It was recently announced that Mario Chalmers, a former standout for the Kansas Jayhawks, will have his #15 jersey retired on Feb. 16.
Chalmers will join other Kansas greats such as Wilt Chamberlain, Danny Manning and Paul Pierce in the rafters of Phog Allen Fieldhouse.
Some might say Chalmers amongst the Kansas greats? Let’s take a look at what Chamlers accomplished under Bill Self’s tutelage.
In his three years, Chalmers went 95-16 including three Big 12 Conference titles. In his junior season Chalmers was named Big 12 All-Defensive First Team and All Big 12 Second Team. Most importantly, Chalmers helped lead the Jayhawks to their first NCAA Championship since Manning led the 1988 squad to a upset victory.
Chalmers famously hit one of the most memorable 3-point shots in NCAA Tournament history against the Memphis Tigers. Chalmers knocked down the dramatic 3-point shot with just 2.1 seconds remaining in regulation. The game went to overtime where Kansas eventually won, 75-68. Chalmers was also named the tournament’s Most Outstanding Player.
Even Self tweeted “Rio. So proud of u. U deserve banner to b hung in bldg u loved. C u in cpl of wks as AFH honors u. Good luck.” Self followed that tweet up with, “Mario So proud of you You deserve to have a banner hung In building you love See you Soon Good luck Sorry about grammar I’m learning.”
It is obvious that Self is indebted to Chalmers for helping him earn his first national title. Likewise, in the eyes of Jayhawk nation, Chalmers is on the same pedestal as the Chamberlain’s and Pierce’s of the world. He is a champion in every sense of the word and the emotions he stirs in Phog Allen Fieldhouse are immeasurable. His historic shot will be seen countless times every March Madness and for that he deserves to be recognized as a Kansas legend.
Follow Bert DeSalvo on Twitter: @CoachDeSalvo