A heart felt congratulations to one of the great all time Kansas Jayhawks Danny Manning. As we all know, Manning is off to tackle the world of college basketball head coaching at the University of Tulsa where he takes over a program once directed by current Kansas coach Bill Self.
It was a bittersweet day for Jayhawk fans yesterday. I think over the years people have wondered if he indeed had aspirations of becoming a head man or if he was content contributing to the overwhelming success at his Alma Mater. We now have that answer and I think the support from the Kansas community has been 100% in favor of Manning pursuing his next opportunity.
Manning earned himself a great deal of notoriety over the last several years due to the Jayhawks ability to develop big men. It was interesting heading into this tournament to see the contrast between Bill Self and Manning when it came to the question of who deserved that credit. Self deflected all the attention to Manning, while Manning claimed it was Self's system. The good news for Kansas fans is that the system has undoubtedly been a big part of that, and Manning helped cement that reputation through his work.
Manning will take former Kansas player Brett Ballard with him as part of his staff which continues to grow the Kansas coaching tree. All these things are good things for Kansas and good things for the individuals involved. I think Manning's early comment during his introductory press conference speaks to how much he valued his time at Kansas.
Kansas, it's home in terms of I moved there when I was a senior in high school, four years of college, and have been living there in the summers ever since.
Tulsa now becomes another program for Kansas fans to keep an eye on and certainly Jayhawks everywhere wish Manning the utmost success. If for some reason things don't work out or the opportunity presents itself, I think everyone would also welcome him back once again.
I can't say I remember 1988 all that well, but I do remember watching Danny Manning play in Hilton Coliseum when I was young and living in Ames. I also obviously remember 2008 and all the years that he has helped contribute to during his most recent stint and with his help it's been another great chapter in Kansas basketball history.