Reflecting back on some memorable misses in Kansas basketball history
We’re back for some more Monday morning “Ask Us Anything” action, and this week’s entry features mostly email inquiries.
Thanks to everyone who sent in questions, and, remember, if we didn’t get to your question this week, we’ll try to get it answered next week.
Keep the questions coming, too. We can never have too many and you can submit them in a bunch of different ways.
• via email to firstname.lastname@example.org
• on Twitter with the hashtag #AskKUSports or in response to one of our calls for questions or “Ask Us Anything” tweets
• in the comments section below this blog
• on our KUSports Facebook page
Let’s jump right in with a fun question from Daniel Sondreal, who asked, via email, for the top five misses I remember covering on the KU beat.
I love this question because it’s different.
Full disclosure: Dan’s a buddy of mine and we play basketball a couple of times a week with a great group – or at least we did before COVID-19 forced us to push pause on our pick-up games.
Beyond that, though, Dan’s one of the biggest hoops junkies I know. He loves the game, at all levels, and has a great appreciation for the game’s history, legendary players and top traditions.
In fact, Dan even gave his question a catchy title, calling it the Wilbur “Shooter” Flatch Award, named for the character in “Hoosiers” played by Dennis Hopper.
I spent a few days thinking about this question because it seemed like there would be so many potential answers. In the end, I decided to go with a mix of KU misses and key misses that KU benefited from.
Here’s the list, in chronological order.
• Wayne Simien’s missed turnaround against Bucknell in the 2005 NCAA Tournament
I was actually in Las Vegas for this game and didn’t really watch that closely. I was still on the high school beat back then, and, if you’ve never done the first weekend of the NCAA Tournament in Vegas, put it on your list and then you’ll see why I wasn’t fixated on any one game in particular.
That said, I was watching and you could tell the whole way that it was going to be one of those stuck-in-the-mud games for the Jayhawks. Nothing seemed easy, the ball bounced wrong all day and the pressure mounted as Bucknell closed in on the upset.
Still, even as bad as things went, third-seeded KU had a shot at survival late in the game when Simien got a better look than he should’ve from the free throw line in the final seconds.
Every time I watch it, I think it’s going in. The pass was perfect, Simien’s footwork freed him and his release was perfect. It just wasn’t meant to be that night.
If you’re so inclined, fast-forward to the 3:50 mark in this video for a look back at the miss.
• Christian Moody missed free throws at Missouri in 2006
Moody’s career, from walk-on to key role, was so incredible and it’s such a bummer for him that this moment was part of it. But it was a big part.
With KU and Missouri locked up at 77 in a regular season game in Columbia, Mo., Moody stepped to the free throw line with 0.4 seconds to play for two free throw attempts. Make either and KU almost assuredly wins the game.
Instead, Moody missed both off the back iron and Missouri won in overtime.
Although he was never known as a great free throw shooter, (51.7% for his KU career) Moody was a senior and, therefore, was well aware of what the KU-MU rivalry was all about. That fact only made the misses sting more.
The first three minutes of this video will take you through the events surrounding to those two Moody misses
• Davidson guard Jason Richards’ missed 3-pointer in the Elite Eight in 2008
No Kansas fan will ever forget this moment. No Davidson fan will either.
In an absolute slugfest to go to the Final Four, Kansas survived a scare from Steph Curry and Davidson when Richards’ last-second, deep 3 missed the rim and sent the Jayhawks to the next round during their run to the 2008 national title.
The biggest thing that stands out about this miss is the defense that Mario Chalmers, Brandon Rush and Sherron Collins played on Curry to force it.
There was just no way KU was going to let Curry beat them in that moment and all three guys delivered crucial defensive efforts in those final few seconds to make sure the shot came from someone else’s hand.
Here’s a view of arguably the biggest miss in Kansas basketball history from someone in the stands that night.
• Phil Pressey’s missed/blocked layup at Allen Fieldhouse at the end of regulation in the final game of the KU-MU rivalry in 2012.
Everyone knows the story of this one. Down by nearly 20 points in the second half, KU came all the way back to force overtime and win one of the most electric and incredible games in the history of Allen Fieldhouse.
And it’s unlikely that anyone will ever forget the final few seconds of regulation when Thomas Robinson blocked a driving layup by Pressey to force OT.
Missouri fans still say Pressey was fouled. KU fans say no way. History agrees with the Jayhawks.
Here’s a video of the sequence that picks right up with Pressey driving to the rim.
• Wayne Selden missed 3-pointer vs. Villanova in the Elite Eight in 2016
This probably doesn’t make very many lists, but it’s on mine because it was a big miss and because I had an incredible view of it, sitting mere feet from where Selden let it fly along the sideline.
From my vantage point, I thought he nailed it. But it missed, like five other Selden 3-point attempts on an 0-for-6 night, and Villanova went on to win 64-59, earning a trip to the Final Four.
Trailing by 2 with 1:13, Selden caught the pass in the corner along the sideline on a perfect ball reversal. Despite his off night, he went right up with it and never hesitated.
Had the shot gone in, Kansas would have gone up by a point and the pressure would’ve shifted to Nova. Instead, the Wildcats answered with a pair of free throws to go up four with 33 seconds left, keeping the pressure and sense of urgency on the KU side.
I couldn’t find a specific video of the miss, but you can find it in the full game video here. The possession starts at the 1:06:55 mark.
Timely question considering KU just landed a commitment from two-sport standout Keon Coleman a little more than a week ago.
Coleman, if you’re not familiar, is a four-star wide receiver in the Class of 2021 from Opelousas, La., who will be on scholarship with the football program and a walk-on for Bill Self’s basketball team.
The idea of Jayhawks playing both basketball and football is not at all unheard of. In fact, one of them from the recent past was even a quarterback. Former KU hooper Mario Kinsey played stints at point guard for Roy Williams and QB for Terry Allen. But that was short-lived for a number of reasons and the idea of being arguably the top player for Self and the quarterback for Miles in the same season is tough to imagine.
It’s funny, but the last time I interviewed Gibbs about Garrett for a story about his nephew winning the Naismith Defensive Player of the Year honor this spring, Gibbs brought up football.
“We’re a football town,” he said of Garrett’s native Dallas.
And even though Garrett was a talented quarterback in his early childhood — some of his family members even thought football would wind up being his best sport — that ship has sailed by now.
Garrett still loves football and knows and understands the game, but even if he could physically and mentally make the move, there’s zero chance Self would sign off on the idea.
Gibbs knows that, and I think he was just having fun with his question.
But he is right about one thing – KU still does not have a clear starter at quarterback for the 2020 season. The bigger issue, however, remains finding out if KU’s even going to have a 2020 season in the first place.
One thing at a time, for both Garrett and Kansas football.
Hey, thanks for the reminder and the quick trip down memory lane. I had a really good time doing that last year and haven’t heard if we’re planning to do it this year again or not.
My guess is no, given the way the pandemic has hit so many people so hard in so many different ways.
But I’ll keep it in the back of my mind and, if not this year, maybe we can put it together again for future years.
I love golf and I play as much as I can, but most of my time is spent playing in Lawrence. Getting out and getting to see all of the amazing courses within driving distance of my house was a blast. And I know I didn’t even get to half of them.
One of the coolest things about that whole promotion — “Tee Off with Tait” we called it — was the fact that I played each of those signature holes so incredibly well. I was nervous about how I would do on a new course, cold out of the car and what that would look like if I started blogging about the snowman I got on No. Whatever at Whichever course.
But I think those nerves helped force me to lock in on every shot and swing and I can only recall one or two bad moments in the whole thing.
Lot’s of fun. Just like these “Ask Us Anything” blogs. So keep the questions coming and thanks for reading.
Stay safe, happy and healthy, everybody.