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#KU50: 24 Greg Ostertag

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24 days until Kansas basketball!

Utah Jazz v Denver Nuggets Photo by Brian Bahr/Getty Images

One of my first basketball memories growing up was watching the Bulls and the Jazz in the NBA finals. This was before I became a Kansas fan so I didn’t gravitate towards Ostertag by any means, but after I found out he went to Kansas I remember thinking how cool it was he was on the floor with guys like Michael Jordan and Scottie Pippen. I also always used to get him confused with Eric Montross but that’s for another day.

Before he was an average NBA big man, Ostertag was an exceptional college center. He was only a two-year starter for the Jayhawks, but he made those two years count big time. Ostertag led the Big 8 in blocks as a junior and senior, and finished as the all-time career leader for the conference.

Far from being just a defender, Ostertag finished just shy of 1,000 points for his career, averaged 19 points per 40 minutes for his career, and led the conference in 2-point shooting as a senior.

But it is fair to say Ostertag is mostly known for his defense. He’s one of just two Jayhawks to record 100 blocks in a season (although this is in the modern era of course, Wilt Chamberlain no doubt did it as well), and his defense was the backbone of a team that was a #1 seed in the NCAA tournament, as well as a Final Four team.