The Kansas University men's basketball team will wear 1988 throwback jerseys today against TCU as part of a 115 Years of KU Basketball celebration that will also honor the KU title team's 25-year anniversary. By Gary Bedore
When a college basketball coach speaks into a microphone, it's not too difficult to guess the forthcoming words. Winning coach: "First off, I'd just like to congratulate Whatsamatta U for a great effort tonight. That is one really well-coached basketball team. He does a terrific job with those kids." Losing coach: "We got great shots; we just weren't knocking them down tonight."
Ed Manning, assistant coach on Kansas University's 1988 national title team and Dave Robisch, star of the 1971 Final Four squad, shook hands with Darrell Arthur as KU's sophomore forward stepped onto the court for Friday's practice in Allen Fieldhouse.
Kevin Pritchard is convinced one of his teammates will join him atop an NBA franchise's front office. That would make three players or staffers from Kansas University's 1988 NCAA championship team to ascend to the top rung of an NBA team's executive ladder. "Milt (Newton) will be an NBA GM, no doubt about it," said Pritchard, general manager for the Portland Trail Blazers. "He will be a great GM."
It's been nearly 20 years since Chris Piper, Kevin Pritchard, Milt Newton, Jeff Gueldner and Danny Manning closed their last season together with six straight victories to win an NCAA championship. And they're still winning. The five starters from that 83-79 victory over Oklahoma in Kansas City, Mo., are continuing to post success in their professional pursuits, from basketball to banking, cars to custom-made glassware.
Tying up loose ends from KU's track meet-style win over Baylor Saturday night in Allen Fieldhouse. The Jayhawks overcame a slow start to have their most prolific 20-minute performance of the year after halftime, scoring 64 points in the second half.
Danny Manning, who led Kansas University's basketball team to the 1988 NCAA title, believes the 2007-08 Jayhawks have what it takes to cut down the nets April 7 in San Antonio. "Absolutely," KU assistant coach Manning said Wednesday. "But we are one of quite a few (teams) who could say the same thing."
Seems Danny Manning, basketball-player deluxe, is also a poet. And not a bad one at that. Get a load of the verse Kansas' 6-10 senior recited moments after the Jayhawks' resounding 83-79 national championship -- sounds sweet, doesn't it? -- victory over Oklahoma on Monday night at Kemper Arena: "To all the people who said it coulldn't be done ... we're national champions, we're No. 1 ... how do you like us now?" bellowed Manning, who somehow mustered the energy to create rhyme, following his one-for-the-ages 31-point, career-high 18-rebound effort.
He was the only Kansas basketball player who didn't step on the floor during the NCAA championship game. Marvin Mattox didn't care, though.
Wake me when it's over . . . "This has been a dream season," smiled Danny Manning. "Hopefully, the dream will last a little bit longer." One game . . . that's how close Kansas - remember when the Jayhawks were wondering if they'd receive an NIT bid? - is to its first NCAA basketball championship since 1952.