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Know Your KU History: Ron Kellogg

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Is Ron Kellogg the best pure shooter in KU history?

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There’s a pretty good chance that if you ask a group Kansas basketball fans to name the best shooter in KU history, you will get as many answers as there are people in the group. Some might say it’s Jeff Boschee, KU’s all-time leader in three-pointers made. Some might reference a guy like Billy Thomas who made a ton of threes or star guard Kirk Hinrich who knocked down some important jumpers for KU in significant games. Newer fans might like the stroke of Brannen Greene or the ease that Xavier Henry had while taking a jumper. Some diehards might reference guys like Jeremy Case who apparently nailed them all day long in practice, but could never prove it on the court in actual games. Older fans could celebrate the talents of guys like Darnell Valentine or Danny Manning. All fine choices. Not many people would choose Ron Kellogg.

Bill Self just might. He was a graduate assistant coach under Larry Brown while Ron Kellogg was plying his trade in Lawrence. The Jayhawks used to do a rapid fire shooting drill in which 30-35 shots were hoisted per player in a five minute span. According to legend, Self said that Kellogg just didn’t miss….until the fourth consecutive day of the drill. Now, we know that stories get exaggerated and enhanced over time, but sometimes seeing is believing, and Kellogg made many KU fans in the mid-80’s into believers.

Ron "Special K" Kellogg went on such a furious scoring streak in the winter of 1985 that Sports Illustrated showcased him in an article called Kellogg Went Snap! Crackle! Pop! in an obvious reference to breakfast cereal. But alas, the whiz-kid writers over at SI weren’t done with the cereal references. No way. Because Kellogg had strung together five consecutive Saturday games with 30 points or more, the sub-headline read "In his continuing serial, Ron Kellogg lifted Kansas over rival Oklahoma." Kellogg tallied 34 points on that day on 14 of 19 shooting.

In his previous four Saturday tilts, Kellogg threw in 30 against Wichita State, 31 against Colorado, 39 against Nebraska, and 34 against Memphis State. That game against Nebraska was a particularly good showing for Kellogg. He’s originally from Omaha, and many friends and family made the annual trek to the Bob Devaney Sports Center to see Ron play. On that day, Kellogg went 16 of 19 from the floor and 7 of 7 from the free throw line. According to legend, Kellogg was motivated when he saw a long time girlfriend come into the gym with another guy. Whatever works. That 39-point performance was the highest ever at the Devaney Center at the time.

Kellogg had a great career at Kansas, one that is probably vastly underrated. He was an All-Big Eight selection in his junior and senior seasons where he averaged 17.6 and 15.9 points per season respectively. He shot 53.2% for his career, a remarkable percentage considering he was a jump shooter. He finished his four-year Kansas career with 1,508 career points, and when he graduated in 1986, he was the fifth highest scorer in school history.

In his senior season, Kansas advanced to the Final Four where he went 11 of 15 for 22 points in the loss to Duke. He was then drafted into the NBA by the Atlanta Hawks in the second round but never played in the NBA.