Kansas Jayhawks


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Arena: Allen Fieldhouse
Coach: Bill Self

Kansas Jayhawks

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Kansas Jayhawks Team Summary

Kansas is one of a handful of blue bloods and recognizable brands because of its historical success. The program has the longest streak of NCAA Tournament appearances, with 31. The Jayhawks are top five in tournament games, wins, No. 1 seeds, appearances, Sweet Sixteen appearances, Elite Eight appearances, and Final Four appearances. Their three national championships are tied for seventh.

The Jayhawks basketball program started in 1898, and since then they are second in all-time wins, entering the 2021-22 season. Their teams are 2,323-871, winning 72.7% of their games. 

That longevity and consistent excellence has produced some of the best basketball players in college history and some who have carried that to the NBA. Twenty-three Jayhawks accounted for 30 consensus first-team All-American picks, which both are most all-time.

This year’s team is trending toward another NCAA Tournament appearance, extending the streak to 32 straight events. Kansas is 16-2 and atop the Big 12 and continues to climb the top-10 of the Associated Press rankings.

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Kansas Jayhawks Team History

Consistency has been a big part of Kansas’ program. There have been eight head coaches since the program was started in 1898 by Dr. James Naismith, who remarkably is the only coach with a losing record (55-60). But that was a different era of basketball, just starting out at the college level.

Kansas has dominated its conference, having won multiple regular-season conference titles in every decade except 1980 since the turn of the 20th century. That’s remarkable since the all-time scoring leader, Danny Manning, played from 1985-88 and scored 2,951 points.

Two coaches and five players have been inducted into the National Collegiate Basketball Hall of Fame. 

Five others with ties to Kansas have been inducted as well. Player inductees include Wilt Chamberlain, Paul Endacott, Clyde Lovellette, Danny Manning, and Paul Pierce. 

Coaches are Phog Allen (a former player) and Larry Brown. Dean Smith, Adolph Rupp, and Ralph Miller all played at Kansas and were inducted as coaches elsewhere. Naismith and John Bunn, who was chairman of the program’s Hall of Fame, are the other two inductees.

Key Stats

This year’s Kansas squad is one of the top-scoring and most efficient teams. The Jayhawks are 16th in scoring at 80.8 points per game and eighth in efficiency, converting 49.7% of attempts. They like to push the tempo and score in transition off of turnovers and misses, getting easy buckets inside.

As is customary, a pair of great guards lead the way. Ochai Ogbaji and Christian Braund are big guards at 6-foot-5 and 6-6, respectively. They are averaging 20.4 and 15.3 points per game, respectively, and are the lone double-figure scorers on the team.

Despite a 16-2 record, the Jayhawks are just 8-9-1 against the spread this season. Though a high-scoring team, which is 124th in opponents scoring (66.7 points per game), they are somewhat predictably 12-6 on over/unders.

Their future national championship odds are favorable, as low as +1,200 and as high as +1,800. They have the seventh-best odds, though conference rival Baylor is ahead of them, ranging from second- to seventh-best odds to defend its national championship. Missing a March Madness winning. 

Championships Won by the Team

Kansas is 3-6 in national championship games, winning in 1952, 1988, and 2008. The pre-tournament days led to two national championships voted by the Helms Athletic Foundation, coming in 1922 and 1923.

The 1952 team featured 6-9 center Clyde Lovellette, a two-time consensus first-team All-American. That season he averaged 28.4 points and 12.8 rebounds per game. They won 80-62 to clinch the championship against St. John’s to end a 26-2 season.

The 1988 team, Larry Brown’s last at Kansas, went 27-11 and beat a pair of Big 8 rivals en route to the title, including an 83-79 win over Oklahoma in the clincher. Eventual NBA players Danny Manning and Kevin Pritchard were on that team. Manning, a 6-10 senior, averaged 24.8 points, 9.0 rebounds, 1.9 blocks, and 1.8 steals per game and was a three-team consensus first-team All-American.

A team that featured seven eventual NBA players will go down as one of the best in college history. The 2008 Jayhawks went 37-3, beating Memphis 75-68 in overtime to clinch the final. Mario Chalmers hit one of the most iconic shots to force overtime, an off-balance, contested 3-pointer. NBA players on that team included: Darrell Arthur, Brandon Rush, Chalmers, Darnell Jackson, Sherron Collins, Sasha Kaun, and Cole Aldrich.

Important Team Events

Kansas’ first coach, Dr. James Naismith, is credited with founding the game of basketball. He wrote the first official rules and later ended up in Lawrence as a teacher and also became the coach. With a 7-4 record in his first season, it was the first of 99 seasons with an above-.500 record for the Jayhawks.

The program is currently under investigation for alleged recruiting violations that have hurt programs nationwide. It was a recruiting scandal involving Adidas and impermissible contact between coaches and schemes to pay recruits.

Following Naismith was Dr. Forrest “Phog” Allen, the winningest coach in program history with 590 wins. But he was forced to retire at 70 years old with three national championships (one NCAA and two Helms). He vacated his position having recruited Wilt Chamberlain, one of the best players in the history of the game, but was unable to coach him as a result.

His 1952 national championship team was so good that seven players were selected to compete with USA Basketball for the Olympics, and they went on to win the gold medal.

Top Players

There have been 79 Jayhawks to play in the NBA with stars such as Paul Pierce, Wilt Chamberlain, Jo Jo White, Clyde Lovellette, and current stars Joel Embiid and Andrew Wiggins. Currently, they have 11 active players this season.

Alongside Danny Manning, Nick Collison (2,097) and Raef LaFrentz (2,066) are the only players to score 2,000 career points in program history. Lovellette fell 21 points short. Sherron Collins is fifth on the all-time scoring chart (1,888).

Seven Jayhawks have won National Player of the Year. They are Paul Endacott (1923), Charlie T. Black (1924), Clyde Lovellette (1952), Danny Manning (1988), Drew Gooden (2002), Nick Collison (2003), and consensus pick Frank Mason III (2017).

The program has 23 consensus first-team All-Americans. They are Tommy Johnson, Ralph Sproull, Dutch Lonburg, Paul Endacott (twice), Charlie T. Black (twice), Tusten Ackerman (twice), Gale Gordon, Al Peterson, Fred Pralle, Howard Engleman, Charles B. Black, Clyde Lovellette (twice), Wilt Chamberlain (twice), Danny Manning (twice), Raef LaFrentz (twice), Paul Pierce, Drew Gooden, Nick Collison, Wayne Simien, Sherron Collins, Thomas Robinson, Frank Mason III, and Devonte’ Graham.

Top Coaches

Remarkably, Kansas has had just eight head coaches since its program started in 1898. With success brings longevity. Furthermore, just two coaches have led the program since Larry Brown left to go to the NBA in 1988, and both have won better than 80% of their games.

Phog Allen, the “Father of Basketball Coaching,” won the most games with a 590-219 record from 1907-09 and again from 1919-1956. He founded the National Association of Basketball Coaches, assisted in creating the NCAA Tournament in 1939, and was a key voice in making basketball an Olympic sport.

He won three national championships (one tournament). Larry Brown’s teams had a 135-44 record with a national championship in 1988, when he was named Coach of the Year, before enjoying an NBA coaching career.

His move opened the door for Roy Williams, whose teams went 418-101 (.805) from 1988-2003. He took the Jayhawks to four Final Fours and won two national championships. He earned three different Coach of the Year awards.

His surprising move to go from one blue blood to another in North Carolina, where former Jayhawk player Dean Smith coached, was unexpected, but his Tar Heel teams and future Jayhawk teams continued on.

Bill Self is on pace to pass Allen’s wins mark in the next few seasons. His teams are 522-118 (.816) with the best win percentage. He’s been to three Final Fours, two national championship games, and won one in 2008. Self’s teams also won 14 straight Big 12 regular-season titles from 2005-18.

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Kansas Jayhawks FAQs

How many national championships has Kansas won?

Five, with three of those coming since the NCAA tournaments’ inception in 1939..

How many NCAA Tournament appearances does Kansas have?

48, including an active streak of 30 straight.

Who created the game of basketball?

Dr. James Naismith created the first set of rules and a few years later became the first coach in Kansas history.

Who is the Father of Basketball Coaching?

Dr. Forrest “Phog” Allen, who helped create the NCAA Tournament and advocated for the sport’s inclusion in the Olympics.

How many consensus All-American picks has Kansas had?

Thirty among 23 players.

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