If that isn't enough history for you, Phog Allen (who coached the Jayhawks for nearly a half-century) and Dr. Naismith just happen to be buried in Lawerence across 15th Street from each other in separate cemeteries. I've flashed a couple of pictures there, and if you enjoy the history of the game as much as I do ... learning the history of these two unique individuals is a priority. It is more than fitting that both Allen and Naismith are buried in Lawerence too, as they truly are the geneological roots of College Basketball. Even Pete Newell has ties to that historic tree with his coaching career taking him from San Frrancisco, to Michigan State, and back to the Bay Area as Head Coach of the Golden Bears. Newell is certainly one of the most respected College Basketball teachers in the game, and perhaps nobody knows frontcourt players like Pete.
For the 2002-03 Kansas Jayhawks, last season's run to the Final Four is going to be difficult to duplicate. Drew Gooden was a unanimous All-American, and one of the toughest match-ups in all of college basketball due to his combination of strength, speed, and size. His early departure to the NBA was entirely expected, but nonetheless ... the Jayhawks are going to have some growing pains without him. Jeff Boschee was also a tough loss because he was a solid outside shooter with a ton of grit. Still, the Hawks do have 3 starters returning from a team that was knocked out by the eventual NCAA Champs, the Maryland Terrapins, in last year's Final Four. So far this year, Roy Williams' squad has played a tough early season schedule. Two true road games, two neutral court contests, and 5 home games have resulted in a 6-3 early season mark. KU has won all 5 home games, lost both neutral court games (to North Carolina and Florida), and split road contests with Oregon (loss) and Tulsa (win). Out of all their games so far, the win over Tulsa might be their most impressive.
Here is a quick look at the 2002-03 Kansas Jayhawks:
Projected Starting Lineup: (Returning starters in
Bold) (2002-03 Statistics)
PG- Aaron Miles 6'1 175 So (8.2 ppg, 3.9 rpg, 7.2 apg, 1.9 spg)
SG- Kirk Hinrich 6'3 190 Sr (16.5 ppg, 3.6 rpg, 3.2 apg, 1.8 spg, 42%-3-Ptr's)
SF - Keith Langford 6'4 205 So - (16.9 ppg, 5.1 rpg, 2.3 apg)
PF- Wayne Simien 6'9 255 So (16.8 ppg, 9.2 rpg)
C- Nick Collison 6'9 255 Sr (19.1 ppg, 8.6 rpg, 2.1 apg, 1.4 spg, 1.6 bpg)
Michael Lee 6'3, 215 So - (3.9 ppg, 2.5 rpg, 1.0 apg)
Jeff Graves 6'9 275 Jr - (2.3 ppg, 3.1 rpg)
Bryant Nash 6'6 205 Jr - (2.0 ppg, 2.1 rpg)
Jeff Hawkins 5'11 175 Fr - (1.6 ppg, 1.0 rpg)
Moulaye Niang 6'10 215 Fr - (1.5 ppg, 1.4 rpg)
Kansas has two steady senior leaders on their squad who both happen to hail from the state of Iowa. Senior Combo guard Kirk Hinrich is from Sioux City, IA ... and Nick Collison is from Iowa City, IA. And with the level of leadership, and overall basketball skills these two bring, everyone in the country knows what a solid duo Roy Williams found under the Hawkeyes noses a little over four years ago. Williams did the same thing when he nabbed Iowa native Raef LaFrentz. Cal Basketball fans know Williams well, since he's out recruited the Bears before for the likes of Paul Pierce and the aforementioned Drew Gooden. Its hard to forget Jerod Haase as well - bringing the Tahoe native with him to Lawerence after Cal was knocked out of the 1993 Sweet Sixteen by no one else but ... Kansas. Even this past year, High School Seniors David Padgett from nearby Reno, NV., and Omar Wilkes from Los Angeles, CA chose to attend Kansas. The lure to Lawerence will likely not stop anytime soon. In 15 Seasons at Kansas, Head Coach Roy Williams has done nothing to break up the lure either, leading the Jayhawks to 3 Final Fours alone.
Hinrich is a true backcourt leader, and though he always seems to be playing with a nagging injury, he is a combo guard who can run the show, or fill it up from 3-point land. He combines quickness with a short jump shot that is deadly, though that is mixed with a tendency to take too many chances defensively. Aaron Miles is a streak shooter, and though he does have the finest assist ratio, most opponents are happy to have him shoot from beyond the arc. Aaron, who hails from Portland, OR, has played some erratic games so far this year ... though he is averaging a steady 8 ppg and 7 assts and is a highly athletic young player. Subbing in and out with Miles will be another Portland, OR native, Michael Lee, as well as freshman Jeff Hawkins. Hinrich will rarely leave the court.
The frontcourt is the strength of this team, and they are anchored by Nick Collison, a smooth baseliner who can face up as well. Collison has an excellent jump hook, and his 19 points per game and 8 boards should tell you he brings it every night. Collison has had some defensive lapses this season but I think the same can be said for the entire Jayhawk team since they are learning what life is like without Drew Gooden's shot blocking skills. Wayne Simien might be one of the toughest hombre's in the Big 12, and he is a flat out monster that reminds me of Aaron McGhee, the former Oklahoma Sooner. He is a brilliant power dunker, and has the ability to rev up his team like no other Jayhawk. Simien is a true power forward, and very rarely leaves the lane on offense. He'll make his mistakes, but I think he's another David West. Defensively, KU is notorious for overplaying the ball, trying to frustrate a team by limiting their vision and passing lanes. It works too, and I am sure we will likely see all the Jayhawks hustling on defense. Keith Langford is a pretty solid wing, and he plays bigger than 6'4, anyone knocking down 17 points per game is top notch. We'll certainly see Junior's Bryant Nash and Jeff Graves off the