Archive for Thursday, January 22, 2004

Opinion: All Kansas, all the time

January 22, 2004

Killing time Monday night before the season premiere of American Chopper was set to begin, I flipped the channel to ESPN. It was halftime of the Oklahoma-Texas Tech game and the halftime show caught my attention. ESPN, in all its wisdom, unveiled its 25th anniversary all-Big 12 team.

Let me get this straight: ESPN can't get me to the start of any KU game they broadcast, but they can tell me who the all-time Big 12 players should be? I guess that's a topic for another column.

Anyway, much to my dismay, their picks stink. No Nick Collison, who's only the best power forward in league history; no Kirk Hinrich, one of the truly outstanding all around players; and no Mitch Richmond, a player Michael Jordan once compared to himself.

Nah, their list featured a plodding center from Missouri named Steve Stipanovich and T.J Ford, a midget flash-in-the-pan point guard from Texas.

So, to help alleviate my frustration, I'm throwing out my all-time Big 12 picks, but with a catch. I'm only using players from Kansas or Kansas State. I'll take my chances from the rest of the league.

Starting five:

  • Kirk Hinrich, PG, KU
  • Rolando Blackman, SG, K-State
  • Mitch Richmond, SF, K-State
  • Danny Manning, PF, KU
  • Nick Collison, C, KU

I know what you're thinking. Not much size in that lineup. True, we don't have a player taller than Collison at 6-foot-9, but we have the most necessary attributes a team can have: speed, ability and a solid grasp of fundamentals. Plus, every player on this team knows what it takes to win games.

We'll also take this team a step farther and go with a list of reserves.

  • Anthony Beane, point guard, K-State: Quick, team player and money in the clutch.
  • Askia Jones, shooting guard, K-State: Zone buster.
  • Paul Pierce, small forward, Kansas: Probably deserves to be in the starting lineup but he'll get plenty of minutes behind Manning and Richmond.
  • Drew Gooden, power forward, Kansas: See Pierce. Deserves some consideration for the first five but he'll get time backing up Collison.

Take the rest of the league, ESPN. I'll go with my guys and whoop your bunch every day of the week. And since I have your attention, could you for once get me to the tip-off of a KU game on time? Just a wild thought, but if you're going to advertise and broadcast a game, you might want to show the game.

Notes:

  • If I were a gambling man, I'd bet the Patriots in the Super Bowl. They have the one quality that beats all others in sports -- chemistry.

Besides, I'd rather bathe in battery acid than root for Carolina. They play in North Carolina and I absolutely despise everything about that God-forsaken state (primarily because of Roy Williams).

  • The Chiefs made the best move they could firing (and make no mistake, it was a firing) defensive coordinator Greg Robinson and hiring Gunther Cunningham. Gun's defenses always played great and I expect that to resume now that he's back.

Maybe Cunningham's defense won't be the best in the league (assuming they keep the same group of stiffs, they won't be), but I'm sure he can come up with something to at least force teams to punt once or twice.

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