K-State to retire the jerseys of Blackman, Knostman

MANHATTAN, Kan. Kansas State Director of Athletics Tim Weiser announced Wednesday that the Wildcats will retire the jerseys of basketball greats Rolando Blackman and Dick Knostman in a halftime ceremony during the Colorado game on Saturday, Feb. 10, 2007.


“We are excited to announce the selection of Rolando Blackman and Dick Knostman for jersey retirement at Kansas State,” said Weiser.  “These two individuals have played a tremendous role in the development of our men’s program.  They represent much more than just victories and NCAA Tournament appearance for Kansas State.  They have each enjoyed very successful careers beyond the basketball court and have for many years served as great ambassadors for this university.”


In addition to the retirement ceremonies at the Colorado game, scheduled for 5 p.m. at Bramlage Coliseum, the two men will be honored at a public luncheon from 11:30 a.m. to 1:30 p.m. on Feb. 10, at the K-State Alumni Center.  Tickets to the luncheon can be purchased for $15 by calling the K-State Athletic Ticket Office at 785.532.7606.


The duo becomes the third class of jersey retirements at Kansas State following those of Bob Boozer, Ernie Barrett and Jack Parr in February 2005 and Mike Evans, Lon Kruger and Chuckie Williams in February 2006.  The criteria for determining the honor includes statistical achievement, conference and national records, honors received (i.e., all-conference, All-America, Academic All-America, etc.), character and sportsmanship.


Blackman was a member of K-State’s All-Century Basketball Team announced on March 1, 2003, while Blackman (1995) and Knostman (2003) are both members of the K-State Sports Hall of Fame.   


One of just two players to earn first team All-America honors in consecutive seasons, Blackman was a four-year lettermen for head coach Jack Hartman from 1977-81.  He guided the Wildcats to an 80-41 (.661) record, including two postseason appearances and the 1980 Big Eight tournament championship.


A native of Brooklyn, N.Y., Blackman is one of just three players (joining fellow retirees Mike Evans and Lon Kruger) in Kansas State history to be named Big Eight Conference Player of the Year (1980).  He is also just one of three players to earn first team all-conference honors three times (joining Bob Boozer and Mike Evans) in the program’s history.  In addition, Blackman was named the Big Eight Conference Defensive Player of the Year on three occasions (1978, 1979, 1980).    


The school’s second all-time leading scorer with 1,844 points, Blackman was the last Wildcat to be selected as a first team All-American when he was named to the Helms Foundation, The Sporting News, Converse Yearbook and John R. Wooden Award All-American squads as a senior in 1981.  He was also chosen as a first team All-American by the Helms Foundation and The Sporting News as a junior.


Blackman still ranks among the top 10 in 13 season and/or career statistical categories in school history, including tops in career double-digit scoring (100) and second in career field goals made (755) and career points (1,844).  He also ranks in the career top 5 in assists (314; 3rd), games started (116, 3rd), games played (121; 4th) and free throws attempted (466; 5th).  For his career, Blackman averaged 15.2 points on 51.7 percent shooting with 5.0 rebounds and 2.6 assists in 121 games.


One of five Wildcats to be selected in the first round of the NBA draft, Blackman was originally drafted by the Dallas Mavericks with the ninth overall selection in 1981.  He went on to play 13 seasons in the NBA 11 with the Mavericks and two with the New York Knicks.  The four-time NBA All-Star played with Dallas from 1981-92 and is still the team’s all-time leading scorer with 16,643 points.  Blackman still appears in the top 10 in 18 different statistical categories in Mavericks’ history, including records in field goals (6,487) and field goal attempts (13,061), free throws made and attempted (3,501-4,166) and starts (781). He also owns a multitude of franchise regular season, playoff and rookie records, including consecutive games without fouling out (865).  Blackman had his number 22 retired on March 11, 2000.


Blackman is currently in his ninth season overall with the Mavericks’ organization, including his first as the team’s director of basketball development.  He spent the 2005-06 season as an assistant coach to reigning NBA Coach of the Year Avery Johnson and helped the Mavericks to its first NBA Finals appearance, where they lost in six games to the Miami Heat.  The squad tied for the best record in franchise history with a 60-22 overall mark.  Prior to his stint as an assistant coach, Blackman spent five seasons as the player development coach and two seasons as the program’s director.  He also served as an assistant coach for the German National team, where he helped lead them to a bronze medal at the 2002 World Basketball Championships in Indianapolis


Twice selected an All-American, Dick Knostman was a three-year lettermen for head coach Jack Gardner from 1950-53.  He helped guide the Wildcats to a 61-13 (.824) record, including three consecutive final top-10 finishes and a runner-up finish at the 1951 NCAA Final Four. 


The 6-foot-6 native of nearby Wamego, Kan., Knostman is one of just 12 players in Kansas State history to be named a first team All-American.  He earned this recognition from the Helms Foundation, Look magazine and the Newspaper Enterprises Association as a senior in 1953 after averaging 22.7 points in helping the Wildcats to a 17-4 overall record and a final ranking of No. 9 in the UPI and No. 12 in the AP polls.  Knostman was also recognized as a second team All-American by The Associated Press, United Press International, Colliers and International News Service.


Knostman first earned All-America accolades as a junior when he led Kansas State to a 19-5 overall record and a final ranking of No. 3 in the AP and No. 6 in the UPI polls.  He averaged 16.3 points in 24 games en route to collecting second team All-American honors from the Converse Yearbook and third team accolades from The Associated Press.  He was also twice selected   first team All-Big Seven.


Knostman averaged 7.5 points in 29 games as a sophomore in 1950-51 in helping Kansas State advance to their first and only NCAA Championship game, where the Wildcats lost to Kentucky


Despite having played over 50 years ago, Knostman still ranks among the top 5 in 17 single-game, season and/or career statistical categories in school history, including tops in most free throws attempted in a game (26 vs. Oklahoma on Feb. 14, 1953).  He also ranks in the top 5 in several career categories, including second in free throws attempted (541), third in free throws made (349) and fifth in rebounding (774) and rebounding average (10.5 rpg.).  Knostman also places second in single-season scoring average (22.7 ppg.; 1953) and third in rebounding average (13.3 rpg.; 1952).  He is one of just 19 players in school history to top 1,000 points, while he ranks 13th on the all-time scoring list with 1,083 points and 14th in career scoring average (14.6 ppg.).  Knostman remains one of the few Wildcats to average a double-double for his career with 14.6 points and 10.5 rebounds in 74 games.


Knostman became the second Kansas State player ever drafted in 1953 when he was selected by the Syracuse Nationals with their second pick.  He averaged 2.6 points and 3.4 rebounds in his lone season with the Nationals in 1953-54.


Joining the numbers of Boozer (30), Barrett (22), Evans (12), Kruger (12), Parr (33) and Williams (10) to hang from the rafters in Bramlage Coliseum are Blackman’s No. 25 and Knostman’s No. 33.  Of note, each of these numbers will remain active for future student-athletes to wear.