SE: Blackman Inducted into College Basketball Hall of Fame

Rolando Blackman’s recent induction into the College Basketball Hall of Fame has had him reminiscing back to his college days at K-State.

Blackman was a star for the Wildcats from 1977-81. He was one of just two players in Wildcat history to earn First Team All-America honors in consecutive seasons, and, in his four years, he guided the Wildcats to an 80-41 record, two trips to the NCAA Tournament – including the 1981 Elite 8 – and the 1980 Big Eight Tournament title. 

But he couldn’t have done it without the people who surrounded him.

“I would say I feel a great deal of gratitude,” said Blackman when asked about his emotions on being inducted into the College Basketball Hall of Fame. “People helped me. I asked for the help, and people helped me. They stepped up fast, quick and hard and took all the time that I needed. That was the biggest thing I remembered – there was always someone there to push me, always someone there to help me. From the time I was 18 years old coming in from Brooklyn, New York, to the time I was 22 years old and drafted by the Mavericks, my time at K-State was time well spent.”

From his coaches to his teammates to his professors, Blackman credits his successes at K-State to many different people.

“I’ve been thinking about all the great people who were there for me,” he continued. “Jack Hartman gave me an opportunity and a chance to do things at a higher level. All my teammates, all the guys on the squad, we were there together as one trying to win the basketball games. I was also learning in school with my professors. It was all of us together on the court and off the court. I had a full education here at Kansas State and it was the full experience of it that made me successful today.”

Blackman is K-State’s No. 3 all-time scorer with a total of 1,844 points and is one of just three players (joining Mike Evans and Lon Kruger) in Kansas State history to be named the Big Eight Player of the Year (1980). Additionally, he is one of just three players to earn first team all-conference honors three times (joining the late Bob Boozer and Evans) in the program’s history. A stellar defender as well, Blackman was also named the Big Eight Defensive Player of the Year on three occasions (1978, 1979 and 1980).

During his time at K-State, the Wildcats competed in Ahearn Field House – an environment he remembers well and said is unlike anything he’d ever experienced since. 

“The crescendo of sound would have busted your ears,” laughed Blackman. “It was an actual disruptor. The sound, it was that sixth man, it was very, very important for them to go crazy, go wild. It would impede the calls, the play and the concentration of the other team; those things were great advantages to us.”

Of course, it’s hard to look back at Blackman’s career without mentioning his game-winning shot in the 1981 NCAA Tournament to upset top-seeded Oregon State. The shot was featured on the front cover of Sports Illustrated and was a monumental moment in the history of K-State men’s basketball. 

“When you talk about playing against Oregon State and preparing for them, you understand that the program was ready,” explained Blackman. “We had the right coach and we had the right players. We put ourselves on the line and came up victorious in that whole account.  It showed us that K-State was on the map and that we were a major university to be contended with.”

Following his Wildcat career, Blackman was selected in the first round of the 1981 NBA Draft as the ninth overall pick by the Dallas Mavericks. He went on to play 13 seasons in the NBA and was a four-time All-Star. His 16,643 points scored in his 11 seasons with the Mavericks (1981-92) are the second-most in franchise history. 

Blackman was inducted into the College Basketball Hall of Fame at a banquet in Kansas City last Friday, while he came back to Manhattan on Saturday to watch the thrilling K-State football win over Iowa State and chat with this year’s K-State men’s basketball squad. 

“I follow Coach Weber and I follow the young Iwundu kid; I know he can play the game, plus, I see him wearing the No. 25 and I think, ‘You’d better be able to play, kid!’” laughed Blackman, who also wore the No. 25 during his time at K-State. “It’s just a lot of fun… I’m going to be able to talk to them, see them in Kansas City and really have the chance to spend some time and share some knowledge of what it all takes.”

Following a 3-0 start to the 2015-16 season, the Wildcat men’s basketball team returns to the court tonight to take on the Missouri Tigers (2-1) in the CBE Hall of Fame Classic.

With tipoff set for 6 p.m., this evening at Sprint Center in Kansas City, the Wildcats and Tigers are competing for a spot in the CBE Hall of Fame Classic Championship game on Tuesday evening at 9 p.m., and will take the winner between No. 1 North Carolina and Northwestern. 

The Wildcats have started this season strong with three consecutive 80-plus point games and are led in scoring by senior guard Justin Edwards (17.0 points per game), who is one of four players averaging points in the double digits.

“We have to have the same energy in Kansas City,” said K-State head coach Bruce Weber after Friday evening’s 93-72 win over South Dakota. “We’re going to have a neutral crowd on Monday, so it’ll be fun. It’ll be a good challenge for our guys.”

Despite starting the year with back-to-back victories, Missouri enters tonight’s game coming off of a 78-66 loss at Xavier and will be looking to get back on track. The Tigers are led by freshman guard Kevin Puryear, who has started his career averaging 15 points and five rebounds per game. 

Among the Wildcats’ top performers this season are freshmen Barry Brown and Dean Wade. Wade has started his Wildcat career averaging an impressive 13.3 points per game, while Brown is averaging 12.3 points, including a team-leading 18-point performance against South Dakota. 

“It’s going to be great for me as a freshman coming in,” said Brown about competing in the Sprint Center. “Playing on a big stage like that, it’s going to be a learning experience for me and for all of the new freshmen.”

For more information on the CBE Hall of Fame Classic, please click here
K-State women’s basketball has traveled to the east coast to face the three-time defending national champion (1/1) Connecticut tonight at 6 p.m.

Tonight’s matchup features a pair of programs that rank among the top-20 in NCAA Division I women’s basketball history for wins, as UConn owns 944 and K-State has tallied 875.

The Wildcats enter tonight’s game against UConn with a 3-0 mark to start the 2015-16 season. K-State is paced offensively by the trio of junior guard Kindred Wesemann, junior center Breanna Lewis and senior guard Megan Deines. The group combined for 67 of K-State’s 84 points on 23-of-39 shooting last Thursday in an 84-81 overtime victory over South Dakota.

For more information on tonight’s Wildcat women’s basketball game, please click here


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