There have been many great Kansas Jayhawks throughout the years. The best of the best get immortalized by having their jerseys hung in the rafters of Allen Fieldhouse.
Some of the players who have earned this honor include Nick Collison, Kirk Hinrich, Wilt Chamberlain, Paul Pierce, Danny Manning, and Wayne Simien, to name a few. The most recent player to have his jersey retired was Mario Chalmers in 2013. Who else deserves to have their jersey hung?
The original criteria for retiring a jersey was that the player had been named college basketball player of the year, most outstanding player of the NCAA tournament, or a four-time All-American. It was expanded in 2003 to include consensus first-team All-Americans, two-time first-team All-America selections, and Academic All-American of the Year. KU officials also said the athletic director has the authority to adjust the criteria in special circumstances. This means a Jayhawk great can have his jersey retired without meeting the above guidelines.
Here are the candidates from the Bill Self era that, in my eyes, have an argument to have their jersey raised.
Brandon Rush: Rush was the best player on a National Championship team, as well as one of the greatest defenders in Bill Self’s time as head coach of the Jayhawks. He was an All-American in both 2007 and 2008. His most memorable moment as a Jayhawk is probably the time in the Final Four when he had scored as many points as the entire North Carolina Tar Heels team.
Sherron Collins: Collins was the heart and soul of the Jayhawks during his junior and senior seasons. He was a two-time All-American, earning second-team honors in 2009 and being named to the first team in 2010. He will be remembered by KU fans for his 2010 performance in Manhattan, but the most memorable moments are his part in two big plays in the 2008 National Championship game: his steal and three to pull Kansas to within 4, and the drive and pass that resulted in Mario’s Miracle.
Cole Aldrich: Aldrich was named a second-team All-American in 2010, but his most memorable moments come from his freshman year. Also part of the 2008 National Championship team, he was key in helping Kansas advance to the championship. In the Final Four matchup against North Carolina, he shut down National Player of the Year Tyler Hansbrough, registering four blocks. In his sophomore season, Aldrich recorded the first triple-double in KU history during a second-round matchup against Dayton in the NCAA tournament.
Marcus Morris: It’s hard to think about one Morris twin without bringing up the other, but Marcus enjoyed more success at KU than Markieff. A second-team All-American and Big 12 Player of the Year in 2011, Marcus was the go-to guy on what may be the best Kansas team in recent memory to not win a National Championship.
Thomas Robinson: With a ferocious alley-oop dunk that will be a part of the KU intro video for decades, as well as the block that preserved the eighth consecutive Big 12 title and led to Kansas’ win against Missouri in the final Border War, Robinson had his memorable moments as a Jayhawk. Also a first-team All-American and Big 12 Player of the Year in 2012, he led KU to a National Championship game and a runner-up finish.
Jeff Withey: Another big piece of that 2012 run to the National Championship game, Withey earned third-team All-American and Co-Defensive Player of the Year honors in 2013. He also holds Big 12 records for most blocks in a single season (140) and most career blocks (311), as well as the NCAA Tournament block record with 31.
Andrew Wiggins: Although Wiggins played only one year at Kansas, it was a great one, setting KU freshmen records in scoring (591 points), points per game (17.1), and free throws made (176). His greatest moment as a Jayhawk was undoubtedly the 41-point performance against West Virginia. Wiggins was named a second-team All-American and Big 12 Freshman of the Year, as well as becoming just the second Jayhawk to go first overall in the NBA Draft.
These are the seven players that I think have the best arguments to have their jersey retired as a Jayhawk. I could make points for or against each of them, but they made the short list and have the potential to get their jerseys hung in the rafters with the rest of the KU greats.
The discussion is as much fun as the end result, so be sure to join in and let us know who we got wrong and give who you think should or shouldn’t have their jersey retired in the comments and on Twitter @_DK22 and @RockChalkBlog.