I came to Kansas as a sophomore by way of Hutch JuCo. I knew Missouri was a big rival, but it did not quite hit me how big until my first game against the Tigers. It was intense. Kelly Knight was our starting center but he was out for the game. That made me the starter. They were ranked #2 or #3 in the country with John Sunvold and Steve Stipanovich. We lost by a few points. It was a hard fought game and heartbreaking to lose it. I managed to hold Stipanovich to just six points, so I felt good about that.
Lucky for me, it was in Allen Fieldhouse so I had the crowd with me instead if against me. I didn't have to deal with Antlers that day. No subject is off limits to them, nothing is too much. Whenever you go into Missouri, it is hard. It is really tough. You can feel the dislike in the air. There is a lot of tradition and pride on both sides and over the years I think the antagonism just breeds. The fans drive the rivalry. I can still hear our crowd going crazy and yelling "Sit down Norm." I played for Ted Owens and Larry Brown. The crowd was so, so hard on Ted.
When I played the KU-K-State rivalry was big too, but Missouri was different. It was always more hostile and we were more hated. The adrenaline and the energy for each game – pushed on by the crowd – it was a blast. It was really something.
- Excerpt, originally published in the February issue of Jayhawk Illustrated