Wilt Chamberlain made his KU varsity debut on December 3, 1956 in a game against Northwestern. The Big Dipper scored 52 points in the win, a single game scoring record that still stands in the Kansas record books. Chamberlain went on to lead the 1956-57 team to the championship game of the NCAA tournament where the Jayhawks lost by one point in triple overtime to North Carolina.
The 7'1 player was the most highly coveted recruit of his time and Phog Allen brought him to the historically-rich Kansas program. Dean Naismith served as an assistant under Allen at the time. When Chamberlain announced his intention to attend Kansas and special dormitory bed was purchased to accommodate his height.
During his time at Kansas Chamberlain changed the game – literally. He was so dominant that several rules revisions were attributed to controlling the player, from the creation of offensive goaltending to widening the lane to changes in free throw shooting and inbounding. Chamberlain was routinely gang-guarded – double and triple teamed – and the target of a variety of other methods used in an attempt to control him.
During his two seasons at Kansas Chamberlain averaged 29.9 points and 18.3 rebounds per game. He grabbed 38 rebounds against Iowa in 1958 and led the Jayhawks to two Big Seven Championships. Wilt the Stilt went on to play for the Harlem Globetrotters before starring in the NBA, scoring over 30,000 points during his career. In 1978 Chamberlain was elected to the Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame.
Chamberlain returned to Lawrence in January, 1998 for two days of media interviews, autographs, and tributes. His number was retired at halftime of the KU-KState game. (AP Photo / Oril Wagner)
Also this week:
12.02.70 – Eric Pauley was born. The juco transfer averaged 10.5 points and 4.4 rebounds from 1991-93.
12.04.59 – Mark Snow was born. The center played for Kansas from 1978-80.
12.04.67 - General John Fraser elected as KU Chancellor. He was the second chancellor in the history of the school.
12.04.97 - The NBA suspended Latrell Sprewell of the Golden State Warriors for one year for choking and threatening to kill his coach.
12.04.02 – Newly hired football coach Mark Mangino was introduced at the basketball game against Wake Forest.
12.05.59 – Junior center Bill Bridges tallies up 30 rebounds in a game at Northwestern
12.06.39 - The current official KU flag is first flown over old Fraser Hall.
12.06.54 – Reuben Shelton was born. Shelton was a Jayhawk in the mid seventies.
Wilt Chamberlain comes down with the rebound as Larry Fischer attempts to reach ball in Kansas City, Jan. 12, 1957. The action occurred in the Big Seven Conference opener between Kansas State and Kansas. Kansas came from behind, to win 51-45. (AP Photo/Stf/WPS)