You know those ads that the NCAA likes to run during the tournament that let you know that most of their student athletes go pro in something other than sports? They always show some kid looking into a microscope or doing what appears to be high-level business all the while ensuring you, the viewer, that they dedicated a huge amount of time swimming or playing tennis or dominating the soccer field in college. Those commercials are obviously true (I’m pretty sure that there isn’t a Professional Rowing Association), but the implication that all student athletes go on to successful and rewarding careers after their playing days are long over is a stretch. Instead of all the fancy imagery that is necessary for my imagination to take the leap to believe that someone has the time to be an elite track star and a neurosurgeon, they should instead just feature former KU forward Mike Maddox in those commercials.
Mike Maddox has gone on to do great things since he left the KU basketball program in 1991. The guy won an NCAA title with the Jayhawks in 1988 and reached the final game again in 1991, and measured as a whole, those accomplishments pale in comparison to what he has done since he graduated shortly after that magical run to the title game in 1991. All he has done is earn his business degree at KU, immediately enroll in law school in Lawrence and earn a law degree from the university, practice law for 11 years including doing so at a firm with his name on the door, switch careers to enter the financial field, and finally become President and CEO of a large bank represented in three states. He’s also on the board of many organizations in Lawrence and Kansas City. Yeah, he went pro in something other than sports. Yeesh.
As for his time on the basketball court, which is presumably why you’re reading this, Maddox had what many might call a blue-collar career. During that freshman campaign that culminated in the glorious and improbable run to the title, Maddox only averaged seven minutes per game. The 6’7" freshman still managed to score 2.5 points and grab 1.5 boards per contest that season.
From a personal perspective, Mike’s sophomore season was his most successful. Under first year head coach Roy Williams, Maddox saw his minutes skyrocket to 22 per game and with that his scoring and rebounding increased. He averaged 10.9 points and 3.5 rebounds that year, both career highs. Perhaps it was because KU was on probation and had a relatively light roster that season, but Maddox would never reach those personal bests again.
Alonzo Jamison joined the Hawks in 1989-90 and Maddox’s minutes decreased as did his production. He averaged 8.7 points per game (he kept the 3.5 average on the boards), but Kansas, as a team made monumental strides. After just 19 wins in 1988-89, KU won 30 games in 89-90, the first time the program had eclipsed the 30 win mark since the 1986 Final Four run. Maddox and the Jayhawks lost a heartbreaker to UCLA that season in the second round of the NCAA tournament.
Of course, the Jayhawks would build on that small tournament run and turn it into a memorable run to the 1991 championship game in Indianapolis. Maddox became a full time starter in his senior season and saw his minutes rise to a career high 23. He scored 7.5 points per game, but his leadership, combined with the leadership of fellow seniors Terry Brown and Mark Randall, propelled the Jayhawks to improbable tournament wins over #2 seed Indiana and #1 seeds Arkansas and North Carolina before capitulating in the NCAA title game against #2 Duke.
And although that final game didn’t go the way that Mike Maddox wanted it to, he certainly has made the most of his life after basketball, don’t you think?