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Mr. Laz
03-17-2008, 11:26 AM
Posted on Sun, Mar. 16, 2008 10:15 PM


Manning finds a home on KU's bench


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Danny Manning was the star of the
KU team that won the 1988 national
championship. Now he’s comfortable
as an assistant for the Jayhawks.
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<!-- END /pubsys/production/story/story_assets.comp --> Danny Manning did not want to talk for this story. There’s a reason. He’s had enough fame. He’s had enough words written about him. He’s a Kansas assistant college basketball coach now. He’s just another guy.


Of course, he’s not just another assistant basketball coach. He’s Danny Manning. He’s one of the greatest college basketball players of them all. He’s Danny of Danny and the Miracles, the remarkable 1988 Kansas national championship team. He’s the first pick in the NBA draft. He’s a guy who scored more than 12,000 points in the NBA and made an All-Star team despite three ACL injuries. He’s a legend who …


“It’s two,” he said.


I’m sorry?


“It’s two,” and he pointed up at the scoreboard over the Sprint Center floor.


This was Friday, during the Kansas State-Texas A&M game. Manning pointed up, and on the screen they were showing one of those basketball shuffle games where three basketballs dribble around, and you are supposed to guess which basketball has the Big 12 logo on it.


“How do you know it’s two?” I ask.


“Because it was three during our game,” he says.
Before I could figure out the logic behind that, the shuffling ended. The basketballs turned. The logo was behind basketball number two. Danny Manning smiled. Something still bothered me, though. Manning made his prediction based on the winning basketball being number three during his Kansas game. But how did he know that? Was he watching the scoreboard during the game?


“Hey,” I asked, “how did you know it was three during your game, anyway?”
He smiled again. “Awareness,” he said.


•••
The question that sparked this story was simple: Why is Danny Manning an assistant basketball coach?
Look: Being an assistant basketball coach is hard work. It’s often thankless work. It’s constant travel. It’s mind-numbing video study. It’s intense, cutthroat recruiting. It’s long days, long nights, working with players, dealing with their problems, enjoying their triumphs, all of it when no one is watching. It’s a job for the young and ambitious, a job for the lifers who just want to be a part of the game.


Danny Manning doesn’t seem to fit. Manning could do anything. He could live the legend’s life of luxury. Here it is, 20 years after he carried his Kansas team to the national title in one of the great virtuoso performances in the history of American sports.


He scored 25 points against Murray State in the second round, but more than that, he willed the Jayhawks to victory in the final 38 seconds. Kansas was losing by one. Manning made a jump hook, then grabbed a rebound, then got fouled, then made two free throws, then knocked away the in-bounds pass. Kansas won by three.
Manning scored 38 against Vanderbilt in the Midwest semifinals.


“I was in his face all the time,” Vanderbilt’s Frank Kornet told reporters. “It truly was frustrating. It was like, ‘When is this man going to miss?’ ”


He scored 25 points, grabbed 10 rebounds, and had four steals and six blocked shots in Kansas’ upset victory over Duke in the semifinals. In the last few minutes of that game, he personally shut down the Blue Devils — the biggest play being a nasty block of Duke star Danny Ferry in the closing minutes.


“Coach looked at Danny in the huddle,” Kansas teammate Scooter Barry said after that game. “And he said, ‘We’ve got 6 minutes left. If you want to take control, now’s the time.’ … So he took control.”

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And then there was the final, the best performance of all: Manning scored 31 points, grabbed 18 rebounds, made five steals and blocked two shots in the national championship game against Oklahoma, a performance so otherworldly that Sooners coach Billy Tubbs says he still sees it “every night when I go to bed.”

It was an incredible run. Manning did many things before and after that — he was a two-time All-American, an NBA star and also an NBA survivor — but for so many, the memory of Danny Manning is reduced to those six games in 1988, when he carried an undermanned Kansas team to its first national title in 36 years.


And maybe that — the fact so many people remember him only for that run — gets us close to why he’s an assistant coach. Manning is much more than six games played 20 years ago.


“What you have to understand about Danny,” Kansas coach Bill Self says, “is that he couldn’t care less about any of that. He couldn’t care less about being recognized. He couldn’t care less about people knowing who he is or remembering what he did. He has no ego; I mean, none.”


Then Self tells a story — he flew up to Detroit when Manning was still playing in the NBA and talked to him about being a coach. Manning said he really wanted to do it. Self explained all that it would take, all the time he would have to be away from his young family, and he
asked, “Do you really want to do all that now?”


Manning came back to him later and said, ‘No, I don’t. Not yet. But I want to be involved.”


And for five years, Manning served as the excessively titled “Director of Student-Athlete Development/Team Manager.” Basically this meant he was in charge of team travel, in charge of ordering equipment, in charge of creating basketball clinics, stuff like that. This year, when assistant Tim Jankovich left to become head coach at Illinois State, Self went back to Manning.


“I’m ready now,” Manning told him.


“He’s a basketball junkie,” Self says. “That’s what it’s about. He loves being a part of the game. He doesn’t care what’s involved. He just wants to be a part.”


•••
Danny Manning was scouting Kansas State — he was charting all the plays in his book — and he kept stopping every few minutes to talk excitedly about Michael Beasley.


“Look at his hands,” he said. “He has those huge hands.”
“He has the softest touch I’ve seen in a long time,” he said.


“I love the way he works around the basket,” he said. “He makes it looks so easy.”


I said: “I know someone else who made it look pretty easy.”


Manning did not smile at that. He did not seem to like his own game being brought into the conversation.


“Naw, man, not me,” he said. “Not like this guy. It’s like a different world. He can do things I couldn’t even dream about.”


The thing that was striking was how much he seemed to enjoy it – even this, even just scouting a team that the Jayhawks had already played twice. He liked it all — charting the game, breaking down players’ strengths and weaknesses, figuring out what was happening on the court. Manning has said it was really in the last couple of years as an NBA player that he started looking at the game from different angles, figuring out mismatches, playing coach while he watched games on television. That’s when he thought about getting into coaching.

“He’s really knowledgeable,” Self says. “Of course, there are a lot of guys in coaching who are knowledgeable. The difference with Danny is, that when he says something, the players probably listen more than with anyone else because of the respect they have for him. … I mean, if you’re a young player, who would impress you more than Danny Manning? He has done everything that you hope to do someday.”


Manning has talked at times about becoming a head coach, and certainly that could happen. But he has also talked about just being happy, living in Lawrence, spending time with the family, working for his school, coaching basketball.


“Look at how easy he makes it look,” he said as he watched Beasley. “It’s beautiful to watch, isn’t it?”


•••


Sunday, lots of people at the Sprint Center were thinking about Danny Manning. He got a huge ovation when he was introduced before the Kansas-Texas Big 12 championship game.


“I told him: ‘Look at you. You got louder cheers than our players,’ ” Self would say. “He didn’t like that much.”
Then the game began, and it was an amazing game. The first half was as good as any college basketball game I could remember seeing. Texas led 46-45 at halftime, the teams made 17 of 26 three-point shots, Texas had only two turnovers, Kansas had 16 assists. It was absolutely beautiful.


And it reminded many of that other amazing first half, 20 years ago, when Kansas and Oklahoma played at Kemper Arena for the national title. The halftime score was 50-50.
So the way Self and players remembered it, in the locker room Self told his team: “That was probably the best half of basketball played in Kansas City since 1988.” And then he turned to Danny Manning and said, “What happened in that game?”


Manning said, “Things slowed down in the second half.”
Things slowed down again on Sunday. And, like in ’88, Kansas made some big plays late and won the game. That ’88 final score was 83-79. This final score was 84-74.


“That was something, wasn’t it?” Manning said when the game ended.


He looked happy. And then a couple of reporters started to work their way toward him, maybe to ask a couple of questions, maybe not. Manning was not taking any chances. He ducked into a side office. He had said enough. About six weeks ago, because the media requests had gotten so overwhelming, he agreed to talk for a few minutes — just this one time — about 1988 and his life and his feelings.


“My memories are fond enough,” he said.

Mr. Laz
03-17-2008, 11:26 AM
KU's next head coach?

DaKCMan AP
03-17-2008, 11:27 AM
Saw that this morning. Good read!

Spicy McHaggis
03-17-2008, 11:43 AM
KU's next head coach?

Maybe. I could see him getting a job elsewhere before Self's time is up @ KU though.

DaKCMan AP
03-17-2008, 11:49 AM
Maybe. I could see him getting a job elsewhere before Self's time is up @ KU though.

I doubt a program like KU would hire a coach without any head coaching experience. Danny would have to go be a head coach elsewhere, possibly multiple places, before being 'called home' to KU when needed.

CoMoChief
03-17-2008, 11:51 AM
KU's next head coach?

When Self is canned, possibly.

Skip Towne
03-17-2008, 11:52 AM
KU's next head coach?

If Manning was a 22 year old senior in '88, he is now 42. Self is 46. Unless Self leaves, chances are pretty slim.

|Zach|
03-17-2008, 11:53 AM
Pretty good read.

hawkchief
03-17-2008, 11:56 AM
When Self is canned, possibly.

Mizery could have had him, but Alden took coke-head Snyder instead. Hurts, doesn't it, CoMo?

CoMoChief
03-17-2008, 12:00 PM
Mizery could have had him, but Alden took coke-head Snyder instead. Hurts, doesn't it, CoMo?

ummm no actually it doesn't. Don't really know why it would hurt.

Reerun_KC
03-17-2008, 12:11 PM
Mizery could have had him, but Alden took coke-head Snyder instead. Hurts, doesn't it, CoMo?
Thats why he bags on Kaun so much... He is so hurt that Kaun has more talent than anyone on MU team, no naturally he "tries" to flame on him...

Skip Towne
03-17-2008, 12:12 PM
I doubt a program like KU would hire a coach without any head coaching experience. Danny would have to go be a head coach elsewhere, possibly multiple places, before being 'called home' to KU when needed.

Uh....KU hired Roy Williams with no HC experience.

DaKCMan AP
03-17-2008, 12:16 PM
Uh....KU hired Roy Williams with no HC experience.

Bill Self = Dean Smith? :spock:

hawkchief
03-17-2008, 12:30 PM
ummm no actually it doesn't. Don't really know why it would hurt.

Evidently it does, why else would you be talking about one of the games top young head coaches getting canned? Perhaps you're bitter that your doofas AD picked a glamour-boy like Snyder instead of a proven winner like Self.

ROYC75
03-17-2008, 12:41 PM
As much as most of us would like to see Danny get his chance at KU, it's not going to happen ,Bill Self is locked in and not leaving.

Sure-Oz
03-17-2008, 12:44 PM
Mizzou will get manning and he'll have a speech "i've always wanted to be a tiger"

DJay23
03-17-2008, 12:47 PM
I doubt a program like KU would hire a coach without any head coaching experience. Danny would have to go be a head coach elsewhere, possibly multiple places, before being 'called home' to KU when needed.

You mean like Roy Williams?

ROYC75
03-17-2008, 12:50 PM
Mizzou will get manning and he'll have a speech "i've always wanted to be a tiger"

Nice dream , that's all !:D

Sure-Oz
03-17-2008, 12:51 PM
Nice dream , that's all !:D

Hey if albert lewis can say it with the raiders :p

DJay23
03-17-2008, 12:52 PM
Uh....KU hired Roy Williams with no HC experience.

Damnit, I should have read all of the posts.

DJay23
03-17-2008, 12:54 PM
Bill Self = Dean Smith? :spock:

A great HC as mentor does not make an assistant a great HC. Look at Snyder.

DaKCMan AP
03-17-2008, 12:56 PM
A great HC as mentor does not make an assistant a great HC. Look at Snyder.

Yes, but Mizzou job does not equal KU job. Roy had been a HS head coach for 5 years and was an assistant under Dean Smith for 10 years prior to getting the job at Kansas. Danny's got a ways to go under Self, but more likely I see him, if he wants, getting hired by a smaller school in the next 3-5 years and then returning to KU if the job opens up (and if he's successful as head coach elsewhere).

DJay23
03-17-2008, 01:00 PM
Yes, but Mizzou job does not equal KU job. Roy had been a HS head coach for 5 years and was an assistant under Dean Smith for 10 years prior to getting the job at Kansas. Danny's got a ways to go under Self, but more likely I see him, if he wants, getting hired by a smaller school in the next 3-5 years and then returning to KU if the job opens up (and if he's successful as head coach elsewhere).

That's actually what I think will happen too. I'm just worried he may not be the best X's and O's coach and make himself look silly, soil his good name.

ROYC75
03-17-2008, 01:01 PM
Hey if albert lewis can say it with the raiders :p

Manning has more class than that, after all we are talking about Albert Lewis, OK.

Ari Chi3fs
03-17-2008, 01:05 PM
Personally, I think Danny will be more than happy to sit on the bench at KU, each and every game... regardless if he is head coach or assistant coach.

Mr. Laz
03-17-2008, 01:12 PM
That's actually what I think will happen too. I'm just worried he may not be the best X's and O's coach and make himself look silly, soil his good name.
first of all ...... Self is pretty weak when it comes to X's and O's and most people don't hold that against him.

secondly ..... it won't happen for several years. i imagine by then people we have a pretty good idea whether he can handly that part of coaching BEFORE getting the job.

Skip Towne
03-17-2008, 01:20 PM
I hope Self stays at KU the rest of my life. But if not, Mark Turgeon is building a strong resume and he wants the job. Time will tell.

Mr. Laz
03-17-2008, 01:34 PM
I hope Self stays at KU the rest of my life. But if not, Mark Turgeon is building a strong resume and he wants the job. Time will tell.
possibility too ....

Self
Turgeon
Manning

while Turgeon is the KU head coach, Manning can be off earning his stripes as a mid conference level.

Chiefmanwillcatch
03-17-2008, 01:46 PM
I think he's married to some blonde chick.

Mr. Laz
03-17-2008, 01:59 PM
I think he's married to some blonde chick.
:spock:

Lzen
03-17-2008, 04:20 PM
Great read. I'm sure he will get his chance to be the head guy someday. Until then, I am so glad that we get to have him as an assistant.

CoMoChief
03-17-2008, 05:02 PM
But if not, Mark Turgeon is building a strong resume and he wants the job. Time will tell.

OMG no!!!

CoMoChief
03-17-2008, 05:08 PM
Evidently it does, why else would you be talking about one of the games top young head coaches getting canned? Perhaps you're bitter that your doofas AD picked a glamour-boy like Snyder instead of a proven winner like Self.

Since when did I ever give 2 shits about MU bball is kinda where I was going with my previous post but nevermind I guess. Norm Stewart is the reason I hate MU bball, he's the biggest asshole on the planet.

In all honesty I would love to have John Calipari as KU's next coach.

I've just never liked Bill Self. I think he's a choker, I really don't think KU will make it to the final 4 with him as the HC, but maybe he will prove me wrong this year. There is absolutely no reason at all KU shouldn't make the final 4 this year as this is the most loaded Jayhawks team since 01-02. I've always thought him as a poor in game coach.

Deberg_1990
03-17-2008, 05:12 PM
Good read. I had forgotten he did end up having a pretty decent NBA career as well.

He was really good in the early 90's.

Skip Towne
03-17-2008, 05:20 PM
OMG no!!!

This is the best endorsement for Turgeon possible.

CoMoChief
03-17-2008, 05:47 PM
This is the best endorsement for Turgeon possible.

Turegon over Calipari is just downright laughable. There's really no other way of putting it.

Skip Towne
03-17-2008, 06:36 PM
Turegon over Calipari is just downright laughable. There's really no other way of putting it.

You're the only one who said that. Damn, you're stupid.

KCChiefsMan
03-17-2008, 06:48 PM
if we don't do well in this tourney, I'd be perfectly happy with Self getting canned and naming Danny Manning as our new Head Coach.

KCChiefsMan
03-17-2008, 06:49 PM
Good read. I had forgotten he did end up having a pretty decent NBA career as well.

He was really good in the early 90's.

what year was he the NBA's 6th man of the year? was it late 90's or early 00's?

chiefqueen
03-17-2008, 08:08 PM
Uh....KU hired Roy Williams with no HC experience.

KU hired Williams in the middle of summer after others turned the job down. EVERYBODY knew KU was facing sanctions in the fall, the only question was would KU be allowed to field a team. (At that time the NCAA threatened schools with the "death penalty" if major violations occured repeatedly during a five year span.) The 2nd sport was the one that would be unable to play. I remember the infractions committee taking 2 extra weeks to decide the issue. The result was a 1-year tourn. ban (KU probably wouldn't have made the 89 tourney anyway) and NO paid recruiting visits by students in 1989.

Skip Towne
03-17-2008, 08:16 PM
KU hired Williams in the middle of summer after others turned the job down. EVERYBODY knew KU was facing sanctions in the fall, the only question was would KU be allowed to field a team. (At that time the NCAA threatened schools with the "death penalty" if major violations occured repeatedly during a five year span.) The 2nd sport was the one that would be unable to play. I remember the infractions committee taking 2 extra weeks to decide the issue. The result was a 1-year tourn. ban (KU probably wouldn't have made the 89 tourney anyway) and NO paid recruiting visits by students in 1989.

Who turned the job down?

chiefqueen
03-17-2008, 08:19 PM
Here's a link backing up what I just wrote:

http://www2.kusports.com/news/1988/nov/08/ncaa_penalty_hits_ku_hard/

Skip Towne
03-17-2008, 08:43 PM
Here's a link backing up what I just wrote:

http://www2.kusports.com/news/1988/nov/08/ncaa_penalty_hits_ku_hard/

Nothing about anyone turning the job down.

chiefqueen
03-17-2008, 08:50 PM
Who turned the job down?

I think they were going after Cheney @ Temple. I couldn't Google it, but I remember 4-5 weeks going by from the time Larry left until Roy was hired. The reason I linked the article was I believe in the summer of 1988 given the KU may not have been allowed to field a team the fall, KU's only option was to hire someone w/o HC experience.

Deberg_1990
03-17-2008, 09:17 PM
what year was he the NBA's 6th man of the year? was it late 90's or early 00's?

It was around 96 or 97?? Somewhere in there...

Skip Towne
03-17-2008, 09:32 PM
I think they were going after Cheney @ Temple. I couldn't Google it, but I remember 4-5 weeks going by from the time Larry left until Roy was hired. The reason I linked the article was I believe in the summer of 1988 given the KU may not have been allowed to field a team the fall, KU's only option was to hire someone w/o HC experience.

I don't remember anything about Chaney but Coach K did turn the job down. The only person I've ever heard of doing so. And KU was never in serious doubt about getting the death penalty. Only SMU has ever gotten it and these were transgressions done by Larry Brown who left town. That is one of the top jobs in BB and was at the time. They could have had nearly anyone they wanted. They hired Roy on recommendation of Dean Smith.

the Talking Can
03-17-2008, 09:36 PM
first of all ...... Self is pretty weak when it comes to X's and O's and most people don't hold that against him.




that's hilarious....

Skip Towne
03-17-2008, 09:46 PM
that's hilarious....

People just can't see past that 31-3.

POND_OF_RED
03-17-2008, 11:10 PM
Manning finds a home on KU's bench


If only an article started like this 20 years ago KU fans might not have that "won a championship in our lifetime" to fall back on when cornered in an argument. :cuss: