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#KURank: 5 Raef LaFrentz

Raef LaFrentz

I try to not mention players’ professional exploits during this list (this is a college basketball list, after all) but I am going to make a brief exception for LaFrentz. LaFrentz graduated just before my KU fandom started, and so all I really knew about him growing up was his nickname in NBA circles was “Raef LaFrentz’ expiring contract.” LaFrentz was actually pretty good in the league (he was top 6 in the NBA in blocks 3 times) but due to injuries he never got to be the star his college career suggested he’d be.

And he certainly was a star. Only 3 players in Kansas history ever scored 2,000 points, with Raef’s 2,066 ranking third. He also grabbed over 1,000 rebounds in his career, and ranks 2nd all time in that category. Only 2 players are members of the 2,000 point, 1,000 rebound club (the other being Danny Manning whom, spoiler alert, we will see later).

LaFrentz was a four year starter at Kansas, and was an All American in his junior and senior seasons. He, Tim Duncan, and Shaq were the only two time All Americans in the 90s. He also was back to back Big 12 player of the year, and as a senior became the first Jayhawk in 27 years to average a double double.

LaFrentz is third in Big 8 history in win shares, 3rd in defensive win shares, and 15th in NCAA history in 2-pointers made. He shot 56 percent from two, 71 percent from the line, and even 37 percent from three (albeit in fewer than 40 attempts for his career). LaFrentz was a really good defender as well, despite only blocking about a shot per game. But it is his consistency coupled with greatness on the offensive end and on the glass, that gets him here. Although he never went to a final four, Raef was also the best player on back to back 1 seeds, and went 123-17 over his four year career.