K-State set to retire Jersey's

MANHATTAN, Kan. – Kansas State Director of Athletics Tim Weiser announced Monday that the Wildcats will retire the jerseys of basketball greats Mike Evans, Lon Kruger and Chuckie Williams in a halftime ceremony during the Iowa State game on Feb. 8, 2006.

MANHATTAN, Kan. – Kansas State Director of Athletics Tim Weiser announced Monday that the Wildcats will retire the jerseys of basketball greats Mike Evans, Lon Kruger and Chuckie Williams in a halftime ceremony during the Iowa State game on Feb. 8, 2006.

"We are excited to announce the selection of Mike Evans, Lon Kruger and Chuckie Williams for jersey retirement at Kansas State," said Weiser. "These three individuals played a tremendous part in establishing K-State's long and storied tradition in men's basketball."

"These three men represent much more than just victories and NCAA Tournament appearances for Kansas State," Weiser continued. "They have each had very successful careers beyond the basketball court and for decades have served as great ambassadors for Kansas State University."

In addition to the retirement ceremonies at the Iowa State game, scheduled for 6:30 p.m. at Bramlage Coliseum, the three men will be honored at a public luncheon at noon on Feb. 8, at the K-State Student Union. Additional details and ticket prices will be announced at a later date.

The trio becomes the second class of jersey retirements at Kansas State following those of Bob Boozer, Ernie Barrett and Jack Parr in February 2005. The criteria for determining the honor includes statistical achievement, conference and national records, honors received (i.e., all-conference, All-America, Academic All-America, etc.), character and sportsmanship.

All three individuals were members of K-State's All-Century Basketball Team announced on March 1, 2003, while Evans (1998) and Kruger (2003) are both members of the K-State Sports Hall of Fame.

The school's all-time leading scorer with 2,115 points, Evans was a four-year lettermen for head coach Jack Hartman from 1974-78. He guided the Wildcats to an 82-35 (.700) record, including three postseason appearances and the 1977 Big Eight regular season and tournament championships.

A native of Goldsboro, N.C., Evans is one of just two players (joining fellow retiree Lon Kruger) in Kansas State history to be named Big Eight Conference Player of the Year (1977, 1978) twice and one of just three players in school history to receive the honor. He is also just one of three players to earn first team all-conference honors three times (joining Rolando Blackman and Bob Boozer) in the program's history. In addition, Evans was named the Big Eight Newcomer of the Year as a freshman in 1975.

The Big Eight's eighth all-time leading scorer, Evans was named to several All-America teams as a senior, including The Associated Press' third team and the Helms Foundation.

Evans still ranks among the top 10 in 17 single-game, season and/or career statistical categories in school history, including tops in career scoring, career field goals made (890) and career field goals attempted (1,810) and second in career double-digit scoring games (93) and career 20-point games (40). For his career, he averaged 18.1 points on 49.2 percent shooting with 3.4 rebounds in 117 games.

One of five Wildcats to be selected in the first round of the NBA draft, Evans was selected 21st by the Denver Nuggets in 1978. He went on to play nine seasons in the NBA, including stints with San Antonio (1978-80), Milwaukee (1980-82), Cleveland (1981-82) and Denver (1982-89). A key player on the Midwest Division Championship teams in 1985 and 1988 with the Nuggets, Evans remains among the top five on both the club's career three-point field goals made and attempted lists and played on eight playoff teams. In his career, he averaged 7.7 points on 45.2 percent shooting and 2.6 assists.

After playing six seasons, Evans joined the Denver coaching staff in 1990-91 and remained on the sidelines until midway through the 1994-95 season when he was promoted to Director of Player Personnel. In addition to his scouting duties, he served as an analyst for the team's television broadcasts through 1996-97. Evans took over as interim head coach of the Nuggets on Dec. 26, 2001 and coached the team for the final 56 games of the 2001-02 season, compiling a 18-38 record. Currently, he is a scout for the Toronto Raptors after spending the 2004-05 season as an assistant coach.

One of only two K-State cagers ever to be named the Big Eight Player of the Year twice, Kruger was a three-year lettermen for Hartman from 1971-74. He guided the Wildcats to a 61-22 (.735) record, including a pair of NCAA Elite Eight appearances and two Big Eight Conference regular season titles.

A native of Silver Lake, Kan., Kruger became the first Wildcat ever to be named conference player of the year when he earned the honor in 1973 and the first to earn the award twice when he repeated the distinction in 1974. He remains one of just three players in school history to ever receive the honor and one of just two (joining fellow retiree Evans) to earn the accolade twice. Kruger was also named first team All-Big Eight in 1973 and 1974 and also the conference's Newcomer of the Year in 1972.

Kruger earned Academic All-America and first team Academic All-Big Eight honors while an undergraduate in 1973 and 1974. He is the one of only three Wildcat players to earn Academic All-America accolades twice in a career. One of just 18 players in school history to score 1,000 career points, Kruger averaged 13.3 points on 46.8 percent shooting with 2.6 rebounds.

Following graduation, Kruger was drafted by both the NBA's Atlanta Hawks and Major League Baseball's St. Louis Cardinals. He played professional basketball in Israel from 1974 to 1975.

Kruger moved into the coaching ranks at Pittsburg (Kan.) State in 1976 before becoming an assistant coach at his alma mater under Hartman in 1977. He helped the Wildcats to a 103-49 (.678) record from 1977-82, including three NCAA Tournament appearances and the 1980 Big Eight Tournament Championship. He left to become head coach and athletics director at Texas-Pan American in 1982, guiding the Broncs to a 52-59 record from 1982-86.

Following the retirement of Hartman, Kruger was named head coach at Kansas State in the spring of 1986. In leading the Wildcats to an 81-47 (.633) record, he became the first head coach in school history to guide four consecutive teams to the NCAA Tournament. His regular season conference winning percentage (34-22; .607) ranks fifth all-time among Big Eight Conference coaches, while his victory total ranks sixth among coaches in Kansas State history.

Kruger became the first coach in K-State history to win 20 games in his initial season, guiding the Wildcats to a 20-11 record and the second round of the NCAA Tournament. His best team was the 1987-88 club, which featured first team All-American Mitch Richmond. The squad tied the school record for wins with its 25-9 mark and advanced all the way to the NCAA Midwest Regional title game in Pontiac, Mich. Following that season, he was named the NABC District Coach of the Year.

During his tenure, Kruger coached one All-American, four first team All-Big Eight selections, two Big Eight Newcomers of the Year and three first team Academic All-Big Eight honorees.

Following his head coaching stint in Manhattan, Kruger moved on to Florida for six seasons (1990-96) where he led the Gators to four postseason appearances, including the 1994 Final Four. He followed with a four-year stint at Illinois (1996-2000), guiding the Fighting Illini to three NCAA Tournament appearances and the 1997-98 Big Ten co-championship.

Kruger left Illinois in May 2000 to take over as head coach of the NBA's Atlanta Hawks, where he compiled a 69-122 record in two and half years. After a stint as an assistant with the New York Knicks, he returned to the college game in March 2004 when he was named head coach at UNLV.

Kruger currently owns a 337-252 (.572) record in his 20th year of coaching, which includes 12 postseason appearances and two conference titles. He has earned numerous coaching accolades, including the 1988 and 1994 NABC District Coach of the Year, 1992 and 1994 SEC Coach of the Year and the 1997 State of Illinois Collegiate Coach of the Year.

One of the school's most potent long-range shooters, Williams was a four-year letterman for Hartman from 1972-76. He helped lead the Wildcats to an 82-30 (.732) record, including two NCAA Elite Eight appearances and the 1973 Big Eight regular season championship. Ironically, he spanned the years between his fellow retirees and was a teammate of both Evans and Kruger.

After averaging just 5.3 points as a sophomore, Williams made one of the biggest scoring jumps in school history the following season as he paced the Wildcats in scoring at 22.1 points per game en route to guiding K-State to the 1975 Elite Eight. He was named first team All-Big Eight and a Helms Foundation All-American. The following year, Williams guided the squad to its second consecutive 20-win season en route to earning second team All-America honors from The Sporting News, Converse Yearbook and Basketball Weekly. He also repeated his first team All-Big Eight honors as well as Helms Foundation All-America accolade.

A native of Columbus, Ohio, Williams still ranks among the top 10 in 24 single-game, season and/or career statistical categories in school history, including tops in field goals made in a game (22), field goals attempted in a game (42), season field goals made (290) and season field goal attempts (594). He is also the school's sixth all-time leading scorer with 1,364 points.

Williams held the school single-game scoring mark for 19 years with 47 points against Holy Cross in 1975 before Askia Jones broke the mark with 62 against Fresno State on March 24, 1994. He also shares the mark for most points in an NCAA Tournament game with 35 against Syracuse in 1975. For his career, Williams averaged 16.2 points on 47.0 percent shooting with 2.7 rebounds in 84 games.

Williams became just the second player in school history to be selected in the first round of the NBA Draft when he was picked 15th by the Cleveland Cavaliers in 1976.

Joining the numbers of Boozer (30), Barrett (22) and Parr (33) to hang from the rafters in Bramlage Coliseum are Evans' No. 12, Kruger's No. 12 and Williams' No. 10. Of note, each of these numbers will remain active for future student-athletes to wear.

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