAME " was played in KC. Billy Packer after the first half ( 50 to 50) ) tie said I've never seen a better half of basketball. I think Manning had a triple double, I was there folks, and it was great seeing The Tubster, Billy Tubbs and Stacy King about to cry, they thought we were just going to roll over, but we didn't. Go Hawks!

BainDread 1 year, 10 months ago

KU split the regular season games with KSU, each winning on the road, but KSU beat KU in the post season tournament. Of course KU also lost both league games to OU, and KU also lost to Duke during the regular season. So in the last three games of the tournament, the Jayhawks went 3-0 against teams they had gone 1-5 against during the regular season.

GortHawker 1 year, 10 months ago

I can see you been around almost as long as I have, remember which team member KU got that season as a walk on from the football team, who contributed a three pointer in the game?

BainDread 1 year, 10 months ago

As noted in several posts above, the answer to your question is Clint Normore.

Bob Bailey 1 year, 10 months ago

Have been a proponent of "free throw muscle memory" for a long time. Last time it came up, Scooter Barry admitted that he had coached a bunch of pro's who were bad on free rhrows (teaching muscle memory). He said he improved a lot of them from about 60% up to about 80%. Don't know if it was Scooter posting or someone else quoting him.

Good enough for me to appreciate his effort. And if you have watched our last 3 or 4 teams shoot free throws, perhaps you can see the effect of muscle memory. Jeff Withey is our current leader in the art.

We still have trouble with some of the freshmen who haven't been enlightened. In a lot of people, it works!

Woody Cragg 1 year, 10 months ago

That's pretty cool. Did he teach them under handed like his Dad? Rick Barry was about the best FT shooter I can remember. He's probably still top 5% all time. Can't recall if the granny style shot improved Wilt, but he was awful & tried many different styles. Any of you guys remember Hal Greer of Philly jump shooting FTs? He was darn good at it.

Tony Bandle 1 year, 10 months ago

If I remember correctly, didn't Scooter missd the back end of a one and one and they showed his Dad, Rick, in the stands who looked like someone had just shot him in the gut after his son's miss!!!

Steve Gantz 1 year, 10 months ago

When I came to KU in '85 I really didn't realize I was walking onto a campus with such a storied tradition. I cut my teeth on college ball in the 70's and apparently KU wasn't much of a factor then, especially from the Chicago suburbs where I lived. So it was a surprise to come to Lawrence and hear all of this basketball talk.

I went to Late Night with Larry Brown and I was hooked. '86 could have been the year but...

'87 was a year of adjustment replacing the superstars of '86. Don't remember much from that season to be honest except losing to Georgetown in the Sweet 16.

'88 some promise, but I remember not being all that amped up about it. I thought Archie was overrated, didn't figure we had much besides Danny.

At the end of the KState loss the alumni side of the gym all started leaving early, the first loss many of us had ever witnessed on campus. As they were leaving early all of us students started chanting "don't come back"!

Monday April 2nd was also opening day for baseball, the best of both worlds for me. After the game we headed up to campus. If you had no clue what had just happened you'd have sworn that there was a major riot happening on campus. It was wild fun, people climbing statues, poles, anything. We were out there til two or three, walked campus one more time and the drive through campus was a mess!

A few weeks later I graduated. I entered the stadium everyone stood up and cheered. I thought why are they cheering for me? I turned around and Danny was about 10 people behind me in line!

Jack Wilson 1 year, 10 months ago

"Monday April 2nd was also opening day for baseball" -- George Bell takes Saberhagen deep three times. Somehow, at the end of the day, I didn't care.

Steve Gantz 1 year, 10 months ago

Well the Sox in my name shows where my allegiance lies, so I didn't care much either. But thanks for reminding me the Sox gave up Sammy Sosa for George Bell a few years later!

Jack Wilson 1 year, 10 months ago

No problem .. we gave up Sabes for Jeffries, McReynolds and one other guy I can't remember. At least the Sox have a title since then. I loved Old Comisky .. second to old Tiger Stadium in my book. I liked both more than Wrigley. Now, the neighborhoods around Comisky? Another story. I felt a touch "at risk."

Steve Brown 1 year, 10 months ago

fabulous from the home loss in AFH to KState, apparantly dooming us to NIT, to the Midwest regional in Detroit, where a number of us watched both KU & State win with Mitch Richmond from our bar stools in Tanner's on 119th to the scalper ticket I had upper level at Kemper, to the team hotel standing next to Dave Robisch waiting on the team to return as they snuck in the back door, with the same bus driver as they had in Michigan. What fun times.

Then Larry left us and we thought sky was falling, yet it was only a new day dawning. RCJHKU.

JayHawkFanToo 1 year, 10 months ago

Compared to the writing from athletes (including our own) that we are normally exposed to, this kid is a veritable Shakespeare.

Jack Wilson 1 year, 10 months ago

Thanks for the link. It's clear that his visit left an impression. I'm sure it increased our odds. The best part was that he was convinced he could win a title here .. in his interview with ESPN a few months back, he said that was the most important factor. But if is thinking "me" .. then "me" says KU. He'll be a focal point in the post, possibly more than any other potential landing spot (combining need with offensive focus).

And the environment was nuts. Hope he saw the KSU game on TV, too.

Now it's wait and see.

Ethan Berger 1 year, 10 months ago

Have to say, no matter what school he chooses, he deserves the best wishes. I like how is shutting down coaches visits just so he can make a choice on his own and not be guilted into going to a school. He would be a great rep for KU but he seems like such a good kid that no matter he goes, he deserves to be happy. Luckily we have the best strength coach out there, might be what gets him to KU.

Tony Bandle 1 year, 10 months ago

Had the three point rule had been in effect [ it was adopted by the NCAA in the fall of 1986], we would have probably won a championship in the spring of 1986 as well!!

Tony Bandle 1 year, 10 months ago

PS I bet "Pipes" wishes he had some of that hair back..LOL

idahawk 1 year, 10 months ago

Another cool tidbit about that '88 Championship game beside the sweet revenge already alluded to was that the half-time score was 50 to 50 and it was THE 50TH anniversary of the NCAA championship! Amazing coincidence and one of the most amazing halves of basketball in the modern era.

1 year, 10 months ago

This is kind of a cool recollection of the '87-'88 season...

http://www.ncaatop25.com/1988.htm

idahawk 1 year, 10 months ago

Thanks for the link, tx. Somewhere, I have my original tapes of those last four games. It's been years since I've watched them, but this weekend is as good a time as ever. Whenever I have in the past I get goosebumps watching Manning dominate, almost toying with every opponent. What a show he put on in that tournament!

BainDread 1 year, 10 months ago

After the 1988 season, the LJW published "Against All Odds - How Kansas Won the 1988 NCAA Championship" by Chuck Woodling, their sports editor at the time. It was distributed by the University Press of Kansas. It is an excellent, detailed account of the whole season, including box scores of every game, lots of photographs, and a sixteen-page center section of color photographs. It may be out of print, but I'm sure you can find used copies (not mine!) for sale on the internet.

The cover has a photo of Larry Brown and Danny Manning embracing at the end of the NC game. My wife got Danny to autograph the cover when Tulsa played at USD this season. Now we have to get to an SMU game and get Coach Brown's signature to make it complete.

hawk_of_ages 1 year, 10 months ago

I'll have to hunt that one down. Another book that never gets mentioned is John Feinstein's follow-up to "A Season on the Brink" -- it's called "A Season Inside." It gives a behind-the-scenes look at the whole '88 season in college basketball, including lots of great detail about Larry, Danny, Archie, and the KU title run.

Jack Jones 1 year, 10 months ago

While I unfortunately don't have the videos from the '88 NCAA final three games, I do have the audio cassette tapes put out by KU of the Kansas State, Duke and OKLAHOMA Championship game > which I pull out a couple of times each year > still as exciting as the first time. I also recall sitting in my dad's '55 Ford, when I was working in the oilfields of West Texas following HS graduation trying to listen, with extremely poor radio reception, the triple-overtime NC game. Thanks for all the memories you all are sharing. And on a somewhat related note > wasn't that the best to see Danny and his family at the 3-consective loss, K.St game > right up there with Roy sitting behind the KU bench in 2008.

Jack Wilson 1 year, 10 months ago

My optimism for this season has risen back to its peak .. from our December high. The rough three game stretch has forged our character. I posted (prematurely) prior the OU game a guarantee of victory and lots of reasons why. Again, one game early.

We can beat any team. I've watched all of the top teams closely. No one is "better."

The two most important things in my small brain going forward for this team, that were illustrated very obviously from Wednesday's game --- one that needs to be fixed, one that needs to be emphasized -- McLemore and Releford.

McLemore -- when OSU worked to take him away, we allowed it. Many stretches where we simply failed to get him the ball. But more importantly, we weren't doing much to help him create. Isolate, screen, etc. It was all in the offensive flow. That's fine, I guess. But we have an offensive super star. And we're an offensively challenged team. Personally, I think we could have worked harder to ensure McLemore was an offensive force, and to work to get him the ball.

Releford -- I watched in amazement Wednesday. I'm still amazed. Quite simply, we need "that" Travis Releford the rest of the season. I don't pretend to understand the NBA game. I don't care to. But a guy who is 6'6", can defend, can hit the open shot, and who can get to the rack and finish -- he has to have an NBA future. More importantly, and I know that I may be accused of overstating this, he is the exact kind of guy that could lead a team to a title. He is a game changer. The best finisher in the college game right now (that I've seen).

BainDread 1 year, 10 months ago

Looking at the team photo again, I realized I had completely forgotten that Mark Randall was on the team but took a medical redshirt that season. In the photo, he is on the left end of the back row. Sean Alvarado was also a redshirt that year. He is next to Randall on the back row.

A couple of interesting notes I discovered about Clint Normore that I had forgotten was that he started out playing both football and basketball at Wichita State, then transferred to KU after WSU dropped their football program. Also, he missed the first eight games of the season because he was recovering from a broken hand from a football injury.

kuno1fan 1 year, 10 months ago

I was a junior when KU won in 1988. This all brings back some great memories. There is a documentary coming out next month celebrating the 25th anniversary of 'Danny and the Miracles'. If you are a Jayhawk fan then I don't think you will want to miss it. The link below is to a promo site that will update you with TV airing dates when available. You will also be notified when the DVD, smartphone and tablet apps are available.

http://themiraclesmovie.com/

I can't wait to see this.

jayhawkchicago1988 1 year, 10 months ago

The site/link looks good, can't wait to see the whole movie. When is it released?

kufaninmo 1 year, 10 months ago

“Larry’s big thing was, just stick with Oklahoma long enough to where we are in the game the last two minutes, then Danny will take care of it, and Oklahoma will be nervous because they don’t get in that situation often. He was right,” Barry said. “We stuck with it until the end. Oklahoma was in an awkward position, and we were able to win.”

This is quite the quote! I would've never guessed that was the strategy going into this game but hey, it worked out!

Yonatan Negash 1 year, 10 months ago

I guess I was wrong, it appears that Julius Randle has made a decision to come to Kansas. I know, it's not official yet but the writing is on the wall. With Randle Kansas is going to be a treat to watch next year. Great job to our coaching staff for making this happen.

jaybate 1 year, 10 months ago

Miscellaney OTR (On the Run):

Part 1

~I watched the '88 championship in the Hollywood Hills on what was then considered a very large screen, rear projection TV. The screen wasn't so large, but the rear projections was roughly the size of the Spruce Goose. It was one of those one story modernist houses with a sunken living room. I remember after the win, a bunch of us jumped up, ran out through the open sliding glass doors and jumped into the swimming pool. It was a great way to celebrate, even though it was cold as hell for swimming in LA.

~I didn't get to post much about KU removing Okie State's heart after two overtimes, because of travelling without a battery charger for the iBate. It was a towering victory over a teeny coach. KU played very well, and so did the Cowbuddies, but of course KU was better and deserved to win. KU shot very poorly, or KU would have won by my pregame prediction of KU by 8. OSU is coached to cheap shot in devious ways. Travis Ford revealed his lack of character yet again. His players did not rely on the forearm smash to the face, but shifted to the neck chop, the kidney punch, the nut punch, the open court trip from behind, the eye gouge, and endless other types of XTReme Cheap Shotting Lites. To KU's credit, almost all OSU cheap shotting was answered with eye scratching, run unders, neck chops, and my favorite of all, Kevin Young's magnificiently blatent trap block on Marcus Smart that put him down the way a cheap shot artist of Smart's stature ought to be put down. Self deserved an Oscar for his performance of being upset with Kevin Young for doing what he had apparently been coached to do. I was so grateful to see 185 lb.Kevin Young use the trap block with shoulder driving into Smart coming by the pick, because it is not an instinctive, reactive foul, but rather a move developed after watching hours of video on what part of the court that blocky, wide 225 pound Smart could be knocked off his feet. No KU player is strong enough to up end Smart straight up. Smart had to be studied to find where he tends to stand straight up. Kevin appeared to coil his length and make contact and then uncoil to get the desired lift that put Marcus Smart down. And my how Smart deserved it. He had been tripping, head butting, shoulder driving, and chopping his way from the beginning.

jaybate 1 year, 10 months ago

Part 2

Like most really talented young bullies, Smart retained his outer cockiness and sank his free throws, but from that moment, he was never the same. He was like Japan after General Doolittle reached out and touched them for only 30 seconds over Tokyo. Suddenly, the supremely confident Japanese realized they were no longer beyond the reach of the gaijin in the USA. From the moment that Kevin Young put Marcus Smart down, Marcus Smart understood that though he was a terrific player and a 6-4 225 stud, the skinny guys were going to screw with him the rest of the game. Smart knew it was no longer going to be a free ride as it had been in Lawrence. Smart heard footsteps the rest of the game and for good reason. Because KU began to treat him the XTReme Guerilla Warfare. Though Self won the Oscar for sitting KY, the abuse against Smart never relented, as it never should have relented. Smart by the end of the game looked like any of Muhammad Ali's opponents early in the great Ali's career as the fight reached the 8-9th rounds. Wounds were opened and then surgically widened. Any where Marcus Smart showed pain, or injury, the Jayhawks returned to intensify the pain and injury with deft blows during the period when the whistle swallowing went on. And KU let OSU initiate the XTReme Cheap Shotting in each whistle swallowing phase of the game. But then KU began to relentlessly take the cheap shotting to OSU. What KU players did to Marcus Smart had all the beauty of Ali opening the cut on the brow of an opponent and then endlessly peppering it until the opponent was blinded in one eye. And then KU started trying to open more wounds. And then KU, like Ali, began to search for the knock out punch that finally took him down. Smart is a great, great, great player, playing for a coach who was not smart enough to know how to protect his great great player. Travis Ford threw away the rule book in Lawrence for one win without knowing what to do when the consequences came. Marcus Smart deserves a better coach than Travis Ford. He deserves a man who knows how to protect him. But now it is open season on Marcus Smart and will remain so for the rest of the season. Now everyone that has lost to Okie State, or not yet played them, will know how to go after them. Marcus Smart is the head. You cut off the head and the body dies. The way you cut off Smart's head is with relentless, unexpected scalpel work.

jaybate 1 year, 10 months ago

Part 3

There is no way to protect Marcus Smart now from what Travis Ford has unleashed up on him. The only way out for Marcus Smart is the NBA. He is a marked man now. Every second of every game he will have to be watching out, looking over his shoulder, trying not to move as he always has in his life when crossing over picks. Now everyone knows that even a 185 pounder can floor him with a 45 degree angle shoulder drive with some extention as he rounds a pick. Rest assured that B12 coaches will run that play over and over for players to see. "This is how you deal with big bad Marcus Smart," they will say. "You blind side him and trap block him with a little extention and down he goes like the straw man in the Wizard of Oz." And Marcus Smart should blame Travis Ford for putting him in this situation. Welcome to D1, Marcus. You deserved better.

~All that being said about Smart and Ford, I do believe that Okie State and KU are now two of the best teams in the country. Both are massively underrated and both would handily beat any of the teams ranked ahead of them on an average three point shooting night. I can hardly wait for Madness, and no I am not looking forward to having to play Okie State in the B12 tournament. To beat them, we will have to do the exact same thing to them again and shoot better. Cobbins is a terrific player. Brown is very good. And Smart is one of those guys that comes along once in a great while. Two draft choices and a good supporting cast, plus a few breaks in MUA, and one or two upsets of higher seeds, and OSU is in the Final Four. I now hate Ford, but think he and his team are dangerous. I look at them the same way I do a rattle snake on a hike.

~EJ made many fine plays, but bottom line he choked massively on two FTs and then pulled his increasingly predictable bone head follow up on defense after screwing up offensively. EJ is such a positive, now that he is regaining some pop, but his next goal has to be a visit to a sports psychologist to get a rule for what to do after he chokes on offense. We could barely stand the chokes on offense, if he wouldn't chase them with a defensive bone head. He's got to learn to partition emotionally. And he has to do it now!!!

~Withey is just taking incredible beatings I frankly doubted he could take this year. But he is one tough LowCal guy. Screw the volley ball propaganda. Withey has acquired incredible determination. His consistency is perhaps his most admirable quality. He just keeps trying on defense. He just keeps trying on offense. And people are not seeing how much punishment he is taking. They are getting him everywhere all the time.

oldalum 1 year, 10 months ago

Even from the refs. I couldn't believe that last(?) foul he got on a block. He must have been a good foot behind the guy and reached out for the ball. He didn't even touch the guy's hand on the ball. But he still got the whistle. Sometimes I think the refs just don't think anyone is able to do what Jeff does, so they figure he must have fouled and they just didn't see it.

jaybate 1 year, 10 months ago

Part 4

~Travis finally showed an offensive pair. His layups, especially his reverses demonstrated an awesome command of English on the ball. People who talk about him not dunking are misunderstanding what he is doing. He could dunk in an aerial ballet any damned time he wanted to, but he understands that he can't lock down great players for an entire game AND dunk. He is saving his quads for defense. It is sooooooooo obvious. He has developed his spin moves and his command of english on his lay ups as a means of getting his buckets on the breaks without having to waist the energy budget on ensuring a strong finish with a jam. Really, what Travis is doing is a work of art. Ben proves over and over that his magnificient aerial work costs him on the defensive end. But that's okay for Ben, because Self has committed him to offense. The amazing theing about Travis is that he was able to do as much offensively as he did, and still guard anyone and everyone on the other side that needs hand cuffs. The last few games Travis has entered the most rarified air in defensive play at the 3. He is of late doing what Brandon Rush did. Self starts him on someone tough. He locks him. Come a huddle and Self says go lock down that other perimeter guy for a while and he does. Come another huddle and Self says, go lock their 4 for awhile. And he does. No one since Brandon has been able to do it. Not even Travis until this second semester. Everyone is in wet dream love with Mario Chalmers now, because he is playing with Lebron and has a ring and it makes us all proud that at least one guy off the '08 team has amounted to something. But Brandon Rush was the backbone of the '08 team. Brandon Rush was the everynight against anyone MUA on that team. Brandon Rush was the guy who Self could say "go sick'em" to anyone from the 1 to the 4 and Brandon put the guy in a black hole. Travis is now doing that. This is huge. HUGE. I don't know if Travis can go stay with a Kevin Durant the way Brandon did, not shut him down, but stay with him, but Travis is getting better and better on defense. Travis was an absolute man against OSU.

jaybate 1 year, 10 months ago

Part 5

~Kevin Young. He has been my Roy Hobbs from the begginning and he still is. Kevin Young was everywhere at once in that game. He made his usual goof ups, but what people have to understand is that when you are playing power forward at 185 pounds in the XTReme Muscle era, you have to gamble...ALL....THE....TIME. And when you gamble and live at the edge of the envelope, you screw up sometimes. It is not possible not to. Self has fecal hemmorhages about it, but then he turns to the bench and he's looking at guys who can't give him 3/4s what KY gives him, except...

~The Jam Tray seems like he is getting over the knee problems that his quilts have been betraying since late December. He actually almost exploded out of his position a few times. The Jam Tray is going to benefit from all the whistle swallowing aka Jay Bilas Syndrome that hits the Refs increasingly hard from February through the Madness. This is Jam Tray's time of year. He is still foul prone, but it doesn't matter anymore so long as he is in the whistle swallowing stretches of the game. He can become a great ace in the hole for Self on the defensive end and set some solid picks, if Self decides to recalibrate the spread hi-lo for him.

~Naadir Short Legs Tharpe also benefits mightily from playing during the no foul stretches. He can hand check and bump and grab from behind all he needs to to make up for what he lacks in slide length. A lot of folks have not figured out why EJ starts and Dir backsup. The reason is Self plays EJ when the whistles blow, and he plays Dir when they don't. This is the best of both worlds. Finally, Naadir really has learned to play good enough defense to play in the whistle blowing stretches some too. Naadir has become a D1 basketball player the last month. Naadir was right to say some people don't believe in him, but Self does. Naadir has earned the right to say that he can play and that others are wrong to doubt him. But he has to remember he has earned that right. He wasn't good enough to play for a long time. But because he has the getting better gene Self seems to be a savant at recognizinig, he has gotten better. And now we have two point guards--to loaves of ball handlers--nearly fully baked just in time for Chef' Bill's Madness feast. Naadir, not only can you guard adequately now, you occassionally put on a little pressure. And best of all, I think you now deserve the green light to go in and draw some fouls inside. You're trey shooting still stinks, but that's because you've had too much else on your plate to work on to get comfortable yet; that will come.

Go Hawks.

Now I want a piece of Fred.

I am sick and tired of Fred getting the best of Bill, even when KU wins.

Fred had his half witted muscle ballers put some intimidation on us last time.

Time to get out the scapels, and cut up another bunch of thugs IMHO.

Rock Flipping Chalk!!!!

HawksWin 1 year, 10 months ago

Nice summary JB! I never ever cared for Travis Ford, and now I know why. Initially, I thought he had a "little man" syndrome, but realized it was more than that, but couldn't put my finger on it. Thanks JB. I agree EJ needs to realign his head - to his old self before the knee debacle - and fast. Self took Naa to the land of "confidence" following the OSU game that only champion players go to understand. I feel better after reading your post because I had thought I saw a FF team in Dec, and wasn't quite sure with our consistently poor offensive performance. Let's hope our players stay healthy, and are toughening up their mental game because they will need it in March!

Michael Luby 1 year, 10 months ago

Hehehe, great stuff Jaybate! I especially agree about KY. That pick on Smart was freekin awesome! Major LOL moment. Now we just need Perry to break out a little bit to be our Aldrich from the 08 team, our 8th man surprize and we will be primed for a big run next month!

Steve Gantz 1 year, 10 months ago

If Murray St. makes a shot in the last few seconds we lose a 2nd round surprise. Danny got the RB, made the foul shots and we won by three.

Billy Tubbs after the game sounded like a 10 year old. "We know we're the better team" was what I remember him saying.

justinryman 1 year, 10 months ago

As I read above about all the memories of games and players past I can't wait to read the article:

"Where are they now"

What a better te to wrote it when there will be so many back and they can probably help connect to others.

mikehawk 1 year, 10 months ago

That year, living in Tulsa, my wife and I rode over to Stillwater when the 88 team played there with an OSU buddy. I think it was the point of the season we were 12 and 8. The game turned out to be a turning point that year as it was the first game Larry Brown basically turned the point over the Pritchard, moving him over from the two. On the way over to the game, I told my OSU friend who had gotten us the tickets that I thought KU could possibly win the tournament if they continued to improve. I thought his extreme mocking laughter was a bit overdone at my comment, but didn't say anything. Later, after we had won the national championship, he asked me how I could have possibly predicted we would eventually win the national championship. I then remembered his hysterical laughter to my comment and realized he thought I was talking about the NCAA tourney. Geez! Who could have predicted that then? I was talking about the Big 8 tournament! To this day he claims I was referring to the NCAA tournament, and I know I wasn't because it wasn't even a sensible consideration at that point in the season. Not only was it not a consideration then, I was actually relieved we even got into the field that year.

P. S. Who in the world beat Oklahoma that year at all? They lost three games to someone else besides us. Man, if you saw them that year, all you can say is they were a juggernaut.

Mark Wooden 1 year, 10 months ago

I agree with Danny that this nickname even though a media darling is a misnomer for this squad. There were a lot of guys that stepped up and did some little things to make this happen. Piper, Newton, Pritchard, Gueldner, and Randall that had solid careers and made this stretch of Jayhawks probably one of the best come along after the last few lean years of Coach Owens.

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